Parabolic mirrors are useful for everything from solar power to telescopes to holographic projection. They’re usually very difficult to make by traditional means, but this video takes a different approach.With their incredible silicon cutting process via a particle accelerator they’re able to make solar panels with virtually zero waste and a higher efficiency result.
A sheet of PVC with a recessed air fitting forms the platen. The metallized Mylar space blanket, stretched across a wooden frame to pull out the wrinkles and folds, is applied to a circle of epoxy on the platen.
After curing, a few puffs with a bicycle tire pump forms the curve and stretches the film even smootherThis parabolic mirror isn’t quite as strong as the enormous mirrors on the world’s largest telescope but it can still be used for heating, cooking, and casually turning wood black and smokey.
We doubt this process can be optimized enough to produce astronomy-grade mirrors for visible light, but it still has a lot of potential applications. Maybe a fiberglass radio astronomy dish could be pressure-formed directly with a rig like this?