Glass Fused Modeling Deposition (GFDM)

Process images of the Glass Fused Deposition Modeling (GFDM) printer that was developed at the Rhode Island School of Design from 2013-2016.  The set-up includes a printer kiln, an Industrial Robot Arm (ABB IRB 120), a build plate, and a furnace.  

The GFDM process was developed at the Rhode Island School of Design.  Glass is ladled from a furnace at 2200˚F (1200˚C) into a printer kiln.  The kiln contains a crucible with a hole drilled into its bottom. This aperature is aligned with an opening in the bottom of the kiln.  The printer kiln is held at a temperature around 2000 as it deposits a stream of glass onto a printing plate.  The robotic manipulator moves the printing plate while hot glass is deposited on its surface.  The robot moves according to programmed tool paths that determine the movement of the plate, which in turn, dictate the form of the glass object.   See a video of the process here.  

This gravity fed glass printer demonstrates emerging patterns that align with viscous rope coiling and the "fluid mechanical sewing machine". This process explores natural emergent patterns and form-finding phenomena of glass. Inherent material properties dictate form and structure.


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