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MIT Creates a New 3D Printer & Art Form: Will the World of Making Glass Be Forever Transformed?

by • March 18, 2016 • No Comments

BRUN_IMG_4405Whilst this is a category bursting at the seams with innovations of the 3D printing industry, we have one additional that must be stuffed into the ‘what can they ponder of following?’ arena too. Not common at all, yet, is this latest of inventions of a few of those most terrifyingly bright minds over at MIT: the glass 3D printing device. And if you belong to one of the inner circles at this prestigious institution, you understand it as the ‘viscous sewing machine.’

In a new interview with Sculpteo, Dr. Pierre-Thomas Brun explained a bit of his new work with molten glass. As an Instructor in Applied Mathematics at MIT, Brun set the stage regarding his work saying that as he began working with Neri Oxman at the MIT Media Lab, she and her team inquired as to whether he may assist in the study of molten glass. Together, they all began uncovering the secrets of how to tame it with the 3D printing device—and as a outcome they may some day the alter the way glass is turn it intod altogether.

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Neri Oxman

Brun seemingly leapt at the thought to work with Oxman and her team, enthusiastic of working with various materials—and as one can see (we’ve included a video at the end of this article)—the outcomes are mesmerizing and truly lovely. Dr. Brun’s previous experience has been in working with how materials coil, and has brought him to study a few one-of-a-kind things indeed, much with the use of manipulation through mathematical formulas:

“My research is concerned with the mathematics driving the world that surrounds us, of mundane situations such as the coil turn it intod by honey falling onto a toast to the self-similar solution describing the curling of blood cells during egress of malaria parasites,” says Brun. “I concentrate on studying the dynamics of fluids and flexible solids, with particular attention given to non-linear consequences that I explore combining table-bodied sized experiments, precision numerics and theory. I strive to take the most out of these complementary tools to rationalize the physics underlying such systems.”

Perhaps a bit tired of working with honey and parasites, Brun expressed that he was pleased to work with building a fewthing additional ‘concrete’ for a alter. He does say, yet, that between honey and molten glass, the similarities are not so vast—and that most may be surprised to find out how sturdy honey is when coiled into a shape and hardened.

Glass, that Brun says is a fewwhere in the middle of elastic and viscous, while in the 3D printing device must be maintained really strictly in terms of temperature so that they can turn it into a viable-bodied structure. Brun says it’s of compromise with temperature in order to revery ‘a specific viscosity.’

It appears to be well-understandn inside their circles that what they are doing with glass has been previously only about not effortless to achieve–and for the reason of that, they wanted to share their accomplishments with manipulating glass. Mediated Matter, Neri Oxman’s group, has teamed up with not only Brun, but in addition the MIT Glass Lab as they have been working to turn it into the hardware for their molten glass—all for a project titled G3DP (Glass 3D Printing), and indeed it appears to toggle between industrial applications and a formidable-bodied new art form in itself; in fact, the shapes are so mesmerizing that it’s effortless to forget this group is involved in the nuts and bolts of science–and has turn it intod a new machine as well.

mainThe team altogether has turn it intod new hardware that consists of one section functioning as a kiln, melting glass at temperatures higher than 1000° Celsius. The lower section is created like a traditional extruder of that the melted glass flows, and so cools, and hardens.

“This research lies at the intersection of create, engineering, science and art, representing a highly interdisciplinary,” says the team in their research regarding 3D printing.

Their findings have in addition been released in a new paper, ‘Additive Manufacturing of Optically Transparent Glass.’ Here, they outline the fact that with specific systeming parameters—mainly temperature—they are able-bodied to control:

Glass viscosityFlow rateLayer Height

They discovered that the outcomeing 3D printed displayed great adhesion in between every layer, along with ‘satisfying optical clarity.’ They say that the with their new 3D printing device they are able-bodied to fabricate pieces and production of glass parts that are highly repeatable-bodied, translucent, and contribute the same aesthetic and mechanical performance of traditional pieces.

“Utilizing the optical nature of glass, hard caustic patterns were turn it intod by projecting light through the printed objects,” say the researchers. “The 3D-printed glass objects mentioned here can thus be extended to implementations across scales and functional domains which include product and architectural create. This research lies at the intersection of create, engineering, science, and art, representing a highly interdisciplinary approach.”


Extruding melted glass.

As with so most other areas of making being transturn it intod by 3D printing, it may now appear that glass is following. The researchers in this project believe that with their new innovations, those who work in the industry of glass may now appear in the direction of enjoying substantive and transformative new applications. All of the designs they’ve turn it intod with their new 3D printing device can be on display in a show later this year at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

The G3DP project was turn it intod in collaboration between the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab, the Mechanical Engineering Department, the MIT Glass Lab and the Wyss Institute. Researchers include : John Klein, Michael Stern, Markus Kayser, Chikara Inamura, Giorgia Franchin, Shreya Dave, James Weaver, Peter Houk and Prof. Neri Oxman.


Working with molten glass during the 3D printing system.