MIT introduces 3D printing with glass
When it comes to 3D printing, all eyes are directed to the machine performances and the development of new materials. It’s just the way it is, and we understand why. The more you can do with 3D printing the more people will see it a a viable way to produce objects in their everyday life. That being said, some materials are not that easy to print. For instance, glass was a tough one to reach. Until now. Last Friday, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology unveiled a new 3D printing method that could pave the way for a brand new material: fully transparent 3D printed glass.
Mediated Matter, a group founded and directed by Neri Owman, has teamed up with MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wyss Institute and MIT’s Glass Lab in its search for 3D printed glass. The name of the project is pretty straightforward, as it’s called G3DP (for Glass 3D Printing). Together, they built a new kind a machine composed of two sections. One on the top which serves as a small kiln to melt the glass. Inside this cavity, the glass is brought to a temperature higher than 1000° celcius. Once this step is completed, the lower section of the machine works like a regular FDM printer with a nozzle made of alumina-zircon-silica alloy. The molten glass is extruded onto the platform where it will cool down and become harder. Since they know everyone would be quite curious about this, Mediated Group also shared a scheme of their machine.
The group of researchers sees a wide range of possible applications for this 3D printing material and thinks that it could change the way many industries works with glass.
“This research lies at the intersection of design, engineering, science and art, representing a highly interdisciplinary” they write in their presentation.
Before seeing it in our everyday life, you will have a chance to take a look at those creations next year. They will be displayed at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum