Pate de Verre Moulds by Michael Eden

I must issue a disclaimer before going ahead!

I have very little experience of working with glass, as I have been a potter for most of my working life. However, over the past 3 or 4 years my practice has evolved to use 3D printing and Selective Laser Sintering.

My first ‘digital’ pieces were made at the Royal College of Art in London as part of my MPhil, then for a time they were produced by Axiatec, a French company who had created a non-fired ceramic material and an infiltrant that allows 3D powder printed objects to withstand high temperatures.

I started to think about glass after my wife, Victoria Eden started to cast ballotini in ceramic moulds. She had obtained the material from a company that undertake road marking. In the UK the ballotini is added to the paint to make the white lines reflective at night. It is comprised of very small perfect spheres of clear glass and is obtainable in 2 sizes.

Pate de verre has held a fascination for many years, so I thought that I would undertake a simple experiment. From observing glass casters I knew that their moulds incorporated a proportion of flint for structural and heat resistance reasons. For my tests I needed a mould that would withstand the firing temperature but would then easily disintegrate in order to remove the glass from the closed mould.

So I designed a mould in Rhino that would allow me to fill the exact shape of the object with ballotini. To make it easier to fill the mould it was divided into 3 sections. It was then printed on a commercial 3D powder printer, with no post-printing treatment.

I then simply filled the sections one at a time with the foot section acting as a reservoir. This was then slowly fired to 720°C (1330°F). After cooling it was removed from the kiln. The mould had cracked a little but easily crumbled away allowing me to extract a successful first test. The ballotini looked a little dull, so in future tests I will experiment with other types of glass, particularly coloured glass.

As a complete pate de verre novice, I think the result is very encouraging.

Michael Eden      www.michael-eden.com
Creative Commons License
glass mould by Michael Eden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

18 Comments on Eden on 3DP Pate de Verre Moulds

  1. Hi Eden,
    Your piece amazes !
    If I understood right, you’ve printed your mold with Veral process from Axiatec on a commercial 3D powder printer ?
    ProMetal 3d printing process works also with ballotini (glass micro-beads)directly
    > http://www.garenc.com/wordpress/copyright/494
    I like your job !

    • admin says:

      Phillippe, Your work looks amazing. I am really glad that you are working in this area. Please continue to share pointers/links to your work.

  2. Hi Eden,
    Your piece amazes !
    If I understood right, you’ve printed your mold with Veral process from Axiatec on a commercial 3D powder printer ?
    ProMetal 3d printing process works also with ballotini (glass micro-beads)directly
    > http://www.garenc.com/wordpress/copyright/494
    I like your job !

    • admin says:

      Phillippe, Your work looks amazing. I am really glad that you are working in this area. Please continue to share pointers/links to your work.

  3. Hi Phillippe have been following your work and that of Michael’s. Is there any reason for using ballotini as opposed other frits such as soda grains or lead grains?

  4. Hi Phillippe have been following your work and that of Michael’s. Is there any reason for using ballotini as opposed other frits such as soda grains or lead grains?

  5. Michael Eden says:

    Hello Philippe,
    no, the mould wasn’t made using Axiatec materials or processes. It’s simply Z 131 powder. Nothing else!
    I agree with Mark, your work is very exciting! By the way, what is the Pro-metal technique?

  6. Michael Eden says:

    Hello Philippe,
    no, the mould wasn’t made using Axiatec materials or processes. It’s simply Z 131 powder. Nothing else!
    I agree with Mark, your work is very exciting! By the way, what is the Pro-metal technique?

  7. Hi,
    What I find in my researches on rapid 3D prototyping is that glass micro-beads roll well. This a very important fact for powder printing process. Otherwise, in Michael’s case, we can have used frits or blocks… Two things in one subject ! 🙂

  8. Hi,
    What I find in my researches on rapid 3D prototyping is that glass micro-beads roll well. This a very important fact for powder printing process. Otherwise, in Michael’s case, we can have used frits or blocks… Two things in one subject ! 🙂

  9. Pro-metal process uses an organic binder spraid by printing head on (first) layers of stainless steel. Objects stay “green” before bronze infusion. In a second time, they decide to replace layers of steel powder by ballotini. It’s working but still very hard to modelize to prevent retraction or cuts( > http://www.exone.com/eng/technology/x1-prometal/ )
    See a little piece here : http://www.garenc.com/wordpress/copyright/464

  10. Pro-metal process uses an organic binder spraid by printing head on (first) layers of stainless steel. Objects stay “green” before bronze infusion. In a second time, they decide to replace layers of steel powder by ballotini. It’s working but still very hard to modelize to prevent retraction or cuts( > http://www.exone.com/eng/technology/x1-prometal/ )
    See a little piece here : http://www.garenc.com/wordpress/copyright/464

  11. Jan says:

    Michael,
    Wow, I must say you did a good job in there… Experimenting really makes us go beyond what we think we can do. And look what experimenting gave you. 😉

    Philippe,
    I looked at you works and you made me awe… really.

    Keep it up guys!

  12. Jan says:

    Michael,
    Wow, I must say you did a good job in there… Experimenting really makes us go beyond what we think we can do. And look what experimenting gave you. 😉

    Philippe,
    I looked at you works and you made me awe… really.

    Keep it up guys!

  13. Hi,
    We’ve just run our first tests on our Z with Formula refractory investment. Our first attempt based on 150 powder settings run right. We still have some holes in layers. Printed molds still green and fragile and we find that we have to bath them gentle in water to reforce them…
    Do you do the same with Hydroperm at Solheim ? Do you have noticed minimum wall thickness ?
    By advance, thanks.

    • admin says:

      Philippe, Yes we first spray with water (and possibly some plaster accelerants). Then bake them dry. Sometimes after that, we might bath them in water (and possibly some plaster accelerants). Then bake again (below 100 C). A good guess for minimum wall thickness is about 3 mm (to be safe). Positive and negative features have different minimum thickness.
      Walls are positive features and holes are negative features.

  14. Hi,
    We’ve just run our first tests on our Z with Formula refractory investment. Our first attempt based on 150 powder settings run right. We still have some holes in layers. Printed molds still green and fragile and we find that we have to bath them gentle in water to reforce them…
    Do you do the same with Hydroperm at Solheim ? Do you have noticed minimum wall thickness ?
    By advance, thanks.

    • admin says:

      Philippe, Yes we first spray with water (and possibly some plaster accelerants). Then bake them dry. Sometimes after that, we might bath them in water (and possibly some plaster accelerants). Then bake again (below 100 C). A good guess for minimum wall thickness is about 3 mm (to be safe). Positive and negative features have different minimum thickness.
      Walls are positive features and holes are negative features.

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