Monday, April 22, 2013

How Transformers Are Made Part 2

Gizmodo has published the second part that looks into how Transformers and other Hasbro toys are created. The first part focused on the design phase while the 2nd part looks into the machinery and people that build and paint the prototypes that become the mass produced toys sold everywhere. Below are highlights, the full article is here.

- Most prototype parts created 3D printers that essentially "grow" the needed part from CAD designs.
- Perfactory, normally used by jewelers, is used to create the parts and accessories that require a lot of detail like etchings in swords and the like.
- Custom built for Hasbro, the Z-Corp Spectrum is used to create designs from a powered resin type material and capable of producing articulated parts based on inputted designs.

- For larger pieces like doll houses or a case, the Stereolithography machine (located in a climate controlled room) is used.
- Object 3D (think MakerBot) is most frequently used to create parts and toys as it works like a 3D laser printer using various materials.
- Once an acceptable prototype has been built, Mark Maher hands paints the Transformer including all the details like the faction logos. The TF he paints is the model used in all the toy packaging.
- Maher works on hundreds of figures a year so on any given day might be painting TF parts from multiple different figures.
- Uses Pantone PMS system to create new colors to use on the toys, with color choices made based on if Decepticon (star contracts, dark colors) or Autobot (bright colors).
- Brian Fixer, using Solid Works CAD program, will modify the existing CAD designs created by Hasbro and Takara based on problems that came up during the prototype creation phrase or discovered with tests performed in the program itself. Often its not dramatic changes but a tweak to a gear size and the like.


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