In a world where mammoth human-driven robots walk the earth (“Pacific Rim”), exotic blue aliens fight for freedom (“Avatar”), and flying superweapons blastbad guys (“Iron Man”), one company creates the effects that givemoviegoers the fantastic worlds they crave. That company is Legacy Effects, and one man, lead systems engineer Jason Lopes, uses his MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printerto create the physical objects that power CG-animated movie magic.
Lifelong maker turned 3D printing expert
Jason isn’t the kind of guy who waits around for other people to fix things. A lifelong Maker, Jason spent his childhood tinkering with electric cars and fixing things grownups could not. That passion fuels his work at Legacy Effects, which uses 3D printed parts in all of its productions, from simple proof-of-concept models to actual production-ready props. Says Jason, “This is where knowledge of 3D printing comes in handy. It’s one thing to make a 3D printed part great looking and another to make the strongest possible 3D printed part.”
Creating full-scale models for Hollywood blockbusters is a big investment. Jason must churn out quick, inexpensive prototypes before committing to production-ready models.
“The value to be able to prototype on a small scale is priceless. It allows us to make a physical piece out of a creative thought at any point,” says Jason.
Taking the 3D printing plunge with MakerBot
After meeting MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis at last year’s 3D Print Show in London, Jason said he decided to “take the plunge,” giving the MakerBot Replicator 2 a ten-day trial at Legacy Effects. The MakerBot Replicator 2 produced fast, high-quality builds that won Jason over in just two days, and it was immediately integrated into Legacy Effect’s production process. “People were amazed while I was handing over versions that were produced on the Replicator 2 within minutes.”
Most recently, Jason enlisted his MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers to produce test fittings on costumes for the upcoming “Captain America” sequel.
Educating the next generation of 3D printing enthusiasts
Jason isn’t resting on his laurels: he’s an active participant and educator in 3D printing communities, using the influx of new enthusiasts as motivation to “up his game.” Jason is banking on a growing generation of young 3D printing newbies to push the envelope.
“Five years ago, I could not have the conversations that I do today. We haven’t seen anything yet, in my opinion.”