Shaping Glass in the 21st Century: Addtive Manufacturing of Trasparent Glass Objects

There is a high demand for new manufacturing technologies in the production of technically functional glass objects and complex glass shapes. Optical components such as complex light-conducting structures, adapted, miniaturised lenses and mirrors as well as components for optical data processing require high optical transparency and cannot be realised with conventional manufacturing technologies due to material and technological limitations. In the Glass3D project, research is being conducted on new materials and methods for the production of optically highly transparent glass objects using additive manufacturing technologies. The three additive manufacturing technologies being investigated are Binder Jetting - BJ, Digital Light Processing - DLP and Direct Melt Printing - DMP.

In additive manufacturing, the component is generated layer by layer. The difference between the three processes is based on the starting material and the respective bonding mechanism:

  • In BJ, the liquid binder is selectively imprinted into the previously applied particle layer.
  • In DLP, the component is generated by local solidification of monomer liquid resins under the influence of laser light.
  • In DMP, the glass powder is melted and locally extruded with a nozzle.

So far, only large, coarse objects can be produced with the DMP. The glass raw material has to be prepared in advance by means of crushing, grinding and sieving, which entails high energy costs and material wear. The goal is the direct and precise processing of the glass raw material, energy-efficiently directly in the additive manufacturing facility.

By means of stereolithography or DLP and binder jetting, much finer structures with higher resolutions can be produced, whereby binder jetting also stands out due to high printing speeds. These processes require the development of new starting materials, i.e.  resins (DLP) and matrix-binder compositions (BJ) as the basis for optical glass components. All technologies also require extensive new and further developments on the machine side.

With the methods available so far, the additively manufactured glass objects often have internal defects such as bubbles and interfaces, which cause undesired light refractions. The mechanical properties and transparency are severely impaired as a result. The Glass3D project also addresses the reduction of said defects and enables the flexible production of complex, transparent glass components through interdisciplinary and transnational cooperation.

Project partners
TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Institute of Glass Science and Technology (IGT), Germany
Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI), Israel

Project duration
06/2021 – 05/2024

The project is co-financed with tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon State Parliament (SAB). The overall project is supported by the European network M-ERA.NET, which coordinates national, international and regional research programmes.


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Henning Zeidler

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Henning Zeidler

Head of the professorship

Karl-Kegel-Bau, Agricolastr. 1, room 90

phone +49 3731 39 3066
fax +49 3731 39 3658
henning [dot] zeidleratimkf [dot] tu-freiberg [dot] de

Head of the professorship for Additive Manufacturing
Meike Denker, M.Sc.

Meike Denker, M.Sc.

Research associate

Karl-Kegel-Bau, Agricolastr. 1, room 93

phone +49 3731 39 2526
fax +49 3731 39 3658
meike [dot] denkeratimkf [dot] tu-freiberg [dot] de

Project coordinator Glass3D
Dipl.-Ing. Moritz Lamottke

Dipl.-Ing. Moritz Lamottke

Research associate

Karl-Kegel-Bau, Agricolastr. 1, room 105

phone +49 3731 39 3107
fax +49 3731 39 3658
moritz [dot] lamottkeatimkf [dot] tu-freiberg [dot] de