The Cortex Cleaver: A custom weapon for Transformers.

Hey Transformers Universe fans! The game may have died and faded to gunmetal grey but we’re keeping the good parts alive, and among those good parts were some of the weapons. Do you remember Shellshock’s Cortex Cleaver? Rampart’s Flak Axe? The un-named axe that Diabla wielded on the posters?

She lost the axe, but stayed Axe-crazy.

I don’t think this axe even made it to public beta before being replaced by her venomous arm-blades.

Well, they all use the same model, and I thought it’d be a cool thing to have, so I went about digitally-sculpting it and sent it to Shapeways to 3D-print.

With the blade pieces being detachable, you can chop and change.

Axe pieces in Blender. I’ve spread them out here for clarity, but with a multi-part model, I’d usually arrange them in a tight clump for 3d-printing — it’s cheaper that way.

I went for a 4-part design: handle, removable hilt for those Transformers with tubular fists, and two removable blade-pieces, so that it could optionally be built as 3 different axes: the axe from the game, with 2 heads of differing sizes; a smaller axe, with two of the smaller head; or a larger axe, with two of the larger head. The result (when you take the default option of one blade of each size) looks like this:

It'd be more impressive if he didn't say that about every single weapon (and piece of cutlery) he ever laid hands on.

“With this weapon I will finally destroy Optimus Prime!” (Megatron says that every time he picks up a new weapon.)

Result! The blades needed a dot of glue to stick to the handle, but all in all I’m chuffed. So far, I’ve only printed in unpolished WSF (White, Strong & Flexible – Shapeways’ laser-sintered nylon plastic), so I’m not sure how it would come out in other materials. I’m a big fan of WSF for anything where the end result doesn’t have to be too fiddly: the surface is always slightly grainy as a by-product of the manufacturing process (unless you get it polished), but it’s not fragile, the design rules you have to follow to make sure it prints properly aren’t too strict, and it takes Rit brand dyes or acrylic paints well.

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