Star Wars: Episode VII to use 3D printing technology?

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A few hours ago, Harry Knowles tweeted:

hear we’re going to learn a lot from JJ’s STAR WARS in the advancement of practical effects. 3D Printing is revolutionary!

Conceptually, it is a very cool idea. With many consumer level 3D printers out there only costing a few thousand dollars, it seems likely you could produce Stormtrooper parts on some of them, for instance. Items modeled in 3D at ILM in California could be produced in physical form by the creature shop at Pinewood, perfectly. It is worth noting that parts of Iron Man’s costume have been created in a 3D printer in the past. Now, a few years since that first occurred, it seems likely the cost and feasibility has only become more likely on a film like Star Wars. 

Here is an example of 3D printing at the basic level printing a Yoda bust:

Perhaps this is how J.J. Abrams will reconcile George Lucas’ vision of a digital future with some fan’s cravings for a “practical” past?

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