Thursday, 29 September 2011

Printing with the Sun!

Check out this 3D printer which uses the Sahara sun instead of a laser!

Markus Kayser's "Solar Sinter" is a working 3-D printer that uses the sun's rays to sinter solid objects of out desert sand.


Markus Kayser - Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

"In this experiment, sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3-D printing process that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology," he writes.

Sintering is a technical term for "melting powder into solid objects," and selective laser sintering is a common 3-D printing technique. Kayser realized that the world's most powerful laser is right above our heads, and to conduct his experiment at maximum sintering strength, he dragged his rig out into the Sahara Desert near Siwa, Egypt, and got to work.

The results aren't going to win any industrial design awards: the sintered sand congeals in craggy layers that look like a baking experiment gone wrong. But because the device is computer-controlled, the overall shape is preternaturally precise: Kayser printed out an abstract sculpture of intertwined cylinders and a mathematically perfect-looking hemispherical bowl.

Kayser doesn't consider his device necessarily useful in its current form, but rather as a proof of concept for "exploring the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance."

To view the original story click here.