Star Wars Rebels: Chopper

Chopper is a C1-10P droid from the tv show Star Wars Rebels. He's a very grumpy droid and should be a lot of fun at conventions.

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As soon as I saw how grumpy and irritable Chopper was I knew I needed to build one of my own. Chopper is a mash of many junk parts so I wanted to use mostly scrap parts to build mine. There are no official sizes so I used a template sent to me by an user who took measurements from the Chopper built by Lucasarts for promotions of the Star Wars Rebels series.

I'm planning to use the S.H.A.D.O.W. controller system with Playstation Navigation controllers. The Navigation is a small controller that is easily hidden.

Chopper is an Astromech, just an older one. His designation in Star Wars Rebels is C1-10P. He's the crew's resident grumpy old droid. 

At this point my project is about 6-7 years old. I've learned a lot and have greatly enjoyed my time with Chopper. It's been very rewarding entertaining both kids and adults who also love the droid. 

Since building BT-1 I've wanted to upgrade Chopper with everything I learned. As soon as I don't have any conventions lined up I hope to upgrade the wiring, emergency cutoff switch, and some of the minor cosmetic details. Chop's skins are styrene and you can imagine over the many events we've done they are cracked and broken in some places. I hope to patch and repair instead of completely replacing his skins. He desperately needs a new rear door. It's falling to pieces.

  • 1 × Arduino Mega
  • 1 × Sabertooth 2x32
  • 1 × Sure 2x25 AMP
  • 1 × Sparkfun MP3 Trigger

  • Two years of hibernation for Chopper

    Kenneth Zaborny03/18/2022 at 03:42 0 comments

    Poor Chop spent quarantine in the corner of a room entirely neglected. Sure, it would have been a great time to rebuild him but I work at an ISP, we were essential and in the office the entire time. Upside, I had a job; downside, no time for projects. 

    Thankfully this year's Pensacon gave Chop a chance to leave the house. I spent a month getting him ready because of things like this...

    His original storage location was not environmentally controlled and Alabama is nothing if not HUMID. I installed an upgraded version for now. I am trying to work out how I'd run power up to his dome from the body so my droid doesn't run on AA batteries. 

    I upgraded his "storage area" and repainted his footshells. I like these much more than the brown version.

    Finally, Pensacon day 1. I get Chopper to the venue and right at the front door a 6 year old weld on his shoulder snaps. Day 1 had him as a static prop at the 501st's table. I was disappointed. Fortunately I was able to take just his leg home that night and weld it up. It won't be breaking this time. I have learned way more about welding in these last 6 years and upgraded to a Lincoln welder. Also, he has legit welding "weathering" now which I absolutely love. 

    Here's Chopper with his crewmate Sabine at Pensacon. We had a blast the rest of the weekend. 

  • Chopper updates

    Kenneth Zaborny02/23/2020 at 21:47 0 comments

    Lately Chopper has been upgraded. He's got a new dome lid, skirt, and a temporary set of arms.

    The arms were especially popular at the children's hospital where he could give "high fives." One of the kids gave him a clown nose too.

    I am not sure who I trust less. Him or the cat.

    He though he knew better and was trying to instruct the set up of a makerfaire.

  • Pensacon 2017

    Kenneth Zaborny03/10/2017 at 18:05 0 comments

    At the Rogue One premiere Chopper experienced a failure of a shoulder bolt that nearly caused a catastrophic crash. So, the entire month of January was spent beefing up the shoulder linkage and redesigning his stance to use a better center wheel. Here he is a Pensacon 2017 and everything worked perfectly.

    You can see his new stance and wheel here. He glides effortlessly now and his runtime increased from 5 hours to over 8. By the end of day one he was running strong on the original set of batteries. I barely noticed any slowdown.

  • Second convention

    Kenneth Zaborny03/20/2016 at 15:21 0 comments

    Chopper recently attended his second convention of the year. I've applied some of the weathering to his paint and started on the dome electronics. Unfortunately I blew up the LED lightstrip because I was in a hurry. A quick and dirty replacement was a red reflector from my classic Mustang's taillight. It didn't light up but it didn't look horrible.

    At some point during the convention an odd R2/Chopper hybrid was created.

    This convention had a lot of open floor space so I was able to keep Chopper mobile nearly the entire convention. He ran about 5 hours straight and still had just enough power to get him to the car for the drive home. Mark's R2 was running a single 12v LiPo and got about 4 hours of runtime.

  • Electronics

    Kenneth Zaborny02/28/2016 at 16:40 0 comments

    Please pardon the mess. The electronics portion of Chopper was thrown together in the span of a week so it's a wiring nightmare. It won't stay like this.

    The Arduino Mega (which can't be seen in this image) runs a bluetooth dongle that connects to the PS3 Navigation controllers. I used a single controller for Chopper since there is an issue with dome jumps with two controllers connected. Since I'm using a power wheels drive motor and gears for the dome drive this jump is a real issue. The motor goes from 0 to full speed in half a second and can not only scare kids it can damage Chopper.

    The Arduino connects to a Syren10 for the dome drive, a Sabretooth 2x32 for the foot drives, and a Sparkfun MP3trigger for sounds. The AMP is a Sure 2X25. I power the droid with 2 standard 7Ah batteries connected in parallel since I want the run time. Chopper recently went to his first convention and I was able to get about 7 hours moderate use from this configuration. I consider moderate use as mostly stationary but with a lot of dome movement and sound.

  • Body

    Kenneth Zaborny02/14/2016 at 16:31 0 comments

    Chopper's body is a dual layer of styrene. The bottom layer is attached to the wooden frame with staples and silicon glue. The top layer is attached to the bottom layer with Weld On 3.

    The back half of the body is a door to make getting to Chopper's batteries and electronics easier.

  • The dome

    Kenneth Zaborny02/07/2016 at 15:03 0 comments

    Chopper's "face" is what most people are going to see first so I wanted it to look correct.

    So, of course, the first thing I did was incorrectly mask off the eye plates to be painted yellow.

    Thankfully it was a recoverable error.

    The saucer was 3d printed in 5 parts and assembled. The assembly lines still show up. I'm hoping with some weathering they will fully disappear. The antenna is from a broken router I found in the junk pile at work.

  • Motor supports

    Kenneth Zaborny01/24/2016 at 19:10 0 comments

    The motor supports for Chopper also support the drive wheels so they are constructed of aluminum with steel spacers. The motors and wheels used are from E-100 Razor scooters. They were purchased from Ebay.

    In the image below you can see that I accidentally gave Chopper two right "feet". This was corrected later that day.

  • Details

    Kenneth Zaborny01/17/2016 at 16:40 0 comments

    It wouldn't be Chopper without the little greebles that make him look like a pieced together droid.

    The pipe detail is going to hide an emergency kill switch. I learned from K-9 that catching and shutting down a runaway robot is not easy when the off switch is inside. The cover is held closed via rare earth magnets so I can pull it off quickly and get to the off switch without pulling off his rear cover.

  • Center leg

    Kenneth Zaborny01/17/2016 at 16:36 0 comments

    Chopper's center leg isn't a footshell like R2D2 and other droids. It's just a single large wheel on a caster. The hardest part was finding a caster/wheel combination that worked. I eventually had to build a caster around a wheel that I liked. I'm testing that now. So far I've had minimal issues from the assembly.

    The caster tracks properly as the droid turns. However, just moving him by hand resulted in a nasty face-plant. I'm looking at positioning the batteries to help compensate.

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azathoth-org wrote 03/23/2017 at 13:34 point

That's an awesome Chopper. I'm looking at making one... do you have leg STL?

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davedarko wrote 01/17/2016 at 16:09 point

that looks promising :)

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Kenneth Zaborny wrote 01/17/2016 at 21:54 point

Thank you. It's been a lot of fun so far.

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