Our own BB-8 droid

Getting ready for the premiere of the last Star Wars movie, I and my son are building a 3D printed BB-8 droid

Similar projects worth following
This is a small project I'm realizing with the help of my son. We want to have a droid and BB-8 was the my son's choice.
As there are still not too many details about the "real" Star Wars droid, we are designing and building our own version.
With an holonomic omniwheel driving system and a magnetic anchoring device for the head, it will be very close to the original.

The droid is quite known. So no need to add details.

Our droid will be 3D printed in ABS using orange, white and grey filament.

We started by designing and printing the body.

The second step will be designing and building the inner moving structure and creating the software.

The last step will add the head.

Hopefully we will be ready for the movie launch in December 2015.

The components list will be updated whenever we will add something new to the droid

  • 1 × Orange ABS filament
  • 1 × White ABS filament
  • 1 × Grey or silver ABS filament
  • 100 × knurl nuts used to screw the ABS parts to each other
  • 6 × 25x10 mm magnets

  • More to think about

    Enrico11/12/2015 at 06:43 3 comments

    Just found this:

    It probably means other grey parts open and let other tools come out. I don't see how this can be done with a shell and a hamster movement system. It definitely requires a different propulsion system. Any suggestions?

  • Back at it with some doubts

    Enrico10/19/2015 at 05:56 0 comments

    As usual work and family matters slowed everything down. Moreover I lost my files in the most stupid way... and no backup.

    Anyway I was going to make iteration 4 of the design (so not a huge loss), when I found these pics:

    ... and my doubts started to grow.

    Are they spoilers? Should I try and add them to the project?

    According to my measures the head diameter is just a bit smaller of an orange ring diameter, so it should fit. But now new questions:

    Should the body open outside or inside in order to let the head enter? How to drive the head to the latch? Where to install the motor that opens the door? Are all 6 circles doors? and so on.

    And what about the arms? are they external add-ons like in the toy? do they come outside from the grey parts in the circles?

    I've been thinking about a "gyroscopic" body movement, but I couldn't find any literature about it. At least I couldn't find any holonomic mechanism driven by a gyroscopic mechanism.

    In order to have opening doors and arms, the body should know its orientation. I think it will be a much easier task to achieve with a gyroscopic movement than with a hamster mechanism.

    I would really like to start a discussion here, maybe in the comments, about if and how to add those features. Any idea is welcome!!

    In the meanwhile I will see what I can do with the new Educational Boosterpack Mk II I just received from TI. I think about adding a couple esp8266 or cc110l RF Boosterpack to drive some motors wireless.

  • Magnets

    Enrico08/11/2015 at 06:33 0 comments

    I finally received the 25x10 mm magnets from China. They are stronger than I thought.

    The distance between the magnets is 20 mm. From the video below you can see that they hold quite strong.

    In my design the body has a total shell thickness of 12 mm, maybe I can add a couple of mm to get extra stiffness and strength for the sphere.

    BTW... the plastic parts are a prototype for the R2D2 rocket boosters, but that's another story... :)

  • Structure strength

    Enrico07/10/2015 at 07:28 0 comments

    I have been thinking about the spherical structure strength.

    The original idea was to screw the orange rings to the grey triangles blocking the white circles between them. Moreover the orange rings were also designed to be screwed to the white circles.

    Now that I have the parts printed I'm not so sure the orange rings will be strong enough.

    I'll go back to the design board and modify the inner parts to provide the sphere structure and reduce the orange ring to simple covering without structural functions.

  • Prototype # 3

    Enrico07/10/2015 at 07:20 0 comments

    I modified the orange ring design adding abrim/cutout to the parts for a bigger glueing surface. The parts are only 4mm thinck and the joint wasn't strong enough.

    Snapped together before glueing:

    The ring parts look great and are very strong. I will also run them through a acetone vapour bath to make them stronger and of course glue them togeher.

  • Extruder failure

    Enrico07/10/2015 at 07:11 0 comments

    After a major extruder failure, we are up again printing...

    Extruder failure

    I tried different orientations. I wanted to print the parts in a vertical position to have more pieces printed together. Unfortunately the prints are quite weak.

    Parts printed horizontally are much stronger.

  • Modeling

    Enrico07/03/2015 at 08:02 0 comments

    Those measures and sketches were transformed in models using Fusion 360.

    We designed the body parts so to be printed in different colours and screwed together. Several parts are ready to be printed.

    We went through a few refinement cycles and made a few test prints.

    The knurl nuts we are going to use:

  • Preliminaries

    Enrico07/03/2015 at 07:51 0 comments

    Taking preliminary measures from the available images of BB-8.

    Joining DIY forums discussing about the droid and how to build it.

    first measures

View all 8 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Ossum wrote 08/11/2015 at 10:02 point

I am liking the look of this, particularly the way you are making it out of 3D printed bits, instead of an off-the-shelf plastic ball like most of the others I have seen. Will be following with interest. I'd be interested in seeing a shot of it next to something for scale, looks like it is rather larger than I first imagined.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Enrico wrote 08/11/2015 at 13:07 point

On and facebook there are long discussions about the BB-8 size. Generally people over there tended to agree about a body diameter of 500 mm. So a lot of printing hours...

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ossum wrote 08/11/2015 at 15:29 point

Wowza! I just assumed you were going for something less that 1:1 scale, since you were 3D printing it. Now I am even more impressed.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates