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A 3-D Printer That Uses the Sun to Create Glass Objects Out of Sand

Post Time:Oct 08,2011Classify:Industry NewsView:265

On Balance To keep the giant lens from tipping the whole printer over, Kayser filled water bottles with sand and affixed them to the arms near the solar panels as counterweights Amos Field Reid

When design student Markus Kayser wanted to test his 

The idea for the printer first came to Kayser a few months earlier. He wanted to find a project in which the sun did more than just power a device. He researched possibilities online, talked to physics professors, and learned about a process in which sand, heated to its melting point, cools into solid glass. With enough sun, a large lens and an ample supply of sand, he figured he might be able to produce glassware.

Solar Art: Markus Kayser’s homebuilt 3-D printer created this glass bowl out of heated sand from the Sahara  Amos Field Reid

For the printer to work efficiently, the focal point of the lens would have to be trained right onto the surface of the sand. He knew the sun would move and the focal point would shift during the process, so he ordered a single 4.5-foot-wide lens and built a motorized frame for it. The central sandbox, in which the objects are printed, shifts in all directions, and the entire machine rotates around its center. Two aluminum arms, holding the lens at one end and solar panels at the other, can pivot from straight overhead down to a 45-degree angle to chase the sun. directed by a CAD design from a connected laptop, the printer uses the concentrated beam of sunlight to slowly trace an object into the sandbox layer by layer. The sun melts the sand, which cools into glass.

When the electronics began overheating, Kayser cut open a soup can, sliced and bent its sides into fan blades, attached the creation to a spinning DC motor, and aimed it right at the circuit board. The sun melted only the sand, and, after more than four hours, he printed a glass bowl, and later several sculptures. He admits they’re not perfect; he says he could have used more-complicated optics. But, he adds, perfection wasn’t the point: “This is about showing the potential."China Glass Network


Source: http://www.usgnn.com/Author: shangyi

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