Movie Magic or 3D Printing? Guardians of the Galaxy

Movie Magic or 3D Printing? Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy Features 3D Printed
Costumes and Props

3D Printing in the Movies



Stratasys PolyJet Technology is used quite commonly in the special effects and movie prop industries. It's material versatility, high resolution, and freedom of design makes for an exceptional tool in creating even the most intricate models.

In the summer blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, special effects company FBFX ltd. used Objet Connex multi-material 3D printers to create various costumes, props, and concept mock-ups. 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 was 3D printed almost entirely using Objet500 Connex Multi-material 3D Printers.


The armor wasn't the only thing 3D printed in the movie, the iconic Star-Lord helmet worn by Chris Pratt was also printed on the Objet500 COnnex system. 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. 3D Printing Starlord helment Guardians of the Galaxy



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. Un attended 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.”


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