Feb 12, 2018 | By Tess

Gaming, fantasy, and sci-fi enthusiasts will already know that additive manufacturing is changing the cosplay game, as the technology enables people to create highly realistic cosplay props and costumes.

(Image: shoreydesigns / Instagram)

On the costume front, we’ve just come across a novel method for 3D printing flexible, wearable (and, dare I say, comfortable?) cosplay armor. Presented by maker David Shorey at a recent Hackaday meetup, the process consists of 3D printing plastic armor tiles onto a piece of netted fabric, such as tulle.

The result is a flexible, totally wearable piece of 3D printed armor that can be sewn, glued, or attached to create almost any type of armor or shielding.

Interestingly, the method isn’t that far off from a special technique used by Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen in her recent “Ludi Naturae” collection. To construct one of her 3D printed dresses, the innovative designer worked with researchers from TU Delft to 3D print synthetic resin structures (using a multi-material Polyjet 3D printer) onto a thin and sheer piece of tulle.

In Shorey’s case, he 3D printed three layers of his tiled armor pattern (it is important that the individual pieces are slightly disconnected), paused the print, and then carefully secured a piece of tulle (a fine netted fabric) to his 3D printer’s build plate on top of the first three layers. When the tulle was flat and safely attached, he simply resumed the print.

If you want to try out the simple process yourself, be sure that the tulle material you are using (especially if it is made from nylon) won’t melt or deform if you are printing with a high-temperature filament. Secondly, be sure that the material is properly secured (and laid flat) on the build platform. This can be achieve using tape, clips, or something similar.

(Image: shoreydesigns / Instagram)

The possibilities for armor effects are virtually limitless, and Shorey has demonstrated some pretty awesome examples on his Instagram page, including a tiled mirror effect as well as a chain mail design and scales.

Though this is not the first time we’ve see makers 3D print onto fabric (see this 3D printed t-shirt decal for reference), it may be the first time we’ve seen it used to create props of this quality for cosplaying purposes.

It goes without saying, but if you want to 3D print yourself an entire suit of armor using this method, you’ll have to carefully plan the printing patterns so that you can assemble the individual pieces of the printed armor into a wearable form. This, as some will know, might not be quite as simple as the technique itself.



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



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