3D printer technology sure is coming along nicely, isn't it? We can already print drugs so, logically (?), it won't be long before everything is manufactured by these sophisticated devices, including one mad scientist's microscopic fleet of combat-ready star fighters.
OK, so they're not packing lasers or missiles just yet, but at least they've got the look down. The video above shows a Photonic Professional GT 3D printer, from the German-based company Nanoscribe, constructing a miniature version of a Hellcat fighter from space sim Wing Commander.
Using laser lithography, it puts the structure together in around 50 seconds, which is apparently 100 times faster than Nanoscribe's previous techniques. This speed boost is accomplished by reflecting the laser using a "galvo" mirror system, which "facilitates rapid and precise laser focus positioning".
The finished Hellcat measures 125µm x 81µm x 26.8µm -- "µm" meaning micrometre. One µm is equal to 0.001mm, or in less scientific terms, stupidly small. Put another way by Nanoscribe, the Hellcat's as long as the diameter of a human hair.