Sun strokes: Solar printer shows art of glass

12.07.2011 Glass : Silica : Sintering

London – RCA graduate Markus Kayser has constructed a solar-powered 3D laser printer that can create glass objects by directing intense heat from the sun onto sand.

The Solar Sinter uses large magnifying panels to direct beams of sunlight, which reach 1,600°C, onto a box of sand. Through a process called sintering, the silica sand is melted – forming solid glass objects as it cools. A computer, linked to solar-powered motors, guides the beam on a predefined path, building up designs through layers of melted silica.

‘In a world increasingly concerned with questions of energy production and raw materials shortages, this project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and materials occur in abundance,’ says the designer.

As LS:N Global explored in our Anarconomy Decade macro trend, designers are considering new manufacturing processes, and experimenting with new materials, in response to the increasingly turbulent environment and economy.

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