Solar-powered 3D printing with sand

If you thought yesterday’s 3D printing example was even remotely cool, you must see the “Solar Sinter,” below. The clip unfolds slowly, offering that deserty “my brain’s cooking in my skull” sense of time, but it’s worth the wait.

“By using the sun’s rays instead of a laser,” writes creator Markus Kayser, “and sand instead of resins, I had the basis of an entirely new solar-powered machine and production process for making glass objects that taps into the abundant supplies of sun and sand to be found in the deserts of the world.”

3 thoughts on “Solar-powered 3D printing with sand

  1. This is great. The next time I want to shlep a 2000 pound gadget into the middle of the desert to make a crude bowl, I’m covered.
    [Hah! ;-D –J.]

  2. I think the shlepping was to take the machine where the sand was and to show that it’s independent of external energy sources. You could also leave it in your back yard and get similar results in any material that will melt at between 1500 – 1700 degrees or less, which would include steel, aluminum, bronze, recycled glass, and if you refined the optics and speed it up you could probably use it for a wide range of plastics. Plus with a bit of refinement and redesign, I’d bet it could be made to fit in a backpack.
    I think this is outstanding as a demonstration that a technological concept works. This means that in the not too far off future after some design modifications, your neighbor may be making engine blocks and components that once required founderies. And he could do it in a remote wilderness location.

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