3D Printing and the Future of Cosplay?

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#1 Brandikins on 5 years ago

How do you all think 3D printers will affect the cosplay community in the future? This mainly regards props, since within ten years from now 3D printers will probably become a common household item. People can easily make their own props which is convenient, but it can also steal business away from commissioners.

That's technology for you I guess, certain types of products and business are inevitable to dying out due to it.

#2 Mangochutney on 5 years ago

Damn, you went straight from "everybody's gonna have a 3D printer" to "sigh, life sucks sometimes". WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU WHERE IS YOUR SOUL.

C'mon dude, back away from the Future Things Are Evil and consider this more thoughtfully. I'm a little dubious about the 3D-printer-in-every-household thing, even in ten years. They'll be more widespread and cheaper, sure, but a daily necessity for most people? I'm not thinking so much. Actually, I figure the people who will benefit most will be the people you're figuring are going to get screwed over--commissioners. Most people don't make enough custom plastic things to bother investing in a printer, but a commissioner would, and will find it much easier and cheaper to get their hands on printers and resources for them.

The bar for entry as a commissioner will probably drop so you'll see a lot of crap and fair-to-middling fabricator stuff circulating. That's not a bad thing at all. You're also going to see some AMAZONG things produced with extra care and skill. Just like now, some people will do great work and more people will do acceptable work. Sewing for hire didn't go away with the invention of the sewing machine, after all.

Now take a second to think about how damn cool costumes are going to be in 10 years with this sort of technology trivially available AND GET THOSE STARS BACK IN YOUR EYES. THINGS ARE #[email protected]!#@$ BEAUTIFUL.

#3 Access on 5 years ago

I don't see how it's a bad thing. We have one at my work (and industrial-grade one) and we use it all the time. But we don't use it for real product because it hasn't really reached that level yet (and who knows if it ever will).

I don't think there will be one in every household, but I do think there will be mail-order places where you can send a CAD file and get a plastic design back for $25.00 or so.

It's just a labor saving device, it doesn't replace the creator. Just changes the way things are created. In the end, a good creator will benefit because it's easier to scale up when you are no longer having to do things by hand.

#4 Brandikins on 5 years ago

[QUOTE=Mangochutney;4712240]Damn, you went straight from "everybody's gonna have a 3D printer" to "sigh, life sucks sometimes". WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU WHERE IS YOUR SOUL.

C'mon dude, back away from the Future Things Are Evil and consider this more thoughtfully. I'm a little dubious about the 3D-printer-in-every-household thing, even in ten years. They'll be more widespread and cheaper, sure, but a daily necessity for most people? I'm not thinking so much. Actually, I figure the people who will benefit most will be the people you're figuring are going to get screwed over--commissioners. Most people don't make enough custom plastic things to bother investing in a printer, but a commissioner would, and will find it much easier and cheaper to get their hands on printers and resources for them.

The bar for entry as a commissioner will probably drop so you'll see a lot of crap and fair-to-middling fabricator stuff circulating. That's not a bad thing at all. You're also going to see some AMAZONG things produced with extra care and skill. Just like now, some people will do great work and more people will do acceptable work. Sewing for hire didn't go away with the invention of the sewing machine, after all.

Now take a second to think about how damn cool costumes are going to be in 10 years with this sort of technology trivially available AND GET THOSE STARS BACK IN YOUR EYES. THINGS ARE #[email protected]!#@$ BEAUTIFUL.[/QUOTE]
I'm a huge computer nerd...I'll die before I think 3D printing is stupid.

The sewing analogy is pretty good, though. It makes sewing easier and quicker yeah, but some people still do it by hand. I guess 3D printing will make a lot of prop making easier, but some still will do it the normal way (insulation foam, anybody?) They'll became cheaper in a few years, but some commissioners will still invest in very expensive ones that can still do a better job than a cheaper one more likely to be common in households.

And yeah...imagine how awesome some cosplays will be years from now. Who knows, some conventions might even supply some 3D printers so people can make props there on the spot.

#5 CapsuleCorp on 5 years ago

Yeah I'm with mango, I doubt it will catch on and be as widespread as the eager techies think it will. But the problem with 3D printers is having the file to print in the first place. It's not a magic box that reads your thoughts, you have to have someone creating a viable file with the correct shapes, proportions, etc - and that someone has to know what they're doing not just from an "I know how to program a 3D file" standpoint, but a "this is what the end product absolutely needs to do" standpoint. Have a prop that's ten different colors with mixed transparencies, from opaque gold to transluscent opaline? Can't just press a button and make it appear. There still has to be assembly, paint, etc. And how do you know the people creating the 3D print files won't offer you a file that turns out looking like crap? And you look at it and say "I could have done this better out of sculpey." And then you do.

I don't think there'll be one in every home, and I don't think it'll affect cosplay. You'll have a handful of people who have mastered the technology and whip out some amazing stuff the same way people who own embroidery machines and have learned how to use them can do - and then you'll have the rest of the hobby community who finds other ways to make the same thing using their own skills and tech (or lack thereof).

#6 Brandikins on 5 years ago

Yeah, most commissions will require a custom-made 3D model, which might affect production since not everybody is exactly skilled in that area.

#7 belligerent on 5 years ago

Not if you have a 3D scanner, too. Just sculpt your prototype, scan, print. Mass produce. Get arrested by the copyright holder. ??????????? Profit.

#8 TETSUYA_CASSHER on 5 years ago

My take on 3d printing or computer aided design.

First i have had 3d models printed/milled professionally for my job. It is getting increasingly more affordable and easy to use. Most times as long as you have an idea and can use and create a solid model decent enough, the potential is unlimited.

I think it gives people who may not have the motor skills to sculpt or hands on modeling skill (ie with clay or other materials) a fairly good shot at becomeing contenders. I think it is natural for artistic types to resist this use of technology.

I think cosplay is going to have leveled playing field in the next few yrs.

DYE-sub suits, computer aided sewing, computer aided design, 3d milling and 3d printing. Computer aided cutting. All of these are closer than you think to the consumer market.

Also you dont have to sell physical props, you sell a 3d model, photoshop pattern that someone can print out. Honestly there are no laws against 3d printing, only if jerks rat people out about copyright laws.

I think computer assisted cosplay will gain more traction even in the commercial sector. 3d printing is being refined for production applications. Want to tailor something real quick computer assisstance will be able to make all the pieces based off of tailor measurements.

[url]http://www.finelineprototyping.com/[/url] this place is great if you want to explore 3d printing.

#9 Slapthefatcat on 5 years ago

The scale home 3D Printers can do and the scale of the more expensive ones is the biggest thing I believe is going to make a difference. Most props people commission are weapons larger than what the home ones would be able to do at a decent price. Also, accuracy is another concern. It takes a bit of work to create a custom 3D model for each item, most people will cut corners but commissioners are expected to be as precise as possible.

#10 Kelley on 5 years ago

I don't think you fully appreciate how 3D printers work and the physical scale of a lot of prop commissions.

I think it would be a very long time before they're household items. And if they were, where do you think the models to print come from ? Someone has to design them and you know what, people can charge for that and make money if that's the way things go - no one has to give a pattern away for free.

I really, really don't think the average person is going to become a master at making digital 3D models. That stuff is actually kind of difficult - have you ever done it ? It's not just "I found this picture on Google imma print it !" it's literally making a 3D model of exactly what you want - it's difficult and as hard as making a prop out of anything else and has its own limitations. Even if you had a 3D scanner you'd still need to make the initial product.

If you know about computers and technology, then you know about digital art. I'm making a pattern piece for Spoonflower to print - so I can have custom fabric. But although I have a photograph with the pattern on it, I still have to re-draw it and clean it up and make artistic choices - that's a whole lot of room for an "average person" to make something look like crap. If I hadn't been drawing for over ten years I probably wouldn't even bother trying. Digital design isn't necessarily easier than "traditional" - you still have to produce the product and have the skills to do so.

Also, who is seriously going to have MASSIVE 3D printers in their houses ? Maybe in the super-far future, but please. There's a reason computers didn't "catch on" until they were small enough to fit on a desk, not take up an entire room.

More likely 3D printers will become more available, but at places like Kinkos, where you can go in and pay to use it. While I think there's the possibility for great surprise and change in the future, I'm not sure I see a NEED for a 3D printer in every house - just like not everyone needs a copy machine or a $5,000 professional camera - we have our "household" versions of them, but the household version of a 3D printer isn't going to be printing a Keyblade or Mech parts.

It is not an end to business, but a change and a new tool in business. And it's not like everyone would WANT a 3D printed item, anyway - there are advantages and disadvantages.

Okay, it's like eBooks. Ebooks don't mean that authors don't have jobs anymore, right ?

#11 AlanaOwlet on 5 years ago

Personally I think it would be awesome to have more access to them, especially for cosplay. I used them pretty constantly while I was at school and every time I have to make a prop I waste a few hours being bitter I can't just 3-D print it. I can't see them really catching on as a household item just yet, not because of the size but because of the chemical bath you've got to soak everything in after it's printed to dissolve all the supports. I wouldn't want that sitting around.

As for CAD design, it honestly all depends on what program you use. Some of them are pretty difficult to work with, sure, but something like Solidworks - which is probably the best for prop making anyway - is super easy to pick up and work with. So while I can't see every cosplayer one day having a 3-D printer in their homes I'd love to see some sort of Kinkos type thing pop up for them in the future.

#12 Kelley on 5 years ago

There are already places online where you can pay to have things 3D printed ! I see this kind of service as similar to something like Spoonflower - custom fabric printing. Useful, but versatile.

@AlanaOwlet, I looked up Solidworks out of curiosity, but it looks like even just a 12 month only student edition is $150. That's a pretty steep fee for a lot of younger cosplayers - and I can't justify it, myself. I know there are free programs out there, so maybe I'll give one of those a try first - it's kind of like buying the cheap paint to learn with before getting better. I know that might not be a perfect metaphor since a paid program might be easier to start with, but it's hard to justify the entry cost to a new medium without trying it. :o

Also, I've heard of "maker spaces" which offer such things, too !

#13 AlanaOwlet on 5 years ago

No that metaphors totally makes sense, haha! Cost is definitely what keeps me from printing for consumes more often as well. I meant more in that its a very easy program to learn and use than anything else. Let me know if you do end up using any of the free programs, I'd love to play around with some of them!

#14 walkerofdarknes on 10 months ago

Well, now that the future is here (at least from the date of the original post), I have some thoughts/ideas I'd like to contribute.

At this point, 3D printing is getting to be fairly common, at least in terms of cosplay. There have been incidents so far of contest winners who have made armor using 3D printers. Even some of the more known cosplayer names have stated using printers to create their works. So is it a good thing?

That's something I'm not sure I'm experienced enough, at the time of this writing, to know an answer to. I've done enough cosplays to know where my strengths are, and molding or sculpting isn't really one of them. Shoot, cutting straight lines sometimes eludes me. So I can see the advantage of using a 3D printer. It does have a certain appeal to me, even as I get a certain sense of satisfaction from making my costumes by hand. BUT at the same time, if I were in a competition and someone else won because they had a better look derived from something 3D printed versus a completely handcrafted cosplay, I'd feel hurt to be sure. There are any number of games now that lives on the concept of "pay to win". I don't think cosplay as a community would be improved if they were to adapt the same concept.

TLDR: 3D printers can be useful, but the community would have to find the right way to accept their usage.

#15 Syon on 10 months ago

In my most dystophic/pessimistic moments, I think we will face a grim future. Those who have the skills to make the best files and those who have the wealth to own the biggest and best printers rule the community. They are followed by a sheepish crowd of newer cosplayers and those, that never crafted (or have joined those that brought a printer). All crafting except for sewing and a few uses of resin are looked down upon. People looking for help get discoraged trying to craft something by hand. The most common replies to handcrafted costumes will be "but it would have been better, if you printed it", "why didn't you print it?!" and "I can print that for you next time". Handcrafted parts will be seen as something that will lose you any competition. Popular photographers will ask for "printed only" costumes.

On more optimistic days, I vaguely think about its use to replicate small costume parts without the need to do messy and expensive casting.