Mar 15, 2017 | By Benedict

Israel-based 3D printer company Micron3DP has completed the first internal installations of its unique glass 3D printer. The 3D printer reportedly uses an FDM-style process to deposit 1000°C molten glass at layer thicknesses as fine as 100 microns.

Micron3DP's glass 3D printers

Regular readers may know a thing or two about Micron3DP, an Israel-based company that has garnered attention for its development of glass 3D printing technology. Nobody outside of Micron3DP has used one of the company’s top-secret glass 3D printers, but the company has revealed that the printer uses an FDM-style process to heat up molten glass to 1000°C before depositing it at surprisingly high resolution. Even without taking print quality into account, that’s a pretty impressive feat—just try using your FDM 3D printer at 1000°C. (Don’t.)

Luckily for us, widely available high-resolution glass 3D printing is now closer than ever, because Micron3DP has just announced the first internal installations of its glass 3D printers. These Alpha units will be used to 3D print complex glass parts at Micron3DP’s Tel Aviv headquarters, and are currently capable of printing with two types of glass: soda lime and borosilicate. The 3D printing company is also exploring the possibility of introducing additional materials.

“We are constantly improving our glass 3D printing technology and we are proud to operate our first Alpha printers at our facilities, proving the ability to print high-resolution complex glass parts with a layer thickness as low as 100 microns,” said Eran Gal-Or, CTO at Micron3DP. The company is currently awaiting a patent for its glass additive manufacturing technology.

3D printed glass objects fabricated on a Micron3DP 3D printer

With a build volume of 200 x 200 x 300 mm, these Micron3DP glass 3D printers will resemble regular FDM 3D printers in many ways, materials aside. Their use, however, may be very different. The market for 3D printed glass doesn’t really exist yet, but Micron3DP thinks that medical, architectural, and engineering firms could all be targeted as potential customers thanks to the chemical resistance, biocompatibility, and versatility of printed glass.

“We are confident that there are many applications in these various markets which are waiting to be explored along the road,” said Arik Bracha, CEO at Micron3DP. “We are open for any ideas coming from engineers, designers, artists, and other professionals that will see the big potential of using this new technology.”

“It is quite clear that the future of the 3D printing / additive manufacturing industry mainly depends on materials,” added Haim Levi, CBO at Micron3DP, in an email to 3Ders. “We have seen the big move from polymers (and other types of plastics) to metals, and then on to composite materials and ceramics. We believe that by adding glass to the industry, Micron3DP will open up new applications and offer solutions to yet unmet needs.”

Most of 2017 will be spent ironing out the kinks in Micron3DP’s in-house Alpha 3D printers. By the end of the year, however, Beta units could be shipped out to select partners and customers, while a public demonstration of the 3D printer is scheduled to take place at November's formnext 2017 3D printing expo in Frankfurt, Germany.

For the sake of transparency, we hope the company keeps us up to date with its exciting developments!

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

 

 

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