Solar-Powered 3-D Printer Makes Objects From Sahara Sands

sahara desert, sustainable design, green design, solar energy, markus keyserEventually, desert-dwellers will be able to “print” their own homes using little more than the sun and sand.

The Solar Sinter designed by Markus Kayser uses the sun and a high-powered fresnel lens to make glass objects from silica sand directly in the Sahara desert. This design requires no factory, no factory line, and no lasers or resins. All that was required were the materials used to make the Sinter (which in time could probably make itself).  After initial tests in Morocco’s desert, Kayser scaled up the machine and took it Egypt, near Siwa.

sahara desert, sustainable design, green design, solar energyThe Solar Sinter focuses the vast desert sunlight directly onto equally vast desert sands. Reaching temperatures of up to 1600 degrees Celsius (2912 Fahrenheit), the light melts the silica.

sahara desert, sustainable design, green design, solar energyThe sand is placed in a bowl beneath the lens, and the solar beam slides back and forth on an east/west axis, melting the sand as it goes. When a layer is complete, a new sprinkling of sand is placed on top, which is then also melted into the previous layer. This continues until an object has been created.

sahara desert, sustainable design, green design, solar energyThis extraordinary machine is  fully-automated using computer controls. Light sensors track the sun’s journey across the sky and the whole contraption pivots at its base to produce the highest temperatures possible.

sahara desert, sustainable design, green design, solar energyOnce the optimum layers of sand have been processed by the solar beam, and have all melted into the desired form, the resulting object is left to cool. After that, it’s ready to go!

sahara desert, sustainable design, green design, solar energyKayser believes that in time, variations of the Solar Sinter could be used in full-scale architectural projects, creating a whole new desert vernacular that relies only on sand and sun. Now that is what we call sustainable!

:: Dezeen via Solar Sinter website

More Sustainable Desert Projects:

Romantic Desert Lodge in Egypt Offers Fresh Eggs and Sanity

Desert Cube Green Urinals by Eliminating Flushing

Bedouin Women Bring Solar Power to the Desert

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2 thoughts on “Solar-Powered 3-D Printer Makes Objects From Sahara Sands”

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