Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Using a 3D Printer for Props

One of the perks that I get at work is the use of a 3D printer (a Makerbot Replicator 2x). An entire group of employees chipped in to purchase the printer and our company was gracious enough to donate some funds for it.

I've been wanting a 3D printer ever since I saw one at Maker Faire all those many years ago. Each year that we attend (like this year), there are more printers out there at various prices and qualities. It's getting to the point where they are very affordable. This year at Maker Faire (2015), there was an very large tent dedicated to just 3D printers and CNC machines. I counted at least 15 different 3D printer vendors with some very reasonable prices.

But since I have one at work, I haven't felt quite the need (yet) to have one in my own house. So, I've been making copious use of the 3D printer at work to create props for my cosplays.  I've already written about one of the props that I made -- San's dagger from Princess Mononoke -- which has already gotten a lot of "likes" and people adding it to their own collections.

For this prop, I modified someone's existing design (under a Creative Commons - Attribution Share Alike license) to make the dagger. For anyone who wants to make it, I uploaded the files to Thingiverse.com so that you can print out one for yourself. (Princess Mononoke - San's Dagger)

I've also been printing out other props for other cosplays. There's actually a large number of makers who have created costume props from various movies, t.v. shows, and comic books. And the files are free, so I'm making use of their generous creativity.

Printing, printing, printing...

Here's the final object. I won't tell you what it's for....just yet...until I get the other pieces printed.

Let's just say that I've been having fun with many of the existing files on Thingiverse and Youmagine. Plus, since I can print things at work, I start the files and come back some time later to a finished print since it takes anywhere from 1-7 hours for a print, depending on the size.

Here's another set of props. Can you guess what it is?

And, I'm also at the point of making my own very simple props using TinkerCad, which I'll write about later once I get the prints finalized. 

But needless to say, I've been having fun using the 3D printer. It's also changing how I think about certain prop pieces. Once prices have come down a lot further, I'll seriously consider adding one to our home. Now, I just need to hone my painting skills somewhat.