Tag Archives: G3DP

Rewind: 15 mind-blowing machines from 2015

… that are NOT your typical 3D printer.

Although 3D printers have received most of the buzz in recent months, these next-gen machines are doing much more than just spitting out ABS and PLA objects. In fact, you can expect to find one of the following 15 gadgets on your workbench, desktop, kitchen counter or inside your man cave in the not too distant future.


A big hit at this year’s World Maker Faire, the Glowforge is a revolutionary 3D laser printer that uses subtractive technology rather than additive methods. With one press of a button, the device cuts and engraves a variety of materials — including wood, fabric, leather, paper, cardboard, food and acrylic — instead of constructing items layer by layer. During its crowdfunding campaign, the team impressively garnered a record-setting $27M in 30 days.


With X-Carve, Inventables offers several new elements to the 3D carving kit concept which they’ve been associated with over the past few years. This customizable piece of equipment is ideal for the workshop, and can create precision parts from plastic, wood and metal. It comes in two sizes, 500mm and 1000mm rails, which provide a 12″ x 12″ and a 31″ x 31″ work area, respectively.


Zippy Robotics’ Prometheus is a milling machine that rapidly produces prototype PCBs from your desk in minutes, so you no longer have to wait weeks for a delivery truck. It works by carving through the copper layer of a standard copper-clad board (FR-4 or FR-1), as well as drilling holes and routing the shape of the board itself if it needs to fit a specific enclosure. Prometheus boasts an extremely low runout error that cuts traces down to .007 inches in diameter, meaning you can design with pretty much any surface mount component.

Voltera V-One

Born out of their own frustrations with traditional fabrication processes, Voltera has come up with a unique way to reduce development time from months to days. Winner of both TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield and the 2015 James Dyson Award, the V-One can print out circuit boards, dispense solder paste and reflow.


Voxel8, in partnership with Autodesk, introduced the world’s first 3D printer for electronics ranging from fully-functional drones to hearing aids. Designers and engineers will now be able to actualize three-dimensional parts with embedded circuitry for the first time.

The PancakeBot

A perfect example of an idea that has gone from the ‘MakerSpace to MarketPlace,’ the PanakeBot is exactly what it sounds like: an automated appliance that can whip up pancakes in virtually any shape you can imagine.


A team of MIT researchers has opened up a new frontier in 3D printing: the ability to build optically transparent glass objects. The G3DP consists of two heated chambers. The upper chamber is a crucible kiln that operates at a temperature of around 1900°F, and funnels the molten material through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle, while the bottom chamber works to anneal the structures.


There are 3D printers. There are engravers. There are CNC mills. However, BoXZY is different — it’s all three. Hoping to usher in a new age of ‘modular manufacturing,’ this triple-threat mini FabLab empowers Makers to alternate between the tools with quick-change heads. Oh, and did we mention that Justin and Joel Johnson raised more than $1.1M on Kickstarter?


Instead of having to run out to your local package store or brewery, Pico allows you to craft fresh, personalized beer right from home. One notable feature of the coffeemaker-sized appliance is its new PicoPak system, which includes conveniently pre-packaged ingredient combinations.


A finalist in this year’s Hackaday Prize, FarmBot is an open source CNC farming machine capable of weeding, seeding, feeding and watering crops. What’s more, its web-based application lets growers graphically design their farm or garden to meet desired specifications. This makes the process as simple as playing a game of FarmVille.

Ripple Maker

The Ripple Maker leverages 3D printing and inkjet technologies to adorn the top of your morning latte with complex artwork that could take the form of someone’s name, their face, or even a personalized message to the customer behind you. The unit itself is rather small, measuring just 8.5″ by 10.5″, and connects via Wi-Fi to a library of designs. Users have the option to choose from a menu of themes and text to stamp onto the milky foam canvas with natural coffee extract.


Bistrobot wants you to bid farewell to long lines and wrong orders, and say hello to an automated assembly line that can make peanut butter sandwiches on white bread with your choice of honey, blackberry jam, sweet chili, chocolate sauce and Nutella.


What if you could design ready-to-wear garments straight from your desktop? Thanks to Electroloom, you can. The team’s electrospinning process makes it possible for anyone with a small bit of CAD ability to create seamless fabric items on demand.

Circular Knitic

The artist duo of Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet has devised an open source, automated circular knitter dubbed Circular Knitic. In true Maker fashion, the idea was brought to life with 3D printing, laser cutting, MakerBeam and Arduino.


Like a Keurig for cocktails, the Bartesian is a capsule-based gadget that enables anyone to expertly fix their favorite alcoholic beverages in a matter of seconds.

Shapeoko 3

The Shapeoko 3 is an affordable, heavy duty, three-axis CNC machine designed to “do real work, out of real materials.”


Geared towards everyone from the DIY community to the industrial-savvy crowd, Evo-One is a sleek desktop CNC mill that can engrave, carve and cut complex shapes with incredible accuracy.

MIT researchers have created a 3D printer for molten glass

Think of G3DP as the next generation of glassblowing. 

Remember the days when 3D printers were only capable of using plastic filament? Well, the times have changed. Chocolate, ceramics, metal, living tissue — these are just some of the materials now being spit out to make an assortment of things, from the practical to the absurd. Next on that ever-growing list? Glass, thanks to a team of researchers at MIT’s Mediated Matter Group.


That’s because the group has developed an unbelievable 3D printer that can print glass objects. The device, called the G3DPconsists of two heated chambers. The upper chamber is a crucible kiln that operates at a temperature of around 1900°F, and funnels the molten material through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle, while the bottom chamber works to anneal the structures.

The machine doesn’t create glass from scratch, but instead works with the preexisting substance, layering and building out beautifully-constructed geometric shapes according to designs drawn up in a 3D CAD program. This printing method shares many of the same principles as fused deposition modeling (FDM), which is commonly employed by most 3D printers today. Except that it can operate at much higher temps and uses molten glass as the medium, opposed to plastic filament.

How does it all work, you ask? The glass is first melted at an extremely high temperature over a period of roughly four hours. For another two hours, it undergoes a fining process, in which helium may be introduced to the molten material to enlarge and carry small bubbles to the surface, eliminating them. During this stage, the extruder has to be kept cool so that the glass doesn’t begin flowing. Once fining is complete, the crucible and nozzle are set to temperatures of 1904°F  and 1850°F, respectively, and the extrusion process begins. The G3DP is controlled by three independent stepper motors, as well as the combination of an Arduino (assuming based on an ATmega2560) and RAMPS 1.4 shield.


At this time, the researchers have used G3DP to craft things like vases, prisms, and other small decorations, some of which will be on display at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum next year.

“Two trends in additive manufacturing highlight the value we expect from additive manufacturing of molten glass. First, the freedom that this process provides in terms of the forms that can be created in glass,” its creators explain. “Second, bespoke creation of glass objects provides the opportunity for complex scaffolds, fluidics and labware custom made for individual applications. Moving forward, the simultaneous development of the printer and the design of the printed glass objects will yield both a higher performance system and increasingly complex novel objects.”

As impressive as this may sound, it’s even more mesmerizing to watch it in action. It will surely be interesting to see how the G3DP will influence art, architecture and product design in the future. Intrigued? You can read the team’s entire paper here.

[Images: MIT’s Mediated Matter Group]