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With such slender props, will Hangzhou Xintiandi dare to let Cirque du Soleil actors perform acrobatics on them?

Circuses is always one of the best gifts for children, where they can explore the world of fantasy with abandon.
On the shores of the beautiful West Lake, a performance that has enchanted audiences around the world is about to take place, and a new fantasy world is opening.This is the Hangzhou Xintiandi Sun Theater, built for 1.5 billion yuan. It is the only resident venue for the Canadian
Cirque du Soleil in Asia.Here is “X the Land of Fantasy,” an immersive fantasy show with the theme of “Touching Dreams.”


The Cirque du Soleil is famous around the world. It has been hailed as the national treasure of Canada. It has won many awards, including a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Bambi Award. The show should be listed as a must-see for everyone.Gao Xiaosong has praised the Cirque du Soleil many times in his talkshow "XiaoSong Qitan." In its early years, people went to Las Vegas and other places to watch their shows. But today, people from all over the world will want to fly to Hangzhou to watch.
" X the Land of Fantasy " is the largest performance of Cirque du Soleil. As the latest milestone for Cirque du Soleil, this show has been polished for five years, in terms of creative design, character design, costume design and prop design. Everything has been perfected, and it is a fantastic journey that has never been seen before. 

Shocking acrobatic performances, stunning stage effects, dramatic storytelling, and fantastic scenes that transcend reality present the audience with a dazzling legend that represents the top level of live performance in the world.
But, "X the Land of Fantasy" is different from previous performances. It is a breakthrough of art and technology. It is a "tailored" big show, so let's see if there’re any unknown new technologies.
5 years of preparation, 30 days of printing, Guangzhou Deed 3D creates a fantasy stage with Stratasys
"X the Land of Fantasy" has made great advancements in stage design and construction. The huge 100-meter wide moving stage can be used with any combination of 3D props, video mapping, and trap doors.

Creating a multi-dimensional immersive experience has always been the style of Cirque du Soleil, and the main prop for this show is the 420-square meter "forest.” The stunning performance and the fabulous story slowly unfold in this forest.



In the construction of the stage, the challenge for the set design team was that past props were basically static displays and did not have any connection with the actors. There was not much need for materials of cost-saving SLA or other technology applications.
However, since the Cirque du Soleil performers will be interspersed with the scenery, and they need to perform on the "tree branches," the stage props need to be durable and light, and allow staff to easily carry and assemble the various parts.
Most importantly, the stage components must be able to withstand the weight of multiple adults, while requiring sufficient tension and toughness, allowing the actors to perform a variety of difficult acrobatics.The props must be able to withstand the intensity of the performance, and the challenge creates a technical requirement for reducing the splicing of the molding material and the larger molding size.


In the design and production of stage props, Cirque du Soleil has commissioned the well-known 3D printing service provider Guangzhou Deed 3D. Teams from both sides examined a range of printing solutions and agreed that the unique advantages of Stratasys FDM technology would be the best choice to address these challenges.
Guangzhou Deed 3D has specialized in 3D printing solutions for 12 years, meeting the comprehensive needs of customers from “design verification to on-demand manufacturing.” As a Stratasys distribution partner, it also has the largest Stratasys printing center in the Asia Pacific region, equipped with multiple Stratasys industrial grade 3D printers.
In order to match the designer's original design as closely as possible during construction, the company decided to use Stratasys 3D printing to produce the large-scale sets, special props, and load-bearing frames.he “forest” has thick roots that were printed with Stratasys' high-rigidity FDM Nylon 12cf material, which is attached to the stage equipment. This composite material can replace aluminum alloy materials, is lightweight and sturdy, and is suitable for high-performance components.The “forest branches” require strength and flexibility, and were printed with Stratasys PC-ABS thermoplastic material with excellent toughness and impact strength. The Stratasys ABS sparse printing mode ensured the top of the branches would have reduced weight through the sparse interior.With the continuous printing capabilities of Stratasys, these materials were perfectly integrated into the same print unit, which is why the “forest” is so strong and tough. Five or six actors, weighing up to 400 kilograms, can rotate, roll, jump, and perform other large movements on the slender branches, offering the realism that traditional sets cannot provide.
In addition, with Stratasys equipment, rugged ABS materials, soft TPU materials, and lightweight and sturdy nylon 12cf materials, the company also printed special items for the show's costumes, adding to the realism of the fantasy experience. At the same time, through the specially printed stage cable to connect small pieces, , the safety in the stage construction was greatly improved, and the weight of the connecting pieces was reduced.
The dragon and phoenix symbolize the East and West

ABS paint offers stable, sturdy, durable, and rotatable parts with good finish
Crown
TPU materials offer high component elongation, superior toughness, and full design freedom.

Dragon / Phoenix Quan

High-transparency parts do not suffer yellowing and softening under the spotlight.


Nylon 12cf material with low friction coefficient and wear resistance brings light weight.

Extended reading:
FDM Nylon 12cf is the material in Stratasys' new nylon product line, which contains 35% broken carbon fiber and is a high strength, high stiffnes,and light weight composite with the highest flexural strength of all FDM thermoplastics.Compared to any other additive manufacturing technology, FDM Nylon 12cf parts have an elongation at break of 100%-300% and excellent fatigue resistance.This composite material can replace aluminum alloys, is lightweight and rugged, and is suitable for high-performance components for rugged, lightweight tools and end-use applications, primarily for the aerospace, automotive, and consumer industries, providing unmatched toughness.
PC-ABS is the most widely used thermoplastic engineering plastic, and PC-ABS provides the best performance for both PC and ABS materials. It has excellent mechanical properties and heat resistance of PC, and has high impact strength. At the same time, it also has the excellent bending strength, characteristic details and beautiful appearance of ABS.
Using PC-ABS materials, the strength of the parts made with Stratasys equipment is about 60% higher than that of traditional FDM systems. Most of them are used in the automotive, home appliance and communication industries. They are conceptual models, functional prototypes, and manufacturing tools, and the ideal material for final part manufacturing.
Stratasys maximizes original design, and the Fortus 900mc is designed for large size printing.
The printed forest and a large number of special props - the subtle combination of high technology and art - creates a live show that people will want to watch many times.This is a demonstration of Stratasys FDM technology, showing the complex geometry and performance that other technologies can't match.
Hou Jie, general manager of Guangzhou Deed 3D, said that this specially shaped stage design is especially suitable for 3D printing. Through the 3D printed stage design, the actors can perform acrobatics on the props, offering an unparalleled immersion.Initially, Cirque du Soleil chose desktop and other printing solutions and printed some test samples. However, the materials weren’t tough enough, and they needed to be spliced more than ten times, resulting in insufficient strength that could not meet the safety requirements of the stage performance.
Because of the demanding requirements of Cirque du Soleil, Mr. Marshall, the director of the Cirque du Soleil set design team, personally toured the factory of Guangzhou Deed 3D for project supervision. The engineering team analyzed the design samples and decided to use Nylon, PC-ABS, ABS, and other materials for production.
   

At the same time, the Stratasys Fortus 900mc printer was chosen for the large printing, with two joints to achieve the size requirements, and internal space to reduce the weight and cost.
In the manufacturing process, Guangzhou Deed 3D directly imported the design data into Stratasys GrabCAD software to optimize the data before printing. By optimizing the internal stress concentration area, it was alleviated by a tight cross-mesh structure, which not only ensured the material properties of the parts, but also greatly improved the material stress of the key parts.In addition, Stratasys FDM technology is particularly easy to surface finish, whether with pneumatic grinding or manual fit. Because the overall sample was strong, there was no need to worry about any damage in the post-processing, which greatly improves the efficiency.
In addition, Stratasys FDM technology is particularly easy to surface finish, whether with pneumatic grinding or manual fit. Because the overall sample was strong, there was no need to worry about any damage in the post-processing, which greatly improves the efficiency.
 


Guangzhou Deed 3D also provided set testing that met the requirements of the client. All aspects, such as drops, vibration, and impacts, were fully considered. A drop at 3 meters left the parts unscathed during testing.In the end, multiple Stratasys Fortus 900mc were commissioned, along with professional post-processing, to deliver all parts on time and in good quality and to pass Cirque du Soleil assembly and performance testing.
                                                                                                      
The Stratasys F900 is the most accurate and powerful FDM system designed for large-scale, production-grade designs, with the largest printing size in the Fortus family. It comes with exceptional accuracy, repeatability, and predictability for optimum productivity and reliability.According to Hou, with such large and difficult set and prop design, if you use traditional methods, the cost may be 7 times that of 3D printing.“We spent less than a month from testing to completing the entire delivery, which was five times faster than traditional methods, guaranteeing the necessary training time for the actors. All the actors trained and rehearsed for 3 months. There were no problems."“As a 3D printing service center, we have deployed a lot of printers, but Stratasys devices are the only devices that can print different materials on the same printer by replacing the print cartridge. This is a unique advantage in the industry. For this project, several different materials could be printed continuously to realize the manufacture of the forest scenery," Hou emphasized.
“Stratasys' technical support team is the largest of all foreign brands, there are no language barriers, and support for partners is very strong. Stratasys' entire training program, with new technologies and the application of new materials, is being introduced in the country for the first time, and it is difficult for other brands to compare.”
The bottom line
The Hangzhou Xintiandi Sun Theater has created a new model for set and prop design using 3D printing. The whole project is the largest application like it in the world.Stratasys has many successful applications in the field of art and technology with its strong advantages in FDM technology and high-performance printing materials and “X the Land of Fantasy” has undoubtedly become an iconic achievement for Stratasys.
This is one of the outstanding examples of Stratasys 3D printing technology, and more exciting stories are about to unfold.