Technology & Innovation: The Solar Sinter by Markus Kayser

With sustainability a key issue for all design consideration, and the continuing debate around the rises in fuel prices and diminishing natural resources, recent  Royal College of Art graduate Makus Keyser’s Solar Sinter project is brilliant, thought provoking and truly resourceful.

Underpinned by a humerous 21st century Mad Max vibe Solar Sinter raises questions about future manufacturing and suggests an idealistic Utopia whereby we can fully utilize the production potential of the worlds most efficient energy source – the sun.

Using sunlight and sand, both in abundance in the Desert, Kayser’s prototype combines natural energy and materials with high tech production technology – 3D printing and laser sintering.

Silica sand, when heated to melting point and allowed to cool, solidifies to glass. Using a large Fresnel lens to focus the beam of sunlight creating high temperatures around 1400-1600 degrees Celsius, the Solar Sinter machine builds up glass in layers inside a box of sand mounted under the lens. Using solar powered motors the machine rotates on its base to ensure the sun is always kept at its optimum level of heat.

Once all the layers have been melted the piece is cooled and then dug up from the sand. 

Kayser took his prototype to the desert to test it for two weeks and has created a film to show the potential of his vision for a technologically sustainable future. – Philippa Wagner

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