Recently, Israel-based Micron3DP released its latest all-metal 3D printer extruder, the Cobra. That’s all metal, inside and out. The hot end has already seen at least one manufacturer take advantage of their specialty extruders, Poland’s AyeAyeLabs. The reason for using such a 3D printing accessory is that it can allow for the use of unique 3D printing materials, such as colorFabb’s carbon fiber composite filament. Today, Micron3DP unveiled that their extruders may even be able to work with glass.
At the moment, the company’s R&D Department is experimenting with glass printing. They don’t show much of the printing process itself, but Micron3D suggests that they are the first to 3D print glass in liquid hot form. To do so, they were able to heat “soft” glass at temperatures of up to 850° C and borosilicate glass at an astounding 1640° C.
At the moment, the 3D printing of glass and glass-like materials has yet to see the same exciting material breakthroughs as composite filaments, like Laywood, Bronzefill, and the like. There are plenty of semi-transparent materials on the market, such as Formfutura’s HDglass, and LUXeXcel has developed a very keen method for printing optical components. There were also rumors that HP had developed a method for 3D printing glass. There’s also one Maker who designed a really fascinating solar-powered process for converting sand into 3D printed glass materials.
Despite these stories, however, there is still plenty of work to be done in the area of glass printing. Once achieved, however, an entirely new suite of applications will come rolling with it. Optical components for lab research would complement Michigan Tech’s open source lab library nicely and 3D printed eyeglasses would take on whole new forms. I don’t have to mention the complex bongs that would hit your local smoke shop. You might imagine that the technical details of such a process are being kept under wraps, but the company is seeking investors who would like to help them take this technology even further. Is that lucky investor you?