Bob Clagett of the I Like To Make Stuff YouTube channel is at it again, this time with a recreation of Optimus Prime’s Ion Blaster. While he originally envisioned this as a full-sized replica, since this would come out to be 8 feet long, he opted instead for the “smaller” version in a 1:2 scale that can be toted around by a single mere mortal.
The build process started out with Clagett wrapping a piece of PVC pipe with EVA foam, the base material for many cosplay projects. Working with this, he found that this method lacked a certain amount of detail, and he decided to print much of the structure instead. His final build uses a base made out of 4” PVC pipe, but is augmented with 3D-printed accessories that form the structure of his gun.
After a long finishing process involving quite a bit of paint and sanding, the device looked good on the outside, but in order to make it truly Optimus-worthy, he added sound and lighting effects powered by an Arduino Nano board. The speaker plays clips from the show via an Adafruit Sound Board and amp, while an LED strip diffused behind a layer of translucent 3D filament flashes with the appropriate lighting effects.
While there’s a lot to learn throughout the video, one interesting tip is seen at 13:30 where he glues a strand of 3D printing material to his buttons to extend their activation surface. Be sure to check out the build process in the video below, or skip to 14:30 to see how it turned out!