Just a few days before Halloween, students in Chapman University’s new class, “Topics in Computer Science: 3D Printing and Design,” gathered to present the costumes they’d spent hundreds of hours creating. The first major project for the class was to design and print Halloween costumes for Higher Ground, a nonprofit dedicated to mentoring youth in undeserved communities. Printing Halloween costumes was an ideal way for Chapman students to start designing—and to show kids how cool engineering can be. The class met with youth to ask what they wanted to be for Halloween. They came up with a range of ideas, from “Guardians of the Galaxy” hero Star-Lord to a character from a popular anime show to the creepy Annabelle doll from “The Conjuring.”
Biological sciences major Sanika Pandit says, “That was a big challenge. We had to interpret what components of the costume to print ourselves and ask, ‘How do you make something that is wearable and not clunky or heavy, but also functional?’” Sanika and her group addressed that by making detailed armbands and a chest plate for a Supergirl costume.
All told, students spent hundreds of hours designing, printing and assembling their costumes. Nothing came out perfectly on the first try, so the project benefited from material donations. Matterhackers donated filament and Adafruit provided the electronics that helped students add key details, such as the red lights around Star-Lord’s eyes. Kaitlyn and her project partner, Brandon, presented their Gauntlet to a grade school student who tried it on, moved the fingers and watched as the jewels on the knuckles lit up. The youth of Higher Ground talked about how they couldn’t wait to show off their costumes and go trick-or-treating. Holding his Star-Lord helmet, Juan Jimenez says, “It’s cool that they built this with computers.”