Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

3D printing is a cutting-edge technique for producing items. The technique was used at least once for Star Trek Beyond and has also been employed to manufacture various props and costumes for Star Trek: Discovery.

From the moment DIS Lead Creature Designer Neville Page was brought to work on Star Trek: Discovery, introducing 3D printing to televized Star Trek was an objective of his. "Because of my interest in costume design, and coming in from Tron, Oblivion, and a few other films," he explained, "I felt Discovery would be a great opportunity to utilize all these 3D modeling and 3D printing technologies that we've used in a few films, but we haven't used in this capacity on TV." Page recommended using the process to showrunners Bryan Fuller, Aaron Harberts, and Gretchen J. Berg, when Page had a meeting with them. "I had literally a bag of 3D printed parts [...] and said, 'If you don't use me, you still have to use this technology, because it will yield stuff that we've not seen in very many major films, and we've never seen on a television budget.'" (Star Trek Magazine issue 190, p. 43) Glenn Hetrick also saw the potential of utilizing 3D printing in the series. (Star Trek Magazine issue 192, p. 46) For Star Trek: Discovery, the actual 3D printing has been done by the company 3D Systems/Gentle Giant Studios, which specializes in 3D printing.

On-screen uses

For Star Trek Beyond, 3D printing was used to produce concept designs for a Vulcan vokaya necklace featured in the movie. [1] Items which have been 3D printed for use in Star Trek: Discovery include:

The aforementioned Vulcan badges and Starfleet insignia badges were 3D printed in Toronto. ("Star Trek Exhibition" at DIS: "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" screening, Millbank Tower, London, UK, 5 November 2017) The fabric for the Starfleet uniforms, including myriads of tiny Starfleet insignias to cover the sides of the uniforms, was 3D printed in Switzerland. (Star Trek Magazine issue 190, p. 20)

Official merchandise

Anovos uses 3D printing to construct replicas of DIS-era Starfleet hand phasers. (Star Trek Magazine issue 192, p. 73)

On 21 February 2018, Cryptic Studios announced a partnership with Mixed Dimensions, who will create 3D printed versions of customized ships for Star Trek Online players. The partnership starts in March. [2]

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