Show RCA 2011: here's another piece of manufacturing machinery that harnesses sunlight by Markus Kayser - inventor of the Solar Sinter 3D printer in our earlier story - this time a low-tech, low-energy version of a laser cutter.
This film shows Kayser testing the Sun Cutter in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt.
The Sun Cutter uses a spherical lens to focus a beam of sunlight that's strong enough to burn through paper, card and thin plywood.
Two cams can be programmed to move the work along an x and y axis, controlled by a solar-powered motor.
Kayser used the Sun Cutter in Egypt to make a series of sun shades.
Testing it led him to develop the Solar Sinter, a 3D-printing machine that uses sunlight and sand to make glass objects.
Kayser graduated from the Royal College of Art in London earlier this month. See all our stories about Show RCA 2011 »
Here are some more details from Markus Kayser:
Sun Cutter by Markus Kayser
This project explores the potential of harnessing sunlight directly to produce objects.
The Sun Cutter is a low-tech, low energy version of a laser cutter. It uses pure sunlight, focused by a ball lens, to repeatedly cut programmed shapes in up to 0.4mm thick plywood as well as paper and card.
The project also explores the merit of analogue mechanised production that draws on the machine technology found in pre-digital machinery and automaton.
It uses a cam system, moving an X & Y- board to control the shape of the cut. The cams are set into synchronised motion by a small solar-powered motor driving a timing belt.
The Sun Cutter produces products with a unique aesthetic as a result of the rawness of the machine and the brute power of the sun. They are machine-made yet the cut, unlike a laser, has a raw ‘wobbly’ almost cartoon-like quality with its burnt outlines.
Once the capabilities of the machine had been established I elected to put it to the test with an appropriate product: sunglasses. Each pair of sunglasses made, even though very similar in shape, is still unique, creating a juxtaposition between the machine-made, repetitive and individual, unique object.
In the case of the sunglasses there is the added paradox and humor of the sun’s rays being used to create protective wear to be used in defence of those same rays.