MIT is working on 3D printing with glass

MIT introduces 3D printing with glass

Posted By on Aug 26, 2015 | 0 comments

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.

Molten 3D printed glass coming through the nozzle of the 3D printer by Mediated Group and the MIT

Image: Markus Kayser

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.

Schematics of the 3D printer by Mediated Group to 3D print glass

Schematics of the glass 3D printer by Mediated Group. (Image: John Klein)

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

GLASS from Mediated Matter Group on Vimeo.

If you want to know more about this project, we advise that you take a look at the paper the team published on it. It’s available here. And you’ll also find more info on this page.

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