I haven’t seen the Wolf of Wall Street yet. When I found out that there wasn’t going to be an actual stock trading wolf in it, I decided to pass. Now that I know that 3D printing was involved in the making of the film, I’ve given it a second thought. There weren’t any wild, 3D printed special effects — such as those employed by Jason Lopes of Legacy Effects — but 3D printing did help Martin Scorsese accomplish some of the cooler scenes in the movie.
Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, travels the world in his luxurious yacht, Nadine, gallivanting and carousing and, eventually <SPOILER ALERT> sinking </END SPOILER ALERT>. You know, only the sort of lifestyle that huge amounts of money can afford. In order to prepare for shooting the yacht scenes and for the digital animation that would go with it, Scorsese requested an accurate, physical model. To fulfill that time-sensitive task, the production company enlisted the Connecticut-based rapid prototyping firm InterPRO.
InterPRO Was given a vast number of 3D animation models of the ship, with “hundreds of thousands of 2D surfaces. These incredibly detailed models were perfect for animation, but almost unusable for 3D printing,” according to InterPRO’s owner and founder, Kevin Dyer. In turn, the firm set about making these files suitable for 3D printing, cutting away superfluous details and sealing the model for printing purposes.
In order to meet their deadline, InterPRO went about saving print time by cutting the model into two pieces and printing them separately in two SLA-5000 systems machines from 3D Systems. The two pieces were then fused together using the same UV curing, SLA process. Some minor sanding removed any support structures that the crew implemented. Finally, after the application of primer and a light coat of paint, the model of Nadine was brought to the set of production, where Scorsese was able to adequately plan the makings of a great movie that – disappointingly – did not have any literal wolves in it.
3D printing for the film industry is, by no means, the only field in which InterPRO works. The majority of their work has been for the defense, aerospace, architecture, electronics, medicine, and consumer markets. Judging by their cinematic track record, however, I doubt that this film will be their last.