Markus Kayser’s Solar Sinter Project pushes our ideas of technology and making on more than one front. His mechanical experiment using Makerbot electronics and hardware, even some skateboard wheels, to make a solar powered 3d printer is a great idea. Not only are the mechanical operations solar powered, the ‘print’ isn’t extruding a raw material, so much as it is melting sand into glass by the raw power of the sun.
Any one interested in digital fabrication or 3d print no doubt is impressed by this show of ingenuity. But what is more interesting is the idea of a possible net zero manufacturing facility using only the sun. Often, energy use conservation is thought to offset average household or office space energy use and maintenance, not energy-intensive manufacturing processes. The possibility of a net-zero manufacturing plant in the desert is certainly an interesting one. More at Markus Kayser’s website.
…This project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance. In this experiment sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology.
Solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and trigger dreams of the full utilisation 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.