This Week in the Mercury


Friday, January 20, 2012

Yesterday Was the Day I Learned Replicators Are Real at LAIKA

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Did you guys know that replicators are totally really real? I saw one yesterday at LAIKA in Hillsboro. The animation company is busy at work filming their new stop-motion film ParaNorman, every stage full of incredibly detailed sets and amazing puppets. But I think I was most blown away by the machine that produces all those puppets and their myriad facial expressions. Maybe I'm just a luddite, but I'd never heard of the existence of 3D printers before yesterday. They're printers, in the style of your old dot-matrix printers with the cartridge going back and forth over a print surface, but instead of a crappy book report, it prints out objects. With working parts! This sounds impossible, right? But lo, check out the ParaNorman (fully functioning) wrench that I watched the folks at LAIKA print up.

In which I pit my swag against each other.

Basically the printer at LAIKA has silicon ink cartridges and it puts down layers upon layers of the stuff then binds it together with a glue, then voila! Souvenir wrench! They can print ANYTHING! Tea, Earl Grey, hot. Hmm, actually it doesn't print up liquids, just solids, but still... My mind is fucking blown.

Hit the jump for a video in which an expert better describes how a 3D printer works, some dude's mind is also boggled by the possibilities, and he too receives a wrench.

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