Formlabs CBO Luke Winston on recent high


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Formlabs CBO Luke Winston on recent high

by Oliver Johnson 29 November 2022 10:00 Formlabs parts finished with

by Oliver Johnson

29 November 2022


Formlabs parts finished with ceramic resin, giving them certain useful properties.

Formlabs 3D printers have been used for several high-profile applications in recent months. Dreamsmith Studio used Form 3L printers to create life-like props for the TV show Raised by Wolves, which featured multiple episodes directed by Ridley Scott, while the company's Form 3 printers were used by Hasbro for the Selfie Series range of customisable action figures.

At Formnext 2022, Luke Winston, Formlabs Chief Business Officer, told TCT why Formlabs printers were selected for these applications, and how the ideas applied in them could be beneficial in other areas in the future.

Winston said: "What's interesting about the desktop stereolithography is its super high resolution, very wide array of materials, properties like the look and feel of it, as well as the performance of it. When it's being used for props for movies or TV show sets, they have a tremendous amount of versatility, and because of that surface finish that they have, you can print things that are life realistic, but you can also finish them in a lot of different ways."

In Raised by Wolves, the technology was used for creating a hyper-realistic replica of an actress’ body, one that needed to be hanging from the neck, with half of her face missing. This would typically have involved a lengthy process where a silicone life-cast would have been created, with the actress’ face needing to be covered with silicone and plaster to create the mould.

"They did a tremendous amount of painting, finishing, and ended up getting things that look like real human body parts, real human faces. Raised by Wolves is a very futuristic, fantasy show, and so they came up with some amazingly creative things, and sometimes some gory things, that they did with stereolithography. They were actually able to pull it off. You wouldn't be able to do that with FDM printing and other kinds of printing because the surface finish of SLA is so amazing," added Winston.


Mother - Raised by Wolves.

Speaking about where 3D printing has been used elsewhere in TV, Winston said: "For Stranger Things they printed a Demogorgon, it's been used by many prop artists for a lot of different kinds of shows and movies. What's interesting about it is they can do so much painting and detailing on it, that, at least on camera, it looks real even when it's a futuristic, fantasy kind of thing."

Read more: Fit for a queen - 3D printing brings futuristic wearables to life in Marvel's Black Panther

Speaking about how the Formlabs post-processing that is used for film and TV can be utilised in other industries, Winston said: "We have a liquid ceramic coating that can be sprayed onto a part, not only does it colour it, but it has abrasion resistance and other things like that. So, you can actually have different looks and feels and surface finishes, but also different material properties as you finish things. That's why Hollywood gets the most creative, but you can have applications in other industries as well."

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Exhibit at the UK's definitive and most influential 3D printing and additive manufacturing event, TCT 3Sixty.

Working with Formlabs, Hasbro recently launched the Selfie Series, a range of customisable action figures. A customer can scan their face and have it replicated on a figure of their choosing, such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, the Mandalorian, a ghostbuster, a Power Ranger, and many more. Hasbro used Form 3 printers from Formlabs for this application. The toy manufacturer has used Formlabs printers for prototyping since 2014, but first began using 3D printing almost two decades before that.


Hasbro Selfie Series figures.

Speaking about Formlabs printers being used at Hasbro, Winston said: "Hasbro is an awesome example. We’ve been working with Hasbro for years on the prototyping side, they had one of our Form 3s, and Form 2s if you go back far enough. Now, we’re actually producing the faces, the hair, the different customised components on our printers. It's the same printer that the designers had on their desktops. What's super amazing about a Formlabs product is you go from design to prototyping and manufacturing on the same product, whereas I don't think anyone else is really doing that kind of thing."

Winston again mentioned the versatility of Formlabs 3D printers, and how the same systems can be used for different applications in different industries. A common message at Formnext was how people at various roles within 3D printing companies are looking forward to the future of additive manufacturing for healthcare.

Winston spoke about how the same type of mass customisation that was used for the Hasbro Selfie Series can be used for medical applications: "One of the things that requires the most customisation is the human body. They [Hasbro] are customising a face on a doll, but if you think about the healthcare side of things, with orthotics or prosthetics, you want it to be able to conform to the human body in a more customised way, as opposed to being very standard."

Speaking about the facial details on the Selfie Series, Winston said: "I can have my face on Iron Man with a man bun. It's actually my face and you wouldn't traditionally be able to get that detail without a powerful camera and powerful scanner, but this now happens to be in your pocket. It's an interesting dynamic moment of technology coming together."

Read more: TCT recently spoke to both Hasbro and Formlabs about the Selfie Series action figures in the latest edition of our magazine, available to read online.

Formlabs printers are used in healthcare for applications such as pre surgical planning, where a patient with, for example, a brain tumour is scanned, the tumour and/or the skull is printed, and surgeons can practice the procedure before doing it for real on the actual patient.

Winston spoke about how these types of applications stand out from the rest, as people can emotionally connect with them: "The things I get excited about tend to be more on the healthcare side of things, because it's easy to have an emotional connection, like with applications such as pre surgical guides and anatomical models for pre surgical planning. I actually have friends who went through this because a loved one was suffering from this kind of trauma. It was a helpful thing for the doctors, as well as being helpful emotionally for the family to be able to see what was going on."

Winston also spoke about 3D printed prosthetics: "As we’ve got more into healthcare, we’re getting more excited about prosthetics that are now so much more functional. Anatomical models help with procedures, but with prosthetics, you’re actually customising a piece of somebody's body, we are now enabling things like bionic hands.


Formlabs Fuse 1+30W.

"That's where I start to get really excited, where 3D printing can enable humans to do different things than they could before."

At the Formlabs booth at the 2022 show in Frankfurt, the team was displaying the Fuse 1+ 30W printer, which launched earlier this year, and the company's new Nylon 11 CF Powder. The new powder is a strong, ductile, and is "highly impact and heat resistant" according to Winston. According to Formlabs, a benefit of the Fuse 1+ 30W is that most traditional SLS printers aren't travel-ready, but this machine is designed for ease of set-up at both tradeshows and in facilities.

by Oliver Johnson

29 November 2022


Formlabs Dreamsmith Studio Hasbro Formnext TCT Read more Want to discuss? Join the conversation on the TCT Additive Manufacturing Network. Get your FREE print subscription to TCT Magazine. Exhibit at the UK's definitive and most influential 3D printing and additive manufacturing event, TCT 3Sixty. Read more