The innovations just keep on coming in the 3D printing world. Today we have 3D printed glass – tomorrow, what next?
Personally, I can see great potential for this in the arts and crafts world. Larger objects as opposed to jewellery, although it’s dependent on the nozzle size to a certain extent. 3D printed and laser engraved jewellery is of course traditionally quite small in size and there’s no mention of the 3D printer nozzle size. So in time if the nozzle is too large (and it does look quite large currently), perhaps the boffins can work to extrude through a typical sized nozzle that we’re used to with the plastic extruder type machines.
This is a cool shot of the nozzle extruding glass. Can you spot the picture of the alien frozen in the bottom of the image? 😉
Knowing a number of glass workers, I understand how tricky glass is to work with. In particular, Cathy Carr works with knitted glass, and had great trouble getting a consistent annealing in a kiln. A difference of a few degrees, or an extra few minutes (even seconds sometimes) in the kiln over a firing can make all the difference.
It’s fantastic that theoretically we’re seeing the whole art and science of glass working moving on a huge leap. This, potentially makes the whole process even more rigorously controlled and less prone to human and machine error.
Although there will obviously still be a massive demand for hand worked glass that we currently have, as not everyone will have access to their own 3D glass printer.