3D Printing Documentary at SXSW

By Patrick Sisson / Published by Dwell
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The disruptive technology is ready for a closeup, with Print the Legend, a new documentary film on 3D printing premiering this week at SXSW.

It’s the "Macintosh Moment" for 3D printing, according to the filmmakers behind the documentary Print the Legend, which premiered at SXSW last week and won a special jury award for editing and storytelling, and we’re about to witness how the transition from industrial production to do-it-yourself experimentation disrupts industries and creates new ones.

Print the Legend directors Luis Lopez and J. Clay Tweel

Collaborators on films such as The King of Kong (which they both shot and edited), Lopez and Tweel were initially interested in making an Apple documentary, but then decided to find the next Apple and focus on burgeoning technology and 3D printing.

Directors Luis Lopez and J. Clay Tweel profiled the nascent industry, with extensive access to big players like MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis, Formlabs’ co-founder Max Lebovsky and Cody Wilson, the maverick behind the 3D printed gun. While the subject is cutting-edge, the press, including a glowing Variety review ("the dramatic trajectory here could hardly be more timeless or universally applicable"), suggest mainstream audiences well beyond the Texas tech fair will be checking out the future of 3D printing.

Formlabs Team Celebrates

The documentary focuses, in part, on the story of Formlabs, a company formed by a trio of MIT grads that raised just shy of $3 million on Kickstarter to fund the FORM 1 printer.

Bre Pettis of Makerbot

Co-founder and CEO of Brooklyn’s MakerBot, the charismatic Pettis once told WIRED magazine that one of his printers’ designs was like “Darth Vader driving Knight Rider’s KITT car while being airlifted by a Nighthawk spy plane.”

Visit the Print the Legend site to find out about future screenings.

Cody Wilson at a Firing Range

In 2013, Cody Wilson uploaded blueprints to make a 3D-printed gun that was downloaded 100,000 times in two days.

Patrick Sisson


During the course of his career writing about music and design, Patrick Sisson has made Stefan Sagmeister late for a date and was scolded by Gil Scott-Heron for asking too many questions. His work has appeared in Pitchfork, Nothing Major, Wax Poetics, Stop Smiling and Chicago Magazine.

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