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Solar Sinter: A Solar Powered 3D Printer for Making Glass Objects from Sand
SLS (selective laser sintering) is one of the processes used by 3D printers. The SLS process uses powdered raw material such as plastic, glass, metal, ceramic. A laser is directed at the powdered material to selectively fuse the material. Layers of the fused material are created to form a 3D object.
Markus Kayser, a designer and researcher born in Germany used the idea behind the SLS technology to develop solar sinter, a 3D printer that uses sand as the powdered raw material and solar energy to produce glass objects. Both solar energy and sand are available in abundance for free. So once a solar sinter is made, an unlimited supply of 3D objects can be created for free.
The first solar sinter was manually operated and tested in the Moroccan desert in 2011. A larger and fully-automated computer driven solar sinter was subsequently developed and tested in Egypt, near Sahara desert in 2012. This is a brilliant and thought provoking experiment. According to Markus Kayser, “The machine and the results of these first experiments presented here represent the initial significant steps towards what I envisage as a new solar-powered production tool of great potential.”