MIT just invented a 3-D printer for glass instead of plastic

3-D printing is revolutionizing manufacturing, allowing anyone to make their own designs come to life and impressing us with incredible achievements such as 3-D printed houses, bridges, skin and drugs. Now it's time for glass.

MIT Glass Lab teamed up with Mediated Matter Group and MIT Media Lab and figured out a way to go beyond the most common printing materials like plastic and metals. The collaboration invented a printer that can use glass to create beautiful transparent objects.

The method is called G3DP (Glass 3-D Printing) and these are the details of the process according to the team's post on Vimeo:

G3DP is an additive manufacturing platform designed to print optically transparent 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 platform is based on a dual heated chamber concept. The upper chamber acts as a Kiln Cartridge while the lower chamber serves to anneal the structures. The Kiln Cartridge operates at approximately 1900°F and can contain sufficient material to build a single architectural component. The molten material gets funneled through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle. The project synthesizes modern technologies, with age-old established glass tools and technologies producing novel glass structures with numerous potential applications.

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