you can now 3D print in glass with Shapeways

You can 3D printed in glass on Shapeways. This is the first time ever that you can get a design of yours 3D printed in glass. The Milky White Matte Glass costs $5.99 per cm3, with a start-up cost of $15 per model. This price is an introductory price valid until the end of June. We think this is a huge step forward in 3D printing and the democratization of design and manufacturing.

This process is coming straight from the lab to your house. Therefore we must include a bit of expectation management. The material is not smooth as regular glass is. It is porous and a much much rougher surface. The material is also brittle and of course fragile. It is also not see through.

The model below is Emmanuel Lattes’ Double Möbius. It costs: $80 3D printed in glass.

Not all of your models will work in glass. All walls have to be 3mm for example. The dimensional stability of the material is also not as good as the other 3D printing materials we have on Shapeways. There are several other considerations too and you can find them here on the 3D printed glass design rules page. Because this process is so new we are only accepting newly uploaded models for the 3D printed glass. We’re sorry about that but we want to ensure as much as we can that the models we try to print are designed for glass. We thought that this would be the most democratic way in doing it. So please first check out the design rules and then upload your model before ordering it.

The model below is Dmitrios Fotiou’s Glass Sculpture 2. It would cost $259 in glass.

How does it work?

The printing process 3D prints recycled glass powder. The glass powder is spread out on a bed and then 3D printed using a binding material. The parts that will become your model are hardened by the binder and the rest remains as glass powder. A new layer of glass is added and the process repeats itself. The fragile model is then gingerly lifted out of the powder and fired in a kiln. The binder evaporates and the model fuses. You can watch the glass video below.

Recycling

One of the most exciting things about this process is that the 3D printing medium is recycled glass powder. The powder is made from recycled glass bottles and plate glass from windows. The glass used is the same regular soda-lime glass that surrounds you. The “support material” that remains behind to support your model can also be recycled completely until it is all used up. Your designs can be recycled completely also. If you’re bored with your design just toss it in a glass recycling bin. This is a huge step forward in making 3D printing even more environmentally advantageous.

Model gallery

Check out all models which you can already order now!

Technical information

  • The maximum build volume is currently 7.5 CM cube
  • The minimum wall thickness is 3mm
  • The density of the material is 2.35 g/cc
  • The melting temperature of the material is 730 C
  • Your models will take 21 working days to arrive
  • Please tell the world that you can now 3D print in glass.

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23 comments

  1. Anja Johansson

    That’s ridiculously cool!!! You seem to come up with new materials very fast, guys. :P Or maybe I’m the one who’s slow at modeling, he he.

  2. Michael Williams

    Is the glass supplied pre-ground, or do you grind it in house?

  3. Kevin Cook

    Will existing models be available in glass? … I tried several Dice models … and did not see the option

    1. Michael Williams

      Re-upload the dice and it will be available. Just make sure they follow the guidelines.

    2. Kevin Cook

      Thanks MIchael … I tried to PM you and each time I try to click on the contact button it takes me to the the forums

      I am not just looking for glass dice … nor am I just looking for 3d printed glass dice … I was hoping for … but am disappointed to find out … that most of my favorite shapeways dice do not fit the criteria for 3d glass printing :(

    3. Michael Williams

      Odd, you can email me at youknowwho4eva@gmail.com if you wish. Show me the design you like, and I will duplicate it to the best of my abilities to work with glass. Have you tried contacting the model owners to see if they would make a glass version for you?

  4. jeff bare

    great! love the recyclability of it.

    whats the edges like on broken pieces? sharp enough to easily cut? or a similar roughness like the outside, just curious.

  5. ganter

    Dear Shapeway Folks & Joris,

    Congrats. I am very happy that there is finally a commercial service bureau available! We are at Open3DP send our best. Nice video too.

  6. Hans Puijk

    Great material.

    Is it possible in the process to add color to the recycled glass? There are a lot of float glass colors available on the market.

    Regards

    1. Joris

      Hans,

      for right now we are sticking with this color. But, it is possible to do the same process in many different colors.

  7. ysvry

    Great development , now try to print clear glass so I can print my own lenses,
    did you know there is a kind of clay that can be baked to become silver ? It might be possible to use this clay to also print silver objects? or maybe even combined silver and glass objects if the temperatures of curing are in the same region. Good luck with the 3d print inovations.

  8. Maggy

    wouldn’t it be more energy efficient to use a blow torch with very fine nozzle or a laser to print these glass objects? It would IMHO even allow fully transparency.

  9. Shannon

    Can I have a contact number, I have something to make, wanna get a quote

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