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According to the 3D printing material,” using glass is difficult because of the high temperatures required to melt the material used for 3D printing. Technologies for 3D printing using glass exist so far mainly in research labs and Universities. Some of these efforts are described below.
In 2009, researchers at Solheim Rapid Manufacturing Laboratory of the University of Washington developed a process called Vitraglyphic. In this process, powdered glass is mixed with an adhesive material and loaded into a 3D printer. A binder is deposited into the powdered mixture and used for 3D printing shapes. These shapes were put in a kiln so that the layers of glass fuse and create a solid glass object. The team used a similar procedure to 3D print ceramics objects.
In another effort, researchers led by Professor Neri Oxman of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group developed a 3D printer that extrudes molten glass. The 3D printer maintains a nozzle through which the glass is extruded at temperatures of about 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit. This is significantly higher than the temperatures used for other 3D printing, for example, plastic.
An Israel-based company Micron3DP has also announced that they have developed an extruder that can 3D print using molten glass at temperatures as high as 1640 degrees Celsius.¨