Warning! This project uses a oxygen/propane welding torch mounted to an industrial robot. Extreme caution is advised!!

I was an artist in residence for the Fall 2016 cohort at Pier 9. During my residency, I developed a Glass Fused Filament Deposition Modeling (FFDM) Process. This project merges my traditional craft training with strategies of human/machine collaboration.

Tacit knowledge of craft processes has immense potential to enhance emerging technologies. The sensibilities gained through hands-on experience provide sophisticated comprehension of material behavior, physical properties and responsiveness to environmental conditions. These insights have led me to pursue merging traditional craft proficiency with contemporary technology in an effort to expand the boundaries of material processes. I have developed additive manufacturing processes and subtractive molding processes to integrate glass-forming techniques with robotic technology. Some of my projects are here. My embodied knowledge of material processes is essential to forging innovation with collaborative human/machine fabrication.

My past efforts have demonstrated that collaborative robotic fabrication shares elements of acquired skill, similar to analogue fabrication. For complex processes, the human operator must adjust the various environmental and material parameters continually as a participant within the collaboration. These adjustments are refined with repetition, experience and accumulated skill. The feedback loop between operator, robot, tool and material is continually adjusting and adapting; observations made by the operator are nuanced, sensitive and complex. This sequence of observation, analysis, and action is tacit or embodied by its nature. As both an artist and a researcher, my objective is to develop technological systems to support the integration of embodied human knowledge: how can the nuanced behaviors of a human operator be translated to data for the purpose of designing customized hardware and software? At Pier 9, I pursued these lines of inquiry and developed novel fabrication strategies that exploit inherent physical phenomena accessed through the digital automation of process.

Step 1: Material Form Finding

First, I pay attention to the physical properties of matter. I look for moments of emerging properties in material phenomena. I perform analog experimentation to observe how material behaves. Specifically, I'm looking an ability to accumulate, stack, fold, and self organize, this phenomena can then be exploited using automated processes.

Glass falling onto a moving surface creates a sequence of sewing machine patterns analogous to the phenomena of viscous threads falling onto a steadily moving belt. By changing the parameters of belt speed, height of the thread, and temperature, I am able to replicate stitching patterns with an industrial robot and a glass.

For the past few years, I've been developing a Glass Printer at the Rhode Island School of Design. This design requires a glass furnace at 2100º F to charge a printing cartridge. At Pier 9, I wanted to make a glass printer that doesn't require a furnace for its stock material. I designed a filament based glass printer.

Now thats a really cool usage for a 3D printer! Have you ever tought about using a tungsten nozzle? These are used in FDM printing for abrassive materials because of their material strength but thay do also have a very high melting point of about 3400°C. This could be useful for printing with higher accuracy.
<p>Nice work. It is great to see out of the box thinking. I wonder if tighter control of temperature will allow more precision in the end product. It could be that the properties of glass will preclude this. Thumbs up for this.</p>
This is a very interesting project. I'm quite curious to see more of it. <br>One issue I foresee is failures of the print-head stepper due to heat. <br>I would suggest 4 custom cooling blocks screwed to each side of the stepper for active water cooling using readily available components from the PC over clocking industry. Use Teflon or silicone tubing and shield it with the same wrap used on the wires. <br>Anyway, please post updates on this project as it progresses.
silicon tubing will probably be good up until 5-600 degrees F. glass melts in excess of 1000 degrees.
<p>Very interesting. Are these objects &quot;just&quot; art or could that be the basis for some purpose. I guess that using glass in this way is absolutely new.</p>

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More by stefaniepender:Glass Fused Filament Deposition Modeling (FFDM) Glass Blow Mold Construct a dodecahedron in Rhino 3D 
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