Partnering with Contract Manufacturers for Custom Entertainment Industry Projects

Feb 12, 2024 | Contract Manufacturing, News


Technological advancements within the entertainment industry have allowed special effects that were once impossible to achieve to wow audiences, with much of this work done through contract manufacturing. Contract manufacturing examples of CNC and other machining work are found in the movie industry, theatrical performances, music concerts, exhibitions, and other entertainment events.

CNC Machining & Other Manufacturing Methods for the Entertainment Industry

Though much of the machining work in the entertainment industry involves unique pieces found in films or other productions, other examples of such work tend to lean towards components for staging, backdrops, camera rigging, or brackets for lighting fixtures – all of which need to be machined from specific metals. Using contract manufacturers for machining work has become increasingly common for those who work with mobile stage consoles, cabling & rigging, scaffolding, theatrical sets, or other objects in event and convention centers.

Advantages of contract manufacturing include: 

  • Clients of contract manufacturers tend to have more input regarding aspects like output, materials, and quality for subcomponents and subsystems made.  
  • Often having greater flexibility regarding supply chain issues as contract manufacturers can better provide a range of services in-house and with select partners.
  • With fewer product liability or intellectual property aspects associated with contract manufacturing, examples of such partnerships tend to focus simply on production services.

Regarding accuracy and precision in machining work for contract manufacturing, CNC technology is often the standard due to its reliability. Parts made using CNC machining last longer and provide better dependability, reducing the chance of downtime that can lead to delays in entertainment productions. While there are other precision machining methods, CNC technology has capabilities that make it particularly useful in making complex designs for the entertainment and convention industry.  

Contract Manufacturing: Examples Within the Entertainment and Convention Industry

Manufacturing examples include injection molding for items that require quicker production and larger throughputs, though CNC machining also plays a significant role in the making of molds. While 3D printing certainly has a place in producing items for the entertainment industry, for precision components that require tight tolerances and durability, CNC machining is the better option as it can achieve the best precision. Additionally, other types of machining can play roles in the work needed by the sector, such as EDM (electrical discharge machining), laser, rotary transfer, and waterjet machining.

Some contract manufacturers, however, can assist with innovative DFMA (design for manufacture and assembly) solutions that can be helpful for entertainment companies needing to engineer and manufacture items on contract. A manufacturing example of this might take into account the need for both aesthetic and dependable pieces that work optimally during a performance. Partnering with a seasoned contract manufacturer for an efficient solution can lead to potential issues being resolved before production even begins.

Examples are plentiful with all the work done for the entertainment industry through contract manufacturing. Contract manufacturers can use CNC technology to machine precision components. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg, with the possibility of vendors who do assembly work, metal fabrication, powder-coating, and silk-screening. Some even work on dimming, lighting systems, and other end-use products.

More Commonplace items like adapters and brackets are also needed for lighting, staging, and trussing applications. Many of these commonly machined items are specialized and can be made under contract. Other examples might include lighting fixtures that can project and bring beams of light to where they’re needed. The magic of live concerts, theatrical performances, or large-scale sporting events couldn’t exist without technology and an experienced machinist’s help.

Some contract manufacturing examples within the entertainment industry include: 

  • Automated “flying” platforms for halftime shows in sporting events like the Super Bowl.
  • Bodies of specialty vehicles like movie cars and bodies for theme park rides.
  • Camera rig components for specially designed apparatus that provide a unique point of view, attaching to an actor to allow immersive shots.
  • Chiseling, cutting, sculpting, and otherwise shaping pieces of movie and stage sets, which are often bulky yet lightweight.
  • Components and tooling for complex machinery used in the entertainment industry, such as camera stands, equipment, and other paraphernalia.
  • Components for immersive and interactive attractions found at amusement parks, art galleries, museums, zoos, and other similar places are used to educate and entertain the public.
  • Cutting and designing from a wide array of materials, including foam, metal alloys, plastics, and wood.
  • Production of precision molds to allow quality replicas to be made repeatedly while saving money and time.

The Staub Advantage for the Entertainment Industry 

The advantages Staub Precision Machine Inc. can bring to entertainment and event companies are the same for our other contract manufacturing. Examples of our work can be found on video or in case studies, showing off our automated technology, cutting-edge machinery, and other capabilities. Staub can make complex workpieces precisely and rapidly if you need a contract manufacturing partner. To learn more about our various specialties and how we can add value to your entertainment-related project, contact the machining experts at Staub.