Solar Sinter, solar way of thinking

Markus Kayser

Ongoing diminution of natural resources and the urgent need to adopt more sustainabile practices are undoubtedly among the most crucial matters for the world today. As awareness increases, more and more young creators are engaging with this topic, taking a critical and active stance by building prototypes and actual alternatives. Markus Kayser is such an example; a young industrial designer
from Germany who recently received the Sustain Award from the Royal College of Art. Wishing to “link technology and natural energy, to question current methodologies in manufacturing, to reveal new opportunities and test new scenarios of production”, Kayser has developed two projects over the last two years that have attracted the attention of the ‘arts and science’ community. He built the Sun Cutter in 2010, a low-tech laser cutter that uses the sun rays in the desert to direct and cut thin plywood. In 2011 he created the Solar Sinter, a machine that went a step further, enabling the manufacturing of glass products using not only sunlight but also sand, an element of natural wealth equally abundant in the desert. Replacing laser technology with solar power and power resins with the silica found in the sand, Kayser altered the preconditions of 3D printing and proposed a new form of production process. Glass items are produced as the silica sand is heated to its melting point before becoming solid when cooled. Having been tested successfully for two weeks in the Sahara desert, the machine seems to be the beginning of his research into new forms of solar empowered and sustainable production. And if the deserts of the world do seem too far away for some of us, we need to be reminded that the discussion is not solely about successful experiments on issues of sustainability, but principally about a switch of mentality and way of thinking.

Daphne Dragona