Designing and 3D Printing a Jointed Transformer Figure

Autoscout was one of the more obscure figures from Transformers lore. Only getting a couple of minutes of screen time back, he was basically a bot which fit in Soundwave’s chest that could transform into a little search drone.

Autoscout in Tape Mode
Transform into scouting drone mode!

This felt like a good test and challenge to see how far one can get with designing and 3d printing something really really small. As one of the self-imposted challenges was for it to fit into the latest Soundwave toy.

Before jumping into getting the details out, a rougher FDM printed piece was tried out to get a sense of whether the scale of things made sense

FDM 3d printed early sizing prototype shown here on the left. Next to it was is one of the resin 3d printed prototypes

Given that the smallest parts were only around 1mm in diameter, and the whole model had to be no wider than 8mm thick to fit, there was a lot of consideration on how things needed to fold and tuck together. The idea was also to use 1mm and 1.5mm brass pins to hold it all together.

Ghosted preview of the piece in tape mode. Checking if it all looks good without collision
And transformed mode

Once it looked good on screen, it was time to prepare this for 3d printing. Again due to the small size here, it was only possible to pull this off on the resin 3d printer.

Preparing the pieces for print

Next up – twiddling thumbs while the pieces come off the resin 3d printer. The robotic hand bits were really teeny. Half expected to snap some of these while removing the supports so actually put a couple of duplicates in there just in case.

And here’s how the arm pieces fit together. These were jointed using 1mm brass pins.

After testing the fits, it was time to break things apart again for the paintwork to be done

And then on to final assembly and getting to play with the completed piece!

Here’s a video showing Autoscout’s transformation too:

All in, this was a massively fun and fulfilling project to have tried out. And learnt lots along the way that will definitely be used in other upcoming projects. Stay tuned!

If you would like to grab the STL files for printing one of these for yourself too, they have been uploaded for our Patreons over here – https://www.patreon.com/posts/31936108

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