How to Use a 3D Printer for Cosplay

Although some regard Cosplay (costume play) as a little strange, it isn’t that strange when you consider that the major award-winning blockbuster TV movies titles of the last few years came from Marvel, DC Comics, Manga, the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises and of course the works of JRR Tolkein and George RR Martin. Far from being ‘popcorn’ these titles often dealt with serious issues and archetypal stories that speak to many people on different levels.

We all enjoyed dressing up as children and many adults continue this fun, creative and harmless pastime. Many cultures over many centuries did the same – the masked balls of the 18th Century, the carnivals in Venice and Brazil, the tradition of Mardi Gras, and even practices in traditional Japanese and Chinese courts all are essentially versions of cosplay.

You might not equate Trekkies at a Las Vegas convention with ancient Japanese Kabuki or Cambodian traditional dance shown on the carvings of Angkor Wat, but they are different facets and examples of – in essence – the same thing. Adults at play, taking on new identities. It’s a practice probably as old as humanity itself. If you hung around Stonehenge or the Pyramids in Egypt 6,000 years ago, chances are you’d see the same.

How to Use 3D Printer for Cosplay?

How to use a 3d printer for cosplay

What is new though is using 3D printing as a way of designing cosplay accessories, jewelry, gadgets and much more. As the good folks at usdigitech.com explain, your imagination can now run riot (and you can save serious money) by doing it all yourself. That’s great for lots of reasons:
  • Save mega money. Some manufactured cosplay items are really expensive. The folks behind some of the big fantasy and sci-fi franchises charge hefty licensing fees to traditional manufacturers. You on the other hand are unlikely to get a visit from Disney lawyers (assuming you aren’t trying to start a business). Although 3d printing involves upfront investment, actually making the cosplay models is a low price activity.
  • Make Cosplay gifts for friends, family, and fellow cosplayers. Want to make some cosplay jewelry for that Klingon in your life? How about some steampunk goggles for grandad? Or a goth hairpin for mom – like she used to wear back in the day. It’s easy, fun and cheap.
  • Be creative. Rather than having to rely on mass-produced ideas from manufacturers, design your ideas. The only limits are your imagination and the capabilities of your 3d printer setup (and these days, 3D printers are pretty capable). Some 3d printers are capable of very fine detail too, so you can produce superb results, given a bit of practice and time.
  • Sell your cosplay items to other cosplay fans. When you create your ideas, you own them – there are no licensing issues and no one to sue you. That leaves you free to start turning your cosplay hobby into a money-making sideline. These days it is really easy to sell custom cosplay items on eBay or similar sites. Plus there are dedicated cosplay social media groups and forums. These are another route to market. Finally of course there are conventions (which we all fervently hope sitting here at the end of 2020 will return in 2021) where you can book space and go for it.

So, why not? Go find those Orcs and Jedi cosplayers and may the printer force be with you.

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