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Jun 16

How Legacy Effects Dressed RoboCop with Stratasys Multi-material 3D Printing

When your business depends on heroes, villains and monsters, it really pays to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Just ask legendary Hollywood special effects studio Legacy Effects; they've been using Stratasys 3D printing to create memorable characters for such blockbusters as Avatar, Pacific Rim, and Iron Man.



This year’s RoboCop movie, where man and machine become one, once again brought 3D printing to the big screen. Using Stratasys’ high resolution Objet Connex multi-material 3D printing technology, Legacy Effects produced every aspect of the RoboCop suit – from helmet to boots – as master mold patterns. These pieces were then molded and cast into other materials to create variants of the suit, depending on the requirements of each scene.



However, you’ll also see actual 3D printed parts in the film, now available on DVD. Some versions of the suit used in the movie were composed of up to 90 percent 3D printed parts, created on Stratasys technology. For example, the striking visor, which forms part of the helmet on the black version of the RoboCop suit, features a gleaming red strip which was 3D printed using Stratasys transparent (VeroClear) material.

Stratasys 3D Printing Technology the Only Option for Reproducing Fine Detail
According to Jason Lopes, Lead Design Engineer at Legacy Effects, RoboCop’s chest-armour piece perhaps best exemplifies how the use of 3D printing technology overcomes certain challenges affecting normal production methods.

RoboCop’s chest piece includes areas that feature extremely high levels of detail - something only achievable with Stratasys’


First, in terms of the size of RoboCop’s chest piece specifically, only Stratasys’ 3D printing technology would allow us to print something at the actual size; the part virtually fills the entire build-tray. Second, the same part comprises a blend of smooth areas, as well as other areas that feature an extremely high level of detail, such as the police badge and other logos, which we needed to retain for the molding process. There isn’t a technology currently available beyond that provided by Stratasys that affords us this level of intricate detail, together with the hard surface modeling of the shells, all together in one print.
- Lopes

Smoother Workflow and Greater Flexibility Over Traditional Production Methods
Using Stratasys’ 3D printing technology, the team at Legacy Effects is able to work much faster and more efficiently than it could in the days when it produced parts by hand.
Doing everything by hand meant that we couldn’t run tests, as it would have taken forever. Furthermore, 3D printing allows us to work in symmetry, enabling us to build an entire left side of a suit then mirror it and output the right side as well - all from one file with the click of a button. You can’t do that by hand.
- Lopes

RoboCop helmet visor, including striking red strip, designed by Legacy Effects and created on an Objet Connex Multi-material 3D Printer using transparent (VeroClear) material



According to Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing for Stratasys North America, Legacy Effects’ use of Stratasys multi-material 3D printing as its solution of choice is indicative of how the technology is becoming increasingly integral to film-making.
The ability to rapidly 3D print all different materials together in one single print run meets the film industry prerequisite to save time and money. But, the real show-stealer is Stratasys’ ultra-fine 16 micron-layer 3D printing. In the special effects world, fine detail and true-to-life models are the industry standard, and our Connex multi-material 3D printing technology continues to be a top performer among designers and engineers
- Bradshaw

- Stratasys Blog


 

To learn more about real world applications of Connex Multi-Material 3D printing, visit us at www.cimetrixsolutions.com


 
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