Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Welcome to the new!

If you have questions, feedback, or encounter issues as you explore, please fill out our Feedback Form.

The desert sun: Mother Nature's new laser printer

The humble magnifying glass -- that simple toy of childhood so readily turned into an ant-frying death ray -- just got an upgrade. It's called the Sun Cutter, and it turns the desert sun into, well, a sort of laser printer:

A mix of artistic commentary and clever engineering, the Sun Cutter and Solar Sinter might not be as versatile as their lab-dwelling counterparts, but they need much less in the way of infrastructure for support. The Sun Cutter focuses sunlight using a fixed ball lens, while cams on a solar-power-driven timing belt control the motion of a platform on which the raw material sits. The current incarnation of the Sun Cutter can cut paper, card, and plywood up to 0.4mm thick, and cuts out the frames of a cute, clever pair of sunglasses. How’s that for meta? Meanwhile, the Solar Sinter uses a different--and more easily acquired--feeder material than most other selective laser sintering (SLS) printers. Instead of powdered resins, plastic, or metals, the environmentally friendly 3D printer uses sand, plain old silica.

Did we mention? Like us on Facebook!

Sponsor Message

And! Follow us on Twitter!

As a longtime journalist in Southern Nevada, native Las Vegan Andrew Kiraly has served as a reporter covering topics as diverse as health, sports, politics, the gaming industry and conservation. He joined Desert Companion in 2010, where he has helped steward the magazine to become a vibrant monthly publication that has won numerous honors for its journalism, photography and design, including several Maggie Awards.