One of the projects I'm doing here is to make glass tools from 3D print efficiently at low cost. It turns out that ceramic is one of the best ways and one of the oldest. Researcher David Hill was kind enough to share his work on reconstructing the traditional process.
Roman era ceramic molds for glass. C. 70 CE (Courtesy of David Hill)
The materials and process are simple at a glance but its full of specific techniques. When done with a ton of skill, you can get this:
The famous Ennion Ewer, made from many fine-crafted mould parts. Fully reusable and highly detailed. Its not a process we tend to be taught today though, so with a lot of help from David Hill and others, I am trying to blend the advantages of 3D print with the advantages of this method. If it works, the only material costs added to the glass studio is the plastic filament and some clay. Of course as with everything in glass, time, patience and skill are the majority of it.
Earlier in this blog I posted about using 3D printed bronze to make moulds- though it is perhaps my favorite method for speed, durability and accuracy, it costs far too much today to be usable beyond the research funding granted for that project.
The video again is here:
* Plaster-Silica mold methods are often taught and used for this same purpose with varying additives for stability. There may be some good mixes out there but so far I haven't found any that work more than once for this kind of detail.