Cosplay 3D Printing

3D Printing for Cosplay

Works from Binnie FX, Compound Creations and English Dragon Custom 3D

3D printing is a great technology that has the potential to revolutionise the way we create costumes and props for cosplay. With 3D printing, it is now possible to quickly and easily create intricate costumes and props with precision and accuracy which would have been impossible with traditional methods.

3D printing also offers a unique opportunity for cosplayers to customize their costumes with unique materials that are not available in traditional costume fabrication methods. From flexible plastics to metal alloys, 3D printers can be used to create custom pieces that can bring any costume design to life.

We’ll explore the basics of 3D printing technology and discuss how it can be used for cosplay costume fabrication. We will also look at some of the materials available for use in 3D printing, as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of using 3D printers for cosplay projects.

Why use 3D Printing?

3D printing has opened up a world of possibilities for cosplay enthusiasts as well as professional prop makers. It has enabled them to create custom costumes and accessories with intricate details that would have been impossible to achieve with traditional methods or taken far longer to achieve the same level of detail. With 3D printing, cosplayers can now bring their favourite characters to life in a more realistic way than ever before.

3D printing also provides an opportunity for cosplayers to express their creativity by creating personalised costumes that are tailored to their own unique style and size. Accessories can be crafted to be as simple or intricate as they need. By using 3D printing, they can make pieces that are not available in stores and create the perfect costume for any occasion. With the right materials and tools, anyone can become a master of cosplay creation!

Beginners Tips

3D printing has revolutionized the way cosplayers create their costumes and props. With a 3D printer, cosplayers can easily create intricate pieces of their costume with relative ease. However, for those who are just getting started with 3D printing, there are some tips and tricks to help them get the most out of their printer. This article will cover some of the best beginner tips for cosplayers using 3D printers, as well as the best materials to use when creating costume pieces with a printer.

Start small – While it can be tempting to jump right into creating a full suit of armour or other complex props, it’s best to start with smaller, simpler prints to get a feel for the process. This will help you build up your skills and confidence before tackling bigger projects.

Choose the right filament – Not all filaments are created equal, and choosing the right one for your project is important. PLA is a good all-around choice for beginners, but if you need something stronger or more flexible, consider materials like ABS or PETG.

Pay attention to settings – Getting the right settings for your printer and filament is key to achieving good results. Make sure you’re using the right temperature, speed, and layer height for your filament, and take the time to adjust your printer’s settings as needed.

Use support structures – For more complex prints, support structures can help prevent your print from collapsing or warping. Most slicing software has the option to generate these structures automatically, but you can also add them manually if needed.

Sand and finish your prints – Even the best 3D prints will often require some sanding and finishing to achieve a smooth, polished look. Use sandpaper or a Dremel tool to smooth out rough edges, and consider painting or applying other finishing techniques to give your prints a professional look.

If you’re starting out, you can follow our beginner’s guides here.

Intermediate Tips

Scanning for ScaleIf you have access to a 3D scanner, you can scan yourself and use the resulting 3D model to compare your prop model and easily achieve a 1:1 reference for scale.

Vacuum Forming & Casting – Consumer vacuum formers can be used in conjunction with 3D printed parts to create detailed moulds. Which can then be used with foam or cosclay to sculpt various parts. You can find a good example of the Mayku Formbox being used here.

Materials for Cosplay

eSUN PLA+  has higher strength and durability compared to standard PLA. This means that the printed objects will be less likely to break or warp over time, making it a great choice for props that may be subjected to wear and tear. PLA+ also has a low shrinkage rate, which means that it’s easier to achieve accurate and consistent prints with minimal warping or cracking. This is especially important for printing larger props or objects with intricate details. It’s also easy to work with and produces high-quality prints with a smooth finish, making it ideal for cosplay items that require a high level of detail or a specific aesthetic. PLA+ is available in a wide range of colours and finishes, allowing cosplayers to choose the right filament for their specific needs and preferences.

Polylite ABS is a great filament for printing cosplay items due to its strength, durability, and heat resistance. ABS is known for its strength, and Polylite ABS is no exception. This makes it a great choice for printing cosplay items that may be subjected to wear and tear or impacts. Additionally, ABS has a high heat resistance, which means that it can withstand higher temperatures than other filaments without warping or melting. This is important for props that may be exposed to heat sources such as stage lights or body heat from the wearer. Polylite ABS also has a smooth finish, making it great for objects that require a polished look or a smooth texture. ABS can also be easily sanded or painted, allowing for additional customization options.

Polylite PETG is a great filament for printing cosplay items due to its combination of strength, flexibility, and ease of use. PETG is known for being a strong and durable material, not us much as ABS but has the advantage of being slightly more flexible which allows for more resilience and durability in printed objects. This makes it a great choice for printing cosplay items that may be subjected to wear and tear or impacts. Polylite PETG is also easy to work with and produces high-quality prints with a glossy finish, making it ideal for creating shiny or reflective surfaces on props or accessories. Finally, PETG is resistant to chemicals and UV light, making it a great choice for props that will be used outdoors or in environments with exposure to chemicals.

Model Resources

Thingiverse & Cults3D

Thingiverse and Cults3D are both excellent resources for finding 3D models for cosplay and prop-making. They each have their own strengths and differences. Thingiverse has a larger user base and more models available for free, but the quality can be more hit or miss. Cults3D offers a curated selection of higher-quality models, but they are typically not free but fairly in-expensive. Both platforms allow for easy downloading of models in a variety of formats, which can be printed using a 3D printer and then used for vacuum forming or casting to create cosplay props. Overall, both Thingiverse and Cults3D are great options for finding 3D models to use in cosplay and prop-making projects.

Nikko Industries is a great resource for cosplay and props 3D models due to the high-quality and attention to detail in their designs. They specialize in creating accurate replicas of popular props and accessories from movies, video games, and comic books. Nikko Industries provides a range of 3D printing files, including STL, OBJ, and FBX formats, to cater to different printing needs. With a vast library of designs available for purchase, Nikko Industries is a valuable resource for cosplayers and prop makers looking to create authentic and intricate designs.

Another way to get 3D models is to hire a professional 3D designer. This can allow you to work directly with the designer to create a bespoke design or something you cannot find online. There are many designers out there, including us! We charge £25+VAT per hour for design work and work closely with customers to ensure the design is right for them. We are also happy to sign NDAs if needed. Find out more here and see our own 3D file repository here.


Here’s where you can find the creators of the masterful creations shown in this blog:

3D printing has revolutionized the world of cosplay, offering the opportunity for cosplayers to create intricate and unique costumes and props with precision and accuracy that traditional methods cannot achieve. 3D printing allows for customisation with unique materials and bespoke tailoring, making it easier for anyone to become a master of cosplay creation. For beginners using 3D printers, starting small and paying attention to settings, using support structures, and sanding and finishing prints are essential tips for getting the most out of their printer. When it comes to materials, eSUN PLA+, PolyLite ABS, and PolyLite PETG, as well as many more, are great choices for cosplayers to create strong and durable props and accessories with a smooth, polished look. With the use of 3D printing, cosplayers can bring their favorite characters to life and express their creativity in a way never before possible.

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