Wearable Technology The Secret to High-Tech Armor in “Iron Man 2″: 3D Printing on Demand
Legacy Effects, the film’s production company, fashioned Iron Man’s suit (and the one worn by his super-foe Whiplash) with a 3D printer by Objet Geometries. The printer uses an ink cartridge of powdered plastic to print an ultra-thin layer, which is then “cured” using ultraviolet light and swabbed with paint as a finishing touch. From concept to prototype, the process takes mere hours. Besides truncating the time and cost of production development cycles—as well as eliminating much of the intervening supply chain—the technology has another advantage: Custom-fitted pieces that meld to the wearer like a second skin.