As many of you are aware, we are in the transitioning phase of this website as we close out TeamUV.org and transition to EngineeringAFuture.com over the next two months, so this will be Abraham’s last Well Read post here at Team UV, but not to fear, there are still two months of posts left here and the same types of articles will be carried over onto EAF (Engineering A Future), so without further ado, please enjoy the following:
Over the last few years 3D printing has gone from a obscure manufacturing process into a mainstream solution for everyday problems. The reason for this transition is mainly due to the types of materials that are able to be extruded out of a hot-end of a 3D printer. PLS was first used because of low melting point but with advances in hotend technology, materials such as ABS, nylon, polycarbonate, PEEK and more can be used in additive manufacturing. The more materials you have to work with, the more applications your product can have and that’s exactly the beauty of 3D printing. It is amazing for prototyping and making unique parts that you cannot find anywhere else.
The average 3D printer’s extruders have a temperature range of about 180-325°C, however, this limits the types of materials that can be used. A small Israeli company called Micron3DP has been experimenting with glass as a medium for 3D printers and (as of today) has announced that it has had a successful test using molten glass! Now if you know a little about materials, you know that glass and ceramics have extremely high melting points which means using them as a medium for a 3D printer requires an extremely hot extruder. And that’s exactly what they did.
Micron3DP’s tests were done using “soft” glass at a melting point of 850 °C and borosilicate glass at a melting point of 1640 °C using an innovative way of 3D printing in an extremely hot extruder. The process is analogous to that of printing with molten thermoplastics on a Cartesian based machine, one layer is laid down and cooled rapidly before the next layer is set down.
If you have ever 3D printed anything, you know how empowering it feels when you are able to create exactly what you want and use it immediately. Soon you can add glass to your arsenal and you will be an unstoppable creative force. Glass has very unique optical, corrosion resistant, and temperature resistant properties and this new technology and process will hopefully harness the power of glass for use in the medical industry, aerospace industry, and even the art industry. Now this breakthrough is so recent that as of June 22, 2015 (yesterday) the company is still seeking investors to help them further the technology. If you want to get started on the 3D printing game, here’s how you can make your own 3D printer for cheap:
For more updates on glass 3D printers, visit Micron3DP’s website here: http://micron3dp.com/