Practice 1: 3D Printing (A5 – 1)

Practice 1

3D Printing Tips

This next project is to make a 3D printed piece, which I’m very excited for. Each week, I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard to tackle brand new skills or software, so it’s a nice change of pace to have an assignment in my wheelhouse. I’m quite familiar with 3D printing from my previous cosplay projects, and run a small 3D printed cosplay prop shop with my partner.

Creating and preparing a model for printing has quite a few constraints as compared to a model for a game or render. Topology isn’t as important and you don’t need to be concerned about UVs, but to avoid a print failure, models must:

  • Be completely watertight, with no overlapping geometry or floating parts (ZBrush’s dynamesh works great for this)
  • Not have any islands without supports (depending on the angle of the print, this means that there are no sharp overhangs, and comes with the understanding that any overhangs will need to be supported, creating small artifacts when the supports are later removed)
  • Have decently thick walls and no spindly parts that can snap during or after the printing process
  • Have an appropriate level of detail for what the printer and layer height are capable of printing
  • Must fit completely within the build area, which is quite small for most resin printers and may involve splitting the model into pieces

Initial Ideas

With these in mind, I’ve decided to print a cosplay accessory worn by the character Laudna on the new campaign of Critical Role. She has an intricate pair of scissors hanging off her belt that will allow me to practice my hard-surface work, and figure out how to add details in ZBrush’s noisemaker (which includes learning the basics of manual UVing). I’d like to make the scissors somewhat functional, so I plan to make them in two pieces and figure out a mechanism for them to slide past each other.

I’m hoping to have a prototype to show for class next week, but there are a few potential hangups with the model itself: the full sized scissors are pushing the size limit of our print bed and will need to be printed nearly vertically. This introduces the possibility of print wobble or issues with supporting a piece so that it doesn’t have too much suction near the end of the print. It’s also going to be difficult to decide where to put said supports to not obscure the detail on this double-sided piece.


Friederichs, H. (2021). Laudna Character Portrait – Critical Role. [image] Available at: [Accessed: 4 November 2021].

Coca, J. (2021). Vintage Scissors, Shears, and Snips. [image] Available at: [Accessed: 29 November 2021].

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