How 3D Printing is Being Used in the Film and Television Industries

If you work in set or costume design in the film or television industries and you haven’t yet started using 3D printing in your role, it could honestly change your life!

3D printing solves lots of problems and creates many possibilities in the world of TV and filmmaking that will make your life easier, mean you need to hire less staff, and cause your production costs to be cheaper.

In recent years, the film and television industry have started using revolutionary 3D printing technology on many different levels. One of the most prominent applications of 3D printing, however, is for the manufacturing of costumes and props. There are many benefits of utilizing 3D printing technology over making props and costumes by hand:

  • 3D printing is incredibly flexible – we can 3d print in many different materials that can be made to look like any kind of surface, and can range from one off throw away pieces to durable set pieces that can be used again and again
  • 3D printing is affordable – Set pieces that would typically cost you thousands if they were hand made from scratch can cost just a few hundred dollars to 3D print
  • You can dress up your finished pieces however you’d like – Paint, sew into costumes, cover in dirt, your sets and prop pieces will be resilient and take any kind of finish that can be applied to plastic
  • Size and weight issues no longer an issue – 3D-printed props and sets can also be used without worrying about design and weight restrictions. For example, one of the 3D-printed hammers used in Thor has a realistic appearance, but it is made of rubber, which makes it easier to wield.

Want more famous examples?

Both the Deadpool mask and the Dorne dagger from Game of Thrones were 3D printed. Westworld‘s costumes and androids were also created using this technology.

In addition to the manufacturing or props, 3D printing is progressively playing a more significant part in the creation of special effects. This technology is used to create sets and environments that are much more compatible with the production of visual effects than computerized images.

This technology also plays an integral part in animation and stop motion. During a film’s production, 3D printed models can be used in early concept designs and pre-production, as well as in the making of replacement faces, and the marketing of the film. Movies that relied heavily on 3D printing include The Boxtrolls, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! and Missing Link.


No matter what the design style or period, if you can imagine it as a prop, costume or set piece, we can design and create it!

Why 3D Printing is Perfect for One-Off Props and Set Pieces

3D printing is making life easier for designers and builders of movie props and sets everywhere. This technology is ideal for these purposes for multiple reasons including:

More Affordable

3D printed movie props and 3D printed scenery are cheaper than sets and accessories that are made by hand. Traditionally, creators had to build a mold and cast the different parts. Molding is expensive. With 3D printing, we simply create an affordable CAD design, which can be re-used to print multiple copies with PLA filament or ABS, which are relatively affordable sculpting materials.

3D Printing is Faster

With 3D modelling and printing, the set pieces or props can be produced literally in a matter of hours. Speedy delivery means there is an opportunity for amendments to a design without delays. Additionally, if a master copy doesn’t work in a setting, following a different design will not make a big difference in the completion time. And if you’re on a deadline, 3d printing could make or break a production!

3D Prints Are Durable

Because of the mechanism behind 3D printing, a thermoplastic object can be designed to be more durable than an injection-molded equivalent. Metal parts that are 3D printed can also be incredibly strong, stronger in fact than a similar component that was made by casting. As a result, a 3D print can withstand more abrasion, and it will last for a longer time, perfect if your props or set pieces need daily or regular use, or are involved in fight scenes.

Can Be Finished to Look Like Any Material

One of the challenges during prop and set creation is to achieve a realistic appearance and finish. With 3D printing, it is possible to create fine detail and a true-to-life representation of the object you’re re-creating, which is crucial for giving your film and television production authenticity. 3D printed objects can be detailed to look like they are made of materials like wood or metal with minimal effort.

Process of Ordering a 3D Print

Ordering from us is very easy. We just need a product brief that contains (fairly basic) information about your idea. You can attach up to five files with your quote request, which can include rough sketches, photos of a similar design, rough dimensions, or even a written description of the concept.

We will review your brief and send you a quote to design and print the product within 24 hours at most, but usually within 5 – 10 minutes, as providing amazing customer service is a priority for us.

Once you’ve approved our quote, our master CAD designers then go to work, bringing your idea to life. In most cases you will have the end product within a week after requesting a quote, but if you need it expedited let us know!


Frequently Asked Questions

Get a Quote For Your Next Production

Here in Toronto the film and television industries are booming, but we don’t just work with companies that are close to us, JCAD – Inc. has been a global provider of high-end 3D printing and rapid prototyping solutions since 2006!

If you are making movies, TV or stage shows elsewhere in the world we can ship your 3D printed set pieces globally at a very affordable rate. Our CAD design and 3D printing experts also work very fast, so even with the shipping time added in, we’re still likely to get your products to you before our competitors.

Our team has all the necessary skills and experience to design your files and 3D print your design.

To receive a quote on high-quality 3D printing solutions that will make your next movie, television episode or stage show look amazing, give us a call on 1-888-202-2052 today or request a quote here. We usually respond to all quotes within 5 – 10 minutes.

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