For my SIDE Project, I decided to create a motorized AT-AT Walker, a war vehicle from the Star Wars Franchise. The unique thing about my project is that all the pieces that have been used to make the AT-AT Walker itself are all 3D printed.
With the 7th Star War Episode coming out only recently, this is an exciting way for all of you other Star Wars fanatics to show your true passion for your favorite franchise! Being able to create your own AT-AT Walker is not only a fascinating experience, but seeing it come to life with the addition of a motor is also extremely satisfying!
This project enables you to learn the basics of the phenomenon that is 3D printing, as well as helping you express your true love for one of the best movie franchises ever! To check out more awesome SIDE projects from my classmates, go to http://berbawy.com/makers/!
Note: This is a recreation of a project that I saw on Thingiverse from a fellow inventor. Check it out at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1083338!
Step 1: What Materials/Equipment You Need
Before you can start, you'll need to have an adequate amount of materials to begin your project.
- Roughly 750 grams of filament
- Micro Gear motor - $13.00
- SPDT Slide Switch - $0.75
- 9V Snap Connector - $1.25
- Super Glue
Along with these materials, you will also need access to a 3D printer. Keep in mind that you will be needing to print at least 69 separate parts to put together you're AT-AT Walker, so make sure you have regular access to this 3D printer.
- 3D Printer
- Soldering Iron (possibly)
Step 2: Choosing a Place to Start
In order to make a successfully walking AT-AT, you'll need to invest a lot of time and dedication to this project. In order to begin, you'll need to choose a place to begin. By doing so, you'll be able to understand what pieces you need to print first, and how you plan to assemble it.
First, you'll need to determine your means of printing it. Which 3D printer you'll be using to print your pieces, along with what filament you will be using. Once determined, you need to figure out what part of the AT-AT you will print first. I began printing the leg pieces first because I felt like it would be easier to assemble them. There is no wrong place to start, so wherever you choose to begin, good luck!
Step 3: Assembly of the Leg Pieces
To begin assembly of the entire leg, you will need to have already printed all of the required pieces. All the pieces required to assemble all 4 legs consist of :
- 4 Leg Pieces
- 4 Shoulder Pieces
- 4 Leg Joints
- 4 Leg Joint Caps
- 4 Feet
- 2 Leg Pivot FLBR
- 2 Leg Pivot FRBL
Assembly of the legs is quite self explanatory. The picture below shows a completed leg piece.
One of the frustrating troubles I encountered during the assembly of the leg was trying to distinguish the difference between Leg Pivots FLBR and FRBL. This can be easily avoided by marking each with a sharpie as soon as they are finished printing, or by simply separating them.
Another problem I encountered was trying to keep the Leg Pivots connected to the Leg piece. I was able to solve my problem by using adhesive to hold them together (I used a hot glue gun, but superglue can work as well).
Step 4: Assembly of the Frame/ Interior
This part is the most exciting/complicated, so pay attention! To begin assembly of the entire Frame, you will need to have already printed all of the required pieces. All the pieces required to assemble the Frame consist of :
- 1 GearSet_BR
- 1 GearSet_BL
- 1 GearSet_FL
- 1 GearSet_FR
- 2 LiftGear_FLBR
- 2 LiftGear_FRBL
- 1 Reduc1
- 1 Reduc 2
- 2 Drive Gears
- 2 StrideGear_FLBR
- 2 StrideGear_FRBL
- 4 LiftGearPins
- Right Frame
- Left Frame
This step requires a lot of focus and patience. There are multiple components to each of these steps, and each must be done with accuracy. I have included pictures to carry you through a step by step process. Before even beginning, know that it is very common for small parts of these pieces to break, so be prepared to either apply glue to repairable parts or reprint nonviable pieces.
I had multiple problems with this step, but the most reoccurring one was trying to get all of the gears to mesh correctly. Use the pictures to help you with this step, but remember that exerting too much force may result in broken pieces, so be gentle when you are handling your pieces.
Again, just like the Leg Pivot pieces, the Lift Gear pieces are not labeled at all either, so be sure to make some sort of mark or note that will help you distinguished the two pieces apart. The Stride Gears do not need this step as they are already labeled.
For the LiftGear pieces, I decided to glue the LiftGearPins to the Frame for a sturdier attachment. If your pieces fit together tightly, you do not need to apply adhesive, but if not I strongly recommend it.
After I completed putting my Frame together, and made sure all my gears meshed correctly, I glued the RightFrame and the LeftFrame together. Remember, once you have glued them together, you risk breaking some of your pieces if you trying to reverse this process. Make sure you are completely finished with your Frame before gluing the two sides together
Overall, when handling any of the pieces above, be extremely gentle and use a minimal amount of force to try to get the gears to mesh correctly. Many small parts of my frames broke, which forced me to reprint or add vast amounts adhesive. You can completely avoid these problems by simply being more gentle with your pieces.
The following pieces will need supports to print correctly : GearSet_BL, GearSet_FL, GearSet_BR, GearSet FR, LiftGear_FRBL, and LiftGear_FLBR.
Step 5: Connecting the Legs to the Interior
After completing this step, you can finally see your project coming together! Get excited, you're almost finished! For this next step, you will need the following pieces :
- 4 Lift Arms
- 8 Lift Arm Caps
- 4 Stride Arms
- 4 ShoulderCaps
This part is relativity simple. The Lift Arms are attached from the Lift Gears to the outer shoulder pieces, while the stride arms are attached from the from the Stride Gears to the Leg Pivots. The Shoulder Caps are used to connect the shoulder pieces and the legs to the rest of the frame, and the Lift Arms Caps are used to connect the Lift Arms to the Lift Gears and the outer shoulder pieces.
The Lift Arm Caps are very easily broken and extremely hard to connect correctly. If you are able to put connect the Lift Arm Caps, do not hesitate to apply adhesive. Just make sure to keep the adhesive out of the Lift Gears way so you don't end up jamming your gears teeth.
Step 6: Assembling and Attaching the Exterior.
Assembling the Exterior is a quite easy and rapid process. It consists of 2 pieces, which are listed below :
The body is quite large so it has been separated into two different prints. Putting the two pieces is very easy, you will just need to glue them together along the sides, and similar instructions can be followed for attaching the head to the body. Placing the Exterior on the Interior is also quite simple. At the side of the interior frames, you will see two holes, and in the inside of the exterior frame, you will see two pegs. Just connect the pegs to the holes and the exterior should be tightly attached to the interior. This will be a tight fit so no adhesive will be required.
Step 7: Making Your AT-AT Walk
For the following step, you will need the following pieces:
This part is quite simple if you are experienced with soldering. All you have to do is simply solder the 9V Snap Connector to the the SPDT Slide Switch, and then solder more wires onto the remains of your Snap Connector. Proceed to solder these wires to your Motor. Your motor will go in the small compartment that is on the left frame. The motor gear will be attached to the other side of your motor, and will rotate the other gears. The other side of your 9V Snap Connector will be attached to 9V Battery. Congratulations! Tuck your wires into the exterior and connect to the interior. Your AT-AT should be able to successfully walk!
To check out more SIDE projects made by my fellow classmates, scan the QR Code!!