3D printing is being used every day to make positive changes all over the world, in varied fields from aerospace to medical to education. Then, there’s what I like to call the “nerd factor.” This is a good thing: sometimes it’s just fun to play using 3D printers and scanners, creating 3D printed Death Stars, 3D printed Dungeons & Dragons miniatures, and of course, who could forget about 3D printing in cosplay? We’ve seen some incredibly detailed costumes, including Melissa Ng’s stunning 3D printed Dreamer Regalia armor made exclusively for Felicia Day, and a 3D printed Mad Max: Fury Road Imperator Furiosa prosthetic arm. 3D printed cosplay elements have become so popular, Pinshape and Ultimaker even teamed up to host a 3D printing cosplay design contest! Recenty, a popular imgur user named hirocreations posted a gallery dedicated to his year of 3D printing, most of which was dedicated to cosplay elements and weapons from video games.
At the beginning of 2016, hirocreations (whose real name is Yasu Tano) said he got his first 3D printer, a Printrbot Simple Metal, for the purposes of seeing what all the 3D printing fuss was about. He soon fell in love with the technology, and created some “crazy stuff in a matter of a year.” He started out small, creating props like a 10 mm pistol prop from Fallout, which he notes was designed on MyMiniFactory by fellow imgur user lilykill (as were several other objects), and a laser rifle remixed from Fallout game files. (In the essence of full disclosure, I feel you should know that I know very little about most of these games, but I still think all of the things he created are really awesome.)
It only took him a couple of months to learn how to finish and paint his 3D printed props, and then the fun really started. In addition to continuing to create lots of smaller projects, like a butterfly throwing star from AMC’s Into the Badlands and a shoulder beacon from The Division Game, he decided he was ready to take on a much larger project: 3D printing a full set of T-60 armor. He eventually had to buy a second 3D printer, as his Printrbot was “very unreliable and eventually broke.”
He said, “Enter Monoprice Maker Select: a workhorse of a printer at a price half of what my Printrbot had cost me. If love at first sight had a name it would be the Monoprice Maker Select.”
Tano’s first few attempts remixing game files and modeling the T-60 armor were not good, and he admits that he wasted a lot of filament while trying to figure out the correct scale. He eventually figured everything out, but the project still took a long time, because the full set of armor required 422 total pieces to be 3D printed and assembled. He also continued 3D printing “the odd project to keep things fresh,” many of which were used to become part of larger costumes. By the time June of 2016 rolled around, he was still 3D printing parts for the T-60 armor and assembling them at a regular rate, along with his smaller projects.
He also had the great fortune to receive a filament sponsorship from the team at IC3D Printers in Columbus, Ohio, who believed in his “crazy ideas and genuinely supported them with filament.” He says he owes them a lot for everything he 3D printed in the last year. He also bought a second Monoprice Maker Select.
By mid-September, after roughly nine months of 3D printing, assembling, sanding, and finishing, and also creating numerous small projects like the Kriss Vector and McCree’s Revolver from Overwatch, he finally completed all 90 lbs of his 3D printed T-60 armor set. He entered a competition wearing his armor the day after he finished it, and came in first place!
Instead of taking a well-deserved break, Tano decided to repaint the entire armor set…yes, all 422 pieces of it! He thought the original paint job was too shiny and “clean” and started painting on fake rust to dirty it up a little. All of his hard work paid off in the end, as he took third place in his newly dirty T-60 armor at the Cosplay National Championship at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con. But if you think he took a break after what he calls the “highlight” of his year in 3D printing, think again. He and a friend started working on 3D printing all of the parts for the Reaper from Overwatch at the end of November 2016, and managed to complete the printing job, and smooth and finish all of the parts (including a pair of wearable boots and some of Sombra’s translocators), in just 18 days.
All in all, he ended up using his 3D printed props for five total cosplay costumes, including three characters from Fallout 4. Tano estimated his final 3D printing material tally:
- PLA filament: 220 lbs
- ABS filament: 6 lbs
- PETG filament: 1 lb
- Flexible filament: 1 lb
- Miscellaneous exotic filaments: .5 lbs
He promises that 2017 will be filled with even more cosplay 3D printing fun, and says that he plans to 3D print pretty much every part of his upcoming convention costumes. He will be live-streaming and putting out vlogs of his 3D printing projects, and you can also follow him on his blog, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Discuss in the 3D Printed Cosplay forum at 3DPB.com.[Images via hirocreations]