WASP 3D printing takes center stage in backdrop at the opera in Rome - 3D Printing Industry
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WASP 3D printing takes center stage in backdrop at the opera in Rome

For one of its latest set designs, the prestigious Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in Italy has enlisted the help of large-scale 3D printer manufacturer WASP.

The set has been made for a production of Daniel Auber’s 1830 opera Fra Diavolo (Brother Devil). A story of thwarted love and intrigue, scenes play out in front of an arrangement of warped buildings, similar to the melting, surrealist artworks of Salvador Dalí.

Scaled model of warping Fra Diavolo facades used at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. Photo via WASProject
Scaled model of warping Fra Diavolo facades used at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Photo via WASProject

Recreating history 

WASProject’s brief was to make two stage-sized facades of historic buildings complete with windows and terraces.

To facilitate transportation, storage, and assembly, the set had to have a modular design. This approach also meant that the facades could be 3D printed inside a DeltaWASP 3MT, which has a maximum build cylinder of 1 meter x 1 meter.

Two Delta WASP 3MT 3D printers seen at Vision 2017 in London. Photo by Beau Jackson for 3D Printing Industry.
Two Delta WASP 3MT 3D printers seen at Vision 2017 in London. Photo by Beau Jackson for 3D Printing Industry.

233 pieces of PLA

The two backdrops were initially CAD modeled by the team in full. The designers then determined how to cut each model so it could be 3D printed in stages.

In total it took 223 panels of PLA to make the two sets. These were 3D printed by WASP over the course of 3 months using a bank of five 3MT machines.

A sample of the 223 3D printed pieces of scenery used to make building facades for Fra Diavolo. Photo via WASProject
A sample of the 223 3D printed pieces of scenery used to make building facades for Fra Diavolo. Photo via WASProject

3D printing takes center stage

Though the WASP facades may be the first of their kind in the theatre, it certainly isn’t the first time that a 3D printer has featured in the limelight.

FDM technology has been used almost since its inception to make miniature scene settings for the Broadway stage, and Cirque du Soliel’s costume department recently installed a 3D printer on tour to make more robust props.

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Featured image: View inside the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Photo by Silvia Lelli