Posted Wed, Dec 12, 2007 by Aelryn
It's crazy cool!
In this interesting interview, Ed Fries describes the exact process by which the figurines you can purchase at FigurePrints get made.
At heart, it's basically an inkjet printer, which is pretty cool. It actually uses HP-11 inkjet printheads. But instead of printing on paper, it prints on a thin layer of plaster powder. So you have to imagine that there's a bay with a platform, and a spreader bar comes in and spreads a very thin layer of plaster powder, which has the consistency of flour. So it gets spread onto the platform, like a sheet of paper. And then the printheads come out, and they print right into that plaster. It sets the ink on top of it, and like paper it soaks into it-that plaster hardens. It's color ink, ok? And the spreader bar comes across again, and that platform actually moves down about 1/250th of an inch, and the spreader bar spreads the next layer of plaster, and it just repeats that process over and over, 250 layers for every inch.