The days leading up to Comic Con are when everything falls apart.
As the time until we walk through the doors of the Javits Center gets shorter and shorter, months of planning, modeling, printing, painting, and sewing turn into a fractured mound of last minute bits and pieces. “Fire up the desktop machine! Turns out I DO need that other part! This is not attaching to this other thing as I had hoped, and now it fell off and cracked! Where did all our 3000 bobby pins suddenly disappear to?! Wait, what shoes am I wearing for this?!”
The calm only comes after this storm, when we finally run out of time, put it all on, and face the public as someone else, weapons in hand. It is in those moments of conversing with other fans, posing for photographs, and drinking in the rush of the day that we can truly savor and appreciate our 3D printing journey, and look back on how far we’ve come from the very, very beginning.
We would have never made the work we do now, let alone cosplay, had we not had 3D printing. Living and working in the New York metropolitan area, fantasy spaces where you can get down and dirty as makers are few, far between, and expensive! 3D printing has allowed us to create larger-than life-work in the smallest of NYC spaces, and has given us access to a horde of new materials to work in, via companies like Shapeways. The process has allowed us to create work we would have never been able to make with the skill set we previously possessed. It also allows us to truly bring those fantasies alive as cosplayers, but more detailed and dramatic than we ever thought possible.
And that element of surprise never goes away, even with experience. It comes in many forms, from the shock of success in making an amazing printed prop, to the realization, after many dollars and hours, that your idea failed miserably and it’s back to the drawing board.
Nonetheless, in every case, the surprises turn out to be fantastic learning experiences. 3D modeling and printing have changed the way our brains work in regards to making. We have truly married both our artistic muscles and engineering skills into unique point of views that are continuously learning and growing. It’s exciting to make a piece, realize how many ways it could be better, and then tweak it and reimagine it. Daunting tasks like iteration are interesting and engaging again, for it is now an opportunity, and challenge, to surprise ourselves.
All of this riding on the emotional roller coaster is worth it though, because it brings us to our final surprise: the “Christmas Moment” of seeing our finished printed parts, and holding them in our hands. Afterwards, we’re reinvigorated and ready for more.
Beyond the feelings of the process though, we have found more through 3D Printing, for it has given us an medium through which we can support and (we hope) inspire other women of all ages to pursue their ideas and develop their minds through technological explorations.
As women working in tech, and as adults who actively participate in play using it, this is what truly inspired us to start TheLaserGirlsStudio; Through doing what we love, and sharing our knowledge of 3D printing, we hope that we can provide a valuable resource to those looking to start a new journey. We feel inspired by the talented makers around us, and we try to do what we can to inspire others in the same way. This is something we hope to much more of in the coming year (so stay tuned!)
So, while we slave away these last hours before game day, supergluing seams, trying to pin a braid to a wig, and printing some last-minute parts, we may not be at our best, but we anxiously await the rush of that first day on the Comic Con floor, another chapter of our 3D printing journey completed.
Check out the evolution of Sarah’s 3D printed Final Fantasy XV-inspired trident, below, and look for TheLaserGirls on the floor at New York Comic Con this Thursday and Friday. Can’t make it to the con? Follow Shapeways and TheLaserGirls on Instagram for live action from the floor.