Cosplay Costume and Props Made on a CNC: Hoku Props | Laguna Tools

(Radio talking in background) Chad Hoku: Hey everybody, my name’s Chad Hoku
and I’m the owner and primary artist for Hoku Props I run a special effects company doing prop
armor, prop weapons specifically for the cosplay community I’ve always been a nerd. I’ve always been the weird individual that
didn’t necessarily fit in with the social norm and that same mentality has kind of followed
through in my adult life as well. I like to think that I still make toys essentially
as a living and I love it and I wouldn’t change what I do. You know, my dad taught me as a kid fabrication
skills. Chad Hoku: Specifically I learned things like
working with fiber glass, even carpentry work. Most importantly he taught me how to paint,
and so utilizing all of those skills and being the nerdy person that I am and having all
these fascinations with Star Wars and the video game world and fantasy and Lord of the
Rings, really the whole nine yards. That all kind of came together into the person
that I am today. So, I worked on Hoku Props and I built Hoku
Props and I guess what you would say is I became Hoku Props during that entire school,
college career I had for business, but at one point Hoku Props started becoming a little
too successful and I couldn’t keep up with it and balance school. Chad Hoku: So I spent a lot of time trying
to keep the two in balance while not sacrificing the progress I had made in either respect. To kind of compound the issue, a few years
back I had a really bad shop accident where a piece of equipment that I was working with
failed and it resulted in this injury, but what’s funny about losing an eye at that point
is it really changed every single technic that I had. I almost want to say that having to do that
has given me a more polished, more refined technique and it’s resulted in spectacular
products and spectacular opportunities that have shown up. Chad Hoku: I had a friend near here out in
Orange County that worked at a maker space called Urban Workshop, I believe. They utilized a Laguna tool. My friend that goes there, he really enjoyed
using the router and so I started looking into Laguna and I noticed that they were not
very far. If I can purchase a device that I can go see
in person and tour and demo and experience, I feel much more comfortable purchasing that
then just kind of throwing darts at a purchase and hoping it is not totally a lemon and junk. Chad Hoku: So, it was at that point I contacted
Laguna, said, “Hey, here’s what I do. Here’s what I want to do. Can I come down and see your stuff?” Some places get a little standoffish, like,
“You know, that’s not really how we do things. Blah, blah, blah,” but when I called Laguna,
they were just like, “Oh, for sure. Let’s schedule a meeting. Come down. You can see everything we have.” It was that kind of passion and mentality
that, hey, we’re making cool stuff. We know it, but we also want to provide the
opportunity to all of these people that can potentially make cool stuff with our cool
stuff. Chad Hoku: So, when I wanted to go down and
check out the machine, I called and got ahead of an individual by the name of John [Kraskow
00:03:53], and John was a very nice individual. You could tell that he is interested in kind
of showing me what was going on and what sort of machines that were available down at Laguna
Tools. I decided that I wanted to go with the Swift
four by four, which was the self standing one specifically because the rigidity purposes
and whatnot. It really revolutionized my work in the sense
that the accuracy of the unit, the stability of the unit, the rigidity of the unit, the
cutting ability is far superior than really any other machine I’ve ever worked with. Chad Hoku: So, Reinhardt. Reinhardt is a character from a video game
called Overwatch that’s produced by Blizzard. Now, as you play through the game, you start
getting alternative skins and clothes and armor designs for the character. At one point you get a couple of armor sets
that show Reinhardt without his helmet on, and so he’s this light skinned, white haired,
grandfatherly character who’s missing his left eye. So, I was just like, “Oh my gosh, it’s meant
to be,” right? Chad Hoku: Last year, 2016, I was given the
opportunity to compete in a really large costume contest. The costume contest was for TwitchCon 2016,
which is ran by Twitch, which is the largest streaming organization online or really in
the world, and they provide live streaming services not only for video games but also
for creatives like myself. So I did, and the costume I planned on was
Reinhardt, but I specifically wanted to do the lion heart skin. That’s the golden one that is down in the
shop and that you guys have seen me wearing. Chad Hoku: So, through Twitch, I was able
to broadcast the entire build of lion heart and showcase all of the different techniques
that I used. One of the things that I used that really
set me apart from everybody else is I did a lot of CNC work. The CNC work was all using CNCs, a bunch of
different CNC processes. So, 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC routing. That’s where Laguna came in. I used their router that I own. Chad Hoku: It’s really important to mention
that it’s through the use of computer aided design, 3D modeling and a CNC that has allowed
me to grow, especially post-accident. It was after the accident that I started conforming
a little bit more from hand fabrication to really all being computer based design and
then fabrication from that point on. So, when we showed up at lion heart and we
had a perfectly symmetrical costume that utilized all sorts of different techniques, we won
and we won the grand prize, which was 15,000 dollars and we won this beautiful trophy. It was a really heartwarming, wonderful experience. Chad Hoku: I’ve got to say, if it hadn’t been
for the Laguna Swift four by four CNC downstairs, the costume would not have been what it was. A lot of people might not realize this, but
that costume was built literally in about three months. So, I need to be able to produce stuff fast
and I could only do that because I had the router downstairs. I really believe that by teaching people how
to do the things that I do and allowing them to run with it and start experimenting, hopefully
I’m doing a good job, because this means when they learn these cool things, they come back
to me and they say, “Hey, Hoku, I took what you taught me and I tried something out and
it worked really well. Check this out.” Chad Hoku: I really like that I can inspire
people in that sense. Case in point, like a CNC router from Laguna. When people ask me what CNC router would I
recommend, I recommend a CNC router from Laguna. If they ask me who they should just buy equipment
from, I say, “Check out Laguna,” because Laguna offers really, really good, reliable products,
which is something that is immensely important. So, for that, I really thank everybody that
allows me to teach them.

4 thoughts on “Cosplay Costume and Props Made on a CNC: Hoku Props | Laguna Tools

  1. That is an incredible story and showcase of this young man's work. Truly there is no limit to human creativity from creating/building nanoscopic molcules to fight human diseases to constructing monstrous machines that take us to the heavens to tread on foreign planets…

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