Ogle, which is based in Letchworth, was asked to create a model which would withstand rigorous testing suitable for use beyond the earth’s atmosphere.
Ogle’s stereolithography (SLA) machines – a form of 3D printing ¬– were used to create the precise specifications needed for the microgravity friendly object.
To ensure the prototype was visually realistic and durable, a plastic called ClearVue was selected for production because, once the part is finished, it resists humidity and moisture well.
Dave Bennion the Marketing and Sales Director for Ogle, said: “The accuracy needed for this project was significant and it was imperative that every single measurement was correct as there was no room for error. It’s not every day you get asked to create a model of an item which may eventually be used in outer space, so this was hugely exciting for the team.
The finished model looked extremely realistic and we’re hugely proud to have been involved in creating this world-first project.”
The model was eventually hand-finished inside and out using 800 wet grade paper to remove any layering and provide a smooth texture.
To create a glass-like appearance it was then masked and clear lacquered on both sides.
The glass, which comprised of six component parts, was subject to many pre and post production checks by the Ogle team.
This included applying a rose gold plated base to ensure the thread, which brings the liquid to the top of the glass and prevents the whiskey from spilling, would fit correctly with enough clearance for the paint team.
Gold is a common material for use in space due to its deflective radiation components, but in this case it was chosen to prevent the materials used to make the glass from affecting the taste of the whisky.
Ogle were asked to develop the prototype by Trillium Technologies, which is a company dedicated to developing systems and technologies that tackle today’s grand challenges.
Jordan McRae, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Trillium, said: “These days it’s not that difficult to find a shop that will 3D print something for you.
However, it’s tough to beat the level of professionalism, expertise, and attention to detail that we get when we work with Ogle which is why they were our first choice for the 3D printed ClearVue glass used in Space Glass.”
Trillium was approached by premium whiskey brand Ballentine’s to create the whisky glass which would work in microgravity.
The prototype was tested in micro gravity at the ZARM Drop Tower in Germany where it was approved for space flight.