The 3D-printing extraordinaires reveal all
How two students went from art school to cosplay genius
Learning 3d for the first time can be overwhelming, what with all the different software, interfaces and terminology that you will face. Of course, it helps to have a friend there alongside you. such was the case for duo sarah C Awad and dhemerae Ford, who met at an art class and subsequently created thelasergirls.
At that point, thelasergirls were only really focused on using 3d printing as a tool for creating artwork. it wasn’t until they started designing 3d-printed fingernails that they found a small community of those looking for nails to incorporate into their cosplays and costumes. “We had always been interested in costume design and prop making, so we thought marrying cosplay with 3d printing would be a great challenge for us.”
together, the duo now create intricately detailed costumes using 3d modelling, printing and scanning along with traditional fabric and leather working. the fabric parts are sewn by hand with help from their talented seamstress friends and the leather components are hand cut, punched, dyed and finished. “We try to 3d print pieces of the costume that would be the most realised through that process: weapons and armour with unique details, pieces we want to design modularly or engineer in a new way – pieces that benefit from being 3d printed.”
Both Awad and Ford cosplay as film and videogame characters – sometimes taking an interesting spin on an existing costume idea. the most challenging print for
Awad so far took the form of Final Fantasy: Advent Children’s Cloud and his strife Fusion sword. “i am more of a digital sculptor,” she says, “so this build went completely against how my brain works, which was one of the reasons i chose to do it. i really worked out the kinks in my parametric solids modelling workflow on this build and really learned a lot from dhemerae.”
Ford, meanwhile, had her own challenges with Final Fantasy VII’S iconic sword. “it took a huge amount of engineering, along with several failures along the way, to get that sword just right. it didn’t turn out perfect either and we definitely learned a lot about material science. the final sword probably weighs around 15 pounds, too, which was a factor i didn’t even consider when designing it!”
What have the two learned from their journey so far?
For Awad, it’s the freedom to print. “Being able to model and print has really empowered me and has not only taught me that i am capable of making things i never thought i would be able to make, but has also revealed a new passion in me – the desire to teach others and give them the same tools that have truly changed my life.”
Ford explains, “i’ve learned to spend less time worrying about small details and to focus more on the larger picture. Having to put together an entire costume using many different methods and techniques forces to you to consider the costume as a whole. i’ve also learned a variety of interesting skills, such as belt making and leatherworking, that i never would have been involved with otherwise.”