Get Ready for (Optimus) Prime Time

Make Your Own Optimus Prime Prop (and Save the Universe)

Matrix of Leadership

Maker Bob Clagett just built an adorable Transformers prop. With the help of 3d printing, he created the “Matrix of Leadership” from Optimus Prime. 

Thirty years ago, Transformers: The Movie was the hottest cartoon flick a kid could watch. In this 1986 sci-fi action adventure, the Matrix of Leadership was first introduced – it was passed from a dying Autobot Optimus Prime to his successor. These days, the Blu-Ray version will be re-published in the US. 

Get the price for “Transformers: The Movie” here: amazon-logo_transparent

How To Make a 3D Printed Transformers Prop

Bob Clagett is a maker by heart. He likes to make stuff – like casting his head, a king-size bed, a custom arcade cabinet – and a 3D printed Transformers prop. He also has several interesting maker videos on his YouTube channel. And he is was die-hard Transformers fan in his childhood. Somehow, these things fitted together nicely.

Transformers Leadership

Bob wanted to use this project to teach himself the 3D modeling software Fusion 360. So he started getting the outline of the Matrix of Leadership from a 2D screengrab, building his way up to the full-scale 3D model.

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Next, Bob 3D printed all the parts. “A lot of people think 3D printing is easy”, states Bob Clagett in the video, “You just push a button and then you have a finished thing. That is not true”, he states in his video. According to him, printing the parts for the Matrix if Leadership was a time-consuming process – nothing you could do in a day, but more in 30 to 40 hours.

He used an Ultimaker 2 3D printer for all the parts, printing them with gray, orange and translucent blue filament.

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All the parts were then sanded several times to get rid of the build lines. Then, the parts were sprayed with filler primer for several coats. Bob repeated the process several times to get a good result.

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Adding Electronics to the Matrix of Leadership

With all the parts ready, the assembly started. This also took a while. Most of the parts were super-glued and came together nicely.

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To attach the dome to the Matrix of Leadership, Bob used some magnets. The reason for this are the embedded electronics. If you use a switch on the Transformers prop, the blue dome now lights up thanks to a bright white LED. All the electronics are hidden in the dome – wires, a small Arduino and the battery pack.

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All in all, this prop really turned out nicely – Optimus Prime surely would be proud of it.

If you’re hooked and you want to do your own Matrix of Leadership now, you’ll have to wait a bit. Bob Clagett won’t release the 3D printing files (they were not as good as he wanted them to be), but he has already released all the schematics for the electronics.

Find out more in the video below.