DIY Phone Controlled BB-8 Droid

In this project I will be making a BB-8 robot from Star Wars that is controlled by your Android smartphone. BB-8 can move and talk!

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*BUILD CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION *BB-8's design has fascinated just about every single Star Wars fan out there since Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released. I was so fascinated I decided to follow a tutorial seen here: although I am following a tutorial, I just want to assure everyone reading this that my project is in no way a replica of the tutorial above. I have modified it to my own preferences and I am also adding my own personal touch.When I am finished with this project BB-8 will be able to roll around, move his head, listen, and talk. My phone will be able to control BB-8's ability to move around and move his head, while my voice will trigger a Raspberry Pi to listen to my questions and answer them (I will put a voice assistant similar to Siri on the

Let's go over some of the features and science behind BB-8:

So as you all know, BB-8’s head stays upright while his body is able to roll, which baffled me for a long time until I figured out how it works. Now, there are many ways to get his head to stay In place such as wheels on the head attached to a gyroscope, but that is much too complicated and pricey, so i went with a design that worked great, was cheap, and functioned properly much like this one bb8-3

This design uses a base in the body that has ball bearings that keeps the base flat even when the body rolls, and motors attached to wheels that propel the body in a direction. Attached to the body is a rod-like thing (on my design it’s perpendicular to the floor) that has two neodymium magnets attached o it at the top. In the head there are magnets that are attracted to the neodymium magnets in the body, and since the base stays straight, the magnets (which are attached to the base via the rod) keep the head upright.

Too me it’s all very fascinating, but what makes it even better is that I can make this for pretty cheap (considering the official Sphero one is $150 and fits in the palm of your hand)!

On the brainy side of things, i'm going with an Arduino Uno to control the motors of my droid, although in version two i'll probably switch to a raspberry pi. For batteries I went with a 6,000 mAh, 12 rechargeable battery that should provide a good amount of juice to the bucket head. Although ball-bearings would be nice, they are pretty pricy, so to stay on the budget side of things i'm going to use some roll-on deodorants instead of ball-bearings, making this one of the freshest projects on all of Hackaday! And lastly for the base i'm using some strong cardboard I had lying around.

All items I have not mentioned will be listed in the components section.


This is the Arduino code for the Arduino

ino - 2.00 bytes - 02/07/2017 at 00:38


  • 1 × Newspaper For paper mache
  • 1 × Masking Tape / Painting Tape To keep paint from getting into unwanted places
  • 1 × Pen For a fake antennae on top of BB-8's head
  • 1 × Wood Putty To coat BB-8's body with for a nice smooth finish
  • 1 × Sandpaper For sanding the finished body and head of BB-8

View all 30 components

  • Log Entry #18 - July 24, 2017

    Brandon07/25/2017 at 01:08 0 comments

    Once again I've been slacking on this project. I've been side tracked with other projects o;ve been working on as well as my youtube channel.

    I promise you I haven't stopped working on my project though! So far I've started working on some of the software for BB-8 and I've also done a little more wood putty work on BB-8's Body.

    In the next few days i'll try to be more active in working on him, so getready for a boos in Log Entries!

  • Log Entry #17 - June 3, 2017

    Brandon06/03/2017 at 12:48 0 comments

    Sorry I haven't posted in so long! I've been super busy. Since my last log I've finished covering BB-8 with wood putty, but I might need to do another small layer over the old wood putty that has started cracking before I start sanding BB-8.

    Here is a picture:

  • Log Entry #16 - April 13, 2017

    Brandon04/13/2017 at 12:15 0 comments

    sorry I haven't posted a log in so long! I'm almost done with the layer of wood putty on BB-8's body, but I ran out, so I'll have to go to Lowes and get some more

  • Log Entry #15 - March 13th, 2017

    Brandon03/13/2017 at 17:08 0 comments

    sorry I haven't done a log in a while, I've been sick for a while and haven't been able to work on my project. Once I get better I'll do some more work on BB-8 :)

  • Log Entry #14 - March 7th, 2017

    Brandon03/07/2017 at 17:03 0 comments

    I'm about halfway done with the wood putty now, but I'm kind of worried, because it's cracking.... not sure if that's a problem or not though. I've also finished drawing the outline of the wooden base that will go inside of BB-8, so I'll try to cut it today and get some of the electronics working and attached to it

  • Log Entry #13 - February 22

    Brandon02/23/2017 at 02:02 0 comments

    Alright so I added more wood putty to BB-8's body, but it's still not finished yet.I found it a LOT easier to use a butter knife to spreat the putty instead of the huge spreader I was using before also.

    Pictures should be up soon :)

  • Log Entry #12 - February 20, 2017

    Brandon02/20/2017 at 17:58 0 comments

    sorry I haven't posted any logs in a while, I've been super busy. I'll try to work on BB-8 later today

  • Log Entry #11 - February 10th, 2017

    Brandon02/10/2017 at 12:53 0 comments

    Alright so now I have started on the Wood Putty / Filler! Once I finish that I will paint the body and head and then I will be able to work with all of the internals!

  • Log Entry #10 - February 6th, 2017

    Brandon02/07/2017 at 02:20 0 comments

    Today I finished Carving out the head. I didn't do a very good job though because the bottom was really bumpy, so I decided to fill the bumpy part with glue and then put a piece of paper on top and let it dry, but for some reason there was a leak and a bunch of glue spilled out, so I'm going to check it either later tonight or tomorrow. Also, it turns out I accidentally made a hole all the way through the head, so i'll have to patch that up with some wood filler later.


    Here are some pictures

  • Log Entry #9 - January 13th, 2017

    Brandon02/07/2017 at 01:55 0 comments

    Wow. I can’t believe it’s been a month and two days since I last posted an update! Really sorry about that guys! Anyways, let’s get into the post because there is a good bit to cover!

    Alright so turns out the clear plastic ornament I ordered is WAY to big, so I’ll have to get a new one that’s smaller. Also, I still haven’t ordered the motors yet, but I’ll probably do that tonight.

    Now let’s get on to the actual build. I’ve made some HUGE progress since last update: I finished the layer of canvas as well as the final layer on the body (a layer of newspaper)!


    Also tonight I started on the first layer of primer! Once I finish the second layer I’ll probably either put some more layers of primer on at do a layer of wood putty (haven’t decided yet).


    On the head I’ve done a little bit. I cut the edge to make the angled bezel you see in the movie, and I also started carving out the center to make it lighter.

View all 18 project logs

  • 1
    Step 1

    First you need to buy all of the things listed in the Components list. (I'll have pictures/videos for the steps soon)

  • 2
    Step 2

    Once the beach ball, canvas, and newspaper arrive you can get started with the build! Get some glue and water and make a two parts glue, one part water concoction. With that made you can start gluing your first layer onto the beach ball! Do three layers of newspaper, one layer of canvas, and then one final layer of newspaper. Once it's all dried you can start on the next step!

  • 3
    Step 3

    I would suggest doing this step while step 2 is drying. Get your Styrofoam ball and cut it in half one inch from the center. Most Styrofoam balls have a seam at the center, so just grab a ruler and make some marks one inch from the center and cut away!

View all 8 instructions

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