Alternative Heating Technologies
One of the most common questions asked by people new to the CandyFab Project is "have you considered heating technology X" to melt the sugar? Often, the answer is simply "yes." We have collectively examined a great many different possible methods. This is a non-exhaustive list of some of the alternatives that we have looked at, and their pros and cons.
Extremely Promising Technologies:
- SHASAM: Selective Hot Air Sintering And Melting, the current technological choice of the main thrust of CandyFab development
- Giant Fresnel Lens: For CandyFab Solar. May not work so well on cloudy days or at night but could be used in conjunction with the halogen bulb in indoor settings. Probably best to operate outdoors; will not work well in a humid environment.
- Halogen Bulb: Like that used in the [Desktop Factory]. A good second choice. Probably should be used with a shutter.
Alternatives that may be suitable for new designs based on the basic CandyFab architecture:
- Laser: Dangerous to eyes, potentially expensive. Requires great attention to safety concerns. Patent minefield.
- Blowtorch: Again, serious fire hazard. Excellent choice for fabbing metal in a machine based on the CandyFab architecture.
Technologies which probably will not be practical for CandyFab development:
- IR lightbulb: like a halogen bulb, but larger and harder to focus.
- Microwaves: Not a good choice for high-resolution building; may be limited to centimeter-scale resolution.
- Soldering iron, dragged through sugar: almost certainly impossible to pull off without accidentally dragging the model around. Serious fire hazard.
- Electric stove element/ other radiative far-infrared sources: Non-contact, which is good. Probably cannot be focused. May be efficient mechanism for low-resolution fabbing and/or preheating the area around where the fine-resolution melt will occur.