3D Printing In The Film and TV Industry

Hollywood: Where 3D Printed Imaginations Come Alive

This is how 3D printing is affecting the multi-billion dollar industry of Hollywood, where the wildest imaginations come true in special effects. Here are the 3 biggest ways 3D printing is hitting the big screen.

3D Printing Props

Almost all practical effects were made by hand using clay, plaster, foam, chicken wire, fabric, wood, and bits of consumer goods combined in creative ways. Then digital effects took over.

Today, designers are adopting 3D printing to produce many of their props and makeup effects. The reasons? 3D printing is more affordable; doesn’t use many materials – just one is sufficient. 3D printing is faster -just takes a few hours. 3D printing is repeatable – all props, even multiple, can be printed at high quality without them costing more to produce. There’s also durability – 3D printing props are tough enough to survive filming, and easily replaceable if they break. Also, 3D printing produces licensed replicas so that they can be reprinted or resold after being commissioned.

The most printed objects in Hollywood right now are fantasy and sci-fi props. ‘Game of Thrones’ utilized 3D printing with most of its armor, masks, jewelry, and weapons. The props are lightweight and realistic and are more cost-effective than teams of digital effects artists. Examples are the enormous 3D printed dragons in ‘Jurassic Park’, likewise dinosaur remains and species’ skeletons. They have realistic textures, details, even their gender and age. They also 3D scan real fossils to recreate the printed props.

3D Printed Costumes

Costumes are a major part of sci-fi movies like Marvel’s ‘Black Panther.’ Crowns and collars were 3D printed that would have been difficult and time-intensive to stitch or mold. Another is the headdress that actress Angela Bassett in the Queen Ramonda movie. The ‘Iron Man’ armor in multiple movies was 3D printed, scanning the body of Robert Downey Jr. There are also the costumes of ‘Captain America’ and ‘Thor’ using selective laser sintering + carbon fiber reinforced material.

Stop motion 3D Printed Miniatures

These are poseable and customizable dolls required to be precisely placed to move incrementally with each frame, so 3D printing helps create as many variations of facial expressions, props, and characters as possible to make the animation as smooth as possible. Animation studio LAIKA has become famous for their use of 3D printing in their stop motion animated features. 2019 film ‘Missing Link’ currently holds the record at 106,000.

3D Printed Set Design

Production designers can now produce enormous set pieces – overnight. An example is the set design in the space travel biopic ‘First Man’, where a scale replica of the legendary Apollo 11 was built in one go.


3D Printing Train Parts: A Concerted Railway Effort

Moving Towards Better Mobility

There’s a German-based network that’s incorporating 3D printing within the transport system. Mobility goes Additive (MGA) in Berlin is the leading international network of companies, institutions and research institutes that pushes 3D-printed applications for use in several sectors. It has gotten approval for use of an additively manufactured brake suspension link for trains.

The link is a highly-loaded part and works within the brake unit of a train and is now in use at Hamburger Hochbahn in Hamburg. The MGA Approval is the working group that got the authorization. It is headed by Siemens Mobility under the participation of its members Deutsche Bahn, and the Fraunhofer IAPT and IGCV facilities.

The development of the 3D printed brake suspension link started in 2017. When the concept was approved, the suitability of the component was successfully tested on real tracks and assessed by TÜV SÜD. The Hamburg Technical Supervisory Authority granted operational approval, leading to it being commissioned in August 2019. It was also approved by BOStrab, responsible for the German Federal Regulations on the construction and operation of light rail transit systems and will be the standard for all future approvals.

Deutsche Bahn is a German railway company and also part of MGA. It’s collaborating with Berlin-based 3D printing software developer 3YOURMIND to build a ‘digital spare parts warehouse’. It has also integrated metal additive manufacturing 3DMP technology from GEFERTEC to improve the availability of hard-to-procure spare parts.

All together, the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), Italian train operator Trenitalia, Deutsche Bahn, and government-owned Swedish railways company SJ, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by proxy of seven European railways. This is the beginning of a pledge to collaborate in the working group RAILiability under the Mobility goes Additive network. MGA acts as a central platform bundling the value creation potentials along the process chain and promoting the mutual development of its members’ competencies.



Sports Equipment and 3D Printing: Better Performance

Raising the Level of Performance

Imagine what happens when a global IT company partners with a world-class sports brand? Information technology giant, HP is working with Oakley, a California-based sports brand to create 3D printed prototypes and functional parts across Oakley’s portfolio of products.

Oakley Brand

Oakley is a designer, developer and manufacturer of sports performance equipment and lifestyle pieces notably sunglasses. They also produce sports visors, ski/snowboard goggles, watches, apparel, shoes, backpacks, optical frames, and other accessories. They claimed that world-class athletes around the globe depend on Oakley products to compete at the highest level. They are now partnering with HP, with its breakthrough 3D printing technology, to accelerate their design to production timeline, and reconceptualize the way their products are made, pushing the boundaries of sports performance to new heights. Using Multi Jet Fusion, Oakley is reducing the product development stages of its eyewear selection as well as other athletic equipment.

Oakley began integrating 3D printing into its design process in 1992 to create the Eye Jacket sunglasses. Since then additive manufacturing has transformed its development process as well as the silhouette of its sunglasses. As of 2018, the company has been utilizing HP’s Multi Jet Fusion for rapid prototyping across multiple product lines, including sunglasses, helmets, and trophies. It speeds up the design iteration process as designers can fabricate and test color-coordinated parts in a day when it usually takes two to three weeks. Their printer is also capable of producing full-color functional parts while maintaining optimal mechanical properties.

Other Brands and 3D Printing

Other sports equipment companies are incorporating 3D printing to improve athletic performance. There’s Carbon, the Silicon Valley-based start-up behind Digital Light Synthesis partnership with American football equipment provider Riddell to develop customized 3D printed NFL helmet lining. It’s also collaborating with Fizik, a US-based cycling equipment manufacturer, to create a 3D printed bike saddle. GuardLab, a New York-based sports technology brand, also partnered with Bauer Hockey, to launch personalized 3D printed mouthguards.


Accelerating Athletics in Seattle

If you’re into sports and you’ve got something you think will improve your performance in your field, all you have to do is turn to 3D Composites.


Industries 3D Printing is Changing in 2020 and Beyond

3D Printing in 2020

In the year 2016, International Data Corporation reported that the automotive, aerospace, and dental industries were the sectors that have generated the bulk of 3D printing revenues. In the coming years, these five main industries are poised to experience big changes because of 3D printing.


3D printers stimulate students’ creativity and prepare them to effectively integrate into the professional world. Now, you find desktop 3D printers in schools as a new tool to inspire and engage both educators and students. Courses such as physics, chemistry, and engineering use 3D printers to develop real-world skills. Geography students can study via 3D-printed topography maps or demographic charts. Biology students could print out cross-sections of different body parts and organs. Engineering and graphic design students benefit from 3D models.


3D printers are helping orthopedists to make biocompatible and custom-made implants for their patients. Other than implants and prosthetics, 3D printers could also be used for the rapid prototyping of medical devices. Even though printing entire organs with living tissue and vasculature is still not feasible yet, the 3D printing medical revolution is already in motion, bringing countless benefits to physicians and patients globally. The healthcare sector is ripe with devolvement opportunities.


In architecture or interior design, 3D printers can communicate ideas to customers and incorporate feedback more effectively by creating detailed and enduring 3D models of their designs in-house, directly using computer-aided design (CAD) files they have designed themselves. Projects are materialized as fast and as precise as possible.


3D printing has given professional fashion creators free rein to their creativity. From clothing and footwear to accessory items like jewelry, gloves, and handbags, 3D printing could redefine high fashion by bringing in a whole new level of customization. Users could also unleash their own creativity and breathe life into their designs at reduced cost.



3D Printing Technology in the Cosmetics Industry

Personalized Beauty Products at Your Fingertips

Most cosmetic products come in plastic containers made with mold releases. 3D printing has made it easier to design complex shapes without the need for a mold. Many manufacturers, though, are combining 3D printing and injection molding. Experts agree that 3D printing can have a major impact on the cosmetic industry.

Customized 3D Makeup

The first portable 3D makeup printer, named Mink, was introduced in 2014. It used a combination of makeup and ink. Instead of a plastic case, consumers can select makeup printed on a thin sheet of paper. Using the Mink app, consumers choose a photo, then print either the whole image or a specific color. In 15 seconds, an entire palette of printed makeup becomes available. There’s eye shadow, blush, brow powder, etc, up to 16.7 million hues. Soon lipstick, lip gloss and nail polish will be available.

3D Printed Mascara Brush

Chanel used 3D printing in their mascara brush. They had printed micro cavities directly into the brush’s bristles, allowing smooth and even application without clumping. The new bristle design also avoids the need to redip the brush. The product is being sold worldwide. The new mascara, called Le Volume Revolution, will undoubtedly have an impact on the market.

Advanced Skincare Routine

Neutrogena, one of the forefronts in skin health, unveiled their new 3D printed product, MaskiD a face mask, just recently this year. Each mask fits the wearer’s face, with ingredients suited to meet specific skin concerns, such as acne or dryness. This works with a smartphone and the MaskiD app. Attach the Skin360 device, which scans the size of your pores and skin moisture levels, then offers recommendations. If you don’t have the Skin360, you’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire and take a selfie. Afterward, a mask is 3D printed to fit your unique needs.

Many brands are now into 3D printing to create innovative designs and offer extreme customization.


3D Printing Ideas

Many projects we work on at 3D Composites are personal and individual ideas that start as imaginations. Our customers just bring them over – and we turn them into reality.