Full size functional transformer

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semajarab

Member
After about 3 years of wanting to make this, I have finally feel confident enough in my plastic / metal / casting / sculpting / electronic engineering and welding skill to give my largest costume ever a start. I'm starting the research to build a full size AND functional transformer. Not quite sure if I'm set on bumble-bee or Optimus yet.... it will heavily depend upon drafting up the parts and realistic transformation without breaking my back.

I'm trying to get in touch with the design company who built the replica model for the Chicago auto show of bumble-bee, but just reached out to them today. I have seen some good models that are 6, 8 and 10 feet tall, but in the end they just seem to fall short of "realistic" for me.... I need to go full scale... and by full scale, I mean 14-16 feet.

What I'm shooting for is:

  • 14 to 16 feet tall
  • Full size car replica after transformation
  • Mix of costume, and tons of mechanics for helping transform and hold parts in place.
  • Single person operation (with the help of 2-3 handlers for loading, navigation, etc)
  • Limited motion - slow walking , arm movement, head movement, hand movement
  • Functionally transforming with electronic support
The question I have here for the RPF is, how in the world do I start designing the under endo-skelton to help me support possibly up to 1000lbs of costume???? I'm no mechanical engineer here by trade, but I'm not unrealistic about having to potentially hire one who is.

I have seen the bumblebee from Extreme costuming (which is amazing), but I'm looking to do something almost 3x larger and need a full frame for my body weight and potentially 900-1000lbs of costume, mechanics, etc..

I'm doing research, but would love advice if anyone has found themselves in the position of building a mechanical endoskeleton before and learn from previous research.
 
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semajarab

Member
I see tons of views but no replies yet... just an update here, I actually found a company here in Atlanta that is doing something similar for the military (go figure).

While they cannot help me by building / buying from them, they did point me in the right direction and told me the best place to buy the chromali alloy that is lightweight and solid.

I reached back out to some ME professors I had in school and they all simply agree this is just freaking awesome. I'm going down to meet up with a few on Friday, and figure out where in the heck to get started on this thing.

:D!!!
 

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DBot845

New Member
Wow, sounds really cool! Have you looked into Carbon Fiber? It immediately came to mind as something that was strong, yet lightweight. Would probably be expensive though.

Derek
 

Siyoum3434

Active Member
Wasn't there a gut on here months back that built a giant, near 1:1 scale, Mechmarine from Avatar? Not gonna lie, to lazy to find the link (LONG DAY), but I know I've seen it. Hell, showed it at work too :)
 

semajarab

Member
Wow, sounds really cool! Have you looked into Carbon Fiber? It immediately came to mind as something that was strong, yet lightweight. Would probably be expensive though.

Derek

Yeah, that jumped to mind right away. It's very likely we will be using it for the air tanks needed to help operate it it. I have seem some 4300 lb psi carbon fiber tanks that I might use depending upon final weight and power source determination.

Right now I'm still really in the research and drafting phase to see if it's even technically possible at my skill level and budget (~10-15k) (to start). As soon as I can get the endoskeleton designed then I will take care of the externals.

I HOPE to get something remotely done in a year, but right now, I would love to just confirm it's possible.
 

semajarab

Member
Wasn't there a gut on here months back that built a giant, near 1:1 scale, Mechmarine from Avatar? Not gonna lie, to lazy to find the link (LONG DAY), but I know I've seen it. Hell, showed it at work too :)

Hmm, just got done throwing about 10 searches and didn't find anything... other than a really fine girl with some amazing Marine armor @ SDCC and a thread where people didn't like a guys avatar cosplay since he had a crazy mustache.

A link would be appreciated if you can find one! :)
 

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BumblebeeRecycd

Active Member
Hello,,Extreme Costumes here. Good luck and best of wishes. I focus on Giant Cosplay and I found 10'6" to be INSANE...and don't forget that a 8' bot makes a 5'6" car so I don't know how you expect to make a full size car/Truck . Remember to transform you have to drop to the ground and then get back up. The size your talking youi would have to run everything by servos, witch means more mass, witch means more servos, witch means more batt, ...you can see were this is going. I would LOVE to see you succed, but unless your putting out hundreds of thousands of dollors and wiegh in at at least 3-4 tons....The tech might be available to make it work, but who would pay to build it?
Your best bet is the exo suit from Japan ( about $50,000), that can carry about 150 pounds, maybe you can handle 100+ yourself ( how many puchups can you do with 100 pounds on your back?), Oh and add stilts and arm extenions. You might make a 9'6" bot 6-7' car....Coolest thing ever :)
I am not telling you " You can't do it", I'm telling you...this will be far harder than you think....I MAKE GIANT BOTS, I have some basis to think this. Think long before investing $. I planned for months, and am now 8 months into my build...and still not done.
Good luck, Please keep us updated,. I would love to see you succeed.
 

TMBountyHunter

Well-Known Member
As awesome and insane as this sounds, it also sounds mighty expensive, complicated and time-consuming.

Are we talking Bayformer or G1? Either way both would have their own issues.

As soon as I can get the endoskeleton designed then I will take care of the externals.
I'd suspect the internals and externals can't be that easily seperated.

Right now I'm still really in the research and drafting phase to see if it's even technically possible at my skill level and budget (~10-15k) (to start).
Gonna be veeeeery important to do you due diligence here. As long as it's on paper or in the computer it's cheap. Once you start building things get expensive very fast. You probably won't have the budget to go back and redo stuff. You will pretty much have to build the entire thing in the computer down to almost every bolt if you want to be sure that the transformation is feasible and to stress test the whole thing under both static and dynamic conditions to either make sure your initially chosen materials will handle it or to use the model to choose your materials. Even with your conservative estimate of 1000lb, that's a lot of mass to move and possibly fall down and crush people. Keep the safety factors in mind for material too. For the mechanisms design them to fail in a safe manner, etc. There's just so many things to go through for this it's gonna take a loooooong time.

I HOPE to get something remotely done in a year, but right now, I would love to just confirm it's possible.
If you're not working on this full time I'd say you'd be lucky to get the feasibility analysis and design done within a year. Full scale fully transformerable transformer is huge not only literally. Heck, this could probably use a dedicated project manager to keep things on time and on budget if you're planning a strict deadline within a year or two.


But if and when you do get through all that and manage to built it and make it work, you'll probably be the most bada** cosplayer there ever was :)
 

BumblebeeRecycd

Active Member
Oh in case you didn't know, I am also the guy who made the Avatar Mech. MAN was that thing a ***** to wear, 120 pounds and WAAAY out there for levarage. If you want a real scale...think my Transforming BB is 8', you want 16'. That is not twice as big, it is 8 times as big ( cube mass rule). I am the power source, and the servos. but as your sholders are not 4' accross, you will need servos to move them. Have you ever seen a walking 16' bot? Never mind one that Transforms. The only tall meck in real life I have found, did not walk, it rolled on wheels. It had no arms.
Man, do I shure hope you can succeed. I have often thought it would take winning the lottery to get the $ to make one (most people who make hundreds of thousands of dollors of spare cash do not want to spend it making Bots). I will be happy to offer advice if you get rolling and bump into problems.
Good luck
 

semajarab

Member
Hello,,Extreme Costumes here. Good luck and best of wishes. I focus on Giant Cosplay and I found 10'6" to be INSANE...and don't forget that a 8' bot makes a 5'6" car so I don't know how you expect to make a full size car/Truck .

Your costume is what has inspired me to finally start this build! I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but things are only impossible until someone does it.

8' bot = 5'6" car = 68% transforming efficiency (according to your specific transformation model). 2006 Camero = 186.2 inches = ~15ft. At 68% efficiency the bot would need to be gargantuan to meet this criteria, so obviously it won't be fully to spec, and I will have to attempt to get a better transformation efficiency. I have already thought of this...

I just got 5 different BB models today from toys to larger scale RCs. I'm finding they all transform a bit different, and I'm finding someone are totally impossible, and some with some tweaking are "human'esqe" form.

Having measured two of the "possible" models, they are achieving an 89% (88 and 90) transformation efficiency. I will very likely go with one with a higher rate if it's practical and possible. Such a high rate will allow me to do a 16ft bot and achieve ~14.5 foot car.

Eventually, I will be starting very small scale (model) then will go to small, then mid, then full. I want to make sure this will work before investing tons of money here.

Remember to transform you have to drop to the ground and then get back up. The size your talking youi would have to run everything by servos, witch means more mass, witch means more servos, witch means more batt, ...you can see were this is going. I would LOVE to see you succed, but unless your putting out hundreds of thousands of dollors and wiegh in at at least 3-4 tons....The tech might be available to make it work, but who would pay to build it?

The plan was never to do this manually the way your costume works. Most, if not all of it is all going to be done mechanically. Who is going to build this? Me.. While I'm not ME by trade, I'm not totally naive at what is going to be needed to do this here. I didn't spend 8 years in school for CS /EE and ME just to pick up the one chick on campus :\ I know I'm going to need major help here, but I have a very broad base upon which to build is all.

In this end, this thing might just end up as one GIANT RC, and not a costume. I'm aware this may happen, and it might be one of the criteria I have to weigh if I want to move forward after due diligence is done.

I am not telling you " You can't do it", I'm telling you...this will be far harder than you think....I MAKE GIANT BOTS, I have some basis to think this. Think long before investing $. I planned for months, and am now 8 months into my build...and still not done.
Good luck, Please keep us updated,. I would love to see you succeed.

Thanks! I'm hoping I can get some type of proof of concept endoskeleton in about a year from now, and hope that the fully completed project is done within 2-3. I'm just at the planning phase. I appreciate the words of caution and advice. I'm not going to jump in and just start spending major money on this until I can prove to myself I can do it without having to dedicate my life and savings to an impossible task.

I would love to connect with you at some point and see if I could get some specs for the arm you built! I build a similar one in school but it used pneumatics for strength, and didn't have nearly the jointed flexibility yours has.
 

semajarab

Member
As awesome and insane as this sounds, it also sounds mighty expensive, complicated and time-consuming.
Are we talking Bayformer or G1? Either way both would have their own issues.

Bay. I like the new design.

I'd suspect the internals and externals can't be that easily seperated.

I'm actually building the design around some models I bought that have human like form when bending. I need to make sure I can make a substrate that will hold and bend proper before even adding externals on it.

Gonna be veeeeery important to do you due diligence here. As long as it's on paper or in the computer it's cheap. Once you start building things get expensive very fast. You probably won't have the budget to go back and redo stuff. You will pretty much have to build the entire thing in the computer down to almost every bolt if you want to be sure that the transformation is feasible and to stress test the whole thing under both static and dynamic conditions to either make sure your initially chosen materials will handle it or to use the model to choose your materials. Even with your conservative estimate of 1000lb, that's a lot of mass to move and possibly fall down and crush people. Keep the safety factors in mind for material too. For the mechanisms design them to fail in a safe manner, etc. There's just so many things to go through for this it's gonna take a loooooong time.

I couldn't agree more. :) Thus the start of this thread. Thanks for the encouragement!!


But if and when you do get through all that and manage to built it and make it work, you'll probably be the most bada** cosplayer there ever was :)

Lol. Right now, I'm just wondering if this is even in the realm of POSSIBLE, let alone money, time, etc.
 

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aron42486

Well-Known Member
Quite a challenge you've taken up. Before doing any building, I think you need to hire a professional mechanical engineer.

They will be able to tell you whether or on it is even possible to build something of this size that you could actually wear and move around in.

I'm not gonna lie, it might be difficult to find one that even wants to attempt something like this. If the design doesn't work and you build something that crushes you dead, they could be liable for it.

Just some perspective. Car companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in engineers to design machines that already exist. It will take substanially more to take a new type of machine like this from concept to reality.

I don't wanna take the wind out of your sails but I would hate to see you drop 15k on something unrealistic. My advice, scale down.
 
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Shades

Well-Known Member
Yo! I am a rookie here on the RPF, but in real life I am mechanical/material engineeer with 5 year making jet engines in Aerospace. We build machines all day everyday.

My advice? I don't think this is feasible on this scale. At this size, you are going to have to use metal supports as light weight pvc/plastics won't be strong enough. With the weight of the metal especially at extended lengths you are not going to be strong enough to move the limbs which means mechanical assist. Even with very expensive, very heavy servos and actuators you will need a mobile power source.

If you look at military attempts at exo suits or other human strength augmentation applications the main issue is always the same. Power. We simply don't have feasible batteries for this applications. People far smarter then I haven't gotten this technology past demo phase. (To be clear, my specialty is aerospace alloys, not robotics)

That being said, I think there is a way to make a very large suit that is human powered. I would look at stilt systems and "Lion King" style puppets where the person is inside the costume. Some guys made raptors like this and it was AWESOME. But, this would not transform.
 

semajarab

Member
Ending this thread... at least my participation in it after this reply.

I appreciate the direct advice so many have given, but quite frankly there is far too much negativity going on here in the guise of "I really hope you succeed, but.....". Perhaps it's not intentional, but after the 5th time it's been said, it's really coming off that way.

This morning I decided to scale down after a week of research. Not because a handful of people on the web told me it's not possible... but because of due diligence. Power, weight distribution and cost are the main reasons in that order; not skill, robotics or difficulty. I'm still planning this build to a smaller scale, and will still post build progress and pics once I get to a decent progress point.

Thank you to everyone who gave honest opinions with the intent to help. I sincerely appreciate some of the positive suggestions, and helping put such a project into perspective from people who have done large scale items before. I look forward to participating more on the RPF, just no longer in this thread.
 

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