Introduction: Remote Controlled Basket Ball Robot - HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS -

Picture of Remote Controlled Basket Ball Robot - HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS -

Here I will show you how to build a remote controlled basketball robot. That's right, no joke! I have built a similar ball for the HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS and now you can build your own.

Here's a list of supplies you'll need.

7" Hamster Ball

Sports Shop:
High Torque Metal Gear Servo. I used the HS-645MG
Aluminum Servo Shaft Horn 250HS
(3) Aluminum Hubs 3463H
RZ12-90-128RPM Gear Motor
Servo Mounts
Gear Motor Mount
(2) 1/8 ID Bearings
1/ 4 ID Bearing

Any Hobby Shop:
2 channel radio and receiver set (More channels are fine)
(8) Elite 1500 batteries
Cheap ESC (Electronic Speed Control)

Hardware Store:
3/ 4" Aluminum Flat Stock
3/ 4" Steel Flat Stock
Misc Nuts and Bolts
Double Stick Tape
Lead weights (Or steel)
Great Stuff Expanding Foam

Step 1: Sketch / Plans for the Ball

Picture of Sketch / Plans for the Ball

Here are rough drawn plans for the ball. It has a Gyro for stability control, a servo for steering and a gear drive motor for propulsion. This ball moves only because the weight at the bottom moves. So, the idea is to get as much weight as far below the centerline as possible. Led or steel weights are added to help.

Step 2: Attach Drive Hub to Ball

Picture of Attach Drive Hub to Ball

Attach the aluminum hub from servocity to the ball using screws as shown. Take care to make sure it's on the centerline.

Step 3: Make the Chassis

Picture of Make the Chassis

Next make the chassis. You can make it out of one piec of Aluminum if you prefer or bolt together 3/4" flat stock. The important thing to remember is to keep all servo splines, bearings, motor shaft in the same plane. Other than that everything can fudge a little.

Take a look at all the pics and you'll get a good idea of what you need to do.

Attach another one of the aluminum hubs to the gear motor drive shaft. Screw some bolts into it and sand them down so they fit nicely in the hub that you just mounted to the ball.

Step 4: Make the Steering Arm

Picture of Make the Steering Arm

Now for the steering arm. It's basically a piece of 3/4" flat steel bent in a U shape. The battery pack is attached to the bottom of the U and I put lead weights on the sides for more drive torque. You'll see the self designed servo saver on ones side. It's made with the horn shaft, hub and 1/4" bearing mentioned in the materials list.

Step 5: Video of the Servo Saver in Action

Picture of Video of the Servo Saver in Action
Here's a video of how the servo saver works

Step 6: The Cap Side of the Ball

Picture of The Cap Side of the Ball

There it is inside the ball. On this end I made a steel bar that attaches to the ball with bolts. It has a perpendicular shaft bolted to in down the centerline that slides into the drive rotational bearing.

Step 7: Video of Gyro Stability

Picture of Video of Gyro Stability
You DEFINATELY want to put a Gyro in. Even WITH the gyro this thing is sqirley. Without it it's almost impossible to control.

Step 8: Make a Basketball Shell

Picture of Make a Basketball Shell

I cut a REAL basketball in half, filled it with Great Stuff Expanding Foam available at ACE hardware. Then I hollowed it out with a dremmel so the hamster ball will fit inside snug. Pop the shell on and drive away.

Step 9: VIDEO of the Ball in Motion

Picture of VIDEO of the Ball in Motion
Here's a Video of the Basketball In Motion

And here's one of the hamster ball without the basketball so you can see the insides.


RenêL2 (author)2015-07-22

what kind of gyro you were using? I cannot find to buy

igor.taurazevicius (author)2014-12-10

Why not to try to put some microcontroller like Arduino, that can implement PID and Kalman filter to the gyro this will make it move like charm without any oscillations. I saw an robot called GroundBot made by rotundus that uses the same kind of motion, it moves very smoothly i think it uses some kind of PID and other algorithms.
Also great project i will try to make something similar.

aikramer2 (author)2014-11-15

What is the degree of motion of your servo? 90, 180 or continuous?

prabbit22m (author)aikramer22014-11-15

The steering servo is 90 degrees. I experimented with continuous and it wasn't good.

jake_lee_1105 (author)2014-01-16

This is awesome, definitely going to make one to trick my dog

Patrick S (author)2013-07-30

This is awesome! I think Sphero has a mechanical design something similar to this? Anyways I will definitely be making one..

doshh (author)2011-09-19

Are those geared motors u mentioned for the ball brushed or brushless? tnx ^^

imran_bhoot (author)2011-08-01

what does Gyro basically mean? Would you please lighten ma ignorance? :-/

eulaliaaaa! (author)2010-04-11

It would be easier just to put a toy truck in the hamster ball and drive that around...

dombeef (author)eulaliaaaa!2011-05-15

What happens if it flips over?

eulaliaaaa! (author)dombeef2011-05-19


dombeef (author)eulaliaaaa!2011-05-20

Unless you put wheels also on the top, then it might work

eulaliaaaa! (author)dombeef2011-05-20

Or you could get one of those cars with huge wheels that can do flips on walls and stuff.

mightywombat (author)2011-02-14

About how much could I expect a project like this to cost? Not counting the multi-channel transmitter, I suppose, since that would drive the cost up considerably.

toxicwolf (author)2009-09-25

I used your concept and made a tennis ball size version

mightywombat (author)toxicwolf2011-02-14

I'm really curious to see your remote controlled tennis ball! I've been thinking that an RC soccer ball or something similar would be a great toy for my dog, but a tennis ball that I can bring back to myself if she decides she doesn't want to fetch it? That's effing brilliant!

toxicwolf (author)toxicwolf2009-09-25

with built in camera

prabbit22m (author)toxicwolf2009-09-25

Can we see some pictures or video?

toxicwolf (author)prabbit22m2009-09-28

sorry but I don't have any pics and I sold it but ill make another and do an Instructable on it but it might take a while before I can make it though

Vulcanator (author)toxicwolf2010-01-27

i wanna see this.

toxicwolf (author)Vulcanator2010-02-01

5 weeks away from finishing just got to find the right type of board to control it

dombeef (author)toxicwolf2010-05-21

It is longer that 5 weeks.
And this looks very cool!

toxicwolf (author)dombeef2010-05-21

dude i totaly forgot been so busy with school and other projects i try to finish         i havent check this account in a long time

JamesRPatrick (author)toxicwolf2010-11-09


toxicwolf (author)JamesRPatrick2010-11-09

ive officially given up every time i worked on it something went wrong ;something went wrong my nephew broke it twice and my camera was at my friends when his house burned down

Tobor 2.0 (author)toxicwolf2011-02-01

Dang talk about bad luck.

dombeef (author)Tobor 2.02011-02-01

I think he is lying...

Tobor 2.0 (author)toxicwolf2011-02-01

O my god I've been trying to do the same thing. How ever did you get it so small ( the robot i mean) you have to post an indestructible on it

thelastonekills (author)2010-11-25

sorry, this is going to be stupid, but

could this be applied to a much larger sphere 2.5 m diameter
and what size motor would you need and how much would the counter weight have to weigh to get a good speed (min 20 kmh 30-40 kmh good)

and is there a formular for calculating the speed.
it would in theory need circumfrance, counter weight mass and lenght of the arm,
and motor strength i think?

Tobor 2.0 (author)2010-10-04

try making it small enough to fit in a tennis ball and post the instructions. if you already have and i missed it pleas say so.

gradof6b (author)2010-02-24

When this spins is the whole internal thing, like the weight and stuff that's spinning or are they stationary as the ball spins?

hintss (author)gradof6b2010-08-31

stationary, weights move the ball because they're always down

DehLeprechaun (author)2010-07-18

how much did it cost to make this?

MACKattacksnipe (author)2010-04-11

were you fill up air did you put some kind of rechargeable power socket 

ElvenChild (author)2010-03-25

 If I put this inside a soccer ball I could cheat I mean coach easier

shadowyblade (author)2010-02-07

 More details on how it is made, please!  These instructions seemed somewhat vague.

platinum97 (author)2009-08-31

Hey I love ur idea. This would freak my friends and my parents out but I'm not that advanced and I don't have most of those things, so can iu help me make a simpler version of this just by using a dc motor and a smaller ball to put it in?

bocaj812 (author)2009-02-28

If this were an actual robot built using a micro-controller you could program the steering arm to be electronically forced to go back and stay in the center of the ball when not in steering action. I love the instrucwble though. I plan on building one myself.

ben moody (author)bocaj8122009-08-29

Actually thats not true i myself am building this robot from scratch using a micro controller for a school project. on this guys robot the arm has centered itself. the gyro is used to dampen the rocking motion not to centre the arm.

necropolian (author)2009-02-05

very supercalifragilisticexpialidociously cool! can you play basketball with it whitout destroying the inner technologies? 5*

prabbit22m (author)necropolian2009-02-06

First of all the ball won't bounce. Second, it would probably destroy the steering servo pretty quick. When taking this ball to the park I have to say it's VERY hard to walk with a ball in your hand and not bounce it. -Peter

necropolian (author)prabbit22m2009-02-06

and if it could bounce without 'pushing up the daisies' it still would be useless because you can't control it when it touches the ground only fractions of a second. and on bumpy grounds it would be a pyrrhic victory if you were able to bounce it into a specific spot...

bsamuels453 (author)necropolian2009-06-23

it doesn't need to be on the ground in order to change the ball's trajectory, just wobbling the steering chassis back and forth would create a noticeably strange effect

necropolian (author)bsamuels4532009-06-26

but still, it is much less controllable in midflight. the steering has more effect on solid ground. but it is still very cool.

prabbit22m (author)necropolian2009-06-26

It was designed for use by the Harlem Globetrotters on a basketball court. Very flat, very even and very level. It would be physically impossible to build a small ball that was capable of much "off road" type driving. Not becasue of abuse on fragile equiopment. That could be remedied, but because of physics. The rotating mass inside has limits to how aggressive it can be. You can't just put in a bigger motor like in a car or plane. A bigger faster motor just makes the inner mass spin around, up side down, inside the ball. As far as bouncing. I've thought of making a ratcheting spring that pulls the mass down and then a trigger to release it. I doubt it would "jump" more than a cm off the ground and would add a LOT of weight and complication to the already delicate assembly. So, I hope to see someone do that some day but I'm going to leave that idea alone for now. Thanks for looking and the comments.

necropolian (author)prabbit22m2009-06-26

with bouncing i mean that it can survive a bounce, not bounce by itself. i think you can place the ball in a larger ball, by connecting it with rubber bands to the inside of that bigger ball. the rubber bands absorb the shock.

J-Five (author)2009-06-20

Our cats would probably go crazy with it.

Rob311 (author)2009-03-01

Very cool idea, but i don't have a machine shop to build it like this. I built the guts out of foam board and used 1 continuous rotation servo for the drive motor. I also didn't use gyro, half the fun is trying to control it. I attached the template for the body. (you may want to move the steering servo 1/4 of an inch away from the drive servo, its off balance). good luck!

budsiskos (author)Rob3112009-05-06

you should really post a video

About This Instructable




Bio: I would love to find a job where I could play with fabrication tools all day and be creative. Anyone have a suggestion?
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