Platform

Glass 3D Printing

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Glass 3D Printing video

3D printed glass manufacturing

Research team (Glass I): John Klein, Michael Stern, Markus Kayser, Chikara Inamura, Giorgia Franchin, Shreya Dave, Daniel Lizardo, Peter Houk. Prof. Neri Oxman

Research team (Glass II): Chikara Inamura, Michael Stern, Daniel Lizardo, Tal Achituv, Tomer Weller, Owen Trueblood, Nassia Inglessis, Giorgia Franchin, Marianna Gonzalez, Yinong Liu, Kelly Egorova, Peter Houk. Prof. Neri Oxman

Year: 2015-present

Location: MIT Media Lab, 2015, Cambridge, MA

Projects: Glass I, Glass II

Position

Glass 3D Printing 2 (G3DP 2) enables an entirely unique means of digital design and fabrication with glass. It is a high fidelity, large-scale, additive manufacturing technology for 3D printing optically transparent glass structures at architectural dimensions.

This novel additive-manufacturing platform includes a digitally integrated thermal control system to accompany the various stages of glass forming. It also includes a novel 4-axis motion control system permitting flow control, spatial accuracy and precision, and faster production rates with continuous deposition of up to 30kg of molten glass.

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Printing of one of the components of the glass columns
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Ceramic nozzle of the G3DP system
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During printing, molten glass coated the nozzle
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Chamber illuminated by heat from the furnace above

Process

G3DP2 uniquely enables the additive manufacturing of optically-transparent glass by restructuring the machine’s architecture and process control operations as informed by material properties and behaviors of silicate glass to 3D print building components with tunable, predictable mechanical and optical properties.

This enabling technology builds upon our previous efforts to 3D print optically transparent glass for product scale applications.

Age of Glass Manufacturing in Years

4500

Ancient yet modern, enclosing yet invisible, glass was first created in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt 4,500 years ago. Glass can be molded, formed, blown, plated or sintered; its formal qualities are closely tied to techniques used for its formation.

From the discovery of core-forming process for bead-making in ancient Egypt, through the invention of the metal blow pipe during Roman times, to the modern industrial Pilkington process for making large-scale flat glass; each new breakthrough in glass technology occurred as a result of prolonged experimentation and ingenuity, and has given rise to a new universe of possibilities for uses of the material.

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Micro CT scan
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SEM image of a printed glass wall
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SEM image of the interface between 2 layers of glass
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Micro CT scan in cross section
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SEM image of a printed glass wall in cross section
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SEM image of the interface between 2 layers of glass
 The tunability enabled by geometrical and optical variation driven by form, transparency and color variation can drive, limit or control light transmission, reflection and refraction, and therefore carries significant implications for all things glass.

The computational methodology used by G3DP2 is designed to interact intelligently with the constraints of the manufacturing with glass. A wide range of shapes determined by desired mechanical and optical properties can be printed through feedback-enabled control systems.

Internal temperatures and feed rate are precisely regulated in order to ensure the precise deposition and cooling rate of molten glass that enables not only the high-fidelity realization of designed geometries, but the preservation of optical transparency and superior strength.

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The worlds first molten glass 3D printer named G3DP

Credits

Collaborators & Contributors: Mary Ann Babula, P.T. Brun, Jeremy Flower, Wyss Institute at Harvard University, Rubix Composites, Skutt Kilns, The Glass Art Society, MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, MIT Edgerton Center, MIT Central Machine Shop, MIT Mechanical Engineering Department, MIT Glass Lab, MIT Media Lab

All images and videos courtesy Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group

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