How to bend glass mirrors efficiently?

The spider - 1995

In Almonte, Ontario (CA), Fraser Symington develops what he calls a ‘spider’ in order to distort 30cm x 30cm mirrors into parabolic concentrators by gluing a backing plate to a mirror and attaching 8 arms with screws or bolts at the corners and middle edges of the mirrors. He had previously been using wood frames but discovers that wooden frames do not wear well in cold and or wet conditions.

Prototyping cooker - 1997

Almonte, Ontario (CA), Fraser Symington and his son Tracy attempt to develop an ‘upward reflector’ which would accept the light coming horizontally from the Helios and reflect it upwards to the bottom of a frying pan or a pot of boiling water. They try silvering tempered glass, they try water cooled mirrors and they try mirror polished stainless plate. Home made silvering burns off, water cooled mirrors break the second anything drips on them and polished stainless turns blue and non reflective in the heat.

Improving reflection - 1998

Fraser Symington considers a new method of focusing mirrors to enable frying and boiling. Fraser starts testing plasters, molds, routered wooden frames, as well as varying sizes of small mirror facets.

Only by achieving a close focal point with a 30cm x 30cm mirror module, will an upwards reflecting concentrator provide a convenient cooking platform for frying and boiling.

Adjustable jig - 1999

First Vesta Array - 1999

A moveable Vesta - 2005

In the meantime in Ontario (CA), Fraser Symington develops a 9-faceted mirror module to tighter focal points and higher concentration ratios lead to improved performance of the machine. No mirror bending means no incidental mirror breakage.