3D Printing is a relatively new technology that was first introduced in 1981 and has since established itself as a multi-billion dollar industry. From 3D printing as a hobby at home to professional and industrial 3D printing (or additive manufacturing), it is without a doubt that 3D printers are here to stay. Some of the professional and industrial uses of 3D printers include: 3D printing parts for the automotive and aerospace industry as well as 3D printing jewellery, teeth and toys.
However, one aspect of 3D printing that is quickly gaining momentum is 3D printing movie props. Several filmmakers have decided to use 3D printers to create several props, such as weapons and equipment. There are many reasons why there is a trend in using 3D printing in movies which include scalability, lower cost, speed and fine detailing. In this article, we are taking a look at 6 famous movies with 3D printed props. Find out which are the latest movies with 3D printing below.
1. Iron Man 2 – 2010
One of the first movies to use 3D printed props is Iron Man 2. The third addition to the MCU was again directed by Jon Favreau and this time it sees Tony Stark battling with his deteriorating health, a dangerous man from his father’s past and the military who is trying to get its hands on his technology. Although Iron Man 2 is not as good as its predecessor, it offers solid performances by its cast and a handful of action scenes. In addition, Iron Man 2 is one of the many movies with 3D printed props. Production decided to 3D print a life-size Iron Man suit, which Robert Downey Jr. used several times throughout filming.
2. Zero Dark Thirty – 2012
Zero Dark Thirty, the dramatization of the hunt for Bin Laden, is one of many movies that used 3D printing to 3D print movie props. The Academy Award nominee for Best Picture of the Year (2013) was directed by Kathryn Bigelow and stars Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke and Joel Edgerton. This great film is the chronicle of the 10-year pursuit by the US intelligence services to capture Osama Bin Laden. Furthermore, an interesting trivia about the movie is that it used 3D printed props. More specifically, Prop Shop, a UK 3D printing company, was hired to 3D print aluminium night-vision goggles because the originals cost over $60,000. Finally, another interesting fact is that the goggles are replicas of the night-vision goggles used by actual Navy Seals (design was based on leaked photos).
3. The Hobbit Trilogy – 2012-14
All of the movies in The Hobbit Trilogy used 3D printed props. Weta Workshop, the leading design studio and manufacturing facility for movies, designed and 3D printed several movie props. The company based in New Zealand contributed significantly by designing, manufacturing and 3D printing several of the weapons, creatures and armour that were used in the trilogy. When it comes to the films, they were again directed by Peter Jackson and tell the tales of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). Finally, The Hobbit trilogy also brings back the fan favourites, Gandalf and Legolas.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy – 2014
When it comes to 3D printing in movies Marvel is definitely in the lead. The originally unexpected Marvel hit which now is one of the most successful movies of the MCU, is one of the many movies with 3D printed props. A UK-based company named Prop Shop 3D printed several weapons that appear throughout the movie and also 3D printed certain parts of the spaceships as well as Korath the Pursuer’s suit. When it comes to the film, Guardians of The Galaxy was directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista. In addition, the cast also includes the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as Groot and Rocket Racoon respectively. Finally, Guardians of the Galaxy grossed nearly $775 million on a $170 million budget.
5. Maleficent – 2014
The 2014 movie Maleficent, based on Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”, was directed by Robert Stromberg and stars Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning. The film tells the unknown story of one of Disney’s most iconic villains and from her pure heart to a heart of stone. Maleficent managed to gross almost $760 million on a $180 million budget, making it the 4th most successful Disney live action reimagining. Finally, Maleficent is one of the several Hollywood movies with 3D printed props which also used 3D scanning. A Friesian stallion was first 3D scanned and then an armour was designed and 3D printed based on the horses measurements.
6. Thor: Ragnarok – 2017
The newest addition to the MCU and one of the best Marvel movies to date is Thor: Ragnarok directed by the talented Taika Waititi. The film finds Thor imprisoned on a faraway planet and has to fight in a gladiatorial battle against the Hulk in order to escape and prevent Ragnarok, the Asgardian Apocalypse. Just like other Marvel movies, Thor: Ragnarok is one of the many movies with 3D printed props. The 3D printed props were provided by Weta Workshop and include helmets for both Thor and Hulk as well as several other helmets and armours. Finally, what many people don’t know is that Taika Waititi played the friendly and kind-hearted Korg, a role for which Weta Workshop also 3D printed a costume.
For 3D printing enthusiasts make sure to check out Uncle Jessy’s channel on YouTube for awesome Marvel 3D prints!
Special Mention – 3D Printing In Movies
Several other movies have used 3D printing to create several props or small-scale prototypes so we decided to include them in a special mention.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 2005
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire producers used 3D scanning and 3D printing in order to create a small replica of a spider that was used in the film. The reason why, Rupert Grint is actually terrified of spiders.
Game of Thrones
Although Game of Thrones is not a movie, we decided to include it in our special mentions since it uses many 3D printed props such as the Sons of the Harpy masks. Rumour has it that production asked to 3D print an entire dragon.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix – 2018
The newest addition in the X-Men franchise will use 3D printed props courtesy of Laser Prototyping.
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