The process works in much the same way as 3D printing, it extrudes a material to a base plate however that material is molten glass and it is heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius and is stored in cartridge that acts like kiln. The extruder and print is in an enclosed space in order to control the temperature and allow the glass to cool gradually to avoid cracking.
“The additive manufacturing of glass enables us to generate structures that are geometrically customisable and optically tunable with high spatial resolution in manufacturing,” Oxman told Dezeen.
“We’ve also experimented with colour gradients and are currently considering ways in which colouration may affect environmental performance, specifically solar radiation,” said Oxman.
3D printing with glass opens up a window (excuse the pun) of opportunities to design new facades, structural glass as well as functional or operational glass in ways we simply haven’t thought of yet.
The full paper about the project, titled Additive Manufacturing of Optically Transparent Glass, can be read here.