3D printed glass: Surface finish and bulk properties as a function of the printing process

Susanne Klein, Michael P. Avery, Robert M. Richardson, Paul Bartlett, Regina Frei, Steven J. Simske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


It is impossible to print glass directly from a melt, layer by layer. Glass is not only very sensitive to temperature gradients between different layers but also to the cooling process. To achieve a glass state the melt, has to be cooled rapidly to avoid crystallization of the material and then annealed to remove cooling induced stress. In 3D-printing of glass the objects are shaped at room temperature and then fired. The material properties of the final objects are crucially dependent on the frit size of the glass powder used during shaping, the chemical formula of the binder and the firing procedure. For frit sizes below 250 μm, we seem to find a constant volume of pores of less than 5%. Decreasing frit size leads to an increase in the number of pores which then leads to an increase of opacity. The two different binders, 2-hydroxyethyl cellulose and carboxymethylcellulose sodium salt, generate very different porosities. The porosity of samples with 2-hydroxyethyl cellulose is similar to frit-only samples, whereas carboxymethylcellulose sodium salt creates a glass foam. The surface finish is determined by the material the glass comes into contact with during firing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHP Laboratories Technical Report
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • 3D printing
  • Bulk properties
  • Firing
  • Glass
  • Surface finish


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