Solar Sinter

Launched by German designer Markus Kayser in 2011, the Solar Sinter is a 3D-printing machine that transforms sunlight and sand into glass objects. Shown at the 2011 Royal College of Art exhibition, Kayser designed the Solar Sinter to be used in desert landscapes. The Solar Sinter begins by using a large Fresnel lens to focus sunlight, which generates temperatures hot enough to melt sand. Under the lens lies a box of sand, where shapes and objects are created layer by layer as the sand within it melts. Kayser then used solar-powered motors to move the “sintered” boxes on an xy grid along a computer simulated path to build up whatever object he desired. The entire device follows the movement of the sun via a light sensor that ensures the lens is always producing the desired level of heat. Kayser’s Solar Sinter addresses growing concerns over global raw material shortages, energy production, and community sustainability. While desert manufacturing is proving  to be viable through solar-sintering, it is important to note that desert architecture is not a new concept; desert-dwelling societies have been constructing adobe structures for centuries, using sunlight, soil, and straw or dung. Further research is needed in order to automate the sintering method, make it available for widespread use, and to align its implementation with these traditional manufacturing methods.


Aesthetic/Leisure, Industry/Natural Commodities, Internet of Things, Psychology