I’m absolutely amazed by Markus Kayser’s Solar Sinter Project, a 3D printer that uses the sun for power and sand as its raw material:

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. 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.

[via @clothbot]

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

  • http://rasterweb.net/raster/ Pete Prodoehl

    Pretty amazing! I feel like we’re still in the early days of 3D printing, but the advances we’ve seen in the past few years are quite promising.

  • A J

    I think this is fantastic – but I’m dying to know how strong the results are – is he picking up that glass bowl with cloth on his hands because it’s covered in deadly sharp spikes, or because it might crumble to pieces?

    • Sebastian Rietig

      Because its made from fresh molten Sand and it’s frickin’ hot ;)

  • http://twitter.com/tjhowse Travis Howse

    That’s really really impressive, if a bit arthouse. The next big improvement would be an automatic sand-adder-and-leveller which should help with the regularity of the layer thickness, surface smoothness and packing density.

  • Anonymous

    Is this real? The sand would need around 1700 degrees Celsius to melt. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Krawczun/100000790715420 Matthew Krawczun

      its very real.
      that’s a 4 foot plus fresnel lens you could melt steel at that focal point.

      • http://david.rysdam.org/blog/ dr

        Sand has a higher melting point than steel. Thus “sand casting” of steel and cast iron.

  • Anonymous

    Wow~~~~ Another 3D printing project! Promising!
    I’m curious about the potential for every household to own a 3D printer in the near future,  customized with the best energy and material supply in your region. 

  • http://vrandy.myopenid.com/ VRAndy

    Perfect Sci-Fi technology for the end of the civilization, or the colonizing of a new (but sunny) world.

    Really wish the video had ended with a close-up of the bowl.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5GPXFYHISBQZW6NFSYBULOK5EQ Russell

    I would like to design something where the fabricator is mobile. As it travels it adds sand and sinters it, repeatedly travelling over the same route. Eventually you get a large walled structure and enclosed domes that would last for centuries. You could put the thing on Mercury, Moon or Mars and build them autonomously, and with a bit of plaster, maybe have them suitable for habitation.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OAMDRCLSRGVACIJJRDB6MRDH3M PsySciGuy

    Wonder if this is based on the Sci Fi story in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Machines-Metro-Stories-ebook/dp/B0050W9H4I

  • http://www.offix.co.il/category_in.asp?catID=1 מדפסות לייזר

    This is so very cool!!
    It’s like we’re in the future but also going back in time 

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to see a video of this solar sintering thing, rather than a video of what a cool video they can make…

  • http://twitter.com/dave_chatting David Chatting

    On show in London at the RCA Show this week

  • Eiki Martinson

    Am I the only one who thinks he should be wearing welding glasses while looking at the focal point?