Best 3D Printer for Cosplay
Are you passionate about Cosplay but are stuck with bringing your idea to life? If so, this article is for you.
With the right 3D printer, you can customize every aspect of your Cosplay model and bring your imagination to reality. The best 3D printers on the market make it easy for anyone to create fine detail and large-scale armor in no time.
If you are not using 3D printing for your Cosplay designs, you are losing out.
Cosplay Costume Design Challenges
Most people who get stuck when creating Cosplay models waste a lot of time in different ways. For example, they may change their design, settle with the way things are, or put in hours of work for minimum results.
All of these options do not lead them to get the Cosplay creations they had hoped for.
- Sometimes, changing your Cosplay model design may be necessary. However, the changes can quickly add up and lead you further away from producing the final models. This will leave you frustrated.
- When you settle with the way things are, you will end up disappointed. Most of the time, the details that you failed to achieve will burn you inside.
- Finally, you can decide to put more hours into the details of your models. However, this can mean missing deadlines or opportunities that you would have taken advantage of if you had your models ready.
And the worst thing is to sit and do nothing. This will mean having an unfinished costume at home that you cannot wear or show off.
A few years ago, getting past these challenges was really difficult. However, today things have changed thanks to 3D printers.
3D Printing for Cosplay
3D printers have made the work of Cosplay designers easier. The various budget 3D printers on the market can print high-quality Cosplay costumes in record time. Moreover, you do not have to be an expert to print Cosplay props. There are hundreds of shared files and amazing prints all over the internet that you can use to get started easily with on your journey to using a 3D printer.
The best 3D printer for making Cosplay can be used to print anything; from your favorite sci-fi pistol to full armor sets.
However, with the many 3D printers on the market, which one should you buy if you want to print Cosplay costumes?
Understanding your needs will make it easier for you to determine the best cosplay 3D printer for Cosplay armor or props to buy.
From Model Concept to Creation
Before starting to shop around for a 3D printer, consider the following:
- The type of model you will be making
- What you intend to do with the model
Know the kind of Cosplay model you wish to create. Will you be printing a detailed gear, broach, button, pin, or a full set of armor?
You should also determine what you would want to do with the Cosplay models you create. Here, you want to consider how active you will be. Think of how you are going to be navigating around people and how durable you would want your cosplay models to be.
In a nutshell, know whether you want a large print volume or fine details.
Scale of Your Project
Next, consider the scale of your project. Generally, Cosplay models require big build volume. You will be making pieces that you will be wearing. However, most 3D printers for beginners or those used at home have small print areas.
If you do not plan on printing large models, then go for a printer that can produce fine detail.
Durability is also an important factor to consider. The best filament to use for your project will depend on your requirements.
Finally, consider the build volume. The smaller the build volume, the more the welds you will have to perform. Remember, welds are potential weak points on your models.
Other things to consider include:
- Size of the props. Measure your body size to determine how large the props should be
- Filament and material. Analyze the material and filament you would need to use for your project
- 3D modeling. Understand how each prop works and choose a process – 3D modeling or 3D scanning – for developing your digital 3D models
Finishing Your Cosplay Prints
Every print that will be part of your costume will have to be finished in some way. You can choose to either polish or paint the models. The best 3D printer for Cosplay can be determined by the finishing process. Check our PLA and ABS finishing guide for more information.
How to Choose the Best 3D Printer for Cosplay
To determine the recommended 3D printer for Cosplay helmet and other props to buy, you should have a general idea of what you want.
There are various 3D printers from different brands that you can use for your Cosplay design needs. Before choosing a printer, you should know the features it should have to bring out the best Cosplay props.
In particular, consider the following:
Types of Filaments
Some printers can print objects with different types of filaments. By using different filaments, your models will end up with the diverse characteristics of materials out there.
For example, if your costumes will need glowing features or a metallic finish to feel and look real, check the types of filaments the 3D printer you choose will be able to print.
Build volume will affect the size and capacity of the platform on which you will be building the props on. Take note of the scale of printing you will be doing.
Ease of Use
If you are a beginner, you may find 3D printing a little bit challenging. While you will get better at it over time, there is some initial learning curve. For example, you will have to understand how the printing software works and how to get the right settings.
When evaluating different potential printers to buy, consider whether you would want to get printing fast or would want to get into the nitty gritty of the details.
The features of a 3D printer can also determine how fast and accurately you can print. Consider the technical specs of a 3D printer to eliminate errors and reduce the number of prototypes you will have to make of your Cosplay costume before getting things right.
The above are the most critical things to consider when looking to buy a 3D printer for cosplay helmet, armor, or props.
Before we review the best 3D printers for Cosplay, there are a couple of things you should know. First off, the printers on the list are desktop printers and not larger industrial 3D printers. Also, keep in mind that you cannot legally sell your Cosplay props without getting authorization from the parent company.
Types of Filaments
Choose a 3D printer that can print different types of filaments. Printing your props with different filaments can make them look more realistic and withstand different stresses. Today, there are various desktop 3D printers that can print with standard filaments – ABS, PLA, and other thermoplastics, as well as with decorative filaments such as ceramics, wood, metal, etc.
A 3D printer that can print multiple filament types is quite versatile. When printing your 3D Cosplay costumes and props, you would want to print with different exotic filaments.
For example, if you are working with metal, you can easily 3D print a model to look like a robot without requiring many finishing touches on the model. You can also print using materials such as PCT and PCL, which can print great props and costumes such as shields and swords.
If you are looking for 3D printers that can work with multiple types of filaments, you should check the Robo R1+, Creality CR – 10S, and LulzBot Taz 6. These 3D printers are versatile and best for Cosplay models.
Since you are making costumes that you will wear, consider the build volume of the 3D printer. The bigger the props and costumes you intend to make, the more build volume or space you will need for developing them.
Therefore, when looking for a desktop 3D printer for Cosplay, go for one that has adequate build volume. The space should fit the size of the costume that you measured in the conceptualization stage.
If you want to 3D print Cosplay weapons such as arrows, hammers, and swords, you will probably have to print them in multiple pieces and then fuse them together through cold welding. The same also applies to props.
Generally, the bigger the build volume of your 3D printer, the fewer the welds that would be required. This is where the large build volumes of printers like the LulzBot Taz 6 and Creality CR-10s come into play. With both printers, you have a build volume of about 280 x 280 x 250mm. However, the Creality CR-10S provides even more volume, which is enough for large Cosplay props.
In terms of build volume, these two 3D printers are among the best options you would get for Cosplay props.
Ease of Use
The best 3D printer that will support your Cosplay hobby is one that you can easily get started with. After unboxing the printer, you should be able to use it in a couple of minutes after skimming through the installation guide and attaching a filament spool.
Generally, you do not want a printer that has to be assembled from scratch.
Also, consider how the 3D printer functions and keeps tracks of parameters – temperature, available filament, print speed, and so on to ensure your 3D printing exercise is smooth.
If you are new to 3D printing, we suggest you go for the Dremel Digilab 3D20 or the Robo R1+ 3D printer. The Dremel 3D printer has an interactive LCD control screen where you will get prompts regarding the 3D printing process in real time.
Finally, check the technical details of the 3D printer for Cosplay that you plan to buy. Some of the features to check include the quality of resolution and print speed.
However, don’t just look at the general features of a 3D printer but the specific features that will speed up your project and reduce printing errors.
One important feature to consider is whether the printer has an automated print bed. Common 3D printing errors are usually eliminated by print beds with additional features such as adjustable temperature and self-leveling.
Some of the 3D printers with these options are Creality CR-10s, Robo R1+, and LulzBot Taz 6. Here is what you should know about each printer.
Creality CR-10s. This printer’s print bed comprises of a heated glass bed that adds an aesthetic feel to your project and prevents problems such as warping.
Robo R1+. This 3D printer features a self-leveling bed and comes with a free subscription to Autodesk’s Fusion 360 app. Through this app, you will have access to free 3D models that you can print.
LulzBot Taz 6. This 3D printer has a self-cleaning nozzle and self-leveling bed. Thanks to the two features, you don’t have to clean the nozzle periodically to prevent it from getting blocked or reset the print bed after every print.
3D Printing Post Processing
After 3D printing Cosplay props, there are various post-production activities that may have to be done to make the models feel and look like the real deal. The post-processing work will get your 3D printed Cosplay costumes the details you need.
Examples of post-processing techniques that you can apply include painting, polishing, and smoothing. Check our guide on 3D printing post processing for more information
4 Best 3D Printers for Cosplay Props
LulzBot Taz 6
This is our No. 1 choice for printing 3D Cosplay costumes. The printer is easy to use, has a great build volume, and is highly accurate. However, you will pay more for performance, which is worth it. This is our recommended 3D printer for Cosplay props.
Read an in-depth review of Lulzbot Taz 6 here.[cta]
The Creality CR-10s is not as expensive as the Taz 6. However, it is still a great performer. The 3D printer stands out when it comes to build volume and price. However, don’t let the big build volume fool you; the printer prints accurately well.
The Creality requires a little bit of assembly. However, the assembly process is straight-forward and there is a large community around this printer where you can help in case you are stuck.
Read an in-depth review of the Creality CR-10s here.
Read an in-depth review of the Robo R1+ here.
Dremel Digilab 3D20
The Dremel Digilab 3D20 is the last on our list of the best 3D printer for Cosplay. The fact that it’s at the bottom of the list does not mean that it’s a bad printer. However, when compared to the titans on the list, it does not match their attributes that are specifically suitable for printing Cosplay models.
The Dremel Digilab 3D20 is user-friendly and was primarily designed for education. We would recommend this printer if you are looking for a 3D printer for a school club or other organizations.
Read an in-depth review of the Dremel Digilab 3D20 here.
The above are the best 3D printers for Cosplay props.