This Solar-Powered 3D Printer Turns Sand into Glass Sculptures

We bring you footage of the beautiful creations Solar Sinter makes.
Loukia Papadopoulos

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We all know glass comes from sand but we don't always get to see this process in action. In this video, we bring you footage of a solar-powered 3D printer that makes glass sculptures out of sand. Impressed? Just wait till you see the clips.

The 3D printer is called Solar Sinter and it was built by Markus Kayser. It works in the following way: after computer-drawn models are loaded into the machine, a large Fresnel lens beams sunlight onto a sandbox which leads to high temperatures of 2,552–2,912 F (1,400–1,600 C).

This extreme heat allows the sand to melt and become malleable enough to be molded into beautiful glass sculptures. The machine was first put to the test in the Sahara Desert. You can guess that the desert's conditions allowed the 3D printer to perform to perfection. 

What kind of sculptures can this 3D printer produce? How was it made? What is the engineering that lies behind it? Where is it mostly put to use and what happens to the sculptures it creates? We answer all these questions and more and bring you footage of the beautiful creations it makes in our video.

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