Solar-Powered 3D Printing And Lazer Cutting In the Desert

<p>A glass bowl is created in the middle of a desert using the sun, sand, and some technology.</p>

Fossil fuels have got a bad rep these days, and rightfully so. Along with a shortage of raw materials to make all our nice stuff, it’s our abuse of these kinds of natural resources that’s got the earth on its way to becoming a dry, barren husk. Not exactly the best way to go about nurturing the planet that nurtured us. The way forward is…well, complicated. No one really knows. But one form of energy that should be around for a few billion years or so is the sun’s rays. Harnessing those effectively into solar power, however, seems to be problematic. But one man who’s keen to explore this issue, along with the dwindling of our raw materials, is Markus Kayser.

In his Solar Sinter project he explores the possibility of desert manufacturing. Using additive manufacturing he takes the raw materials of any decent beach holiday—sun and sand—and creates a glass bowl in a hostile desert environment. Harnessing the almighty power of the sun and combining it with modern technology is an ingenious way to create something that seems implausible. But while it’s ingenious in its method, Kayser realizes this isn’t a solution, but rather a “point of departure for fresh thinking.” So when the oceans rise, the earth is scorched, society has crumbled and we live in a post-apocalyptic world with mutant-punks rampaging across the lands on supercharged motorbikes, well, at least we’ll be able to utilize the sun’s energy for manufacturing our glassware.

Additionally, he also created the Sun Cutter (below) which uses the sun’s ray to form a lo-fi lazer cutter. By focusing sunlight through a ball lens, it’s able to cut 0.4mm plywood—no wonder the Aztecs worshipped that great fiery orb.