Open3DP Looks At 3D Printing In Common Materials

[Buddy Smith] sent us a link to Open3DP which he calls “REAL 3d printing hacks”. Open3DP showcases the projects of the Solheim Rapid Prototyping Laboratory at the University of Washington. They’re working on 3D printing in materials that can be commonly acquired and to that end they publish recipes for powder printing in materials such as sugar, ceramic, and glass. Take a look through their archives. We found the post on microwave kilns interesting, as well as the writeup about Shapeways glass printing which is seen above. We’ve also embedded a short video on Open3DP’s work after the break.

Update: [Mark Ganter] dropped us a line to clarify that Open3DP was the first to develop printable glass about a year ago, called Vitraglyphic. They’ll also be presenting papers at Rapid2010 and announcing a new printable material.


10 thoughts on “Open3DP Looks At 3D Printing In Common Materials

  1. How much more advanced is this machine than hacker efforts like the reprap?

    I think I’d rather build a subtractive machine first, but I hope I get to build/use one of these.

    (so far time and space have only allowed me to make a computer controlled etch a sketch).

  2. Simonious,

    These machines are powder based, so their detail is much finer than the reprap/cupcake CNC.

    I have 2 Z Corp printers at Freeside Atlanta, as well as a cupcake CNC. I’ll be doing some side by side comparisons soon.

    The main advantage to additive processes is that you can create hollow objects that you simply can’t do with subtractive processes. Try CNC cutting out a whistle sometime :)

    Keep an eye on Freeside’s blog –


  3. Nullset,


    Your site looks awesome. I’d love to be associated with a group like that. I’m living pretty rural at the moment, so my hack time is a solo act out of one room at home.

  4. > “How much more advanced is this machine than hacker efforts like the reprap?”

    The reprap project operates within a deliberately restrictive set of design requirements. It is simplistic and limited, but on the other hand can be made by almost anyone for only a few hundred bucks. This powder printer operates under no such price or material or equipment restrictions, and so it is bound to be pretty capable and at least one order of magnitude more expensive but probably more.

    > “3d printing of sugar?”

    EMSL have been doing that with their candyfab project; low precision, but indeed very cool. Me, I’m holding out for a Selective Chocolate Sintering device.

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