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Star Wars: BT-1 the Blastomech

BT-1 was introduced in the Star Wars Darth Vader comic books as a twisted mirror version of R2-D2. BT-1 is the first and only Blastomech.

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I built an MPCNC out of curiosity and then I realized I needed a project to use on it. I was reading the Darth Vader comics and thought BT-1 was an interesting droid. I decided if I was going to make him the droid was going to be able to have at least one Nerf weapon hidden inside capable of firing multiple darts.

I decided to make my BT out of wood and 3d printed parts. Both of which I can make on the MPCNC. However, my 3d printed parts are going to be made on a Flashforge. The control system is going to be exactly like Chopper. I am not sure how I am going to do the hidden firing weapons yet. I will tackle that once the droid's main body is complete.

BT's appearance changes a lot through the comic series. I've chosen a single book to build my replica. This is a frame from that comic.

  • 1 × VXB bearing I am using the VXB 450mm bearing. The majority of droid builders use the Rockler.
  • 1 × Sabertooth 2x32 Dual motor controller. Used to drive the two motors in the rear feet in tank mode.
  • 1 × Syren10 Used to drive the motor that spins the dome.
  • 1 × Arduino Mega w/USB shield Used to send commands from the PS3 navigation controller to the rest of the electronics.
  • 1 × Sure 2X25 AMP My favorite small yet powerful AMP used in all my bot projects.

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  • BT-1 and the free comic book day

    Kenneth Zaborny05/13/2018 at 18:05 0 comments

    Since BeeTee was created in a comic book it only seems fitting that he attended Free Comic Book Day.

    Thankfully my local comic book shop got in touch with us and had the Pensacola Droid Builders as guests.

    Once again BeeTee proved the drive system works well. However, I need to be careful on carpet. He can pull wheelies and nearly topple over. I didn't realize that and nearly had heart failure.

    As you can see, both BeeTee and I had a wonderful day.

  • Another outing

    Kenneth Zaborny04/24/2018 at 16:13 0 comments

    BeeTee made his way to Forward City Con in Foley, Alabama a couple of weeks ago. In between the cons I rebuilt his center foot and replaced his failed motor.

    This was also his first con with the chain gun attached. I found a weak spot in my mounting. The glue gave way and the rocket salvo and gun drooped. I already fixed that with a proper application of PVC glue. I did not have his gun "working" for the event. The other droid guys and the 501st group backed out because of the threat of severe weather so I couldn't spare a few moments to reprogram the arduino and route a few new wires.

    Thankfully I made BeeTee's attachments easy to remove. I took his weapons off shortly after the drooping started.

    Here's a short video of BT-1's much improved movements. The only real problem left to solve is the fact his dome doesn't turn very easily now. I am not sure if the bearing is binding or if it is something else.

  • Relay for weapons

    Kenneth Zaborny03/30/2018 at 16:36 0 comments

    I've been working to alter the SHADOW system I use in BeeTee to toggle the chain gun. After finding a relay that would not do what I needed I finally found the correct one.

    Here's a video of how it actually works. 

    Next up will be to alter the toy gun to accept the power from the relay through a voltage regulator. The gun only needs 9 volts. 

  • BT-1's first outing

    Kenneth Zaborny03/11/2018 at 23:03 0 comments

    All the hard work paid off. BeeTee made it to Pensacon 2018. He did not do too badly for a first outing. There were issues such as parking problems that forced BT-1 to take a 3 block hike to the convention center. This showed a failing with his center foot. The side walk cracks proved to be too much and I lost the entire center foot shell. The newly printed one is much stronger and I will be upgrading to omniwheels over the casters. The left foot motor also failed late on the final day. I'm afraid it's time to replace.

  • Time to wire

    Kenneth Zaborny02/20/2018 at 04:51 0 comments

    I've only got a few days left until the largest convention in the area and the one where I want to debut BeeTee. I spent a day wiring up all the electronics and motors. 

    I cut a large cutting board in half and then used scrap aluminum c channel from a shower door that I was given when a neighbor remodeled their bath. The channel was screwed to the frame and then the board fits snuggly in and is screwed. I added an angle bracket at the top to keep it from wobbling. 

    The current electronics were mounted with room to expand when I get his foam weapons functional. 

    The electronics were finally finished along with the 12v 20Ah battery. Then I tested BT-1. 

  • Beginning the electronics

    Kenneth Zaborny01/28/2018 at 18:53 0 comments

    I've finally started on the electronics for BeeTee. Various types of logic displays are available on Astromech and they are all worth the money. However, I really wanted to attempt to build my own. I started with a 3d printed base and frame. Then I added 2mm fiber optic cable and a couple of 7x Neopixel disks and Arduino Nano. The original R2D2's logic displays were a color wheel spun by Kenny Baker while he was inside R2. The light went into strands of fiber optic cable. I am trying to mimic this effect.

    The strands are cut to length depending on their logic board's location. Then the end is stripped to fit into the printed base. They vary in strip depth to give a 3d effect when lit up.

    The KCup is just a prototype light funnel. It works so I can use it to make the final version.

    R2-D2 has blue and white logics. For BT-1 I went with purple and orange. I thought about red and purple but I didn't want to take away from the affect that giant red eye was going to have on people.

    Speaking of that red eye, my next project was to take that bulky Halloween light and turn it into something more manageable. I also wanted to power it from BeeTee's power source and not the AA batteries.


    Before I cut it up I wanted to make sure I didn't break anything by taking it apart.

    A rotary tool made quick work of the plastic. I kept one of the octagons as a place to glue down the electronics. Yes, that is a toilet flange. It was unused. It was in my parts bin from a few years ago when I used it for a base for a Mr Fusion on my DeLorean in a Christmas parade. Also, yes. That is a coffee can lid. I make things out of garbage.

  • Painting

    Kenneth Zaborny01/06/2018 at 03:20 0 comments

    I painted BeeTee's body shortly before the cold snap made doing much of anything impossible. 

    I've also been working on the shoulder mounted weapons systems. This is going to be one very wide droid. I've incorporated a quick connect in the shoulders so I can easily change the loadouts or get him through doorways. You can see how it works in the video below. 

  • Painting the legs

    Kenneth Zaborny11/14/2017 at 04:41 0 comments

    I painted one of BT's legs before the temperature dropped suddenly and it was no longer possible.

    The shoulder detail and the ankle cylinders need to be painted. I am still trying to figure out what color I want to make them. I also have to cut out a set of ankle brackets out of aluminum.

    I'm to the fun part of the painting. I enjoy adding little touches like the gold paint in the indentions. 

  • Body work

    Kenneth Zaborny11/05/2017 at 16:00 0 comments

    I finally committed to bonding the inner layer of skins to the frame but first I wanted to paint the frame black in case any part was visible.

    Then the process of bonding the skins started. First the inner layer was bonded to the frame. The outer layer was glued to the inner layer with Weldon.


    I filled in some minor imperfections before priming the body. There are still some spots to be fixed before more priming and the base coat are applied. I also need to figure out the doors.

    I originally only wanted the two long doors but during the process of attaching the skins I decided to add two more opening doors.

    I'm not sure what I am going to put behind the doors yet but it will be something fun. Maybe more weapons. BT could always use more weapons. Speaking of weapons...

    I finished the primary painting of the chaingun. I will paint the belt later. I want to try for a brass look.

  • Work on the dome continues

    Kenneth Zaborny10/08/2017 at 18:48 0 comments

    This dome holder is something I've wanted to build for a few months. I finally got around to picking up all the elbow joints. It was designed by someone on the Astromech.net forums and works beautifully to make the inner dome accessible without scratching or damaging the outside.

    Now that I can properly access the inside of the dome I can work on all the electronics I want to add starting with a proper lighting set up for that eye.

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