(Note: the following is one of various posts that were copied here from the Moonwards.com forum for the sake of preserving the early days of the project. It was originally posted there on Jan 27th, 2016.)
First, 21 x 36 inch fresnel lenses are a lot of fun, especially if you have two. They arrived a few days ago from GreenPowerScience, i bought them from them on eBay. I couldn’t wait any more for my husband to be free to help me put them in proper frames. I jury rigged something with sticks and wire and got some volcanic sand from leftovers of recent construction (sand used in concrete around here is all black volcanic sand). Below is the result. It took less than a minute and was maybe 0.5 cm3 of homemade molten lava.
There is much to do. This is gonna turn into a whole workshop of lava goodness in time. I need crucibles and tongs and, uh, metal things with which to poke at the lava and manipulate it. I want to see how it behaves, see how much i can manage to make at one time. Pour it, shape it, draw it out. Throw it at stuff and see if it sticks.
I may not have enough melting power (yet) to do that at a scale sufficient to test some of the things i’m suggesting lava could be good for on the Moon. I do have access to limitless basalt in various forms thanks to our friendly neighbourhood volcanoes. This operation can definitely grow. :)))