Optimus Prime Shows Defiance to Crowds in Ohio (Video)

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Oops, we mistyped that headline. It should have read, "Optimus Prime Shows Off to Crowds in Defiance, Ohio."

Last weekend, Defiance, the hometown of Matt and Jen Bauer of Bauer Independents, and birthplace of Rook's Pawn, was anxiously awaiting the upcoming opening of the new Transformers movie on the Fourth of July. Matt knew that a small town like Defiance, located in the heart of the mid-West wasn't likely to draw any of the movie's stars to the opening, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.

In the matter of just a few days, and a few long nights,  he completely converted Jen's Robonova-1 robot into the spitting image of Optimus Prime!


Matt's an accomplished humanoid robot builder, and has even made the trek to Japan to participate in the ROBO-ONE 10 competition last Fall. Even so, rigging out a Robonova-1 to look like the world's most famous transformer robot in a single weekend is a major challenge.

Wisely, he decided to focus on the robots external appearance and put off actually making the major mechanical changes that would have been required to turn it into a fully functional transformer like the ones in the movie. Matt has told us, however, that he is confident he could make the mechanical hacks later when he has a bit more time to work on them.

Jen's robot, named "RoBetty" - a robot Betty Boop, was drafted for this project and was already completely assembled and functional. All the frame parts were removed, cleaned, prepped, and painted in the Optimus Prime color scheme.

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Special fabrication was done to replace the stock Robonova breastplate with a Transformer like truck grill, bumpers, and windows. 

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The standard Robonova robot head was used as the base for Optimus Prime's new head. You can get a feel for the process in the photo below showing glimpses of the old head as it was covered by the new pieces.

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While Matt didn't have time to add drive motors, new joints, and other parts to make the robot a truer Transformer, he was able to add non-motorized wheels to the robots legs. 

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Standing tall and 'defiant', Matt's version of Optimus Prime looks ready to take on any opponent. So, Matt and Jen decided to take the robot, along with Rook's Pawn, to the movies to see "Transformers".

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  5. Rapid Robot Evolution – Rook's Pawn
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One comment

  1. Donald B. Fugitt

    Great article. I imagine Jen will be in the market for a new lady robot now.

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