A new scientific threshold has been overcome when researchers revealed they were now able to print 3D objects made out of glass. However, the new discovery did not appease scientists’ appetite, so they are now working to determine the many benefits of MIT’s glass 3D printing technology.
On August 20, the MIT’s department of Media Arts and Sciences posted a video on their official website illustrating how genuine artistic forms could be created with the help of a glass 3D printer. The images have conquered the hearts of science and art lovers alike, particularly since they prove new boundaries can be achieved with the help of this new technology.
In a nutshell, the glass 3D printer uses a composite that is much more flexible and malleable than regular glass, namely, glass-filled nylon. The new material is molded and poured into different shapes with the help of a nozzle made out of alumina, zircon and silica.
Once the molding process has been completed, the machinery moves on to the next stage: the annealing of the shapes. This step is accomplished with the lower part of the glass 3D printer which emits the necessary heat for the glass to be hardened into its final shape.
MIT researchers have not been able to test the printer’s ability to recreate exact forms. The objects that have been printed so far have uneven contours, depending on the manner in which the layers have been poured. Colors and shades differ, too, based on the thickness of the layer and its interaction with the surrounding light. Even though these free forms are attractive enough, scientists want to conduct researches to determine the printer’s response to precise commands.
There are many benefits that the glass 3D printer could bring such as the ability to create new glass objects at a much faster speed. Production costs are also reduced since the process can replace regular glass with the cheaper nylon composite. Moreover, the place of artisans’ large ovens is taken by the smaller and much more efficient lower chamber of the 3D printer.
Some disadvantages may be identified, as well. There are voices saying the new glass 3D printer will deprive many artisans of the appreciation they get for their work. However, the doubt that the genius of an artist could be replaced by the 3D printer still remains.
Image source: www.wikimedia.org