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g4If you haven’t seen this year’s summer blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, then you are missing out. Based on Marvel Comics’ superhero team, and produced by Marvel Studios, the movie starring Chris Pratt, has brought in a staggering $752 million at the box office.

Special effects, amazing costumes, and incredible props make up a narrative which is sure to entertain the entire family. What makes Guardians of the Galaxy even more intriguing, however, is the fact that leading movie prop and costume specialist FBFX Ltd., utilized 3D printing extensively in the production of numerous props and costumes within the movie.

The printer of choice for FBFX was a Stratasys’ Objet500 Connex which is capable of printing in multiple colors as well as textures, all within the same print.

Korath's 3D Printed Costume

Korath’s 3D Printed Costume

“Quite simply, Stratasys’ PolyJet technology delivers a level of quality with precise detail that is better than anything else available. 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,” stated Grant Pearmain, director of costume and props at FBFX.

Some of the more interesting pieces within the movie were either created using 3D printed molds, were actually 3D printed, or had 3D printed components to them. For instance, the entire armor outfit for Korath the Pursuer, a villain and feared intergalactic hunter in the film, was 3D printed by FBFX. Additionally, one of the more recognizable costume pieces in the movie, Star Lord’s helmet, features several 3D printed parts to it, and the main structure was created with a mold which had been 3D printed as well.

3D printing has enable FBFX to save time and money, while also allowing members to work remotely in collaborating with designers across borders.

g3“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,” explained Pearmain. “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 regularly experiment and to try new things – something we’ve not always had the time to do.”

A project which would normally take a few weeks to complete can be done within only a few days, freeing up time for more important tasks. Currently FBFX uses 3D printing on 90% of all their projects, up significantly from three or four years ago when only 10% of their projects utilized the technology.  As 3D printing technology continues to progress, we will likely see this number approach 100% for many of the top prop and costume creators out there.

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy? What did you think? How did FBFX do with their creation of these props and costumes? Discuss in the 3D Printed Guardians of the Galaxy Prop forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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