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Become mesmerised by this hydrographic printing video


Yes, we're really asking you to watch paint dry. 

But this isn't any old brush and canvas affair. This is the bonkers world of hydrographic printing.

A relatively modern painting system, hydrographic printing was first patented by Motoyasu Nakanishi in the US back in 1982. The printing technique sees the desired pattern printed onto a film, suspended on the surface of a liquid. An object is then dipped into the liquid, transferring the pattern onto its surface - just like this...


The technique has always been used for covering objects in a single pattern, with no real control over how the film was applied to the object. Until now.

An international team of researchers from Hangzhou's Zheijiang University and NYC's Columbia University has worked out how to use the technique to print patterns onto an object with precision, in a process they've named 'computational hydrographic printing'.

First, the team 3D scans the object they want to print onto. They then use an algorithm to map out the pattern-coated film onto a body of liquid with a precise shape that, when the object is dipped into it, transfers the pattern with exacting perfection.


While mesmerising, the process could also be darn handy for any large factory processes that currently see details or transfers applied by hand. You can learn more about the new process by watching the video below.

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