Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Printing In The Sand

So I found this video which has been picked up by several credible websites, but I still have trouble believing this is real.  This is a machine that uses the suns rays to create 3D objects like a printer or a rapid prototyping machine.  My skepticism come from the fact that in order to melt sand, it needs to be heated to around 4,000 degrees F, which even accounting for the heat of the desert etc. seems really unlikely.

However, if this is true, think about the applications it could have.  With larger and larger parts of the world falling prey to desertification, we find sand to be very prevalent.  What if we were to use this method to build bricks to build homes!  The machine need no external power and with a few tweaks, could be made to refill sand on its own and there could be a whole slew of these going at one time.


  1. He is a graduating student at the Royal College of Art in London, which turns out remarkably talented students; last year Thomas Thwaites built a toaster from scratch, I mean smelting the metal, really from scratch. it worked for five seconds, but is an absolutely amazing feat.

    This is much the same, most 3d printers deposit the material layers, it is a key part of the design. This doesn’t, he has to lay down the layers by hand, so it really isn’t a full working 3D printer. But it is a remarkable achievement, and very real.

  2. There is a jewelry artist in Minneapolis who uses a giant solar lens to melt and form glass beads. Solar energy does get hot enough to do this.

  3. I have a large frenell lens (4 feet by 3 feet) Living in Pittbburgh I can have gotten a beam close to 4000 degrees on a sunny day in early spring.

    Melting glass is easy, metals as well.

    If I had a bgeer one and were in the desert melting sand would be a breeze. Of course you really wouldn’t want to get any part of your body in that beam.

    • Sadly to use it as a building material would not work that well. Remember that it is glass.

      Remember the old saying….

      People in glasses houses shouldn’t throw stones…..

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