In the enchanting realm where creativity meets technology, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Ben Mather, the imaginative mind behind Bensrightbrain. Cody Dickinson, Chief Marketing Officer of Inspired Forge, led a captivating interview that took a look into of Ben's latest venture—bringing Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story to life through a stunning, large-scale 3D printed cosplay.
1. The Spark of Inspiration:
Cody: What inspired you to choose Buzz Lightyear as your cosplay, and what made you decide to go for a large 3D printed version?
Ben: I’ve actually wanted to make a realistic Buzz suit since 2015. I’ve always loved the character and thought it would be really cool to make a version of him that looked like a real astronaut. When the trailer for the 2022 film came out, it was everything I could have imagined, and that was only a month after I first got into 3D printing, so the timing couldn’t have been better.
2. The 3D Printing Process:
Cody: Can you share some insights into the process of 3D printing such a detailed cosplay? Any challenges you faced along the way?
Ben: It’s a big rig. You can find tutorials for printing, welding, sanding and painting, and that can get you most of the way, but sooner or later you run into steps that no one’s taught. For me, that was padding and making the suit actually wearable. I was lucky enough to have a friend that gave me some leftover acoustic foam, and that turned out to be the perfect solution, but until I had that figured out, there was always an element of uncertainty.
3. Entry into the 3D Printing Community:
Cody: How did you first get involved in the 3D printing community, and how has it influenced your approach to cosplay?
Ben: It all started when trying to pick out a Christmas present for my dad. I wanted to get him something special and narrowed it down to a drone, VR headset, or a 3D printer. I’m glad the drone and VR goggles were so expensive because it sent me down the rabbit-hole of 3D printing. Like many getting started, I had a lot of questions and quickly found 3D printing discord servers with passionate people willing to help me, from classic bed leveling issues to clogs, I barely would have been able to print a benchy without their help.
4. Bringing Buzz's Essence to Life:
Cody: Are there specific elements of Buzz Lightyear's character or design that made you particularly excited to bring them to life through 3D printing?
Ben: First, I think the silhouette of the suit is incredible. Johan3DPrintMaster did an amazing job modeling it. I think he found a perfect balance of making it look good while also making it wearable and walkable. It’s also a super colorful suit. It has every color of the rainbow with the exception of orange. Picking out colors and playing with metallics was a ton of fun. As far as the character goes, I really love the fact that the 2022 Buzz was all about self-forgiveness. At its core, the story is about a person who makes a mistake, has a hard time forgiving himself, and has to learn to move on and not try to fix everything. That’s been a tough lesson for me to learn, so it meant a lot to see a character like him embody that.
5. Favorite Details of the Cosplay:
Cody: Do you have a favorite part or detail of your Buzz Lightyear cosplay that holds special significance for you? Why?
Ben: Definitely has to be the collar lights. The original model has all those little windows filled in, so I had to manually carve out every little window, apply a mesh screen to act as a diffuser, and run some string lights through the torso to make them all light up. The end result looked insane, especially at night. One of my favorite things about 3D printed cosplays is when makers incorporate elements that the modelers never considered and make it their own. The variety among multiple people making the same suit can be amazing.
6. Beyond Buzz: Other 3D Printing Projects:
Cody: Beyond Buzz Lightyear, do you engage in other projects within the 3D printing community? Any favorites or standout creations?
Ben: I’ve utilized 3D printing for a number of cosplays now, mostly printing other people’s models, but recently I started teaching myself Fusion 360 and made a set of drawer organizers for the doctor's office I was working in. It was a great gateway into modeling and eventually I brought those skills back into cosplay when I designed and printed my own functioning webshooters for Scarlet Spider.
7. The Future Role of 3D Printing:
Cody: How has 3D printing technology enhanced your overall cosplay experience, and do you see it playing a significant role in your future projects?
Ben: Absolutely. 3D printing is such a new and fun medium. It just brings a realism to these suits that was impossible 10 years ago. I definitely plan on using it in future cosplays. I want to push the medium further and see what else is possible. 3D printed fabric fascinates me.
8. Lessons Learned and Advice:
Cody : Are there specific skills or lessons you've learned through the process of creating this cosplay that you'd like to share with aspiring cosplayers or 3D printing enthusiasts?
Ben: A big piece of advice I have for anyone looking to do this is to make scrap prints and test everything out. Make sure your filament can take a hit. Test your paints, your glues. Do your decals hold up to water damage? Test everything before you put it on your suit. And make sure your car is FAR AWAY from wherever you are spraying. I accidentally coated my car with a thin layer of spray-paint from spraying in the driveway. Lastly just be safe. You only have one set of lungs and you don’t want to damage them with fumes from Bondo, epoxy, spray-painting or micro-plastics when sanding or welding. Wear proper PPE. Your body will thank you.
9. The Power of Collaboration:
Cody: In the world of cosplay and 3D printing, collaboration is key. Have you collaborated with others on this project or in the community, and if so, how has it enriched your creative journey?
Ben: I never could have made this completely on my own. The discord servers helped me get my printers up and running. Friends of mine helped make stencils and the padding and the purple neckpiece. When I finished the suit, I inscribed the names of everyone who helped me make the suit on the inside of the forearm flap. Now, when people come to me with questions about printing, I do everything I can to help. I always say cosplay is more than a hobby, it’s is a community. That rings just as true for 3D printing.
Be sure to follow @bensrightbrain and @inspiredforge for all your 3D printing community inspiration stories!
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