TOP 10 MUST-HAVE COSPLAY TOOLS/ACCESSORIES FROM HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS

When you think of cosplay, you may think of places like Comic-Con, E3 or Anime Expo, but you probably don’t think of Harbor Freight Tools. If you’re into making your own cosplay costumes, Harbor Freight Tools should be your first destination. Harbor Freight Tools is your one-stop tool shop for creating your cosplay attire, accoutrements and weapons. While cosplayers are willing to invest ample time and money into their passion, saving money is still a big plus! Harbor Freight Tools is known for “quality tools at ridiculously low prices.” Following is a list of the Top Ten Must-Have Cosplay Tools/Accessories from Harbor Freight Tools. All of these items are available at any one of their 500 stores nationwide or through harborfreight.com. (Note: prior to using any tool or material, please make sure to utilize all necessary safety precautions and safety equipment.)

10.

Heat Gun

Heat guns are a must when working with materials like foam, Sintra, Wonderflex and Worbla. A heat gun provides controlled heat so you can form and shape materials to your costume’s specifications.


(FOA Cosplay made this amazing World of Warcraft Paladin with Sintra)

 

Harbor Freight sells several different heat guns within a modest price range. Plus, there’s a nifty accessory kit to expand the functionality of your heat gun.

1500 Watt Dual Temperature Heat Gun (572°/1112°) item #: 96289

 

heat gun

430°-800° /570°-1160° Interval Heat Gun with LED Temperature Settings item #: 69343

 

1600 Watt Heavy Duty Dual Temperature Heat Gun

1600 Watt Heavy Duty Dual Temperature Heat Gun (1000°/1100°) item #: 69342

Heat Gun Accessory Kit 9 Pc

Heat Gun Accessory Kit 9 Pc item #: 68695

 

 9.

Glue Gun

A glue gun is mandatory for costume construction. In many cases, a glue gun is the best way to bind materials, like EVA foam.

pacific-rim-gipsy-danger-cosplay-by-nona-neon-2-620x856

(Cosplayer Nona Neon used EVA foam to make this incredible Pacific Rim Gypsie Danger costume)

 

Harbor Freight sells three glue guns along with the glue cartridges sold separately.

 

Professional Industrial Glue Gun

Professional/Industrial Glue Gun item #95939

 

High Temperature Full Size Glue Gun

High Temperature Full Size Glue Gun item 68334

 

High Temperature Mini Glue Gun

High Temperature Mini Glue Gun item #: 68337

50 Piece MultiTemp Full Size Glue Sticks

50 Piece MultiTemp® Full Size Glue Sticks item #: 68336

50 Piece MultiTemp Mini Glue Sticks

50 Piece MultiTemp® Mini Glue Sticks item #: 68329

 

8.

Woodburner

As the name implies, a woodburner is an excellent way to add detailed ornamentation to wood pieces. However, it’s also used as a detailing tool for other materials such as foam.

Woosburning

(The middle details on this wood sword are 2mm foam detailed with a woodburner)

 

Harbor Freight offers a woodburner that’s ideal for soldering jobs, working with Styrofoam, cutting stencils or burning designs into wood or leather.

woodburner

30 Watt 5-In-1 Hobby Woodburner item #: 38593

 

7.

Orbital Sander

Whether you’re evening out the surface of a large shield or smoothing out filler on a mask, an orbital sander will quickly become your new best friend. The time saved compared to hand sanding is priceless let alone the fatigue you’ll avoid trying to generate up to 12,000 OPM (Oscillations Per Minute) on your own (I’m good for 60 OPM myself…)

Mirror_shield_4

(An orbital sander was used several times during the construction of the Mirror Shield from Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

 

Mirror_shield_33

(The finished shield)

 

Harbor Freight carries several types of orbital sanders, including a wet orbital sander. You’ll also find sanding discs in a variety of grits for rough work, finishing work or something in between. Check out their complete selection of orbital sanders and sanding pads.

 

6.

Epoxy

Bonding materials is a given when it comes to making your own cosplay costumes. You’ll need to have one or more epoxies on hand and ready to go. Sometimes you need to bond materials quickly. Other times, you need some wiggle room—time to line up or adjust the materials perfectly before the bond sets in. Harbor Freight offers several different types of epoxies, including:

0.2 Oz. Single Use Quick Setting Epoxy Adhesive item #: 96031

0.2 Oz. Single Use Delayed Setting Epoxy Adhesive item #: 96033

 

5.

Hobby Knife

The hobby knife is simply indispensable for the cosplay costumer maker, especially if you use the pepakura method to build your costumes. It’s also used to cut intricate stencils, EVA foam, you name it…

Harbor Freight sells a 33-piece deluxe hobby knife set that comes with 26 assorted blades, 2 standard blade holders and an ergonomic blade handle. The set also includes scratch awl blades, caliper, jeweler’s precision screwdriver, tweezers and a bonus pen-type precision screwdriver with six bits. It comes in a well-organized case so you’ll have quick and easy access to the blade you need for cutting, carving and crafting.

hobby knife

33 Piece Deluxe Hobby Knife Set item #: 96551

 

4.

Spray Gun

For detail paint work, look no further than the 4 oz. Adjustable Detail Spray Gun from Harbor Freight Tools! The paint sprays from a standard circle pattern to a pinpoint fan for more accurate and efficient coverage. A spray gun can also be used to apply coats of wood glue to seal EVA foam for making armor and other accessories to your costume. Check out this video on how to do it!

FireShot Screen Capture #080 - 'How to Seal EVA Foam Quickly Using a Paint Spray Gun - YouTube' - www_youtube_com_watch_v=aJ6y1O5qTUQ

(Fan video – using the 4 Oz. Adjustable Detail Spray Gun to coat EVA armor)

 

4 oz spray gun

4 oz. Adjustable Detail Spray Gun item 92126

 

Note: a compressor is needed to run the spray gun. Harbor Freight carries an inexpensive line of compressors and compressor accessories as well.

 

3.

Nitrile Gloves

Before your cosplay costume is a site to behold, there’s a whole lot of mess leading up to it! Paints, epoxies… it’s veritable chemical warfare on your hands! In addition to masks, safety goggles and the like, all available through Harbor Freight, you should have several packs of nitrile gloves on hand. The form fitting gloves provide plenty of dexterity while providing superior chemical resistance. Harbor Freight offers thicknesses ranging from 3mm to 9mm in medium, large and extra-large sizes.

nitrile gloves

Check out Harbor Freight’s full selection of nitrile gloves!

 

2.

Safety Goggles/Face Shields

You’ll be cutting, sawing, sanding… and Zeus-knows-what-else to get your costume convention ready. Just remember, it’s all fun and cosplay until someone loses an eye! Make mom proud and put safety first! Safety goggles and face shields are absolute necessities to keep your eyes and face protected while you focus on the task at hand. Harbor Freight has numerous eye safety options from which to choose.

 

1.

Rotary Tool

If Jerry Maquire were into cosplay, he would look at the rotary tool and say “You complete me.” Cutting, buffing, boring, sanding, engraving—more than a dozen jobs can be performed with just this one tool!


(Harrison Krix and Bill Doran create the hammered metal look with a rotary tool)

 

Harbor Freight offers plug-in and cordless rotary tool options. And in case you’re worried you won’t find enough uses for your new rotary tool, then check out the 249 Piece Rotary Tool Accessory Set which includes 67 cut-off wheels, 60 sanding wheels, 12 grinding wheels, 5 fiberglass reinforced cutting discs, 18 aluminum oxide grinding stones, 7 diamond burrs, 3 cutter burrs, 6 drill bits, 6 wheel brushes… the list goes on!

That’s the Top Ten list, but we’re really just scratching the surface. From duct tape to drill presses, batteries to shop vacs and hand tools to workbenches, Harbor Freight has what you need to fortify your cosplay costume making workshop or build one from scratch while saving a ton money in the process!

Comments

  1. BeardedDalek says

    On any tool, YMMV, but still the place to get it. I use contact cement (also at Harbor Freight) instead of hot glue for EVA foam. I am surprised EVA foam itself is not on the list, as it is the largest area of savings. Harbor Freight sells a 4-pack of “puzzle mat” EVA foam for exactly half what I have found at any of their competitors. I have also purchased an engraving tool, disposable blade box knife and “multipurpose scissors” for EVA foam cutting, miniature screw extractors for dismantling small devices for parts, several colors of electrical tape for edging, tools for making the electronics for suits, and components for specific costumes.

    • Biff says

      Thanks for your feedback. It was hard to narrow down a Top Ten list but your comments will definitely help other readers/cosplayers.

  2. says

    Hi folks.
    I worked in special effects and prop building professionally for 23 years.
    Next blog article needs to list all the SAFETY ITEMS that cosplayers should be using while operating the above mentioned tools. Sure, you got nitrile gloves in there, but ventilation fans, cartridge masks, eye protection, and ear protection are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL when working with burning EVA foam or even wood. Breathing the fumes from urethane resins as you’re grinding away at them with a rotary tool is bad BAD juju. That stuff is toxic and people need to be aware of how they’re trading their health for their hobby when they don’t properly protect themselves.
    I love Harbor Freight (and even more so now that you’ve embraced the fan community) but I think you need to play up the need for safety to all these neophytes who arm themselves with unfamiliar tools and just dive in.

    • Biff says

      Gordon, thank you for your feedback! Perhaps we’ll do a follow-up article pointing out all the safety items.

      • Nic says

        I switched to a face shield after hearing about some accidents with spinning tools. Some recommendations on proper safety equipment would be great (and useful as a reference point in the future)

  3. says

    You guys are awesome! Thanks for carrying all the stuff a cosplayer could need to create incredible armor & props! (Including foam! Don’t forget the foam!) And thanks for acknowledging & blogging about how much cosplayers love & need you! Y’all rock!

  4. Jonathan Mcilwaine says

    I love this article! I’ve been shopping at Harbor Freight since the store near my house opened up. It is a great store for most of my cosplay needs. Looking forward to the liquidation sale this weekend!

  5. says

    Harbor Freight is having a HUGE sale at the stores and online THIS WEEKEND August 22, 23, 24 – 2014..

    50% to 86% off. 50% Friday, 60% Saturday & 86% on Sunday.

    Oz

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