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This Changes Everything

3D printing revolutionized! Amazeballs!

Roselle Jean Dancel
This Changes Everything© 2017 Steve Keating

MIT's Mediated Matter researches have cooked up an amazing machine that can print straight out molten glass.

Regular 3D printers aren't capable of printing out glass. Though glass filaments have been available, they don't completely share the components of hardcore, regular glass. Nylon's usually in the mix to make the filaments easier to manipulate.

Now, MIT's Mediated Matter researchers, headed by Neri Oxman, have cooked up an amazing machine that can print straight out molten glass.Molten Glass.jpegThe G3DP is an additive manufacturing machine that enables molten glass to be sculpted in programmed shapes. It is the known first optically transparent glass printer, and it's amazing!

It follows a dual-chamber heating process. The upper chamber is the printer's cartridge that consists of the kiln which maintains the molten glass heated at 1000 degrees Celsius. The molten glass is released through a nozzle, having each layer of glass approximately at the 4.5 mm (height) x 7.95 mm (width).glass-1

"In this project, we want to explore the possibility of creating that are at once structurally sound, environmentally informed and have the potential to contain and flow media through them." - Neri Oxman

On the other hand, the lower chamber functions as the printer bed, which cools the glass once it's layered up to the desired programmed shape. It also has anneals that prevent the glass from breaking when exposed to temperatures, or force. Once the sculpture is set up, compressed air is used to cool the nozzle; cutting out the flowing molten glass.

On a report released by Dezeen, Oxman mentions "In this project, we want to explore the possibility of creating that are at once structurally sound, environmentally informed and have the potential to contain and flow media through them."

The full paper they posted on their site, they want the G3DP to print optically transparent glass with geometrical tunability and optical variaton driven by form, transparency and color variations.

Here are some examples of what the G3DP has generated:Glass Sculpture.jpegGlass Sculpture 2.jpg3D Glass Sculpture.jpg

Basically, they want the 3D printer to generate things that avoid human error. They want to construct bewitching, innovative designs with mathematical precisions.  

Basically, they want the 3D printer to generate things that avoid human error. They want to construct bewitching, innovative designs with mathematical precisions

The possibilities are vast. Seemingly endless. The printer opens up a lot of possibilities. Aside from it potentially being an instrument of art, they also plan to get this involved with architectural projects such as building facades. They also want to bring in the printer into production of fiber optic cables.

We'll have to wait before plans for the G3DP soar. For now, you can look forward to seeing the sculptures in the Smithsonian Design Museum next year.

GLASS from Mediated Matter Group on Vimeo.

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