It can be a challenge to create the best cosplay outfit for a convention and creating your own miniature. Whether you want something comprehensive or simple, you need to ensure the miniature model or cosplay outfit you plan looks striking and unique. Anything that is true to life and can bring fiction into reality is always a plus.
You’ll require a high-grade 3D printer to help you in producing some of the things needed for your miniature model and cosplay outfit. A great printer will work whether it entails producing armor or a prop for an outfit.
But not all 3D printers for cosplay and miniatures are built equally. So, you’ll have to find a quality printer that fits in well with your design plans. This guide will help you in finding the best 3D printer for your next miniature and cosplay project.
Quick Comparison of Best 3D Printers For Miniatures and Cosplay
Products Name Features
QIDI Tech Large Size Intelligent Industrial Dremel DigiLab 3D45 Award Winning 3D Printer Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 3D Printer Creality CR-10S 3D Printer Aluminum BIBO 3D Printer Dual Extruder Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer ROBO 3D R1 Plus
- QIDI Tech Large Size Intelligent Industrial – Best Overall 3D Printer
- Creality CR-10S 3D Printer Aluminum – Best Large Format 3D Printer
- BIBO 3D Printer Dual Extruder – Useful For Many Features
- Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer – Best Budget 3D Printer
- Dremel DigiLab 3D45 Award Winning 3D Printer – Best Value 3D Printer
- Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 3D Printer – Best 3D Printer For Beginners
- ROBO 3D R1 Plus – A Linear Choice
Buying Guide for Best 3D Printers For Miniatures & Cosplay
How Does a 3D Printer Work?
The 3D printer has made it easier for people to produce items for their miniatures and cosplay setups. A 3D printer works with a few steps to make everything possible:
1. You would create a computer-assisted drawing or CAD file on a computer. After that, the CAD file would illustrate the specific piece you want to construct for your outfit or model. A digital 3D model file may also work.
2. You will secure the appropriate filament in the 3D printer. You can work with filaments in varying colors and fabrics, although the functionality can vary by printer.
3. The 3D printer will read the CAD file or other file.
4. The printer can then construct a three-dimensional item based on the CAD details. It will guide the filament to the proper spots on the platform.
What Filaments Work?
The filament you can utilize in your 3D printer can come in many forms but some specific filaments are best for specific parts of a cosplay outfit and a miniature model:
- Wood filament material will feature a porous body that you can paint or stain in many forms.
- Ceramic filament helps when you’re trying to produce something smooth
- ABS or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a tough filament that is lightweight, but it can warp in heat.
- PLA or polylactic acid is a strong item that provides a rigid body for when you need something that can resist many impacts.
- PCL or polycaprolactone is best for swords as well as shields. PCL provides a consistent body that reflects light.
- Carbon fiber is useful for lightweight and durable items, but it should be painted well after the printing is complete.
- Nylon works for some of the fabrics you wish to produce and works well for softer items.
- A metallic filament can feature a shiny body that works well for various accents.
Most of these filaments are 1.75mm thick. An average 3D printer should capable of working with that standard.
How To Choose the Best 3D Printer For Miniatures and Cosplay?
You have to look at how well your 3D printer will work if you’re going to use it for cosplay or miniature purposes. There are many things to see when you choose a quality 3D printer:
Look at how much volume your printer can handle because some cosplay and miniature pieces are larger than others. In fact, a printer that can handle a larger build or extra space for various items is always good to have. It’s also easy to print your parts without having so many separate segments. There won’t be as many weak points on your pieces when you have more volume in your printer.
The build plate is the main point to measure. The build plate is the spot where your items will be produced.
A printer must have a full heating apparatus that works alongside the filament you use. In addition to it, the heater should make the filament flexible enough to work in many situations.
A 3D printer is only useful if it’s also easy to run. You have to find a 3D printer that is fully functional and can be programmed in moments. Anything with a simple interface and an easy to load bay for your filament always helps.
The axis that the printer uses when positioning its printing functions is essential to note. A quality printer should work with a z-axis printing layout that works in multiple directions. The z-axis adds depth to the traditional x and y-axis positions.
Some printers feature a single z-axis layout. Others come with a double z-axis arrangement that is more stable and works best for larger items. You’ll need a reliable positioning setup if you wish to produce something with lots of detail.
Some printers come with dedicated software programs. The software may work well when you’re trying to produce an accurate printout.
Some 3D printers can link to a computer and read CAD files through a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth link whereas others require a USB connection. You could also use a model that reads files off of a USB drive or an SD card. Your model should have a control system as well that lets you identify the specific file you’re going to read.
The print speed on your 3D printer won’t be as critical as other points, but it helps to note what you would get out of your model. Some 3D printers can produce items at 100mm per second. A slower model might be more careful, but it can take a while if you’ve got a large piece to produce.
How to 3D Print Your Cosplay Costumes?
The key part of cosplay costumes for conventions and other gatherings involves ensuring they are as precise as possible. All the props and other features on your cosplay costume should be accurate to where you’ll have a better all-around appearance.
You can use a 3D printer to create all your cosplay costume or props features. You can use this to produce accurate items that are measured well and made with the sturdiest materials.
3D printers work with various three-dimensional image details, particularly from computer-aided design or CAD files. The printer uses a melted filament material to produce items in a three-dimensional environment. The filament must harden to fit its full shape.
You need to use a few steps for producing your cosplay costume items with a 3D printer. These steps will give you extra control over the creation process.
Use the Proper Printer
You’ll need a 3D printer that can handle the materials necessary for your cosplay costume. You can use a few points when figuring out what works:
- The printing area should be large enough where you can create the pieces necessary for your costume.
- The printer must support the filament you wish to utilize. Plastic polymers are the most common ones you can utilize.
- Look at the process a printer uses for producing its items. Some printers are fused filament fabrication units that use a melted filament stacked in layers. Stereolithography or SLA printers are also useful for high-quality prints, but those cost substantially more than other models.
Plan Your Design
The pieces for your 3D printer should be managed well to where you have a good layout working. You need to use a 3D modeling program like Blender or AutoCAD to get your computer-aided design file ready. You can always look around online to find tutorials for how to use these programs and how to design your cosplay pieces.
The design must be planned with a few things in mind:
- How many pieces need to be printed out? You might need to use adhesives or other items to secure these parts together.
- Can you print everything in one space? You might need to get one part printed in several segments to help you produce something well.
- Note how well the filaments you are using are working. You might need multiple filaments based on the texture of your part, the colors you’ll use, and anything else surrounding your design.
You can then print your parts all-around based on what you wish to produce. You will have enough freedom to support all the things you want to produce out of your work.
You should also note the filaments you’re going to utilize in your work. You can use one of many filaments for your benefit:
- Polylactic acid or PLA is one of the more common filaments you can use. It features a plastic-like body.
- Polyvinyl alcohol or PVA can be dissolved with water to create open spots or to add extra detail to your work.
- Wood fiber features PLA and cellulose to create a natural look. The material also features a wood-like scent.
- Nylon is useful for hot conditions, plus it is stronger than most other materials.
- Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS is sturdier than PLA, plus it can manage hot temperatures. You’ll have to keep the printing area well-ventilated though, as the ABS material can let off fumes after it is printed out. The fumes can dissipate and die off after a while.
You can use one of many materials for your outfit, but you should ensure you have something that fits well for your printing plans. Having an idea for what works for your printing plans can be essential to your success, especially if you want something durable.
Smooth Out Surfaces
You need to smooth out anything you produce after you print your items. A sandpaper material is ideal for when you need to smooth out all the edges and make something look more natural.
You can review the grit value on your sandpaper before you use it on your outfit pieces. A sandpaper material with a lower grit number of coarse and is mainly for rounding edges and shaping items. A higher-value grit total means the sandpaper is for finished surfaces and for producing a more refined appearance.
You have to utilize a few other pieces to help you create something outstanding. There are many things that you can use when finishing your 3D-printed setup:
- A soldering iron may be necessary for some metals. The iron would help in melting down some things.
- Spackle works as a useful adhesive that helps you get your items arranged all around.
- A primer may help you in managing any fillings. A primer can produce a base that establishes a nice shine.
- You can use whatever paints you want in your project. You must apply the paint evenly for the best results. You can use as many colors as necessary, provided they are realistic and fits in well with your project.
You can check on how well your cosplay pieces look at the end of your work. You should have something that stands out and adds a nice touch to whatever you wish to wear. You’ll be the talk of the convention if you can get your cosplay outfit working right.
What Would It Cost?
The good news about using a 3D printer for your cosplay outfit is that you might not have to spend as much as you might expect. You could get a 3D printer for as little as $200. You might have to spend a couple hundred more dollars for a high-end model, although that might not be necessary if you’re new to the 3D printing world.
The filament necessary for the 3D printer won’t cost as much as you might expect either. You could get some filament spools for about $10 to $20 on average. Check on the items you’ll use and that you have a good plan for whatever might work.
You could always rent a 3D printer if necessary. Some providers in your area might help you in renting out a printer. It may cost about $50 or more to rent one for a week, but that would be enough if you’re not planning on buying anything or spending lots of time with your work.
Best 3D Printers For Miniatures
1. QIDI Tech Large Size Intelligent Industrial – Best Overall 3D Printer
The first option to use among the best 3D printers for miniatures is one from QIDI that is precise enough to produce aviation and vehicular parts. This QIDI printer features an advanced body with a removable plate that supports multiple filament options. The front side of the plate can handle PLA and ABS items, while the reverse can manage carbon fiber and nylon items. Therefore, you can make the printer works with all of these 1.75mm filament materials.
The printer links to the QIDI Print Slicer program you can install on your computer. This Print Slicer will read your CAD file and confirm various minute details to produce a more accurate printing. The full-color five-inch touchscreen on the printer body also makes it easy for you to complete a printing task.
Its double z-axis printing body produces an accurate response. The motor moves the printing materials to various spots at a time and creates extra detail. You can print an object of up to 11.8×9.8×11.8 on this printer. Space should be great enough for when they’re trying to produce something with extra detail.
2. Creality CR-10S 3D Printer Aluminum – Best Large Format 3D Printer
Sometimes you might need something that works for larger miniature items. This Creality printer is suitable for all those extensive tasks. You can use this by linking a USB drive or SD card into the proper slot and then having the machine read the CAD file. The machine will then produce a thorough setup that features the proper display.
The printer has one of the largest printing spaces on the market as you can get the printer to work with 11.8×11.8×15.8 items. You can use a single print design, or you can split the content and work with as many parts as necessary. The setup works well for all miniature pieces, although it works best when you have enough room for just one item.
Furthermore, the knob control feature lets you adjust the printing effort and dictate how fast the project will run. It can go from 80 to 200mm in a second. You can control the speed to see what works best.
You can also adjust the nozzle diameter from 0.2 to 0.4mm. The temperature can also go from 180 to 220 degrees Celsius, thus making it appropriate for all filament materials. The tempered glass platform on the bottom will carry everything and facilitate a clean performance all around.
3. BIBO 3D Printer Dual Extruder – Useful For Many Features
You can easily make many things work with this BIBO 3D printer. The BIBO printer features an 8.4×7.3×6.3 build body and works with various resolution totals. Moreover, you can get the printer working with a connection through a USB port, a Wi-Fi link, or an SD card.
The printer uses a design that lets you add the remove different filaments in moments. You can also use a copy printing feature that lets you print two items at once, thus reducing your printing time. You can also use a two-color printing feature that lets you print items with more detail without having to replace different items midway through.
The 6mm thick aluminum frame on this printer provides a sturdy design that will not wear out even as the printer produces extra heat for many projects. The firm glass shield also lets you see what’s happening in real-time.
A laser engraving feature is also inside the printer. The laser system lets you engrave wood and other items. The dual feature is useful when you’re looking to produce a more detailed item.
4. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer – Best Budget 3D Printer
This printer of Comgrow primarily designed for producing high-end projects. What makes it stand out is that it is an open-source product. You can work with the source code inside the printer and get it working to produce a more effective approach for work. You can design a better printer body with more control while working with the specific things you want to utilize.
The open-source design helps you in adjusting the printer settings and in making it work for more projects. The point may require some extra technical knowledge to make it work. But you’ll find it is easy to set up and use when you handle it well.
The y-axis frame design provides support for getting your items printed in many directions. On the other hand, it produces a stable approach to printing that works in moments.
The extruder setup features a smooth design. The body helps in preventing clogs and in ensuring the materials can come out of the unit well enough. You can even use the resume printing function to continue the printing job if it ever stops due to a loss of power or any other threat.
Best 3D Printers For Cosplay
5. Dremel DigiLab 3D45 Award Winning 3D Printer – Best Value 3D Printer
Another option to note for your printing needs is the Dremel DigiLab 3D45 printer. The model is ideal for how it offers a reliable printing solution. It uses an all-metal extruder that can produce 3D prints without clogs.
The printer has been tested by Bosch to ensure its functionality. It was tested for more than 800 hours to see that it can keep on accurately producing items without fail.
A nine-point leveling system on a z-axis grade will detect how well different features around your printer work. The auto-leveling feature also dictates what segments need assistance the most while printing.
The heated build plate works for 10x6x6.7 items and can handle nylon, ABS, and PLA filaments. However, this heated build plate can heat up to 100 degrees Celsius.
A 4.5-inch touchscreen is on the outside of the body for your convenience. You can also use the HD camera app on your smartphone to link to the printer to see what is happening on the inside in real-time. The printer supports Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet connections, so it should be easy to run.
An RFID tagging system works on the inside where the tag setup identifies the filament type you install. The unit adjusts the nozzle and builds plate temperature to ensure the filament is heated well enough.
6. Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 3D Printer – Best 3D Printer For Beginners
The next printer on the list is Sindoh 3DWOX that is ideal for people who want something that isn’t overly complicated to use. The Sindoh printer uses a fully automated loading system where you can insert a filament cartridge. After that, the printer will read the data and adjust the heater based on whatever you supply.
The assisted bed leveling feature also helps in keeping the print bed level all the way. The printer displays instructions on its touchscreen control system to guide you in the work.
You can use the Sindoh app on a mobile device to connect to the printer camera through a Bluetooth link. The LED light feature also lets you see what is inside the printer while it works, so you’ll have an idea of what the printer is creating in real-time.
The five-inch LCD display screen lets you adjust the printer by choosing specific segments to open and close. The design also provides details on how the printer works in real-time and what you can do to adjust its features while in use.
7. ROBO 3D R1 Plus – A Linear Choice
Your last option for a 3D printer for cosplay armor needs is this linear printer from ROBO. The printer uses no 3D printed components, but rather focuses on linear motion actions. The move helps in producing a detailed approach to creating items from the bottom to the top.
At a point, you’ll appreciate how the model can handle about thirty different filaments. You can use rubber, carbon fiber, wood, and ABS items. It also works with many colors without having to switch out between items.
This is also an open-source product, which means you can make it work on many platforms. You can configure the setup to run on your computer of interest. ROBO also makes this with a dedicated 3D printing software program that you can link to the printer, although you can run your own software platform if you prefer. You can get your files loaded to the printer and make them work with the appropriate filament materials and color as you see fit.
An all-metal hot end also helps you in printing out more items. It works with many materials to produce a more efficient approach to managing your content. It creates a better look that fits in well and also adds a nice touch for printing needs.
Our Top Picks
Our recommendation for the best 3D printer for miniatures is the QIDI Tech Large Size Intelligent Industrial as it most use a larger space for printing and have an easier control scheme. For cosplay projects our top pick is Dremel DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer because it does better in accurately reading your content, not to mention it can work with all the major filament options you might utilize in your next cosplay project.
Finding the right 3D printer for miniatures and cosplay design needs can be challenging but you have to find something that can handle all your technical and design needs. Thus, a printer that can produce something a little larger is always worth having.