If you've been into a Lego store any time over the past several years you'll know that there are booths that let you build your own minifigures. You rummage around in a box of pieces, put three of them together, and you can pop them into a box to make it look like you purchased them for real. It's nice, but limited to pieces and designs Lego mass produces. That may not be the case in future if a new trial runs smoothly, though.
The Lego store in Copenhagen just installed a brand new machine that will print custom designs straight onto blank minifigure pieces. What's more it's not a slow-moving machine that takes hours to run, and can pump out 40 minifigures in a single go. So if you've ever wanted a minifigure of yourself wearing a t-shirt that says "I hate apples" then you may just get your chance.
The machine is the brainchild of designer Jens Hjorth, who spent a year and a half working on the machine. While it was only available in-store for two days, it meant guests could design their own minifigures using a touch-screen control pad. It didn't let you upload your own designs, but you could customise colours and other aspects that are already programmed in. Custom text is allowed, though I imagine Lego may have some issues if you try and print out something rude like "Steve is a twat".
The trial is now over, so we'll just have to wait and see whether Lego thinks its worth adding the machine to its other shops. The machine itself is supposed to cost around $19,000 to install, which each figure priced at 30 DKK (£3.54). It's not exactly pocket change, but for a company that has shops in quite busy areas it might be worth the investment. The branch in London's Leicester Square is referred to as the flagship, after all, and is always full of people. It's probably be a good addition to Legoland as well, especially if there are some unique designs guests can print out. [Brothers Brick via Geek.com]