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The guide to glass 3D printing: developments, methods, diagnostics and results

Grant Marchelli (University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)
Renuka Prabhakar (University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)
Duane Storti (University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)
Mark Ganter (University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 26 April 2011




This purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the steps and processes behind successfully adapting novel materials, namely virgin glass and recycled glass, to three‐dimensional printing (3DP).


The transition from 3DP ceramic systems to glass systems will be examined in detail, including the necessary modifications to binder systems and printing parameters. The authors present preliminary engineering data on shrinkage, porosity, and density as functions of peak firing temperature, and provide a brief introduction to the complexities faced in realizing an adequate and repeatable firing method for 3D printed glass.


Shrinkage behavior for the 3D printed recycled glass showed significant anisotropy, especially beyond peak firing temperatures of 730°C. The average shrinkage ratios for the slow‐ and fast‐axes to the Z‐axis were 1:1.37 and 1:2.74, respectively. These extreme differences can be attributed to the layer‐by‐layer production method and binder burn‐off. At 760°C, the apparent porosity reached a minimum of 0.36 percent, indicative of asymptotic behavior that approaches a fully dense 3DP glass specimen. At low firing temperatures, the bulk density was similar to water, but increased to a maximum of 2.41 g/cm3. This indicates that 3DP recycled glass can behave similarly to common glass with accepted published bulk densities ranging from 2.4‐2.8 g/cm3.

Research limitations/implications

Heating schedule analysis and optimization may reduce geometric variations, therefore, the firing method should be investigated in greater depth.


This paper provides a guide to successfully adopting glass to commercially available 3DP hardware. This research has also enabled rapid prototyping of recycled glass, a monumental step towards a sustainable future for 3DP.



Marchelli, G., Prabhakar, R., Storti, D. and Ganter, M. (2011), "The guide to glass 3D printing: developments, methods, diagnostics and results", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 187-194.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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