CrystalProteins is a project of Bathsheba Grossman, sculptor and designer.
In 2002 she was experimenting with subsurface laser damage images in glass, when a biologist friend asked for a model of ferritin. It's a lovely molecule with cubic symmetry, plainly an excellent subject, and soon she was learning about molecular visualization, writing code, and breaking glass. Her love of science, sculptor's perfectionism, and CAD/CAM skills soon led to a wider practice, and CrystalProteins was launched.
In 2003 CrystalProteins partnered with Precision Crystal for manufacturing. They get the glass out the door without fail, and their cheerful open-mindedness is priceless: always ready to etch something that's never been done, in time to make the deadline. If your laser glass project doesn't need our specialty in scientific imaging, by all means contact them.
Since then we've etched thousands of molecules small and large, plus a fascinating variety of other scientific subjects. Our mission is simple: keep on zapping glass for science, because data physicalization is interesting.
- What's the biggest glass available?
The laser can shoot through about 90mm of glass, so 100mm is the largest useful thickness. We have a 100m cube, a 100 x 100 x 200mm rectangle, and a 200 x 200 x 80mm slab. Larger sizes (though not thicknesses) can be etched, but you would need to source the glass blank, along with a test sample to ensure that it's etchable.
- Is there a giftwrap option?
No, but the glass pieces are packed in individual boxes, sturdy black cardboard with fabric lining and magnetic closure. We can't guarantee that every box will arrive without a scratch, they're there to protect the glass rather than to stay pristine, but in general they are suitable for presentation.
- What is the setup fee for?
Our expertise and experience with scientific imaging for laser glass, and the individual attention that we give to each design. If your project doesn't need that, by all means continue your search – it's quite usual for us to make a referral rather than do the work, if those skills aren't required.
Why is shipping so high?
We mainly use Fedex Ground in the US, which isn't generally too bad, but there's no denying overseas shipping can be brutal. The US post office doesn't offer any international service that is both reliable and cheap, so we use either Priority Mail or Express Mail. Glass is also just heavy: an 80mm cube is over 3 pounds, a 100mm cube over 6 pounds.