3D Printing and the Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol. 2)

With the new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 dropping tonight, we will take a look at how 3D Printing influenced the previous film and how it has helped to revolutionize the process of creating movie props.

In the summer blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, special effects company FBFX ltd. created various costumes, props, and concept mock-ups using high end 3D printing technology. The biggest undertaking in the project was the entire “armor” outfit for the character, Korath. According to Grant Pearmain, director of costume and props at FBFX, this was a first for the studio who uses 3D printers, but have never 3D printed a complete costume.

The armor wasn’t the only thing 3D printed in the movie, the iconic Star-Lord helmet worn by Chris Pratt was also printed by FBFX. The process consisted of several prototypes, as well as vacuum-cast versions created from a 3D printed mold. The actual helmet used in the movie features a 3D printed interior and exterior detailing using rigid opaque (VeroGray) material.


There are some key benefits to employing the use of 3D printers in the special effects industry. According to Pearmain, 3D printing has revolutionized the quality and turnaround times in his movie prop and costume shop. The company now chooses 3D printing above traditional methods for 90% of the specialist props it develops – a leap from a mere 10% only a few years ago.

“Quite simply, PolyJet technology delivers a level of quality with precise detail that is better than anything else available,” Pearmain said. “We no longer have to contend with repeatability issues like variations in skill level from one craftsman to another – we know exactly what the 3D printed piece will look like, regardless of how many pieces we’re producing.”

Complete design freedom as well as an expanded material selection continues to offer more and more options to film creators. Unattended build capabilities combined with the speed of PolyJet technology means timeline’s can easily be met and costly production time can be decreased.

“All told, we’re saving at least 50% on lead times, a precious commodity when working on a film, as there’s never enough time,” Pearmain said. “This faith in the 3D printed piece and the speed at which we can have it in our hands also gives us the flexibility and confidence to experiment here and there and to try new things – not something we have dared to do before.”

Be sure to check out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in theaters now!

“Movie Magic or 3D Printing? Guardians of the Galaxy.” Proto 3000. N.p., 25 Nov. 2014. Web. 05 May 2017.


Posted in 3D Printing, 3D Technology Blog.

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