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Unread 01-15-2018, 03:02 PM   #16
Zoeyromanov
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I don't know how long I personally will be in the cosplay community; but I will be around art being a 'blooming' artist. I've never used a 3D printer to make anything much less for cosplay, but obviously I'm aware of them. I don't see it as a bad thing as it can go either way. Though I can see why it's debatable because it seems to take the skill out, but there will always be someone who's new to things. So for them they may like it since they don't know how to work with materials and such, kinda like someone opting to buy an outfit because they don't even have basic sewing skills.
3D printers are becoming prevalent in the art community, especially when it comes to jewelry selling on Etsy. I wouldn't mind using something that's 3D printed but at the same time yeah it couldn't hurt as a learning curve to learn to use certain materials to make something.
Maybe somebody can use the best of both worlds, printing a base to work off of to get the scale of a weapon for example right and then paint it and such to finish it off.
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Unread 01-15-2018, 06:33 PM   #17
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HAHAHAHA wow I was a bit off four years ago, wasn't I?

But, still, in four+ years, printers haven't become as ubiquitous as first thought. There is definitely still a pricing bar as well as a skill bar that a lot of people can't and won't ever get over. But I am pleased to see that there are definitely people with the right skills making the most of it.

When it comes to competition, though, 3D printing isn't a guaranteed win. I've judged recently and one of the fellow judges was a mega prop guru who understood 3D printing better than I, and they offered a lot of advice for how to evaluate a 3D-printed piece on a costume. She asked them what program they used, how they compensated for certain issues that I would never have anticipated, etc, and also pointed out to us judges with all the sewing/fitting/handcrafting knowledge where a 3D-printed item was done well versus where it was sloppily done. It's very much the same as any technique - same as using worbla to make armor, same as resin-casting gems, and so on. Just doing it isn't enough, you have to do it WELL. Just downloading someone else's file and running it in your printer isn't enough, that's about the same as buying a pre-made necktie to tack onto your handmade suit jacket. We saw a number of small 3D printed items come through, and some were very well done - the cosplayer created the file themselves, fixed any issues themselves, made sure it was sanded and painted correctly, and made it work with the rest of their costume. We also saw some that were sloppy - unpainted, you could still see the striations from the layers of plastic, etc.

The other thing that I've noticed in the last 4-5 years is that for the most part, people still aren't 3D-printing entire suits of armor. It's mostly just small things, because the only printers most average cosplayers can afford are the small-bed ones that can't make very large objects. And that, I don't see changing anytime soon.
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Unread 01-19-2018, 10:26 AM   #18
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3D printers are a bit more common than people may realize. My local library system has 3D printers that anyone in the county can use and most school systems have them now. My wife teaches at my counties High School Votech/Career Academy and her school probably has upwards of a dozen 3D printers. She and he coteacher in 3D Animation and Game Design have 4 total, their Aerospace program has a couple, and there are a few others for some other programs.

Having said all of that using them is still not a trivial process but it is getting easier, the 3D printers my wife has in her classroom now are orders of magnitude easier to use than the ones she had 3-4 years ago. Much more reliable than they used to be.

Right now I think the largest reason you don't see large objects printed usually is the cost of the material, it's not cheap and large prints like a suit of armor would be extremely expensive, especially when you consider how cheap EVA foam is.
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Unread 01-21-2018, 12:17 AM   #19
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A 3D printer is just a tool like a sewing machine or a lathe. Having one doesn't necessarily make you a superior cosplayer if you don't also have the CAD skills that you would need to make the most of it. Even if you use someone else's file (like using a commercial sewing pattern), you still need to know how to sand and paint.

And even if the printers are coming down in price, the filaments are still going to be pricey. I bought my color laser printer for $150, but each cartridge costs $80 (total of 4) each. Woodworking and EVA foam is still cheaper and more accessible.
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Unread 01-24-2018, 07:20 PM   #20
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Okay, so to start off, this is my industry-- my day job is as an engineer designing the next gen printers, doing materials development, improving the printing process. So I've got a lot of Feelings on this topic.

On the whole, totally, it's becoming way more accessible to be able to print. Between the cost of lower end printers dropping even more, build-your-own kits like RepRap's, and printing service bureaus like Shapeways and Sculpteo (where you just send them a file and details like material you want it printed in), there are so many ways to acquire 3D printed parts for cheap. It's awesome to see small makerspaces popping up in places like libraries where more people can learn. Super awesome.

That said, I think the growth of the industry is actually going to be in the materials. 98% of cosplayers are either printing via the FDM method with either ABS or PLA plastic, and the truth is, those are super limiting. They're both brittle, require a crapton of surface finish, and they can't do really fine details. Only pretty recently were more translucent plastics put out there for doing things like gems/jewels, or transparent things, but FDM by nature has a ton of layer lines you still need to post-process out. The SLA method is pricier, but you can do some WAY COOL stuff-- like perfectly smooth crystals that look like they were cast, or make yourself a positive that you can metal cast into real jewelry. Take the Adidas + Carbon3D team up, or the Formlabs/New Balance pairing-- you can print rubbery, flexible things, like shoes! That custom fit a human! Freaking incredible. (I don't see those machines being a crazy widespread thing that every person has in their house-- mostly smaller businesses, or really hardcore hobbyists-- but the capability is out there if you're willing to drop the cash on it.)

Re: printing whole suits of armor, agreed, most people are still doing small parts-- because it's just way too expensive to print full suits. (And given the rigidity of most cheaper filaments, you have to model it just right to fit you, and printing it and finding out you were a little bit off would suuuuuck). I've only seen one or two people do it, but they either had full body scans of themselves, or professionally did CAD for a living.

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Not if you have a 3D scanner, too. Just sculpt your prototype, scan, print. Mass produce. Get arrested by the copyright holder. ??????????? Profit.
3D scanners are where things get super interesting-- both in their general use, but also, IP. You can get cheap ones (eg the Kinect hack), but they kinda suck. If you want real quality detail, you're going to pay through the nose for it, and I don't see the price on those dropping much any time soon.

Depending on what you're trying to copy, a 3D scanner might not be able to get you a decent level of detail. Not to mention that the scan is just a map, you still have to take that scan and turn it into a 3D file (there's a fair bit of processing there, and that takes skill!), so it's not just like "point the thing at the object, make a copy".
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Unread 01-30-2018, 08:56 AM   #21
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SLA printers are where things get really interesting IMO as Stars pointed out. The problem if you want to call it that is cost with SLA right now. The Form2 is a decent price at round $4k but the resin is 3 times (or more) as expensive as filament is.

I think that you won't see SLA catch on with the hobby crowd until that price comes way down since even FDM is a bit pricey for many people currently.

But man those Form2's are just sexy...
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Unread 02-06-2018, 06:10 AM   #22
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I just had someone ask me for a quote on an armor cosplay. After I gave the quote, he said "I could have someone 3D print that for less" I don't think it's that easy or that cheap to print large scale projects just yet. As a propmaker, I think 3D printing takes away from the artistry that goes into creating props and armor. I guess I'm old school since I still hand carve most of my stuff
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Unread 02-13-2018, 01:31 PM   #23
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3D design requires a fair bit of artistry also. How extensive was the armor that the person said they could 3D print for less? I could see that for armor/objects that are low volume but anything with a significant volume would get expensive quick.
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Unread 02-14-2018, 05:36 PM   #24
StarsOfCassiopeia
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^ I have extreme skepticism at whoever said that. Big things = more material = more $$, and armor generally isn't small...
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Unread 03-07-2018, 10:55 PM   #25
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Here to weigh in on the good, the bad, and the ugly with 3D printing, since I'm using a lot of 3D printing for an attack on titan cosplay that's in the works,

The good: You can make pretty much anything you have the CAD skills to draw, which is likely way more complicated and detailed than some people such as myself could ever make by hand. In my AoT cosplay, I have several pieces that need to work together mechanically, so I need accurate dimensions too.

The bad: CAD designing can be time consuming if you're not good at it. Also when you start printing larger stuff, and by large I mean anything larger than 6 inches in all directions, you'd want to seriously consider alternative methods of making the piece because it gets expensive and slow. I remember some other students at my school trying to print a not very large object and it taking about 80 hours. Eventually that gave up when the printer kept failing somewhere along that long process.

The ugly: Surface finish on a 3D printed part is awful, so you have to deal with that somehow
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