Gunnersbury Park Museum approached us about creating several 3D replica models of props from sci-fi TV and films, to be displayed at their exhibition titled ‘Set to Stun’.
The exhibition celebrates the world of science fiction, spanning from the 1960s to today, where visitors are treated to interactive displays from beloved British sci-fi classics such as Doctor Who, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Red Dwarf.
We were tasked with replicating the F.O.A.D Gun from Red Dwarf, a Monster Prosthetic Head, and the TARDIS from ‘Doctor Who’.
The 3D-printed replica props would be accessible to the public to see and touch, while the original props would be displayed safely behind glass. Having 3D replica props available would enhance the museum experience for all visitors but most importantly improve accessibility for individuals who are blind or partially sighted, as they could touch the 3D-printed objects.
The 3D replicas also had to be finished in a custom colour, RAL Expressionism Green.
The manufacture of each 3D-printed prop presented its own challenges. We were unable to remove the original props from the exhibit, so the client provided high-quality photos of these props from different angles, which we used as visual references.
The Monster Prosthetic Head, a highly organic shape, required meticulous digital sculpting to obtain the surface detail required. We 3D-printed the head as a single piece, which took 120-hours.
The TARDIS, being a well-known iconic object, required research into the shape to ensure the details were accurately modelled.
The Red Dwarf F.O.A.D. gun was the most challenging object to replicate. The gun was created as a whole piece in CAD software from the reference photos provided by the client. The manufacturing process required us to carefully deconstruct this CAD model into component parts. We then 3D-printed each part of the gun at a high resolution. All parts were then assembled and post-processed by our finishing artists.
We incorporated a base as part of each 3D model that is fully integrated, with screw holes added for fixing the object to a plinth or table at the exhibit.
After 3D-printing, we smoothed the props by hand. All 3 props required finishing in a custom RAL colour, chosen by the client. We ordered a hard-wearing acrylic paint mixed in this custom colour, which we then applied to the surface of the 3D prints.
The props are 3D-printed in Tough PLA material, which is a highly durable PLA (polylactic acid). We chose this material because it provides high impact resistance, as the objects would be handled by thousands of visitors.
For this commission, we immersed ourselves in the world of model making, bringing together 3D Design, 3D Printing, and meticulous hand finishing.
Our skilled in-house 3D Artists and Technicians brought to life the F.O.A.D Gun from Red Dwarf, a Monster Prosthetic Head, and the iconic TARDIS from ‘Doctor Who’.
The 3D-printed replica props can be touched by members of the public, while the original props are behind glass. This allows all visitors, and particularly individuals who are blind or partially sighted, to interact with the props. This has improved accessibility of the exhibit.
These 3D-printed replicas are on display at the Gunnersbury Park Museum, during their immersive exhibition ‘Set to Stun’, which runs between October 2023 and June 2024.
The project showcases how 3D Design, 3D Printing and hand-finishing come together to create interactive exhibit pieces.
We are an award-winning 3D Design, 3D Printing and Finishing studio founded in 2016 and based at the Design District in North Greenwich.
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