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AMUG Technical Entry: Transformers: Rise of Soundwave


Do you ever miss those nostalgic days of watching your favorite 80s cartoons and playing with your cherished toy collections? Now, imagine reliving those childhood memories with the power of 3D printing technology. If you’re a fan of the iconic ’80s cartoon and toy collection, Transformers, then you won’t want to miss this incredible showcase of 3D printing technology. Bill Braune, Operations Lead at Dinsmore has created a collage featuring the main characters of the cartoon, demonstrating a wide array of techniques and preserving detail across various 3D printing platforms. In this abstract, we’ll break down the six detailed descriptions of the characters, including Soundwave, Laserbeak, Ravage, Rumble, and Frenzy, as well as the base and main gun. Each character was produced using different materials and techniques and required a significant amount of data manipulation, taping, hand painting, and finishing to bring to life. Don’t miss out on this exciting showcase of 3D printing technology!

Soundwave (Main character)

Due to the Stratasys Neo450‘s exceptional ability to capture intricate details, this piece was created entirely in Bioclear by Covestro. The goal was to preserve the delicate scribe lines and finer details, which made this machine the ideal choice. Prior to completion, a substantial amount of preparatory work was necessary to reduce weight and ensure cleanliness for finishing. To facilitate the building and finishing processes, the piece was divided into nine segments, and internal channels were added to accommodate lighting for the visor and shoulder cannon. Segmentation also required significant taping to achieve the various color schemes. To bring the piece to life, hand painting, dry brushing, clear coating, polishing, and different washes were utilized. Additionally, a stainless steel gun tip, printed on an EOS metals machine, required significant finishing work to attain its desired appearance.


This is Soundwaves’ mechanical bird, perched on his shoulder. The main body was 3D printed on a Carbon M3 using RPU70 due to its exceptional detail capacity and ability to reduce surface roughness. To add some variety while still capturing superior feature detail, the wings were 3D printed on a Polyjet J850. One of the most thrilling aspects of this piece is the back thrusters, which were printed from Niobium and hand finished and polished on a lathe. Additionally, two sets of stainless steel blasters were created using 3D printing technology and finished on a lathe. Segmentation of the polymer portions of this piece required extensive taping to distinguish between colors. To achieve the final appearance, washes and dry brushing techniques were employed.


This is the panther that perches on top of the primary gun attached to the base. I opted to use MJF to create the main body, as I wanted to incorporate a piece made from nylon in this collection. Finishing MJF nylon to achieve high-detail scenarios proved to be the most challenging material I have ever worked with. To ensure the necessary support strength for the missiles and achieve the required level of detail, all four legs were produced on a Carbon M3 using RPU70. The missiles were 3D printed using an EOS machine with stainless steel and hand-finished to represent their intended appearance. The piece was airbrushed, hand-painted, washed, and hand-polished to achieve the desired final look.


The entirety of this character was printed using RPU70 on a Carbon M3 to ensure both strength and surface finish. Significant effort was required to enhance feature detail for painting, including a substantial amount of hand-line scribing. Segmentation of various colors also necessitated considerable taping. The blasters on the character’s pack were produced from stainless steel using an EOS machine. To achieve the desired final look, airbrushing, hand painting, washes, dry brushing, and hand polishing techniques were employed, particularly in the metal portions of the piece. Notably, the pistons, a significant feature, were also printed in stainless steel and hand-polished on a lathe.


This character, the brother of Rumble, was 3D printed entirely using RPU70 on a Carbon M3 to achieve both strength and surface finish. To enhance feature detail for painting, a significant amount of hand line scribing had to be redone, and the segmentation of various colors required a lot of taping. The blasters on his pack were created using stainless steel from an EOS machine. A variety of techniques, including airbrushing, hand painting, washes, dry brushing, and hand polishing, were utilized to achieve the desired final look, particularly in the metal portions of this piece.

Base and Main Gun

The majority of the base was created using Evolve 128 on a Neo800 due to its large size, while the main gun portion was produced on a Neo450 to capture and retain intricate details. The main gun also includes lighting features, which required hollowing and keying out to allow for electricity to run to the necessary areas. Both pieces will undergo base coats, hand painting, airbrushing, washes, and top coats. However, the most remarkable aspect of this part is the seamless Boolean work performed by the staff to ensure the gun fits perfectly without requiring bonding. Accomplishing this in Materialise software took three days.


In conclusion, the showcase of 3D printing technology presented by Bill Braune is a testament to the incredible capabilities of this cutting-edge technology. The level of detail achieved in each of the characters and the base and main gun is truly remarkable, and the use of different materials and techniques demonstrates the versatility of 3D printing. The extensive preparation work, taping, hand painting, and finishing required to bring each piece to life showcases the dedication and skill required to create such impressive works of art. This showcase not only appeals to fans of the iconic ’80s cartoon and toy collection Transformers but also highlights the vast potential of 3D printing technology in the art and entertainment industries. Overall, this showcase is an exciting glimpse into the future of 3D printing and the limitless possibilities it offers.


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