When the minds at the British Propshop Modelmakers Ltd. were looking for new ways to produce their props they found that the German voxeljet met their needs wonderfully. Though the VX4000 printers at voxeljet could have produced the whole 1:3 scale car as a single piece in one print, each car was made of 18 pieces as the Brits wanted realistic functionality. And they got realistic; after Propshop painted them it’s difficult (impossible) to discern that they’re fakes. I watched the movie and I can think of only one scene where I knew that I wasn’t looking at a real car, and that’s only because I had read about this beforehand. As the prop people at Weta Workshop and White Room Artifacts know, it’s generally cheaper and faster to have props printed than to build them by hand, and the results are just as good, but usually way better.
The original Aston Martin DB5 is obviously worth a pretty penny, but since one of these models was auctioned for nearly $100,000, (SPOILER ALERT) it makes the cost of exploding one of the others for the film seem exaggerated (but paid for). But other than lower costs, less time, and higher quality, there may be a future reason to have 3D printing in film studios. The allegations of animal cruelty made against the makers of the upcoming Hobbit movie came with a request for the CGI master Peter Jackson to commit to using no real animals in his films; there’s been no such commitment made so far, but 3D printing will surely be there to help if it ever happens. In the meantime, at least real cars can be spared the brutality of Hollywood.
Spoiler: Bond's Old Aston Martin is a New 3D Print
by Cameron Naramore