Stargate for many around the world was a riveting sci-fi franchise that carried us through three movies before petering out a few years ago. It also translated into TV, games, and comics before doing so, however. We sat munching popcorn in theaters back in 1994, watching the story unfold as the ancient Stargate was unearthed by a scientist in Colorado. He recognized it as a 3D portal to other worlds, quite a magical concept, allowing the characters literally to walk from the frame of one story into another. And whether the team of developers considered it or not, there’s great benefit to this majestic ring as well: no set requiring a gigantic spaceship. It’s easy enough just to put on the sturdy explorer’s boots and walk through this portal.
What wasn’t exactly easy, however, was the job Vigo Universal had in recreating this ornate ring. Often it’s easy to watch a movie or TV show without considering the amount of work that goes into the original prop. The job of the art director is make it all appear so natural that you aren’t thinking about those details, but just intent on functioning as part of the audience, reveling in the visuals and the story. But upon being commissioned by Belgium’s Musée Royal de Mariemont to create a replica of the portal, the design team from Vigo Universal was carried away on an unforgettable journey of their own.
“We were approached by the museum as part of their planning for an exhibition called ‘From Stargate to Comics: The Egyptian Gods in the Geek Culture,’” said Hermanns Christophe, CEO and owner of 3D-printing studio Vigo Universal in a recent interview. “In preparation for it, they came to us earlier this year and asked if we could use 3D printing to create a replica of the Stargate. We’re always excited about using 3D printing for unique projects, so we were happy to get involved.”
The idea behind this exhibit, mixing contemporary pop culture with that of ancient Egypt, was to demonstrate how human fascination continues on through the decades and the ages with this undeniably fascinating history, trickling down still through entertainment of all sorts—from movies to comics.
“Costumes and artefacts from movies and series and copies of comics will be placed in dialogue with the gods and myths of Egypt, thus discerning fact from fiction,” states the museum on the exhibit page.
And not just content to show off a miniature Stargate for visitors to peer at from inside, the museum decided they wanted to go big—as in outside big—and 20 feet high. In calling Vigo Universal, they were enlisting a team with a multi-faceted portfolio of expertise. Also in Belgium, this company specializes in areas such as design, events and animation, virtual and augmented reality, and 3D technologies including scanning and printing.
The Stargate project meant enlisting a host of machines, from the Marchant Dice milling cutter to the laser cutter, and the Flashforge 3D printer. All of these tools were certainly put to the test in making over 10,000 cuttings to create more than 2,000 separate parts, and overall, the team put in 1,000 hours to make the giant 3D printed entrance to other worlds. This wasn’t thanks to just one Flashforge either, but rather to an entire ‘farm’ of printers.
“The biggest challenge was that we had no plans to work from,” Christophe said. “The only source materials we had were the movie and whatever images we could find on the internet. From that, we had to create everything for the 3D printing. This wasn’t a toy — this was something that had to look good as part of an exhibition, and had to be built to last.”
The team seems amused indeed at the idea of what will happen to the Stargate once the exhibit is over. Will they keep it at the museum?
“We’ll have to ask the museum what they’re going to do with it after the exhibition,” Christophe laughed. “We don’t know what their plans are. But be warned: it’s very, very large. To move it is going to require a truck.”
We certainly see many 3D printed items being created that are inspired by movies, games, and comics. Numerous pieces are created just as works of art and never intended to be functional objects—only created to wow their audiences. To get an idea of how in-depth this particular design project was, it’s important to check out the video below. The amount of printing, milling, cutting, painting, and assembling behind this work of art is truly impressive, not to mention the dedication of all involved. Discuss further in the 3D Printed Stargate forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source: Digital Trends]