Knockout robots in Real Steel

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A 3D printed concept model of the star robot, Atom, 1/5th scale, assembled and painted

That nice special effects man out in Hollywood has been at it again – Legacy Effect’s Jason Lopes has been tirelessly building more robots for the new film Real Steel.

The premise of the film is a bit dodgy in that it expects boxing to be not only outlawed by 2020, but that it will be replaced on an illegal underground fight scene by robotic competitors controlled by antipodean side-burn masters, such as Hugh Jackman.

But it was never going to be about the storyline, the emotive screenplay or the development of characters expanding their depth of feeling.

It’s about wanting to watch big lumps of metal smash ten-bells of shite out of one another.

To make the robots as real as possible for the film, animatronic robots were built with motion capture technology used to depict the fights, the robots themselves conceptualised using 3D printing.


A prototype printed off in Objet’s Vero Grey material

Legacy Effects was commissioned to build the robot models for the film with its senior systems engineer, Jason Lopes helping lead the way with his love of 3D printing.

Knocking out high resolution models on its array of Objet 3D printers allowed Legacy’s designers to go from concept to final design and into full size production in the shortest possible time.

As we covered a while back with the work Legacy Effects did for Iron Man 2, special effects and technical enhancements often come at a cost of increasing time delays. By being more efficient – such as beginning their special effects even while they are still rewriting the screenplay, or validating an effect in real-time during the actual filming process – using 3D printing allows studios to save on reshoots, editing and post production.

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