As originally reported by the West Australian online, the Perth season of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza production features costumes made using a 3D printer. This marks the very first time the Cirque has used the technology in its wardrobe department but results have been so encouraging that all 20 Cirque du Soleil shows may soon consider implementing one or more.
Kooza head of wardrobe Jason Brass said the printer allowed costume pieces, such as the King’s crown, which previously took 60 hours to make in Montreal, to be fabricated in Perth in 16 hours. The handmade crowns had a lifespan of about four months, while these new iterations last two years and are made from recyclable material.
Typically, Brass’ department would spend eight hours a day, six days a week, on costume maintenance but the 3D printer has reduced that to just eight hours in total for a 10-week Kooza season.
“So far it’s been working like a dream,” Brass said.
The video published by the West Australian, shows that the 3D printer used is a relatively simple and quite popular (especially in North America) LulzBot TAZ 6 model from Aleph Objects. Priced at just $2,500, the LulzBot TAZ 6 is among the most reliable, easiest-to-use desktop 3D printers available today.
It features self-leveling and self-cleaning, and a modular tool head design for flexible and multi-material upgrades. It is considered to be extremely reliable among the low cost systems and has one of the largest print volumes in its class, considering it is also easily transportable.
Of course, many of the 3D printed pieces in the Cirque du Soleil wardrobe still require a human touch — Cirque employs local artisans for each show — but the possibilities of 3D printing in bamboo, silver and plastic are truly endless as is the potential to reduce costs and even carbon footprint through a more optimized productivity.