Created more than 4 500 years ago in Mesopotamia, glass has become an integral part of our modern-day lives. Its applications are almost endless and the varieties of glass just as varied. MIT’s Mediated Matter group has now developed a new way of creating glass products: a glass 3D printer.

The glass 3D printer, also called G3DP, was designed to print optically transparent glass. It can be adjusted for varied geometrical and optical printing, as well as to “limit or control light transmission, reflection and refraction”. The Mediated Matter group writes: “The platform is based on a dual heated chamber concept. The upper chamber acts as a Kiln Cartridge while the lower chamber serves to anneal the structures. The Kiln Cartridge operates at approximately 1 900° F and can contain sufficient material to build a single architectural component. The molten material gets funneled through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle.”

The development of this printer could have a significant impact on glass manufacturing, as it incorporates both modern technology and  synthesises modern technologies, with age-old established glass tools. It has multiple potential applications.

MIT’s Mediated Matter group develops original processes that enable the design of physical matter. The glass 3D printer was designed and developed alongside MIT’s Media Lab, the Mechanical Engineering Department, the Glass Lab and the Wyss Institute.

Watch the glass 3D printer in action below.

Image and video credit: Mediated Matter Group