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It is April and Cosplay as well as ComiCon season is around the corner! And once again fans of animated classics, the fantasy genre and re-enactments can finally go about dressed as Gandalf, Ironman or whoever your favourite fictional character is.

But before the festivities, it is an open secret in the Cosplay community that getting hold of realistic Cosplay props and costumes comes at a cost. This is due to the fact that purchasing props from brand names is quite expensive.

So what if I was to tell you that you could make very realistic Cosplay props and costumes at very affordable costs for your personal use? Will it be something you would be interested in? If yes, then welcome to the use of additive manufacturing in the Cosplay industry.

3D printing brings an unmatched versatility to the Cosplay industry in a variety of ways which will be explored below:

6 Ways Additive Manufacturing is Revolutionizing Cosplay

3d printing for cosplay

Enhanced Creativity with a 3D Printer

For newbies to the world of 3D printing, the 3D printing process involves feeding a digital 3D model to the 3D printer which employs a printing technique—Fused Deposit Modelling, Stereolithography etc.—to manufacture the 3D object.

The manufactured object comes out as an exact replica of the digital 3D model you designed either with a computer-aided design application or scanned with a 3D scanner.

Now imagine the creative leeway you get when you can manufacture anything you can model with a CAD application? Additive manufacturing allows you develop your characters favourite weapon and even enhancing it to fit your own personality.

This is the creativity only the 3D printing process can bring to your personal workstation. With less than $500 you can purchase the Creality CR – 10S and start producing your own props from the comfort of your basement.

Manufacture Props and Costumes with Unique Materials

Although the average 3D printer works with thermoplastics namely PLA and ABS, there are more advanced 3D printers that allow you work with other materials. Therefore, you can choose to 3D print very hard props such as swords and armour using metal filament or produce very durable parts such as knee pads, helmets etc. that remain flexible during Cosplay with TPU plastic.

This is an advantage that few manufacturing devices can bestow upon your Cosplay activities. Having a 3D printer such as the Wanhao Duplicator D9 300,—gives you the ability to manufacture props using most materials. Note that the finished costume will end up looking and feeling like the material you used in 3D printing it.

Iterative Prototyping to Speed up Production

When the task ahead of you is manufacturing a device prop or costume that also performs a specific task, multiple takes and false-starts are bound to occur. Dealing with the iterative process of prototyping using any other device—CNC machine etc.—is time consuming and leads to waste and this is where 3D printing comes in.

With the use of a 3D printer, you can literarily go through 10-15 production circles as quickly as possible before getting it right. Therefore, you can design whatever you choose and produce your designs as quickly as possible with a 3D printer.

Minimizing Waste

The 3D printing process is fairly straight forward and designed to eliminate all types of waste. By waste, I mean both human and capital resources like your time, materials and money when manufacturing your Cosplay props.

One of the reasons Cosplayers involve themselves with DIY manufacturing projects is to cut down on the amount of money one spends in purchasing Cosplay items directly from the manufacturing company.

Therefore, integrating 3d printing into your DIY projects will help you use your funds the right way. All you will need to do is purchase the right filament type to feed your 3D printer with. You can learn more about the different filament types from this comprehensive guide on 3D filaments.

The speed of manufacturing when a 3D printer is used also eliminates time wastage and gets your props and costumes ready to party in record time.

Creating Customized Cosplay Props

Oversized Cosplay costumes and props are the dregs of the Cosplay society. This is due to the fact that these oversized costumes hamper your movement and ultimately your performance during functions where re-enactments are expected.

The 3D printing process eliminates these issues for during the design phase of your digital 3D model, you can take measurements of your body size and integrate these dimensions into the 3D model you are designing.

In cases where you have to build to scale, it is important that you make use of 3D printers with large build volumes such as the Creality CR – 105S to 3D print large objects. Conversely, you can section the entire 3D model into separate components that you can assemble after 3D printing each part.

Easily Produce Intricate Symbols, Props or Costumes

The authenticity 3D printing brings to the table is definitely something the Cosplay community can take advantage of. Using a stable and durable 3D printer allows you to 3D print fine details on your props with ease.

Working with a 3D printer, you can 3D print intricate designs such as the markings on Sauron’s ring at a very high quality. In most cases, 3D printing enthusiast who knows their way around a 3D printer can produce very realistic and detailed 3D prints according to your needs.

So here we have it, the different ways in which additive manufacturing is set to change the Cosplay community and the benefits Cosplayers can take advantage of when designing the props and costumes that make Cosplay fun.