Fiber-Fed Laser-Heated Process for Printing Transparent Glass




Hostetler, John M.
Goldstein, Jonathan T.
Bristow, Douglas
Landers, Robert
Kinzel, Edward C.

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University of Texas at Austin


This paper presents the Additive Manufacturing (AM) of glass using a fiber-fed process. Glass fiber with a diameter of 100 μm is fed into a laser generated melt pool. A CO2 laser beam is focused on the intersection between the fiber and the work piece which is positioned on a four-axis computer controlled stage. The laser energy at λ=10.6 μm is directly absorbed by the silica and locally heats the glass above the working point. By carefully controlling the laser power, scan speed, and feed rate, bubble free shapes can be deposited including trusses and basic lenses. Issues unique to the process are discussed, including the thermal breakdown of the glass, buckling of the fiber against an inadequately heated stiff molten region, and dimensional control when depositing viscous material.


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