3D Printing Glass
Taught by Michael Stern
Michael Stern is a researcher in the Massachusetts Institute for Technology’s Mediated Matter Group. He graduated from MIT with both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Michael is a mechanical engineer, glass blower and additive manufacturing researcher. During his graduate studies Michael had the opportunity to unite these three interests, helping form the team in developing the platform for Glass, the world’s first molten glass 3D printer.
For the past seven years, Michael worked at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory as a rapid prototyping engineer. His projects included development of a radar calibration device, wide-area surveillance sensor, and unmanned air vehicles. Michael completed his Master’s degree during his tenure with Lincoln Laboratory and with their support. His studies included exploring design processes tailored for additive manufacturing, focusing on topology optimization as an effective means of creating complex, high performing designs that could efficiently be printed.
In parallel to his engineering pursuits, Michael’s interest in glassblowing began in 2006 as an undergraduate at MIT. Gaining technical skill over the years, he progressed from the role of student to that of instructor and now teaches intermediate classes while continuing to push himself to master his art form. He is fascinated by the kinesthetic elements of the glassblowing process and the complex discipline required. The fusion of Michael’s three main interests mechanical engineering, additive manufacturing and glassblowing feed off each other propelling him forward.
This lecture will explore technical innovation in glass making, from early core-formed vessels through to fiber optic production, and finally the 3D printing of molten glass.
The presentation will highlight the stages of the MIT 3D Glass Printer from initial concept to deployment of the second-generation printer.
The printer has allowed for new explorations of surface, texture, and highlights created by reflections and refractions of light in the glass that are unique to this process. We will discuss innovations and applications of these discoveries in design, and the potentials of printing glass on the architectural scale.
Let’s start a conversation examining the intersection of technology, glass printing, fabrication and art!