What happens when you cross the world of ancient Egypt with the latest cutting-edge technology? The answer, as sci-fi fans will almost certainly know, is 1994’s Stargate, a movie that kick-started an entire multimedia franchise. But what happens when you cross Stargate with yet more groundbreaking high-tech?
If you’re anything like the folks at Belgium’s Musée royal de Mariemont, the answer to that question is a 3D-printed replica of the series’ iconic ring-shaped portal — sadly without the inter-dimensional travel part, though.
“We were approached by the museum as part of their planning for an exhibition called ‘From Stargate to Comics: The Egyptian Gods in the geek culture,’” Hermanns Christophe, CEO and owner of 3D-printing studio Vigo Universal, told Digital Trends. “In preparation for it, they came to us earlier this year and asked if we could use 3D printing to create a replica of the Stargate. We’re always excited about using 3D printing for unique projects, so we were happy to get involved.”
The lofty goal of building a 20-foot replica of the movie prop was a bold proposition. It wound up taking more than 1,000 working hours to create, and required the 3D printing of more than 2,000 separate parts, along with 10,000 cuttings. It involved a Flashforge 3D printer farm, Marchant Dice milling cutter, and a laser cutter.
“The biggest challenge was that we had no plans to work from,” Christophe said. “The only source materials we had were the movie and whatever images we could find on the internet. From that, we had to create everything for the 3D printing. This wasn’t a toy — this was something that had to look good as part of an exhibition, and had to be built to last.”
So what happens to the Stargate once the exhibition is finished, and how do we get our hands on it so it can take pride of place in our office? “We’ll have to ask the museum what they’re going to do with it after the exhibition,” Christophe laughed. “We don’t know what their plans are. But be warned: it’s very, very large. To move it is going to require a truck.”