These are wicked cool. I don’t know their large-scale usefulness yet, and maybe they’ll never be that useful on a large scale, but they are two of the coolest inventions I’ve seen in a long time — a 3D solar printer and a low-tech light cutter.
The inventor demos both of them in the Sinai Desert of Egypt in the videos below.
Solar Sinter — 3D Solar-Powered Printer
Industrial designer and inventor Markus Kayser recently created a solar-powered 3D printer, using cutting edge 3D printing knowledge and a little bit of creativity, that can create objects from one of the most abundant resources in the world, sand, using what is, by far, the largest energy source on earth, the sun.
“In a world increasingly concerned with questions of energy production and raw material shortages, this project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance,” Kayser writes.
“Solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and triggers dreams of the full utilization of the production potential of the world’s most efficient energy resource – the sun. Whilst not providing definitive answers, this experiment aims to provide a point of departure for fresh thinking.”
Sun Cutter — Low-Tech Light Cutter
Now, this next device is a light cutter, which Kayser shows off by making sunglasses…of a sort.
“The Sun Cutter Project explores the potential of harnessing sunlight directly to produce objects. The machine is a low-tech, low energy version of a laser cutter. It uses pure sunlight, focused by a ball lens, to repeatedly cut programmed shapes in up to 0.4mm thick plywood as well as paper and card,” Kayser, on the Sun Cutter webpage, writes.
“The project also explores the merit of analogue mechanized production that draws on the machine technology found in pre-digital machinery and automaton. It uses a cam system, moving an X & Y- board to control the shape of the cut. The cams are set into synchronized motion by a small solar-powered motor driving a timing belt.”
Interesting. What have you invented this year? (I know I haven’t created anything at all comparable to that.)
Images via MarkusKayser.com
Recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert, I am the director and chief editor of Cleantechnica. I’m also the president of Important Media and the director & founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love.