Printing Solar Panels in the Backyard

Imagine what you might do if you could print your own solar panels. That’s kind of the dream behind Shawn Frayne and Alex Hornstein’s Solar Pocket Factory — although they see it more as the “microbrewery” of panel production rather than a tool for everyone’s garage. With over $70,000 of backing from a successful Kickstarter campaign, the inventors are now working on refining the prototype. If all goes well, by April they’ll have a machine that can spit out a micro solar panel every few seconds. In the meantime, Frayne stopped by Flora Lichtman’s backyard with a few pieces of the prototype to explain how the mini-factory will work.


  1. don't know why so many latest comments mentions 'Avasva'. this company seems a lot like a conspiracy driven scam.
    though, it would be interesting to know how 'Pocket Factory' is doing.
    i only found, that in 2014 Alex Hornstein and Shawn Frayne moved to holographic imaging industry,
    ref to that >

  2. So now the little hands will make the parts fort the "machine" that makes the solar cells? instead of the cells them self?

  3. so this cuts and assembles ready made solar panels. I once watched a truck placing traffic cones along the motorway – so could that truck actually be called a traffic cone printer ?.

  4. so actually it makes nothing. it snaps excisting panels into smaller ones and put them in series for higher voltage… wtf amazing why would anyone need this and not just buy one. i never had the need for such a panel…… i

  5. Oh come on! is everything a "printer" these days? Its a really awesome innovation, I wish I had one, or had developed this. But it is a micro manufacturing operation, Unless you put raw materials in and get products out I don't think its fair to call it Printing.

  6. hy again. can any buddy tell me the exact name of this cell cutting machine its price and place to buy it? regards

  7. hy. may i know why a solar cell is cut into half for using pump grade solar panels? what difference occures when we cut it small.thanx

  8. is there a cutter like that you can buy?(just a cutting guillotine like that to cut the cells and make diy panels without cutting by hand or expensive laser) i googled and came up with nothing, would love to have a cutter like that, especially if its cheap and hand operated

  9. I'm not really into replacing man power with machine, even if it saves on cost. Machines don't need to eat, people do…

  10. LOl why not just have the panel print to the right specifications instead of breaking up, reassembling, resoldering, and then testing and packaging. Its like why not just cut the cheese to the size you need instead of opening up each slice by a machine and reforming it to a 5lb chunk, that makes no sense at all.

  11. this is a joke. its not printing but called cutting. what a waste of crowdsource fund. don't any of them have scissors at home?

  12. Yeah, how dare those sweatshop slaves earn 5 cents extra a day! Let's invent something that makes them obsolete.

  13. How much pieces do you need for 1 W ? 1 piece can give 0.5V as I saw in the video. But how about amperage? Ofcourse we need the power in watts.

  14. Its important to educate yourself before you start writing your checks. Solar panels are only expensive because they have to be encased in protective enclosures.

  15. I've built a few panels by hand, mostly for the experience and to better understand what's involved. Can't believe I didn't think of shingling the cells. One of those situations where I wasn't thinking of solving the problem because I didn't recognize there was a problem. Damn it. Would have saved SO much time. Now I want to build another one just to try out that technique. Keep up the idea machine! I'm a big fan of the old saying, think of 100 ideas, try 10, and roll with 1.

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