Printing Props

“Better Call Saul” Props Created With 3D Printing & Arduino

Better Call Saul

The behind-the-scenes crew of Better Call Saul uses Arduino and 3D printing to create a GPS tracker for the tough character Mike Ehrmantraut.  

If you’ve ever seen the critically acclaimed AMC television series Breaking Bad, you probably know all about the blue meth, guns, and badass shenanigans that have made the show internationally acclaimed. Although the show’s spin-off prequel Better Call Saul is more focused on laughter and bending the rule of law, the behind-the-scenes crew still manages to conjure up some awesome props.

One of the most complex and hardened characters on both shows is Mike Ehrmantraut. The grizzly grandfather and hitman recently received a 3D printed GPS tracker to help defeat a shady organization in an episode of Saul.

The prop was created by special effects artist Joseph Ulibarri and prop maker Jason Delap, both of which worked together on Breaking Bad  and now Better Call Saul. The duo utilized Arduino and 3D printing to equip Ehrmantraut with this “military-grade” GPS tracker.

Better Call Saul Crew Uses 3D Printing & Arduino to Construct Props

Together, Ulibarri and Delap both manage to fuse their hobby interests into their daily work. The special effects artist has been intrigued by 3D modeling and motion graphics for some time, which led him to 3D printing technology. Delap, the prop designer, has tinkered with programs like Arduino.

The duo recently combined their respective skills to create an authentic looking GPS tracker. The know-how of Ulibarri and Delap helped turn the idea into a tangible prop extremely quickly. While the show’s creator and director Vince Gilligan could have opted for an old GPS system, the MILSPEC-like tracker offers an authentic aesthetic that no commercially available prop would offer.

“We figured out what components we needed—using the Arduino, deciding what kind of battery and screen we needed—then we put together a couple prototypes. That’s what’s so great about 3D printing: the next day I can have a prototype to show ,” Ulibarri told Ars Technica.

This unique military-grade GPS tracker isn’t the first time that 3D printing technology was used on the set of Better Call Saul. In a previous episode, Ulibarri 3D modeled and printed a Greek-yogurt mascot that was gifted to the character Hector Salamanca.

The props for Better Call Saul are certainly more tame than those created for Breaking Bad, which includes M60 machine guns and realistic meth labs. However, Ulibarri and Delap still get ultra-creative to bring Gilligan’s ideas to reality. Thankfully, their experience with 3D technology and Arduino helps make this renowned television series distinct from anything else on the tube.

The 3D printed Greek-yogurt mascot

Source: Ars Technica