Cosplayers gear up at WVU-P
Maker Day event features 3D printers, more
PARKERSBURG — People needing help to get their cosplay and Halloween costumes together were invited to come out Sunday to the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Entrepreneur Center to sample some of the technologies available to help them with their projects and other things during the 2019 Maker Day event.
People could come to the Entrepreneur Center located in WVU-P’s Workforce and Economic Development building during the day to see and use the technology available, including 3-D printers, a laser cutter and engraver, a CNC milling machine, vinyl plotter, an industrial sewing machine and more.
Others with knowledge of the technology and resources were at the center to help people in creating costumes, props and doing other projects.
“What we are doing is bringing in a bunch of people who have never stepped foot in a maker space before,” said Entrepreneur Center Coordinator Logan Mace. “A maker space is a community area people can come into and use all of the technology and resources we have for whatever they want.
“It can be costume related, which is what (Sunday) is geared for for the upcoming holidays and a lot of comic con conventions around this time of year.”
However, people interested in the technology for small business use and other applications were also encouraged to come, Mace said of people who could make furniture items, home decor items, Christmas presents and more.
A number of people were doing 3-D printings, sewing projects (including how to pattern), laser engraving, foamsmithing (to make props or costume parts), LED work and etching projects. This was also the first time some people have seen a sewing machine or leatherwork tools.
“What it is is getting people in here to understand what can happen in a maker space,” he said. “It is what they can do, the possibilities and give them a chance to meet certain people who are experts in certain things, like microcomputing, 3-D printing, foamwork, laser cutting and more.”
Many of the people there to help made sure visitors knew what the technology could do and not be afraid of it. People were invited to become members of the center to be able to use the space.
“They can finish a project with confidence and that is what today is all about,” Mace said of Sunday’s event. “It is educating people on what you can do and the possibilities on what you can do in using the stuff.
“A lot of (Sunday) has been what you can do with the technology.”
Mace said even if people are not into costuming or cosplay, he wanted people to see what could happen at a Maker Space.
Jasmine Roberts, of Parkersburg, was making a jacket for a costume of the Repo Man from the cult film “Repo! The Genetic Opera” with her father, Steve Roberts.
Steve works in the IT department at the university and he and Jasmine are members of the Entrepreneur Center.
“They had this open and we thought we would take advantage of the assembled people,” he said. “There are specialties they have that we don’t. We share and collaborate.”
Jasmine wanted to do the costume. Up until now, the only things she has sewed has been small plushies, but not clothing.
“I wanted to get this done,” she said. “This is the first time I have ever done anything like this.
“I like it. It is interesting and gives me a chance to learn. I love learning.”
The Roberts used a stock pattern for a coat from Walmart that they are modifying to get the look of the character and to fit her better.
Steve said he liked the chance to bring his daughter to such an event.
“You can come together and do things as a group or a family,” he said.
They brought their own sewing machine in case somebody needed it as the industrial sewing machine there was being used a lot.
“It is a nice way for the community to come together and do these things,” Steve said.
Steve grew up with a mother who taught all of her kids to be self-sufficient by learning to cook, sew and do other things. He wants to pass some of that on to his daughter.
“It gives me a chance to show her how to do this stuff,” he said. “The more you know, the better you can take care of yourself.”
Brian Henson, of Vienna, was just interested in what was happening, wanted to see a 3-D printer work and get some ideas for Halloween. He was getting a piece done for a 7-year-old from a character in the video game “Horizon Zero Dawn.”
He got her dad the video game and she fell in love with the character in the game. The item is a piece of technology that gives the wearer a heads-up display. The costume piece will also include a LED light and an earpiece. The child will wear it for trick-or-treating.
“It’s fun,” he said. “I like doing the arts and crafts stuff.
“Me and my friends enjoy the cosplay and costumes. Getting people out here for this kind of event is great.”
Doug Anthony, Chief Information Officer for WVU-P, was working with Henson on one of the 3-D printers. This is a hobby for him as he does a lot of 3-D printing for propmaking and others with with electronics. Anthony said many people were interested in 3-D printing.
Owen Cejka, of Williamstown, is going to a convention with a uncle in a couple weeks and was having trouble making a piece for a costume before coming to the event for some help.
The costume is Bakugo from “My Hero Academia” and Cejka needed help making the grenade gauntlets the character has.
“I don’t have very many materials at my house,” Cejka said. “I think it is good to come here, get some help and they have the materials and machines you need.
“It saves a lot of time and money as well.”
Opening in 2018, the Entrepreneur Center is a makerspace where technology and creativity meet in an effort to expand the entrepreneurial Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) movement in the Mid-Ohio Valley, according to WVU-P’s website.
Monthly memberships for the Entrepreneur Center start at $15. For more information about the center or becoming a member, people can contact email@example.com or call 304-424-8383.