If ever there was a couple who were made for each other it most certainly is cosplay and 3D printing. While cosplay has been a prominent hobby for decades, in the last few years or so it has exploded in popularity and become downright fashionable. And it is probably not entirely coincidental that desktop 3D printing has been emerging from the makespace and heading into the mainstream at the same time. There has always been a group of professional costumers and prop makers working with closely cosplayers, but from the moment that they met 3D printing it was a match made in comic con. Modern 3D design and 3D printing technology is making cosplay more accessible than ever before, and giving artists and designers the opportunity to turn their passion into a paying job.
For designer Lloyd Roberts being able to design and actually build costumes from his favorite video games is a dream come true. When he was a kid he always wanted to build his own Spartan suit from the Halo games, but he lacked the tools to make it happen. But when he became a 3D designer five years ago, and finally got his first 3D printer in 2012, he was finally free to create anything that he wanted. He started small by creating 3D printable props, trinkets and novelties for 3D model marketplace MyMiniFactory. It was there when he designed an amazing sword from The Legend of Zelda, and when it went viral he realized that he could be more ambitious with his work and decided to open up his own cosplay prop and costume business.
When Roberts launched Forg3d Props his goal was crystal clear, he wanted to bring the props and costumes of cosplayers’ dreams to life from the design process all the way to the final painting and finishing. He wanted to be as accurate as possible and help his clients bring characters that only existed in video games, movies, anime or comics into the real world. Not only is he willing to work closely with cosplayers on their own custom requests, but he has also designed his own props that he makes available to anyone in his online store, either as an unfinished kit or fully assembled and painted.
“For me it has always been my dream to start my own business and I am very passionate about making things, 3D printing and 3D design. I’d love to build an arsenal of weapons and props for people to give them what is intangible in a game or a movie they love. We are a company who bring anyone’s request to life with 3D Design and 3D Printing, to those who don’t have access to a 3D Printer, or those who don’t have the design skills or able to find the file they are looking for if it’s something very specific,” Roberts told me via email.
Forg3d as a company had its official debut last month at the MCM London Comic Con where he showed off three of his fantastic costumes and prop designs.
The first was worn by him and it was a show stopping mech and bone suit of armor inspired by the Willbreaker raid gear from the popular video game Destiny. His decision to attend the convention was relatively last minute, so he managed to fully design, print and paint his armor in a little under a month, and he barely made it. But the final product more than speaks for itself in both creativity and quality.
Roberts also designed a prop Hammer of Sol weapon from Destiny to carry with his suit of armor. In the game the Hammer of Sol is a character’s super ability, and when the payer summons it he can, well, smash things good.
In addition to building his own set of armor, Roberts was also hard at work helping to design incredible 3D printed custom parts for some Elise from League of Legends cosplay. The creepy spider leg looking neck piece was printed in several parts and then glued together and painted, and it pulls the costume together brilliantly. If someone who looks like that asks you to worship a spider god, just say no thank you, trust me.
The third costume that Roberts worked on for MCM London was the skeletal armor chest piece and crown of the ghostly King of the Dead from Lord of the Rings. Cosplayer Alexandra Skarsgard usually designs her own amazing costumes, but she took some help from Roberts in designing and 3D printing parts of it. And seeing the final product is quite a shock once you realize that there is a young woman underneath all of that amazing ghostly rotting flesh. The best part of cosplay is the fact that anyone can literally be anything that they want, and this is a prime example of that.
If you live in or near London and want some help with a costume, feel free to contact Forg3d on their Facebook page. You can also visit Roberts profile on MyMiniFactory to see his 3D printable designs and stop by the Forg3d Etsy store and purchase one of his props. Let’s hear your thoughts on these incredible props in the Forg3d 3D Printed Prop forum thread on 3DPB.com.