The process of converting a powder into a solid by heating is known as sintering, and it is central in 3D printing—a process by which computer-controlled machines deposit or solidify liquid or powdered resin layer by layer to create a three-dimensional rendering of a digital design. Kayser is interested in the use of natural resources in 3D printing, a counterintuitive step in a technology that is so closely identified with computers, robotics, and synthetic resins. Experiments with solar power led him to the desert environment and the two elements most readily available there: sun and sand, whose silica component solidifies as glass when heated to a melting point and allowed to cool. Kayser tested his first manually operated solar 3D-printing machine in 2011 in the Moroccan desert. He completed a bigger, fully automated, computer-driven version called SolarSinter later that year and tested it in the Sahara. This bowl was produced by the SolarSinter.
Gallery label from Applied Design, March 2, 2013–January 31, 2014.