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When Formlabs 3D Printers Become the Stars of the Show

Lights on, cameras rolling, 3D printer running! In the enchanting world of movies, where every detail matters, even the props play a crucial role in creating immersive and believable environments.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes our famous desktop 3D printer makes an appearance as a star prop? From futuristic spaceships to intricate accessories, our iconic orange machines have been playing supporting roles, both on- and off-screen, shaping the visual landscapes of your favorite films and TV shows. 

Join us as we dive into the fascinating world of Formlabs 3D printers as props in the background of movies.

Marvel Labs: State-of-the-Art Backgrounds

In the Marvel universe, the prop department doesn't just use Formlabs 3D printers to create and develop props, sometimes, the printer simply is the prop. Indeed, you will find our very recognizable printers in the background of many Marvel Cinematic universe labs, the ‘iconic orange Formlabs machine’ as Russell Bobbit, Marvels Propmaster, puts it. 

As the team reunites at the Avengers compound in this scene from Avengers Infinity War, you can see the Form 2 in the background, as a piece of equipment in the lab. It’s just a quick cameo — blink and you’ll miss it. However, we got a screenshot just in time so you could see it too.

Screenshot from Avengers: Infinity War

Source: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

“Tony Stark’s workshop needs to be the best. It needs to be the most updated, top-of-the-line equipment because he’s a multi-billionaire engineer,” Bobbitt explains. “We need to really portray that.” Other examples of our printers being used as props in Marvel projects include Hank Pym’s workshop in Ant-Man, Bruce Banner’s lab in She-Hulk, and Jane Foster’s lab in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Form 1 printer in the background of Pym’s workshop in Ant-Man

Source: Ant-Man (2015)

Bobbitt’s vision for Hank Pym’s lab was to combine old and new technologies, so the Form 1 was a perfect addition to bring this vision to life. When it comes to She-Hulk, Bruce Banner’s lab is more modern and filled with the latest technologies. Due to its futuristic look, the Form 3+ fits right in.

Screenshot from She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

Source: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, “A Normal Amount of Rage” (2022) 

Screenshot from She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Screenshot from Thor: Love and Thunder

Source: Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

Red Notice: the Unforgettable Artifact Heist, Enabled by 3D Printing

In the 2021 Netflix production Red Notice, the Form 1 is actually part of the plot. Within the first two minutes of the movie, we see Ryan Reynolds’ character, an international art thief, use the Form 1 to print a replica of Cleopatra’s egg. In the first action-packed scene of the movie, the prominent art thief exchanges the real egg, on display in an Italian museum, with the fake, which then leads to a chase through the museum halls.

Screenshot from Red Notice

Source: Red Notice (2021)

The High-Tech Revival of Charlie's Angels

In the most recent reboot of Charlie’s Angels, Elena Houghlin, engineer and programmer, has developed an energy conservation device called Calisto. After discovering a potentially dangerous flaw in the system, Elena’s life is threatened by mysterious people. That’s when  Angels Sabina and Jane, come to the rescue. Together, the three women break into the headquarters of Brok Industries in order to steal the existing prototypes of the Calisto device. 

It’s in the Brok Industries labs that the Form 2s make an appearance; as Elena Houghlin retrieves the prototype in her lab, she walks past a room filled with Form 2s.

Screenshot from the Charlie’s Angels reboot

Source: Charlie’s Angels (2019)

Screenshot from the Charlie’s Angels reboot

Tech-Savvy Superhero Dads in Secret Headquarters (2022)

In the 2022 superhero comedy, Secret Headquarters, Owen Wilson plays a divorced dad, who also happens to be a superhero. In the movie, his son, Charlie, and his friends discover his secret superhero underground lair, which includes all sorts of tools and instruments and, you've probably guessed it, a Formlabs 3D printer. On the cluttered working station, between the random apparatuses and miscellaneous objects, we distinguish the recognizable orange lid of the Form 2. The printer is visible on screen a few times throughout the movie.

Screenshot from Secret Headquarters

Source: Secret Headquarters (2022)

Black Mirror's Twisted Tales of Technology

If reading the news is not enough to induce anxiety and fear of the future, we recommend watching Black Mirror. In one episode of the widely popular show, a detective investigates mysterious deaths linked to autonomous robotic bees. These remarkable bees are the brainchild of the fictional tech giant, Granular. This scene unfolds in their state-of-the-art lab where the bright orange lids inevitably grab our attention. Granular owns not one but at least eight Form 1 3D printers, which is befitting of their standing as a leading tech company. 

Screenshot from an episode of Black Mirror

Source: Black Mirror, “Hated in the Nation” (2016)

Printing Peculiarities: Misguided Adventures with our 3D Printer

Screenshot from an episode of Person of Interest

Source: Person of Interest, “Provenance” (2014)

In an episode of Person of Interest, Harold Finch acquires a 3D printer and duplicates someone’s fingerprints in order to use them to enter a secure facility. The scene is a bit misleading, since this is an inaccurate representation of how our printers operate and how fast they can print a high-quality part. Because every layer is cured one after the other, with the layer thickness being between 25 and 300 microns, a print like this would most likely take a few hours. But it’s only a matter of time, as 3D printing is getting faster and faster with each new printer generation and fast-printing materials like Draft Resin.

Screenshot from an episode of Star Trek: Picard

Source: Star Trek: Picard, “Fly Me to the Moon” (2022)

Screenshot from an episode of Star Trek: Picard

Another example of our printers being used inaccurately on TV is in the fifth episode of Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard. In the Star Trek sequel, Dr. Soong is seen discovering a printed part in his Form 3L, sent to him by Q. 

Note that in the episode, the 3D printer produces a metal part that doesn’t seem to require any post-processing, which is misleading since the Form 3L is a stereolithography 3D printer that prints plastic parts, and once a part has been printed, it still needs to go through a few post-processing steps. But maybe one day… Who knows?

The Options Are "Limitless" When Using Formlabs Printers

Screenshot from an episode of Limitless

Source: Limitless, “Fundamentals of Naked Portraiture” (2016)

Limitless follows Brian Finch, a burnout and struggling musician who gets introduced to NZT-48, a powerful drug that enhances his mental acuity. He becomes the smartest person in the world for twelve hours after ingesting the pill, and works with the FBI to solve crime. 

During season 1 of the show, we see Brian getting familiar with the people at CRAFT, a high-level tech research facility, which is where we see the Form 1s making an appearance. As Brian and Special Agent Harris investigate a murder, they work with CRAFT to uncover the culprit

Prescription for Hilarity: Workin' Moms' Pharmaceutical Labs

Screenshot from an episode of Workin’ Moms

Source: Workin’ Moms, “Fast and Soft” (2023)

Workin’ Moms follows the lives of five friends that are dealing with the challenges of being working mothers. In an episode in Season 7, Episode 8, Kate Foster, who works at a PR agency, discovers that the pharmaceutical company she’s currently working with is covering up dangerous side effects of a new drug that’s set to hit the market soon. In this scene, she goes to talk to Raymond Ablack, aka Ram, who’s in charge of the project. She looks for him in the lab, which is where we can notice a Form 2 and what looks to be a Form Wash with the lid open.

Did we miss any other cameos? Did you see our notorious orange lids in other entertainment we haven’t mentioned here? Please feel free to share those cameos with us on social media!