3D printing with glass... at room temperature

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(Jascha Lenkiewicz) #1

Hello fellow makers.
I have an idea to make a seriously cool object… The first of its kind I reckon.
I want to make a glass piece from a 3d model (produced with photogrammetry software).
MIT have recently broken new ground by creating a 3D printer which extrudes molten glass. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvcpbtpWpGY
There’s also a German company who 3d print with a polymer containing glass powder, they then put the object into a kiln and heat it to fuse the glass. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/you-can-now-3d-print-glass-180962951/
Other than that, I don’t think anyone’s doing any 3D printing with glass… until now!

My plan:
-Create the 3D model from photos.
-Slice it up into 6mm layers using 3D modelling software (just like the last project, when my daughter made a 3d model of her head and shoulders from card).
-Laser cut each layer in paper, adding 4x 10mm holes (1 in each corner) to act as registration marks or locators.
-Cut an A2 sheet of float glass and drill 4x 10mm holes (in the corners).
-temporarily insert 4x lengths of 10mm wooden dowel in the holes, to locate the paper templates/guides.
-Position the 1st paper layer/template/guide onto the A2 glass sheet, using the wooden dowels to locate it precisely.
-Cut strips of 6mm float glass in long lengths, then cut them down into small pieces.
-Glue the small pieces of glass onto the base sheet, guided by the paper template to create the first layer.
-I’ll use UV adhesive, which will essentially be invisible.
-Remove the 1st paper layer.
-Position the 2nd layer, glue the glass in place, remove the paper etc etc etc…

Once I have assembled the entire model and UV-bonded it in position I will take it into a sandblasting booth and sandblast the hell out of it. I want to remove all sharp edges and reflective surfaces, it should look like a 3D printed sandblasted glass object. It will be 3D printed ‘by hand’, if you know what I mean.

I’ve pretty much finished the initial model, so next stage is to acquire a load of 6mm float glass for free (most glass workshops are generally happy for people to harvest their offcuts).
Then I’ll need to laser cut the paper templates…
The next couple of weeks are pretty busy but I’ll keep you posted if I make any progress.


(Andy Sanderson) #2

Sounds cool! Go for it!