3-D Printing in Glass

Grant Marchelli, a UW mechanical engineering graduate student, removes a new object from the Solheim Lab printer. Marchelli led development of the first method for 3-D printing in glass. Inset: An object printed from powdered glass, using the Solheim Lab's new Vitraglyphic process. Photo credit: Univ. of Washington

Grant Marchelli, a UW mechanical engineering graduate student, removes a new object from the Solheim Lab printer. Marchelli led development of the first method for 3-D printing in glass. Inset: An object printed from powdered glass, using the Solheim Lab's new Vitraglyphic process. Photo credit: Univ. of Washington

(From UW News)

A team of engineers and artists working at the University of Washington’s Solheim Rapid Manufacturing Laboratory has developed a way to create glass objects using a conventional 3-D printer and a new type of material. The team’s method, which it named the Vitraglyphic process, uses 20-micron glass powder. While the printer uses a inkjet printer mechanism to deposit droplets of binder solution into starch powder, the glass doesn’t absorb the binder. So the team has to adjust the powder-to-binder ratio to hold the material together at high temperatures so that it could be kiln-fired. The new method would also create a way to re-purpose used glass for new functions such as a low-cost material that can help bring 3-D printing within the budget of a broader community of artists and designers.

[Full article]

(Thanks Ben for the lead!)

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4 Responses to “3-D Printing in Glass”


  1. 1 Gregor September 29, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    So is this basicly replacing the normal Z-corp-type material (lime?) with glass powder?

    • 2 Warren Ginn September 29, 2009 at 6:19 pm

      The way I read it was that they were replacing the Z-Corp powder (I believe it’s actually starch) and replacing it with 20-micron glass powder… And they increased the amount of binder since, unlike the starch, the glass didn’t actually absorb it… So the idea was to hold it together long enough to fire it in a kiln to fuse the glass powder together. Traditional Z-Corp parts can be made stringer by impregnating the brittle starch parts with elastomer, epoxy or cyanoacylate.

      Someone out there correct me if I’m wrong…

      ~w~

  2. 3 Mark Ganter January 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Generally you both are correct. We have been continuing to make progress on the process. You are welcome to follow the story at Open3DP.


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