This paper concerns a research project research undertaken at Falmouth University into the use of emerging 3D printing technology in glass investment casting. This project, which has now been on going for over 4 years, has successfully developed an entirely new method for creating glass investment casting moulds with the aid of 3D printing technology. The method enables glass casting moulds to be created directly from three-dimensional computer files without the need for a physical mould pattern. The method developed is based on Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) technology using a three-dimensional printer - a process commonly known as Rapid Tooling (RT). The method that has been developed presents a number of significant advantages compared with conventional glass casting techniques. Work is currently underway to explore the usability of the process in various applications. This investigation includes explorations in creative glass practise as well as commercial applications. The latter aspect has so far predominately been focused on the medical sector, in particular exploring the creation of glass moulds for growing human replacement body parts, a technique which have been developed at the Royal Free Hospital, London. A current objective of this stage of the project is to further disseminate the research, and through this process identify other research partners and potential applications for this method.
Jorgensen, T., & Matthias, G. (2014, September). Research into 3D printed glass investment casting moulds. Presented at Glass in Science and Conservation (Glassac 14)