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[Case Study] 3D Printing Makes Cosplay Costume & Prop Gun Production More Effective




Cosplay, which stands for "costume play," is a hobby in which individuals make and don costumes of their preferred figures from motion pictures, television series, video games, and other forms of media. For those who enjoy dressing up as their favorite fictional characters, cosplay has grown to be a popular hobby. A great level of skill is needed to create the complex details found in many cosplay costumes and accessories. There are numerous challenges to traditional cosplay item manufacturing methods that suppliers face.



Traditional Manufacturing Methods


The design for an item is the first stage in making it for cosplay. Drawing the design out on paper or utilizing computer-aided design software can accomplish this. The manufacturer will start cutting and assembling the various elements after the pattern is generated.


The length of time it takes to construct each item is one of the main challenges that manufacturers encounter while producing cosplay accessories. Cosplay accessories are frequently very intricate and take a lot of time and work to make. This might be particularly difficult for producers who are juggling large orders or have pressing deadlines. 


Finding the appropriate materials for each product is another challenge for manufacturers. Cosplay accessories frequently call for specialized materials, like high-density foam, which might be hard to come by in big quantities. To obtain all the materials required for a particular item, manufacturers may need to interact with many suppliers, which can increase manufacturing costs and lead times. Lastly, a further problem for producers is assuring the quality of each product they produce. It can be simple to make mistakes or fail to notice minor flaws in the product when there are so many minute elements and sophisticated designs. Customer complaints or product returns may result, which could be expensive for the company. 


As a result, making cosplay accessories is a very skilled craft that takes a lot of time, effort, and attention to detail. The time it takes to make each item, finding the correct resources, and guaranteeing the quality of each finished product are just a few of the challenges manufacturers confront. 3D printing using high quality devices, such as the Flashforge Creator 4, allows for much of these issues to be mitigated



Additive Manufacturing methods


Cosplay outfits and accessories are now manufactured in a completely new way thanks to 3D printing. 


The ability to produce intricate and accurate costume components and props with 3D printing is one of the industry's largest benefits. Using 3D modeling software and a 3D printer, cosplayers may design and produce unique pieces. Sculpting or molding are examples of ancient crafts techniques that make it challenging to achieve this level of accuracy.


3D printing enables quicker manufacturing periods in addition to producing more precise components. When compared to conventional crafting techniques, a design can be finished and painted quite rapidly once it has been decided upon and printed.


The ability to create more intricate patterns is another advantage of 3D printing for cosplay. Intricate shapes and designs might be difficult to construct using conventional crafting techniques, but 3D printing makes it feasible to create even the most complicated and elaborate things.


Overall, 3D printing has revolutionized the creation of cosplay by enabling more intricate, accurate, and complicated costume and prop designs as well as quicker turnaround times. It has grown in popularity and is anticipated to keep playing a significant part in the cosplay community in the future among cosplayers, prop manufacturers, and costume designers.


Role of Creator 4


The Flashforge Creator 4 is a large format FDM 3D printer with IDEX technology. Furthermore, it has a large build volume, which allowed 3BA to print multiple components of the talon rifle for the widowmaker nova costume. The file was purchased from etsy from Muthiprops. It was printed on the Creator 4, who’s enclosed printing environment ensured minimal shrinkage, and a perfect fit between components. 20% 3D infill was used for most parts, as well 3 walls. The total length of the rifle was approximately 750 mm. Some files for the rifle required multiple pieces, which is where IDEX was used. The IDEX technology allowed for the use of duplication mode, significantly reducing print-time. 



“The Creator 4’s well insulated chamber helped with printing with both high precision and accuracy, allowing for repeatability of parts all within a similar tolerance range.” – Bardia Alizadeh

Post processing and painting 

The print was done using Gratkit PLA plus, a special blend of PLA that hides layer-lines, making post processing easier.Post processing was done by Kutak designs. Nicole Kutak, the owner of Kutak designs, followed a complex, and difficult post-processing routine. Firstly, all pieces were fit together, and the small seams were filled in with wood-filler. Though the items came out very smooth, and there were no support marks, she sanded all the parts from 300-3000 grit. This was done to ensure a glass-smooth finish. Then, the item was polished using brasso liquid-metal polish. Lastly, a Dremel tool with a tool-head equivalent of 12,000 grit sandpaper was used to finish off the part. After assembling and smoothing the item, it was time to begin painting. First, two layers of primer-filler was applied. Then, Nicole added multiple layers of acrylic paint to the item with a brush. After the paint was applied, the item was again polished with 3000 grit sandpaper. Lastly, the paint was sealed with a glossy epoxy coating.


Photos courtesy of Red Rose Films, a Vancouver Based Film Production company focused on using the latest technology to advance visual arts to the next level with the goal of maximum creativity and quality in mind. Red Rose Films consists of a group of creatives with experience in many unique fields such as product photography, Music Videos, professional film and commercials as well as advanced race drone piloting and AI Generative art integration into professional VFX workflows. Check us out at redrosefilms.ca or on Instagram @Red_rose_Films.