loading

I have built my son lots of projects but with my daughter's first birthday coming up I felt it was her turn to get some project love and what better way than with her own Speeder Bike?!

The 74-Z Speeder Bike is best known for its appearance in the 1983 movie, Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. In which Imperial Scout Troopers, on the forest moon of Endor, engage in a vicious chase with Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa after the Rebels commandeered the speeder bikes to pursue their foes.

I have to say though, when the design first came to mind, I had no idea the time and thought that would be involved....

Step 1: Design

For the most part, the facade of the speeder is based on the original concept drawing for the movie prop I found on the net, while using photos of ultra high quality scale models to fill in the gaps. Customizing the design to suit its purpose as a child's rocker (sturdy with no small breakable parts).

I see the overall design as three main parts, firstly the speeder bike its self (the hull etc); secondly the rocker arms/frame and thirdly the electronics.

  • My first consideration was strength and stability for the safety of the little ones, as though this project is for my 1y/o, I also have a 5y/o who no doubt will want a turn. The need to be strong enough to handle a beating led me to the first part of my design, a rigid backbone with a solid plywood top for the seat platform. This gave me a good foundation for things like the handles and outrigger to mount from, and somewhere to fix the 3D printed hull shell.
  • The rocker arms were the source of great deliberation (as you can tell by the multiple sketches above) as the effects of the weight of the speeder bike and a toddler over a guessed center of gravity was quite a challenge. My solution was to use the two center rocker arms to clamp either side of the speeder bike's timber backbone but still have clearance to slide the rockers back and forth 50mm or so to find the center of balance. This design also has scope to easily replace the rocker arms with maybe a (motorized?) rolling mobile base..... I'm just thinking out load.... stay tuned....
  • In terms of the electronics I am not going to go into too much detail as I feel it is a little out of the scope of this instructable and I would recommend doing an Arduino setup (where as I used bits and pieces I had laying around).I wanted to end up with an LED blaster canon with the sound of the blaster and another button on the control panel that spun the turbine on the power cell. My initial idea was to use the guts from a toy blaster but it turned out the circuitry in the toy blasters were very fragile and I managed to damage the sound chip while assembling. So I ended up using a simple 555 timer flashing LED for the blaster and a sound recording/playback module I had laying around from another project. The power cell turbine is a simple circuit and I just used a small DC motor I found from a car windscreen washer pump.

Materials:

The main materials I chose to use are practical and some of my favorite to work with:

Plywood: Super strong, easy to cut and can look quite classy if finished off correctly. Low cost.

3D Printing: Great for the technical curved parts like the hull and detailed small parts. Low material cost.

PVC Tube: Light, easy to work with. Low cost.

Screws: G2 and G4 countersunk screws in a range of lengths

Bolts: Mostly M3 and M4 bolts

Step 2: Timber Backbone and Plywood Templates

First, print out all the templates, some will require a large format printer like the rocker arms, or you could print them in sections and stick back together. Most templates are a simple process:

  1. Trace template onto plywood with mechanical pencil.
  2. Mark hole centers through template using a brad awl.
  3. Cut out plywood parts using a jig saw or a band saw.
  4. Finish each part by sanding and comparing each part to its template.

Some parts like the outrigger mount require shaping in two directions, in these cases:

  1. Cut out each part requiring secondary profiling.
  2. Screw parts together (if required)
  3. Shape parts in secondary profile using disk or belt sender.

Step 3: 3D Printing

I would suggest to get the 3D printing underway asap as some of the main hull pieces could take 10 hours+ to print. I printed in fairly low resolution as I knew the parts would be painted and also to save some time.

I printed using a Makerbot Rep 2

Infill 10%
Layer Height 0.3mm

Number of shells 2

Feedrate 90 mm/s

Travel Feedrate 150 mm/s

Print Temperature 230c

Material: Solid grey 1.75mm PLA

*Note: The main hull parts will need supports.

Step 4: Assembly

Once at the stage where you have 3D printed all components and profile cut all timber parts you will be ready to assemble some of the parts, bearing in mind some parts will need to be left separated for painting as they may be a different color like the steering vanes and their mounts for example. Having said that it is a good idea to do an assemble then disassemble to make sure everything is coming together ok and not fouling on other parts etc.

Refer to PDF drawings in each step for each components assembly process.

Step 5: Rocker Arms

The rocker arms are a very strong 18mm plywood spaced using 32mm stainless steel CHS tube and clamped together with M10 thread bar, washers and dome nuts.

The two middle arms are actually 10mm shorter in height which brings them off the ground so only the two outer arms rock on the floor surface.

Be sure to take a high level of care while drilling the holes for the thread bar cross members to ensure they will line up perfectly upon assembly. Unfortunately this is one of the components you will need to assemble -> check -> disassemble for painting.

When counterboring the holes for the spacer tubes to seat into, use a forstner bit in a drill press to ensure the seating area is dead square. Also use a depth gauge to ensure each bore is exactly the same (most drill presses have these built in).

Remember not to bolt the rocker arms into position through the timber backbone until you have temporally clamped them into position to try them out during the dry run.

Step 6: Handle Assembly

The biggest challenge with the handles was giving them lateral strength. My solution was to craft the arms from a stiff 12mm marine ply and install rigid steel brackets that fix right back to the timber backbone. Also use some nice big o/d washers to spread the load.

It is important to install the washer that is sandwiched between the plywood arm and the hull shell, this separates the arm from the hull shell and clamps the handle to the mounting bracket ONLY. If this washer was omitted the little lateral flex there is in the handle arms would get transferred to the 3D printed shell and eventually crack. Refer to drawing No.:14016 - 08.

Be sure to use dome nuts on all exposed nuts to avoid injury to the younglings.

Step 7: Power Cell

As a novelty for the younglings I decided to make the power cell turbine spin. I found a small DC motor from an old car windscreen washer pump and incorporated it into the design which is mostly 3D printing and PVC tube. Refer to Drawing No.:14016 - 09.

The construction sequence is important with this part and is as follows:

  1. Install mounting thread bar with curved washers onto PVC housing.
  2. Bolt motor front shroud / mount.
  3. Attach wire tales to motor (long enough to get to electronics junction box)
  4. Install front shroud with motor attached to PVC housing & fix in place with blind rivets.
  5. Insert wires through the inside of the rear body spigot.
  6. Push rear body into position and fix in place with blind rivets.

I would suggest to do the above assembly after paining but you just need to touch up the heads of the rivets as they will still be raw.

Step 8: Outrigger Assembly

Mounting plates

The outrigger adapter plates were the source of a great deal of deliberation as they needed to mount the outrigger tubes in a solid fashion but there was not a lot of meat (timber) below where the tubes land on the plywood outrigger mount due to the large radius fillet on the underside of the mount. My solution was to run the plates right across and offset the mounting screws inboard where there is more meat to fix to. Thrown into the mix is the stabilizer lugs that needed to hang out in roughly the same location so it made sense to incorporate all the above into one mounting plate.

Blaster Wiring Path

Be sure to drill the hole through the outrigger mount for the baster LED wire at angle toward the electronics junction box and not vertical as it will run into the under side of the timber backbone. Refer to section image above.

Step 9: Engine Cover

The engine I designed to not only replicate the original speeder bike look but to also double as a removable shroud over the rocker arm to backbone connection. It can be easily removed with 2 small screws at each of the 3 angle bracket connections.

Step 10: Rear Pod and Thrusters

The construction sequence I would suggest for this part is as follows:

  1. Bolt the front and back halves of the rear pods together.
  2. Fix the pods to the underside of the rear top panel.
  3. Now with the pods in place you can hold the rear panel in position and check its profile to be sure its flush all the way around and sand off any excess prior to fixing in place.
  4. Install exhaust panel.
  5. Install thruster flaps with small hinges.

Step 11: Foot Rest

  • Use a piece of 38x38 SHS tube to fabricate a mounting bracket for the foot rest frame.
  • First drill the 12mm hole that will be the connection to the 12mm round bar frame.
  • Use a butane torch or oxy acetylene to heat the round bar to ensure a nice tight radius bend. I would suggest setting up a quick jig to check the angle and the two arms are parallel. Refer to drawing 14016 - 10 for dimensions.
  • Weld round bar frame to bracket at an angle of 20 degrees from parallel to backbone.

In hindsight I would either weld a small piece of flat bar on top of the round bar under the timber foot rest or machine a flat on top of the round bar at the foot rest to avoid the timber foot rest rolling on the round bar with wear over time. I guess I'll see how it goes.

Step 12: Seat

I selected 7mm ply for the seat base to ensure the staples would not protrude into the foam.

  1. Use the 7mm plywood seat base as a template to mark the medium density foam and cut out the profile with a sharp knife.
  2. Use a little hot melt glue to hold the foam in position while you cover the seat with vinyl.
  3. Work your way around the seat base with the staple gun, pleating the vinyl as necessary.
  4. Trim off the excess vinyl.
  5. Install the seat with a 2" wide strip of self adhesive velcro.

Velcro is used to mount the seat as the seat will need to be removed to access the screws in the seat back and one of the screws holding the top main panel to the backbone.

Step 13: Swag Assembly

Use some coat hanger wire to bend up some loops using long nose pliers then push the loops into the 3D printed base making sure the join in the wire loop is hidden inside the clip.

Paint the completed clips prior to installing straps.

Use your sewing skills to stitch some material strapping to one of the tie down clips and stitch some velcro dots to the other end that will thread through the other tie down clip. Be sure to check the length by laying strap over the hessian swag.

Step 14: Dry Run

Clamp the timber backbone to the upper rocker arms and ensure the rocker is sitting and rocking how you would like before fixing in place with M6 coach bolts as shown on drawing No.:14016 - 03.

Step 15: Electronics

As I said in the intro section I wont be going into too much detail with the electronics as I feel it's not in the scope of this instructable. I also feel there are better options like an Arduino or Intel Edison setup.

The first 9 or 10 images above showing my initial ideas / attempts using the guts from a toy blaster which unfortunately failed due to a fried sound module during construction. My solution was to use a recording / playback module for the blaster sound & build a flashing LED module using a 555 timer. The next issue I ran into was switching both the sound playback & flasher with the handle mounted SPST N/O momentary switch. My solution to that was to incorporate a dual relay setup to actuate both circuits simultaneously.

If there is enough interest I may do a schematic of my final circuit.

Step 16: Painting

As anyone with experience painting will tell you "preparation is key" and the same goes here. Spend the time to sit down and use a few grades of sandpaper working your way from course to fine on each piece.

Be sure to give the PVC tubes a good rough up as paint struggles to stick to an unprepared PVC surface.

For the primer I just used a cheap etch primer pressure pack can you can buy from any hardware or automotive store. Start with very light coats and work up to an even solid coat.

The main hull is two coats of Dulux A103 "Pookie Bear" with one quick light coat of pressure pack mat black to finish to give its weathered look. The brown paint is purchased in a liquid form so I used a low pressure spray gun to apply this color.

To achieve the "gun metal grey" I laid down 2 coats of pressure pack mat black & finished with one light coat of metallic charcoal grey.

The engine, power cell and rear panel has two coats of Hammertone charcoal grey.

I wanted to leave the rocker arms a natural timber to give a hand crafted feel to the job. So I used an acrylic clear with a satin finish pressure pack can. As there is no sealer going on first, the plywood rocker arms will totally soak up the first 2-3 coats of clear so be prepared to use 2-3 cans of clear to complete the rockers. Between each and every coat of clear go over the rocker arms with fine sand paper and you will end up with a beautiful satin finish.

Step 17: Completion

I hope you've enjoyed reading the instructable! I did put a lot more time and thought into this design than I anticipated but I am happy with the end result and judging by the smiles on the younglings faces, they are too.

Thanks for taking the time :)

Not a Speeder but credit for the idea is due<br><br>Thanks
<p>In my 80 years, I have witnessed that anything that can go wrong WILL eventually go wrong. When that kid goes forward over the handles, she will be scarred for life when her head hits the front of that thing. I'm sure you would not want that, so please take preventative design measures.</p>
<p>Did you watch the range of movement in the video? I never witnessed any kid fall forward on a rocking toy, even when they have a much sharper range than this one. Sure, one in x million kids might figure out a way to seriously hurt themselves on this, but that's the real non-ideal world we live in: some kids are going to die from normal, safe activity, that doesn't mean we should discourage, prevent, or ruin those activies for the masses.</p>
<p>You asked, &quot;Did you watch the range of movement in the video?&quot;</p><p>I don't have to watch the video to know a 9 month kid without any kind of seat belt suspended 4 feet in the air over sharp objects is an accident waiting to happen. I spent 20 years in Fire / Rescue witnessing the results of bad judgement like this. </p>
<p>Working around and with disasters overexposes an individual to powerfully negative consequences of risk, this will understandably bias their world view, but it does not change the reality that emergency situations are between uncommon and rare for any given individual. </p><p>And if you had actually looked at the design before rushing to judgement you'd see that the &quot;9 month kid&quot; is not 4 ft in the air, nor over sharp objects, nor does the range of motion facilitate falling forward. </p><p>This would be an excellent toy for a 3 year old, and if a parent of a kid that isn't ready for a simple rocking toy lets them play without being closely supervised, responsibility falls on them, not the toy. </p>
<p>The hazard isn't really with a child on the saddle that it is for children<br> running around the area where to toy is placed who could who can run <br>into it face first As for as far out as the toy looks, it's impossible <br>to rationalized away the potential hazard it presents. The first time an<br> adult jams a leg into it the toy is going to be put away in record <br>time.</p>
You mean it's a toy that requires supervision to be out and used? Gasp.<br><br>Seriously though, if someone has the tools and space to make this they probably have the space to at least cover it. And if they dont then this toy is not for then. Plenty of toys are potentually hazardous, just be reasonably responsible as a parent and don't blame the toy if you fail to manage a clear risk.
<p>Its called being a responsible parent. If your kid is too young to stay put in the seat.... don't put them on it. If they are old enough (big enough) to rock it over... guess what? they are too old take them off. simple as that. this is a great to for age/size appropriate children.</p>
<p> A fine looking final result for sure. Downside is that the front looks to be eye level for some kids that will be running around. While it's integral to the overall look, I can think of a way to make it less a hazard. Then again having fully functional eyes, nose and teeth may be overrated ;)</p>
<p>my first reaction was pointy thing on front, having gone over bicycle handlebars as a kid...</p>
So f-ing cool. Makes me want little ones again (but not grandkids! I'm too young to be a grandpa!!!!)
Great project will thought out shsme i dont have access to a 3d printer still to expensive here in GB
<p>Parenting level - Jedi</p>
<p>Great device, great video!</p>
<p>The sharp front edge needs adjustment otherwise someone could get hurt!</p>
<p>Sharp edges for the kids to run into! Thanks!</p>
<p>Good Evening I am trying to get the measurements of the spine could you help me out how long is it as there are no measurements on this job at all I am just hoping that my printer can sort it out for me..</p><p>Thanks</p><p>Matthew </p>
<p>Hi Tez,</p><p>finally I finished to print all main parts and I can start with the carpentry job.</p><p>Please, could you upload also the documentation for the rocker arms or sharing some additional information like dimensions?</p><p>Many thanks for this great project!</p><p>Have a nice day</p>
<p>Where do i find the template for the rocker arms?</p>
<p>Yes, please. I'm looking for the rocker arms as well.</p>
<p>Good Evening I am trying to get the measurements of the spine could you help me out how long is it as there are no measurements on this job at all I am just hoping that my printer can sort it out for me..</p><p>Did you get a reply for the rocker arms....</p><p>Thanks</p><p>Matthew </p>
<p>Good Evening I am trying to get the measurements of the spine could you help me out how long is it as there are no measurements on this job at all I am just hoping that my printer can sort it out for me..</p><p>Did you get the info on the rocker arms</p><p>Thanks</p><p>Matthew </p>
<p>Hi All,</p><p>for your benefit, I tryed to print the &quot;Hul Mid&quot; section as designed by TEZ but it was too big for my printer so I splitted it in two parts. I've already printed them and they are working fine.</p><p>I uploaded them on thingverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1120421</p><p>Have a nice day</p>
<p>Hi Francesco, I'm splitting this very piece as well and I was worried about warping, did you have any problems with warping on the bottom? I also noticed that you laid the pieces vertically, was that to try and deal with the overhangs?</p>
<p>Good Evening I am trying to get the measurements of the spine could you help me out how long is it as there are no measurements on this job at all I am just hoping that my printer can sort it out for me..</p><p>Thanks</p><p>Matthew </p>
<p>Good Evening I am trying to get the measurements of the spine could you help me out how long is it as there are no measurments on this job at all I am just hoping that my printer can sort it out for me..</p><p>Thanks</p><p>Matthew </p>
<p>Just a query can you tell me the length of the 45mm spine as my printer dosen't want to play the game and tell me......</p><p>mattygodfrey@live.com.au</p><p>Thanks</p>
<p>I have tried to download the 3D images and I am having trouble as the are not formatted to my makerbot's format, Any help. Thanks in advance</p>
<p>How much did the 3d printed pieces cost all together? That looks beyond awesome but I'm sure it was very expensive!</p>
<p style="margin-left: 20.0px;">Don't try and print it at a commercial store. I was quoted prices of $3-500. I ended up buying my own printer and the filament cost $24. <br><br>Of course, I've been printing for about 2 weeks straight though.... </p>
<p>Hy i'm looking for the rocker arms templates?</p><p>Where i find it ?</p>
<p>It looks good and there's no doubt the creator put a lot of time, passion and effort into it. A lot of people shared their concerns about safety which I too think is very important. I want to talk about something else here. Inflicting one's beliefs onto another. This toy is fine and all, but does the toddler even know what Star Wars is yet? Would she like it if and when she sees it.</p>
<p>It's not even about the physics involved in riding this contraption; what made me vomit is the immediate danger of any sharp object in a toddlers vicinity. When my children were that age we 'house proofed' any corners, sharp objects, glass etc. The earlier comment that 'emergency situations are rare' didn't have my busy little ones. Instantaneously I envisioned the point in a curious wanderers eye.</p><p>Three year olds are much more taken with 'horsies' than vicious chase scene Star Wars monuments. My son graduated from Franklin to Spiderman&hellip;. then to Star Wars. What I do like is the costume in your picture. Very safe, very warm, still very Star Wars.</p>
<p>no way a Li'l munchkin is gonna hit the nose. If he/she flips his fat little head's going straight down over the bars. If she's really got some movement going, maybe during an especially rousing chase scene, she may do a cute little flip, end up laid out on the rails, thinking, &quot;pretty sky! oh! oh!.... A cloud Wookie!!!</p>
<p>I'm thinking that if my toddler does perchance flip over the handlebars and poke out an eye on this it will give me the excuse I need to next build a backyard pirate ship for him/her!</p>
<p>As a mom, grand-mom, the front of this frightens me. Little ones are noted for losing their balance and falling against things. Those sharp and pointed looking projections at the front are just at eye-height, forehead height and I shudder to think of what might happen with a toddler running towards them or falling against them. Please, please, modify this project to make it safe for your little one! And anyone contemplating making one, please modify the front projections as well. Your child's safety is more important than their entertainment. Thank you. Blessings on your efforts.</p>
<p>Yes, LynneDe and SuzAnne! After thinking, &quot;what a cool, unique toy,&quot; I saw the front. I'm the mom of six, so I'm programmed for child safety, and that &quot;head&quot; is scary. Please do make it safe! </p><p>Thanks for sharing your amazing work! Genius.</p>
<p>This is the first thing I noticed was those pointy projections on the front. NOOO. a more rounded version would be better and safer.</p>
<p>Oh, I forgot, she looks really cute.</p>
<p>Don't you make that baby into a little nerd. She'll be building ice castles before she's five. LOL I know where to go next time I get a really difficult math problem. You guys crack me up. Don't you want to make a satellite dish instead? I am being nice; I think you guys are geniuses. Happy New Year!!!</p>
<p>Hello, I work for WISH-TV in Indianapolis and was wondering if we could us some of your photos on our website with credit. </p>
<p>Why would a business endorse such a dangerous piece of equipment. Putting yourselves and your credibility right out there.??</p>
<p>Hello, greetings from Poland. You have done a really great job. I would also like to do a rocking speeder bike for my daughter's first birthday. Therefore, I join the request for completing the documentation of the rocker arms.</p><p>Thanks</p>
<p>Please don't put a child on this &quot;toy&quot; Dangerous. Ride it yourself?</p>
<p>is this for kids? looks like an adult toy (joke) happy new year</p>
<p>It is an adult toy. Not even our toys of old were this dangerous.</p>
<p>Yeah, I was wondering about those nice sharp points just at a toddler's eye level.</p>
<p>Are you nuts or so,this is a dangerous thing for kids to play with all kind of sharp edges to this thing!</p>
Maker kids need to start learning good judgement at an early age. Builds character.

About This Instructable

232,437views

1,568favorites

License:

More by Tez_Gelmir:Rocking Speeder Bike Portable Lego Creation Station Mower Wheel Repair 
Add instructable to: