Two solar geeks set out to make a device that can make microsolar panels — the kind used in cell phone chargers — in a backyard. The duo raised $77,500 on Kickstarter to fund the machine.

solar pocket factory Screen Shot 2012-09-21 at 2.37.10 PM

Making mini solar panels, which can power devices like cell phones, in your own backyard — that’s the aim of Shawn Frayne and Alex Hornstein’s new project called the Solar Pocket Factory, which recently successfully raised $77,500 on Kickstarter. The duo’s idea is to make a modular machine that people can use to make microsolar panels — the kind used for cell phone chargers — because a big chunk of the cost of making microsolar panels is in the factory assembly of them.

NPR’s Science Friday made this fun video of the guys, who look like they’re having a lot of fun geeking out over microsolar. Combine a pocket Solar Pocket Factory with a Makerbot 3D printer and you’ve got yourself a mini industry in your own backyard.

You’re probably wondering why a company or person would want one of these solar pocket factories. If you watch the videos below you can see that DIYers could use the machine to make microsolar panels for any type of gadget, and essentially replace the batteries in anything from kids toys, to radios.

Here’s a how-to on making a solar powered cell phone charger:

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  1. alexandertolley Sunday, September 23, 2012

    The hard part appears to be getting hold of the silicon solettes. I wonder if getting printed CIGS material might not be better for this application?

  2. Once upon a time on SolarCurator, a solar pocket factory found its way into the curatorial mix…. http://www.solarcurator.com/beta/2012/08/16/really-small-scale-solar/

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