We have a lot of catching up to do; the shop’s been open for three years, but our story begins five years ago, when we (the danger!awesome founders) were hanging out at MIT, fasting for Ramadan. Food was on the mind. Do you remember when the Virgin Mary on grilled cheese fetched $28K on ebay? And the holy toaster kit, for getting Jesus on every piece of toast? Somehow out of the zen haze of fasting, we came up with the idea of an animation on toast.
We found a band that wanted to make a toast video with us (the famous OkGo!) so all that was left was figuring out how to actually make the video. The maker of the holy toaster kit (our friend and local genius, Dan Paluska) used a water jet to cut stainless steel sheets into the toaster inserts, which is an inexpensive way to make many toasts that look the same, but we wanted to make many thousands of toasts that were each different.
We considered using heat lamps, ovens or traditional toasters with resists (think: stencils) that we could print (maybe on transparency paper). We even considered building a machine to drop acid or drag a soldering iron across the toast to draw the images we wanted, but nothing we tried achieved an acceptable level of detail or was cost-effective enough or fast enough to do the thousands of frames we would need for the music video.
So we snuck into a lab at MIT (where we both learned how to use laser cutters) in the middle of the night and tried laser-cutting the bread. Success!
The kind folks at MIT, whom we believe will forgive us for the minor infraction of toasting bread inside expensive rapid prototyping machines, would probably have noticed us doing this thousands of times in the short time span required by our video.
So the band bought us our own.
Before long, the music video was finished and we were famous*.
* Not really.