First discovered on one of our favorite blogs, Hack a Day, an at-home innovator by the name of Mark, who once created a firework shooting AT-4 (Swedish Bazooka), is claiming that he has now created the world’s first solar powered 3D printer under the company name White Gator Labs.
As Hack a Day pointed out, the device isn’t exactly a three-dimensional printer so much as it’s a RepRap Mendel since it uses RepSnapper software, but for general purposes – it prints three-dimensional objects, which is cool no matter what you call the machine.
Instead of relying on a computer, which would need its own energy source, to receive the printing data Mark’s RepRap Mendel is connected to an SD card (secure digital flash memory). Powered by a 45 watt solar panel kit and two, 139 amp-hour Harbor Freight brand batteries, the 3D printer can run independent of outlet power. Check out video of the device below.
While the new innovation isn’t exactly useful for everyday needs, the open-source RepRap project has lofty goals, including dreams of being able to deploy relatively low cost devices that can make their own parts to become more complex systems, and being able to achieve that production through something like sun light is impressive. This might be one small step for man, but a giant leap for machines.