Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Digitally Fabricated World

By Don Olsen

Issue 2- The Solar Sinter 

While exploring the digitally fabricated world news I stumbled upon the work of Markus Kayser, an industrial designer from Germany. Kayser gained his masters in product design from the Royal College of Art in London in 2011. As part of his graduate studies he visited Egypt with one of his first machines in a briefcase. The first of his creations was something he’s called a “Solar Cutter”, essentially a solar laser cutter, designed to use a series of ball lenses to focus the suns light while using a CAM driven base to cut pre- designed objects. This was a very simple machine designed to cut ¼” plywood and paper cardstock.

While spending time in the Egyptian desert working out his Solar Cutter, Kayser started to contemplate the other opportunities that the desert provided. The two things that the desert offered in droves were heavy sunlight and endless amounts of silica in the form of sand.  Kayser immediately began working on the development of what he called the “Solar Sinter”. The Solar Sinter is a machine that fully utilizes the offerings of any desert. Similar to the Solar Sinter solar panels are responsible for powering all the CAM moving parts on the machine however  it uses a series of Fresnel lenses to focus the sunlight to super  heat the sand into glass. Unlike most 3D printers the printed material ,in this case the sand, needs to be added on top of the previous layers before moving onto the next layer. in the image below you can see Markus with a trowel  of sorts that will be used  to smooth the sand down to a uniformed layer. These days Kayser is working with Norman Foster Architects who are developing a way to turn his Solar Sinter into a moon dust printer. Their ultimate goal is to launch a rocket to the moon housing their  moon printing machine. They will then use the printer to create an inhabitable moon base. The intention of this "moon base" is to use it as a model to be applied to other planets and moons as a means of exploration of our solar system.  The technology being used here is very simple and yet the possibilities of application are seemingly endless

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