MIT researchers are actually 3D printing glass

Whereas the considered a machine that may squirt out countless ropes of molten glass is a bit horrifying, the oldsters at MIT have nearly perfected the method. In a paper published in 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, researchers Chikara Inamura, Michael Stern, Daniel Lizardo, Peter Houk, and Neri Oxman describe a system for 3D printing glass that provides way more management over the recent materials and the ultimate product.

Their system, known as G3DP2, “is a brand new AM platform for molten glass that mixes digitally built-in three-zone thermal management system with four-axis movement management system, introducing industrial-scale manufacturing capabilities with enhanced manufacturing price and reliability whereas guaranteeing product accuracy and repeatability, all beforehand unattainable for glass.”

The system makes use of a closed, heated field that holds the melted glass and one other thermally managed field the place it prints the article. A moveable plate drops the article decrease and decrease as it’s being printed and the print head strikes above it. The system is attention-grabbing as a result of it really produces clear glass constructions that can be utilized for adornment or constructing. The researchers take particular care to regulate the glass extrusion system to make sure that it cools down and crystallizes with out injecting impurities or structural issues.

“Sooner or later, combining the benefits of this AM expertise with the multitude of distinctive materials properties of glass akin to transparency, power, and chemical stability, we could begin to see new archetypes of multifunctional constructing blocks,” wrote the creators.