I have a menger sponge on my bookshelf. This dude is my people.
That’s an amazing write-up. I’ve worked with glass a bit, including the copper edge soldering, but never a full piece like that. I need to get some of that patina for future products!
So when will Glowforge make a copper laser able to cut the glass? On the other hand I was playing with a powder that could be fused with a Glowforge if i can manage to find the materials.
Laser sintering is very cool, but I worry about the air assist/exhaust distributing powders all over the place.
it would be easy enough to make it with a binder and even surface that can act like a masking. A much bigger problem would be shrinkage which may be needing special thought to a two pass of leaving space that a second pass would bind the bits together.
Glass fuser here. I use glass powder frit in my artwork and I do not recommend using it in the GF unless you have it in a deep(ish) container to keep it from blowing around. Inhaling glass powder can cause silicosis which is very, very bad for your health.
About sintering. Sintering is bringing glass up to the point (usually 1100 degrees Farhrenheit in a kiln) where it first becomes sticky. You can sinter two pieces of glass together (generally this is a fragile bond) or sinter powder glass frit together (very fragile and crispy) or sinter powder glass frit to a piece of glass (I do this in a kiln as part of my process). Sintered glass has a very sandy look and feel to it and is not clear (translucent), although it may transmit some light (transparent).
As for using the GF to cut glass, the GF is simply not the right tool. You can use the GF to etch a line into glass to break it although YMMV. The same glass cutting rules apply whether you’re etching a line with the GF or scoring a line with your glass scoring tool. If you want to cut complicated pieces out of glass (think star, music note, cross, etc.) without using a ring saw, and say you want lots of them, you need to use a water jet. If you want to cut lines and curves, you can dependably use a glass scoring tool and glass breakers, and you might have some luck with the GF and a glass breaker, although again YMMV.
About using a binder to hold the powder glass frit together, it’s worth a try, but in my glass fusing experience powder glass frit will lose about 20-40% of its volume when heated to full fusing temperature (1480 degrees fahrenheit). Adding a binder to the powder glass frit and sintering is worth a try, but you will still end up with a sandy and fragile result. A cheap and easy binder to use that I use all the time in my kiln is aloe vera gel. You’ll need to check on how flammable it is before using in the GF.
It’s a pretty good design for stained glass. The thing you want to avoid is deeply concave curves. They are really hard to hand cut, although relatively easy with a ring saw.
Josh does a lot of Menger sponge artwork, mostly paintings. IIRC, he also has a Glowforge.
I had a person come to me saying he wanted glass orchids. I tried to explain to him that what he wanted was porcelain as getting that level of detail even as lamp-work would be very hard to accomplish. My boss said he knew how to do so and took the man’s money and when his method did not work he dumped into my lap and assigned me to solve the problem. This with a three month lead and drop dead date to finish all the work.
I put in 18 hr days 7 day weeks and did deliver. and still have those formulas. Yes shrinkage is a problem and the mass of bubbles that get trapped means it will be translucent at best, and shrinkage has to be allowed for but it is possible to work.
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