Creativity has got a new expression with the arrival of 3D-printing technology. 3D-printing has been put to good use by a fan to produce a Varia Suit from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Wii exclusive gaming title. The Varia Suit is worn by the protagonist of the game, Samus Aran.
The Varia Suit was the creation of Chelsea Mills, a 3D environment artist. She has previously woked with the popular MMORPG title, Guild Wars 2. The Varia Suit was made using 3D Systems' ZPrinter 450. She started making the full-body suit in early 2013.
Mills kept a blog that details the progression of her creation. She started by creating the 3D model of the Varia Suit on Maya, a computer animation software. But before that she made it using Pepakura method and later wedging it using the Maya software.
Later, when she was introduced to 3D-printing by a friend who owned one, things fell into place.
"Originally I had planned on doing the Pepakura method but right as I was about to get into it, a good friend of mine told me he had just purchased a couple Zcorp 450 3D printers. I couldn't believe my ears. I had briefly looked into 3D-printing a while before this and discovered how ridiculously overpriced it is to get things printed," she said.
She also realised that the 3D-printing was highly accurate, easy and faster to make.
"The advantages of 3D-printing are astounding. First off, there's accuracy; you can't get any more exact than getting a one-to-one copy of a 3D model (assuming your model is accurate as well)," Mills told IBTimes UK.
"Then there's the fact that it's fast and easy compared to all the work and fine tuning you have to do with manual creation, although you have to have the knowledge and skill to work with 3D modelling software, [which is] a lot of hard work," she added.
Mills was helped by her friend Matt Serle in post processing to fine tune the cosplay armour. Serle used ZP150, a type of plaster that produced a coarse texture, which is brittle for the helmet.
"When they are removed from the printer they are extremely fragile, if you even bump them lightly they can crumble to pieces before you can even move them to the air compression bay to start cleaning - which is an entirely different monster of its own," said Serle.
"After the part is completely clean of powder you then have to seal it, and the bigger the pieces the more difficult this can be as they can seal too quickly or unevenly and warp and crack or even melt from the chemical reaction."
Later, the helmet was glued together and used other methods to achieve the final desired outlook. She had to also use body filler - primer and spray paint - automobile paint and wet sanding to make look right.
Many parts of the costume, like the chest armour had to be made in pieces using the 3D-printer but later had to be jointed together and then polished using ZBrush, a digital sculpting software.
For the parts of the Varia Suit that had to be flexible, she printed using the 3D model in Pepakura and later put the paper model on fabric and cut out the desire pattered. Then, she used the fabric pattern on a foam craft to create the Suit.
In the end, she layered Worbla on the craft foam and glue together the pieces. Later, she painted the Worbla using automobile paint. The total cost of the costume was between $3,000 - $4,000 and the 3D-printing of the pieces cost her $1,200.
Her creation resulted in an exception piece of art.
(YouTube Courtesy: Talaaya)
(YouTube Courtesy: Talaaya)