High Glossing Shapeways

By on July 3rd, 2010 in Service

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Another development from always-inventive Shapeways 3D print service this week: you can now print in High Gloss Glass material. 
The material is indeed glass, made by depositing crushed glass powder with a binding medium. The resulting (and at that moment very fragile) object is then fired in an oven to remove the binder and fuse the glass. Finally, Shapeways enamels the result to gain the glossy view. 
However, it’s not entirely peachy: 
As you can clearly see in the Angel picture there is a fair amount of “definition” from the 3D printing process in the form of bumps and the like. The enamel smooths the 3D prints out considerably and these prints are closed so not porous as the Milky White Glass material is. The models are however far from completely smooth. A lot of the objects made with this process look really good and very arty. But, significant warping may occur and the overall dimensional accuracy of this process is still limited. 3D printing glass is amazing but also very new and a very experimental process. 
This is similar to the experience of the glass/ceramic experimenters at the University of Washington, who recently were exploring the idea of shrinkage. Nevertheless, this is another significant development from Shapeways, who continue to innovate by adding another material to their now vast selection. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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