Mar. 12, 2015 | By Alec

It’s increasingly looking as if 3D printing technology is taking over the world of cosplay, though that’s not so surprising. A basic desktop 3D printer is after all perfect for producing cool and unusual accessories to complete your costume. But then again, some people take things a bit more seriously. Remember this cool 3D printed Samus suit? And Now Hugh Holder has created an even more impressive suit with his 3D printer: he has gone for Gabriel from the Last Man Standing: Killbook of a Bounty Hunter graphic novel series.

While Iron Man seems to be the go-to cosplay suit for male 3D printing enthusiasts, Hugh has thus gone for a more obscure character: a genetically-modified super soldier from an apocalyptic future. As Hugh, who has a background in digital modeling and prop-building explained on his blog, he first came up with the idea in 2013. ‘My girl friend introduced me to the art of a really talented guy named Dan LuVisi and the work he was doing on Last Man Standing,’ he wrote. ‘We thought his character concepts were very cool and she wanted to make a costume based on one of his designs, Alice.’

After reaching out to the author for permission, they got such a supportive reaction that Hugh wanted to follow suit. ‘And with that we set out to create this huge mess of a project that somehow came together. Since she had already decided which character she would do I had to pick my own. There were several characters that I thought would be fun to build, but no one had made Gabe yet and I figured I might as well start there,’ he explains.

Now as you might expect, this is turned into a very long and arduous, but ultimately very satisfying, building project. Hugh hasn’t made a tutorial or anything, but he fortunately shared some general thoughts about the entire process on his blog. As he explained, he first started out with the costume’s iconic helmet. Now if your immediate cosplay-response is ‘Don’t ever start with the helmet!’ you might be right, but it was all part of the plan for Hugh. ‘I couldn't help myself. I figured if I couldn't get this to look right there wasn't much of a point in finishing the rest of the outfit,’ and that makes a lot of sense.

But as you might expect, 3D printing a helmet isn’t just a single big shape. Instead, Hugh embarked on a lengthy journey of efficiently designing the separate pieces that could come together to form a properly fitting helmet. Finally, details were added using carbon fiber vinyl trims. The visor is made from PETG with a cool LED feature.

Aside from a fitting helmet, the most important step in such a process is creating a scaled and accurate model of your own proportions. Nothing quite ruins ComicCon such as ill-fitting suits! ‘I created a properly scaled model of myself and my very non-super hero height/proportions. At this point it was time to separate the armor parts from my draft model and rescale them to my size. This would be my guide in the workshop to make sure everything was working together scale-wise’, Hugh explained. ‘Scale is everything.’

Now of course not everything can be 3D printed, as it would make the entire outfit heavy and uncomfortable. Lots of large parts were therefore made from foam floor mats, while the armor itself was 3D printed in ABS, the designs for which were all based on his original scale model. These parts were subsequently assembled with ABS glue, which is perfect for creating nearly permanent links. After that, it was a matter of spray-painting everything with different coats of black and gray, and adding details. ‘Some parts were sourced like the gas canisters from some airsoft props and the [bullet holes] which are actually skittles sealed in resin.’

Remarkably, Hugh even 3D printed the to pistols (the twins), as well as the big gun baton. ‘I needed a prop that wasn't two little guns. I decided to create a version based off one of Dan's illustrations in his Killbook of a Bounty Hunter.’ While a summary makes it all sound quite easy, the entire process was in fact a painstaking and highly time consuming challenge. But the results are amazing, and as you can see in the photos, Hugh and his girlfriend in her ‘Alice’ costume were quite a hit at DragonCon in Atlanta.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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