Vase made with 3D printer: What can't 3D printing do?

We don't usually cover glassware in the GeekTech blog, but when we do, you know there's something special about it

Photo: Shapeways

Photo: Shapeways

Last week, GeekTech bought you the story of the awesome Lego 3D scanner, which literally bought two-dimensional Lego objects to life. Now, quirky gift company Shapeways has taken it one step further, creating an intricate glass vase that your grandma would be proud of--with a printer. The team used a custom 3D printer to print out the floral shaping of the vase, so the full tech specifications are still slim. However they did use a mould prior to printing and finished up with lead glass enamels.

On the company's blog, Shapeways's Glen G said that printing with glass and in 3D wasn't without its challenges:

"When designing hollow parts accommodations must be made to allow the support powder to completely fill all empty spaces. The support powder acts as a mold during firing. The glass becomes like soft toffee during firing and without support it will move in unexpected (usually disastrous) ways. These are things we know for fact."

The small detail on this vase is incredible, considering it has been printed. Shapeways boast that they print 3D objects for cheap unlike others in the industry, so could this be the start of being able to create your own household ornaments and antiques?

Watch Shapeways's video on how the company prints 3D objects on their specially made printer. And check out the blog post for a full photo of the finished vase.

Shapeways via Gizmodo

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