WoW Insider had the chance to sit down with Ed Fries, the founder of the new and highly unique business FigurePrints
. Fries is best known for his work at Microsoft on the original Xbox, but he hasn't been idle since he left the company in 2004. His newly launched service allows World of Warcraft players to 'print' their characters
out as 3D sculptures. He and blogger Mike Schramm discuss the origins of the company, and the process used to make the figs: "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."