Bringing Anime and Fantasy to Life with 3D Printing Leave a comment

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Our August 2018 Hacker of the Month is the owner and designer behind Lindy Design Lab, based in Melbourne, Florida. Lindsey uses several types of media to get amazing results for her cosplay and prop production business and hobby. Up until 2016, she was using typical cosplay materials for her builds; EVA foam, Kydex, wood, fabric, and leather. Once she was introduced to 3D printing by a friend, she was hooked! With her background in AutoCAD and 3D modeling, she was able to transition into 3D printing to add another creative tool to her arsenal. Now, she primarily uses Fusion 360 and MeshMixer to design the 3D models that she prints on her Ultimaker 2+. Lindsey gets most of her creative inspiration from sci-fi, anime, and fantasy.

How did Lindsey get started in 3D printing? I’ll let her tell you: “3D printing is cool! It’s mesmerizing and exciting to watch something growing that previously existed only in your mind and in digital form. The specific projects I design and print often are inspired by things that I enjoy such as the Lord of the Rings film interpretation of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and the Fullmetal Alchemist anime series. It’s even more interesting and challenging to create something inspired by a character with which I’m initially less familiar, as was the case with Matrim Cauthon’s Ashandarei.”

Witch King Gauntlets

“A number of years had passed since reading any Wheel of Time books, so I researched, seeking to understand the character before designing anything. That was a long but fulfilling process which even involved translating phrases as faithfully as possible to an incomplete fantasy language! The 3D printed detailing for the Ashandarei plus my 3D printable interpretation of his Fox Head Medallion exist because of this period of immersion in the character’s lore. As exciting as 3D printing can be, for me it’s a tool that helps me make cool things based on relevant research and thoughtful design work.”

The Matrim Cauthon Ashandarei from Wheel of Time

The Matrim Cauthon Ashandarei from Wheel of Time

She has created some spectacular pieces for cosplay not just from The Wheel of Time series, but also costumes and props from Fullmetal Alchemist, The Lord of the Rings, and Doctor Who. The variety of materials she considers for each product is wide-reaching, and she selects the materials that will most faithfully help her recreate a particular piece.

Witch King Pauldrons in Progress

Witch King Pauldrons in Progress

For her Witch King gauntlets, she utilized 3D printing and Cheetah flexible filament by Ninjatek to get the segments of the gloves to move more easily once a hand was inside the glove the armor was affixed to. 3D printing certain parts also allow her to get a higher level of consistency that would be hard to achieve with other materials.

Lindsey has also used PETG for rigid armor applications, and most recently she has been working with matte fiber HTPLA which is strong, lightweight, and super clean to print with. It also doesn’t wear down the nozzle like glass-fiber or carbon-fiber reinforced filaments. She has recently updated her version of the Edward Elric Automail with HTPLA, which printed extremely well!

The Automail Arm from Fullmetal Alchemist

The Automail Arm from Fullmetal Alchemist

Lindsey also enjoys the flexibility that the digital design process gives her: “When making something new I change my mind a lot until the design finally feels right and functions correctly. Digital modeling suits that creative process perfectly – I don’t waste materials on initial iterations, and the finished model goes directly to the prototyping stage via 3D printing. The ability to design something once then 3D print multiple versions is powerful. I can change the size or detail to suit different needs without having to construct and store a bunch of molds or patterns.”

Of course, 3D printing weapons, armor and props means a lot of finishing work! “Any gaps get filled using a 3D pen, and then everything gets sanded with the Dremel. I’ve found that flexible filaments work best with acrylic paints and an acrylic paint sealer. The finish on rigid filaments gets further refined with layers of high build primer and more sanding before getting base coated in spray paint, weathered with acrylics then top coated with automotive enamel.”

A fox head medallion from Wheel of Time

A fox head medallion from Wheel of Time

As Lindsey explains, the power of 3D printing isn’t just for props and armor: “I hope that the project tutorials I share spark some ideas while providing a realistic idea of what it takes to make finished props using 3D modeling and printing. Designing and finishing a complex, custom part can take a lot of time, even after building the technical skills required for building the digital model and getting it to print out well. Jumping in with realistic expectations for what the tools can do might just make the process less frustrating for anyone new to 3D printing.”

“Also, it’s nice having the ability to solve everyday problems with high-quality 3D printed parts. For example, when my mother needed a specialized wall bracket which was overpriced and aesthetically unappealing,  I designed my own solution and printed it in Cheetah filament, creating a super strong part that got the job done and looked cool. Another time my dad and I both needed a protective phone case which was on backorder. After a few iterations we each had a case that fit perfectly, handled well and provided some much-needed impact cushioning.”

Ringwraith Boots

Ringwraith Boots

We look forward to more anime and fantasy literature inspired pieces by Lindsey in the future and more amazing tutorials!

Visit Lindsey’s YouTube channel and subscribe here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCN213CAC4VJvXjaHE-cxlA

You can also visit Lindsey’s website for more information, and contact her directly for questions or commissions:

http://lindydesignlab.com/

Want to be our next Hacker of the Month? Email chris.morgan@matterhackers.com, and tell us about your 3D printed creation – you could be featured in our next newsletter. Hacker of the Month wins 3 free spools of PRO Series PLA or ABS filament to further their pursuit of 3D printing greatness.



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