In collaboration with the MIT Glass Lab, the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab has produced a way to 3D print glass, creating intricate patterns from molten glass inside a kiln-like printer and giving a completely modern twist to the 4,500 year-old material. The video produced to exhibit the ways in which the technology works displays the process without words, instead focusing on the mesmerizing way the hot glass stacks upon itself in the machine and ultimately cools into the final vase-like forms.
Glass 3D printing (or G3DP) is based on a dual-heated chamber concept, with the top chamber heating the glass and lower chamber slowly cooling it to prevent internal stresses. The top chamber operates at approximately 1900°F, and funnels the molten material through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle into its programmable shapes.
The researchers explain the concept of the project as one that “synthesizes modern technologies, with age-old established glass tools and technologies producing novel glass structures with numerous potential applications.” One application of which is beautifully designed vessels created without human error, forms that are mathematically perfect in appearance and design.