Earlier this week, MIT unveiled a method it calls G3DP that allows the creation of complex 3D glass structures to be “printed” in a similar fashion to plastic constructs.
MIT’s process accomplishes this by using two chambers, one that acts as a kiln cartridge (working at 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit), and another that works to melt the structures together. The molten glass is distributed through an nozzle that pours the material out like soft serve ice cream.
The researcher’s vision of one day employing the technology in building facades is also detailed in the team’s paper, which states, “Initial research is being conducted to review the benefits of 3D printing glass technologies for architectural applications.”
At present, no commercial applications for the 3D glass printing breakthrough have been announced, but the team plans to show off some of the glass structures at an exhibit at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York in 2016.