Cosplay 3D Printer Buying Guide
The following are the most important things you should consider when choosing a 3D printer for making cosplay costumes and props. This buyers’ guide will help you pick the model that’s perfect for your needs.
a. The print volume of your cosplay parts
It’s a no-brainer that a small 3D printer can’t print big cosplay parts. At least not as one piece. Using a 3D printer that supports a large printing volume, you can create a helmet in one full piece. In the case of a low-volume 3D printer, you’ll have to create the same helmet as small parts, then glue them together. The general rule here is that large 3D printers are better. Supporting a large printing volume allows you to make better -and more durable- cosplay parts. The size usually means a more expensive model but if you can afford it, you should definitely go for a bigger printer. Of course, you need to consider where you will be 3D printing your cosplay parts as well. If you have space limitations, a large printer might not be an option. Getting an awesome 3D printer that is too large for the space you have…never a good thing!
b. 3D printer type
All the common “consumer” grade 3D printers are FDM (Fused Filament Fabrication) printers. These 3D printers use a continuous filament of a thermoplastic material that’s layered to create the desired shape. Of course, there are lots of other 3D printing techniques out there. Most of the other printers though are super-expensive and are generally used at a commercial scale. Even for the most serious cosplayers, a high-quality FDM printer is more than enough. There are different types of 3D printers like DLP and SLA printers.
c. Printer Resolution Vs. Printing Speed
Just like traditional printers, 3D printers have a printing resolution as well. However, it’s the printing is being done in the X, Y, and Z-axis, the resolution here refers to the smallest movement that the printer’s extruder can make. The smaller the movements a printer can make, the more the details it can produce. Unlike in traditional printers, lower resolution means better printing quality for 3D printers. For example, a 3D printer with a 0.05mm resolution is better than one with a 0.3mm resolution.
One thing to keep in mind though is that higher 3D printing resolutions translate into slower printing speeds. So, when you see a 3D printer with a high speed, check the resolutions to make sure that they’re good enough. Most 3D printers that you can currently buy have a resolution between 0.1 – 0.3 mm (10-30 microns). Any printer with a resolution that’s less than 0.1mm (10 microns) is an HD 3D printer. In the end, the speed vs. resolution choice depends on the type of cosplay parts you want to 3D print. In most cases, speed shouldn’t be a deciding factor when choosing a 3D printer for cosplay. Unless a printer is significantly slow, you’ll be fine. All of the models on our list have a decent printing speed so, you don’t need to worry about this.
Pro tip: Power outages can ruin your 3D prints, especially long ones. Using a UPS allows you to get rid of this problem for good. If you don’t know what a UPS is, check out this post. These are important things to consider when you’re buying a new 3D printer for cosplay.
The type of connectivity and control that are supported by the 3D printer will impact your overall user experience. For example, some models have WiFi connectivity. Using this WiFi connection, you can access your printer without needing a computer. Some models can be controlled via a mobile app, other models have USB support. Before you buy a 3D printer, make sure it has the kind of connectivity and control that’ll make it fun for you to use. Some models even take things to the next level by providing a built-in camera that allows you to monitor your builds from your smartphone. Asides from being cool, this makes checking your builds -which can take hours- convenient, even when you’re away from the printer.
e. Filament Support
There are many types of filaments that can be used with FDM 3D printers. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), Dissolvable filament (HIPS), and Flexible filament (TPU) are just some of the types that you can use. When you’re choosing, you need a model that supports as many filament types as possible. Since they have different physical properties, being able to use different filaments will help you print better parts for your cosplay costumes. What will work for a small prop won’t necessarily work for a big and complex armor build. Pro tip: To ensure the best 3d printing results, make sure to use quality filaments. We highly- recommend HatchBox filaments so, make sure to check them out if you’re not already using them. I