Darth Vader gets a face-lift

June 2, 2005
Jedi-knight-turned-dark-sider Darth Vader has a better-fitting, more symmetrical mask.

The Roland MDX-20 desktop milling device prototyped the new mask for the upcoming Star Wars Episode III, "Revenge of the Sith." Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the studio famous for its special effects, used the device to customize the mask especially for actor Hayden Christiansen's head.

The MDX-20 helped ILM in several ways. After the studio created a life-size mold of Christiansen's head, it fitted the desktop device with its touch probe sensor and scanned one side of the mask. Designers mirrored the other side by simply reversing the digital file in the software. Then, after joining the two, they attached the device's spindle tip to mill the mask's surface.

Now, if only something could be done about the poor guy's breathing.

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