Cosplay is all about recognizing the stories that shape the way we think and interact with the world. Science fiction in particular pops up frequently at conventions because we all want to live in a technological utopia where toys make our lives easier.
Imagine if you had a replicator from StarTrek. How awesome would that be? Not only could you materialize all the meals you would ever want, but you could use it to make intricate costumes for your local cosplay group.
While we aren’t quite at the reality where a 3D printer can print food (we’re close), we do have 3D printers that can create your costumes for you. With a 3D printer, you can design your costume and spend less time actually building it from scratch.
Let’s look at the best 3D printers for cosplay.
Quick Comparison: Best 3D Printers For Cosplay
ANYCUBIC Chiron 3D Printer (Best Overall)
LulzBot Taz 6 (Most Compatible For Cosplay)
Creality Ender 5 Plus 3D Printer (Most Durable)
TRONXY XY-2 PRO Titan 3D Printer (Best For Beginners)
Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer (Most Affordable)
Table of Contents
Why Would You Need A 3D Printer For Cosplay?
Whether you are new to cosplay, or a seasoned veteran, you want to make sure that your costume is the best it can be.
We all know how competitive cosplay can be, and you want to be remembered as the person with the most accurate ensemble.
However, it can take a lot of time to prepare a great costume, especially when you’re stuck doing a job in the real world.
Instead of spending months making the perfect dark saber, you could get a 3D printer to do it for you in a fraction of the time! Depending on the printer, you can create high quality costumes quickly year after year.
What To Look For In A 3D Printer For Cosplay
When choosing a 3D printer you’ll notice there are a lot of different technology types for 3D printers. What you really need to consider is affordability as well as the quality of the print. While you don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money, you also want to look amazing as Ruby Rose from RWBY.
In order to do that, you have to consider the price of the 3D printer and how well it actually prints your gear.
Plus, you should want your new printer to last a long time. You don’t want to just wear an awesome costume one year to a Stark Trek Convention. No sir! You need a creative and homemade costume every year.
Before even considering buying a 3D printer, consider what attire you will be making and what you intend to do with it. Are you planning on printing an entire Asuna costume? Or, just a wand from Harry Potter?
One will require a large printer volume, while the other could be done in a smaller volume with higher precision.
What Are The Best 3D Printers For Cosplay?
ANYCUBIC Chiron 3D Printer
Of all the printers I looked at, the ANYCUBIC Chiron 3D Printer would be the best for Cosplay overall. It is a truly amazing printer for a reasonable price. Not only does it have the largest print volume at 15.75 x 15.75 x 17.62 inches^3, it can handle all types of material, from wood to TPU.
This printer is durable and can run for several days straight. In addition, the print quality is excellent and precise. Perfect for those intricate costume ideas.
In addition, the initial set up is very easy, takes less than 30 minutes, and you can get the bed heated before you print in a minute and a half, making the pre-printing calibration about 15 minutes. Plus, the printer comes with matrix automatic leveling. This means you can adjust it in real time through very straight forward instructions either following the website or the touchpad.
This is the best printer for cosplay because it’s the best combination between affordability and print size. You can not only print the smaller parts needed for complicated costumes, but you can also print the bigger pieces you might need for a convention, like shields or pieces of armor.
- Huge print size
- You can leave it printing for a long time
- Easy initial set up and calibration before printing
- Automatic leveling
- Quality gets worse the taller your model is
- Loud when printing
- Technical skills make it easier to print
LulzBot Taz 6 3D Printer
While this printer might not fit our affordability standards, the LulzBot Taz 6 deserves a shoutout due to its large print volume and flexibility with printing materials. It has a large build area at 11 x 11 x 9.8 inches^3.
The device is easy to set up, especially with the excellent directions from Aleph Objects, the company that makes the Lulzbot printers. The only tricky part can be squaring the frame before you install the print bed, but there are clear directions on Lulzbot’s website for that.
Depending on the complexity of your project, you can keep the printer running for days or have your model completed within a couple of hours. The user manual is well-done and useful, and the company provides practice builds that help you get going.
A major pro for this printer is the company, Aleph Objects. They respond to any queries quickly, and the technicians are super knowledgeable about their printers. Aleph Objects will also respect their warranty and provide you with a new printer if something goes wrong, just make sure to keep your warranty!
While the Lulzbot Taz 6 is expensive, it is truly a remarkable printer. When you buy this printer, you not only are getting an easy printer to set up, but one that will last you a while and can print out high quality, large volume costumes.
- Great customer support
- Easy set up
- Flexibility with printing materials
- Set up process
- Need to manually activate warranty
Creality Ender 5 Plus 3D Printer
The Ender 5 Plus is one of the most durable printers with a large print area. It comes with great structural support, making it the most durable of our picks. If you’re planning on doing cosplay for years, this printer is a solid choice.
The cube frame makes it structurally sound and durable. The printer is very stable so you can print with high precision on a large bed, which has a volume of 13.8 x 13.8 x 15.7 inches^3.
One of the best qualities of this printer is that if its power supply is lost, it has the ability to resume the print from where it left off. Plus, there’s a filament end sensor that tells you when you need new filament, or if something else is wrong.
The assembly can be easy, both out of the box and before you start using the printer. However, the instructions provided by the company is confusing so you may need to head to YouTube for better decisions. In addition, it can take a while to adjust and level the bed surface.
With additional aluminum support, the base is much more stable, allowing for great print quality as well as longer durability. The print quality is also excellent due to the high precision nozzle.
- Large build volume
- Stable structure
- Resume print feature
- Great print quality
- Requires extra accessories for more advanced prints
- Loud when printing
- Heavy due to the large volume
- Confusing instructions
TRONXY XY-2 PRO Titan 3D Printer
The TRONXY XY-2 Pro is the best printer for beginners that’s inexpensive. It has a reasonably sized bed size for printing. 10 x 10 x 10.2 inches^3. The smaller size is good for beginners so that you can move it around and test out a bunch of prints.
The set up for the XY-2 Pro comes partially assembled and only takes three steps to install, which is great for beginners.
When you’re ready to print, it has an auto level that really helps you get started. However, leveling the bed is really more assisted than automatic in reality. Nonetheless, the printer will guide you through the leveling process. The bed rapidly heats within 5 minutes making it quick and easy to start printing.
The printer also includes a detector that lets you know when you’ve run out of filament. The touch screen gives you an easy interface to work with before, during, and after printing.
Unfortunately, the software that comes with the printer is less than ideal, but you can download a 3rd party software, such as Cura, and that will make the printer even more easy to use.
- Easy set up
- Specific components that lead to longer durability
- Customer support
- Smaller printer
- Software download
- Does not auto-level as much as assisted level
Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer
The most affordable of our list of 3D printers, the Creality Ender 3 Pro is definitely the best choice if you’re on a budget. In addition to the low price, the printer boasts several features that more expensive printers do not have. The printer has a decent build volume of 8.7 x 8.7 x 9.8 inches^3, smaller than the LulzBot Taz 6, but still a reasonable size.
The Creality Ender 3 Pro is considered straightforward to put together, though the directions can be convoluted. It takes about 1-5 hours to build and requires some technical knowledge to set up. This printer wouldn’t be the best for beginners.
One of the best features is the power recovery mode that will allow you to keep printing your project even if the power goes out. In addition, the quality of the print is good and while printing, the unit self-aligns. The printer also has a tight filament pathway, allowing you to work with flexible materials and get a high quality print.
If you want this printer, you will have to buy new filaments for printing separately as the filament that comes with it is not high quality. You can use all sorts of different filaments in the printer, from wood to carbon fiber.
The company that makes the Creality Ender 3 Pro, Comgrow, is very responsive and reasonable. If the printer comes with issues, which it often does, they will quickly replace the parts.
- Resume print feature
- Filament versatility
- Customer support
- Difficult set up
- Filaments included are not high quality
- Printer ships with technical problems
The Ultimate Tool For Cosplay
My number one choice for a cosplay printer is the ANYCUBIC Chiron 3D Printer. The main reason is because of its huge print volume and flexibility when it comes to material. It is very durable, and is the best combination between price and print quality.
You’ll be able to use this printer for many cosplay conventions in the years to come.