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3D print your own TARDIS Transformer

Who would win in a fight: Optimus Prime or TARDIS Prime?


(Credit: Ellindsey)

Who would win in a fight: Optimus Prime or TARDIS Prime?

You may have seen this rather magnificent T-shirt flying around the web and thought to yourself, "Great jumping Jagaroths, if only I could have that in real life!"

Well, thanks to one curious mind, you can now 3D print one for yourself. Engineer Ellindsey of Drew's Robots hit upon the idea of building one after seeing someone wearing the shirt. "I can't look at something like that and not immediately start figuring out how to make it actually work," he said.

Starting with the blueprint for a 3D-printable TARDIS available for free from Thingiverse, Ellindsey spent a few days trying to reverse engineer the shape into a transforming robot. Then, he set about printing and testing his design — a process that took about a month of trial and error.

"This turned out to be a much bigger project than I expected," he said. "The resulting Transformer has over 70 printed parts and over a pound (450 grams) of plastic. Designing and printing it, including several batches of failed prototype parts, used up most of a new reel of blue filament from Inventibles. It came out a lot larger than I expected. It was also a lot of fun to design and build — I'm getting a real hand for making complex 3D objects in AutoCAD, and being able to design a part, send it to the printer and then have the actual finished piece an hour later is just amazing."

The toy itself can be assembled without any glue or non-3D-printed parts, although Ellindsey recommends a bit of glue if you intend to play with it. Assembled, it stands at about 17 centimetres tall and 9.5 centimetres wide. Fully unfolded, the robot TARDIS Prime stands at 33 centimetres tall.

Ellindsey isn't entirely happy with the design, though. "It's large, took a lot of plastic to develop and the robot mode is incapable of standing on its own," he said. "It's too large and top heavy for the friction in the joints to keep it standing, even though the feet are huge. I may attempt to redesign the entire toy at a smaller scale, to be easier to print and more functional as a display figure."

Well, we think it's pretty great. Especially the bow tie. The bow tie is cool.

You can download the TARDIS Prime design for free from Thingiverse.

(Credit: Ellindsey)