Introducing Elise, the founder and owner of internationally renowned cosplay 3D printing and modelling business, Porzellan Props!
What made you start 3D printing, and how long ago did you start?
Previously I worked as a drafter at an engineering firm, spending my days 3D modeling structural foundations, trusses and beams. During the evenings I would be spending time on my main hobby at the time: cosplay. In 2016, at age 20, I received my first big tax return and knew exactly what I wanted to buy: a 3D printer. The printer I had purchased was called the Davinci XYZ 1.0A, which was massive and clunky (and absolutely terrible compared to today’s standards), but I loved it dearly. Bit by bit I would push myself to learn how to 3D model better and greater things for my cosplaying hobby.
What made you pursue 3D printing as more than a hobby?
As I began to create more things for myself, I had friends chiming in with project ideas for their own cosplays, and it slowly began to take off from there. The first big ‘product’ that I had created was a bowsette crown, which I had modeled for a friend’s cosplay, which ended up being a huge success. I started up an Etsy shop to sell them, which resulted in buying a second (and then a third) 3D printer to keep up with the demand. This was the start of my 3D printing side hustle, haha!
I ended up working for several years after this as a drafter with my Etsy side business snowballing around me. I had desperately wanted to quit my comfy office job to try and give my 3D printing career a chance, but I was too anxious that it would be a reckless and irresponsible decision. At the start of the pandemic in 2020 I ended up being laid off from my drafting job, so I told myself I would take one year to try and make this dream work. I can happily say that I’m nearly 2 years into running my 3D printing business full time!
What’s your favourite thing you’ve achieved over the years with 3D printing?
I think my favourite thing about what I do is that I’m able to help so many people from around the world bring their dream cosplays to life. To date I’ve sold over 2500 cosplay prop kits and 3D models to cosplayers around the globe, and I think it’s very special that what I do has affected so many people in this community. Every time I create a new 3D model I’m learning and improving, and it’s always so satisfying to look back and to see my growth as an artist.
What’s your favourite 3D printer?
Without a doubt, my little baby, my Prusa mk3s+. For YEARS I had wanted this printer, but could never justify purchasing such an expensive model. It runs like a dream and is definitely my favourite child of the bunch, for sure.
However, my second favourite is my newest printer, my Artillery Sidewinder X2. This printer is the quietest of my robot children (I’m at 12 of them now, and trust me, the noise difference is uncanny). Having a printer with a bigger build volume is a must for me, since I’m always using them to bring giant props to life. I bought this one on black friday and already have another one coming in the mail!
Have you ever felt like being a woman in 3D printing has been a barrier to overcome?
100%, yes, the hobby has always felt like a ‘boys club’. Whether just chiming in on a 3D printing facebook group, or sharing a creation on reddit, the comments section is always vastly different in comparison to posts created by men.
Ironically, this caveat is what ended up being the biggest defining factor for my business branding: pink. When I was first getting into business my local filament supplier always had a surplus of pink filament for sale, since all of the local men 3D printing didn’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole, ahah! I gladly printed all of my products in pink and enjoyed the filament sales all to myself. Today, years later, I still use all pink for my branding!
Do you have any advice for girls and women wanting to get into 3D printing?
Don’t let anyone stop you. Learning how to 3D model and 3D print is the closest thing we will ever achieve to being alchemists, and to me nothing will ever be as satisfying as seeing your creations come to life in front of your eyes. I can tell you from personal experience that learning how to 3D print may not always be fun, but it will always be rewarding. It can be an overwhelming amount of clogged print heads, unlevel beds, and unruly 3D models. But, if you persevere, you can make a LOT of really cool things. I have learned so many amazing skills through 3D printing and I can truly say my life would never be the same without it.
Support Elise’s work at Porzellan Props here!