Behind the scenes of Black Panther: 3D printed wearables

You have probably come across the excitement about Marvel’s latest superhero movie, Black Panter. Let’s bring out some elements that might inspire your creativity.

The aim of Head Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter was to bring the perfect mix between traditional African designs and the futuristic elements of the developed Wakanda community. She therefore approached Julia Koerner, a designer specialized in 3D-printed wearables.

Between tradition and hypermodernity

For those who have not seen the trailer or the movie, let’s say that Wakanda is an African country which is incredibly technologically advanced, but due to its isolation from the rest of the world, it has kept deep roots with its African culture.

That’s why, characters of the movie needed to wear both futuristic and ancient costumes.

In the case of T’Challa’s mother, Queen Ramonda, the answer to the puzzle lay in 3D Printing.” For Carter, Ramonda’s crown should look like the traditional crowns worn by married Zulu women and 3D printing enables to bring the futuristic touch that made it look “Wakandan”.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Ramonda (Angela Bassett)..Ph: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

So, our designer firstly digitally created a design which blends these two ideas, thereafter took advantage of Materialise’ service for the manufacturing part.

As far as the manufacturing is concerned, 3D printing expert chose Laser Sintering technology and the Polyamide 12 powder. As a reminder, laser Sintering is a 3D printing technology where a part is produced by melting together a layer of powder particles with a laser.

Once the first layer is done, a second layer is added and so on, until the part has been completely built up. When using Polyamide 12, the resulting parts tend to be sturdy and stiff, making it (at first glance) an unusual choice of material for a design which required a degree of flexibility.

However, the company explained that the end results of a 3D-printed part are just as dependent on the design as on the material and technology. Julia then came up with a structure that was designed in the extent that it enables the flexibility of the laser-sintered polyamide.

The resulting pieces were supple enough to be worn comfortably by Angela Bassett, the actress playing Queen Ramonda, and stiff enough to retain their shape and maintain that imposing royal bearing.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER
Ramonda (Angela Bassett)
Photo: Matt Kennedy
©Marvel Studios 2018

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