Introduction: Animated Sloop Pirate Ship

This instructable was created in fulfillment of the project requirement of the Makecourse at the University of South Florida (

Hello Makers! This is my little rendition of the sloop pirate ship from the game, Sea of Thieves. The sloop is one of three playable ships within the game with its most notable feature being a single mast.

In this instructable, I will be showing you step-by-step how to create your very own sloop with moving parts! This model I've created features a mast that rotates as well as sails that can be furled and unfurled.

Without further ado, lets get into building this thing!

Step 1: Materials

The following hardware are required to create the electrical control component of this project.

  • Arduino Uno Rev3
  • ULN2003 Stepper Motor Driver
  • HC-05 Bluetooth Module
  • 28BYJ-48 Stepper Motor
  • SG90 Micro Servo Motor

The following materials are required to help complete the electrical component.

  • Half-sized Solder-less Breadboard
  • Male-Male / Female-Female Wires
  • Power Source (Battery pack and USB adapter is pictured)

Step 2: Tools and Equipment

The following tools and equipment are required to create, assemble, and post-process the project. Some are optional.

  • 3D-Printer
  • PLA plastic filament
  • Small/Medium Philips head screwdriver
  • Hobby knife
  • 400+ grit sandpaper
  • Super glue
  • Dremel with plastic cutting wheel attachment
  • Filler Primer

Step 3: 3D Printed Parts

These are all the 3D Printed components of the ship. Download links to the parts are included below.

  • Ship Hull
  • Ship Deck
  • Ship Mast
  • Ship Bowsprit
  • Mast Gear
  • Servo Gear
  • Stepper Spool

Step 4: Post Processing of 3D Parts

After all parts are 3D printed, follow this section if you would like to make your build look a lot nicer!

  1. Spray all parts with several coats of filler primer.
  2. Use sandpaper to smooth out visible surfaces.
  3. Use acrylic paints to color your parts.

Step 5: Creating and Affixing the Sail

The materials for creating the sail are listed below.

  • Square piece of old fabric
  • Two (2) hex nuts
  • Thread
  • Sewing needle

  1. Cut 4 small circular holes as shown in the schematic above.
  2. Sew the top middle part of the sail to the mast to fix them together (in an X pattern).
  3. Sew the two corners of the sail to the ends of the cross-bar. The top of the sail should now be fixed to the cross-bar of the mast.
  4. Sew and fix the two hex nuts to the bottom corners of the sail, these act as weights to keep the sail down.
  5. Load a long thread into the sewing needle and secure the end of the thread on one hex nut.
  6. Following the green line in the schematic, thread the needle through the holes in the sails, through the notch on the mast, along the cross-bar, and back down the side.
  7. Finally, secure the thread to the other hex nut, essentially creating a loop.

Step 6: Assembly - Motors

For the assembly, be sure to have on hand, your screwdrivers, nuts, and hobby knife. The hobby knife will should be used to carve the edges/contact points of the 3D prints if things don't fit snugly.

  1. Press fit the servo gear onto the output of the servo.
  2. Place the servo onto the bracket at the bottom of the deck piece and screw one side into place, one screw should be enough to secure the motor.
  3. Place the stepper motor output through the hole and secure it to the deck with a flat head screw.
  4. The final configuration is pictured above.

The motors should now be properly mounted!

Step 7: Assembly - Mast/Sail

For this step, you will need a short length of thread to attach to the stepper motor.

  1. Push the mast gear through the bottom of the deck up to the top and press fit it to the bottom of the mast.
  2. With the piece of thread, loop it around the thread that ran across the cross-bar and create a knot that makes a loop as shown in the picture.
  3. Thread the line through the hole in the upper deck and secure it around the stepper motor spool and press fit the spool onto the motor.

The mast should now be assembled!

Step 8: Assembly - Ship Body/Blackbox

For this part, you will need something to cut through plastic; I used a dremel with a plastic cutting wheel attachment.

  1. Cut a rectangle out of the bottom of the ship hull and cut the same sized rectangle out of the top of the blackbox cover.
  2. Feed the motor wires through both holes and into the blackbox.
  3. Place the deck on the hull and attach the bowsprit to the front of the ship.

The ship should now be fully assembled!

Step 9: Electrical Wiring

I've provided a fritzing schematic of the breadboard circuit wiring. As a general note, black wires connect to ground and red wires connect to the +5V power source.


  • The top resistor is 4.7kΩ
  • The bottom resistor is 2kΩ

Step 10: Electrical Box

This photo shows how I put my electrical components within the electrical black box. Any orientation is fine, just make sure the wires are secured within their terminals and that the servo and stepper motor wires are relatively free to move (as seen in the top right).

Step 11: Programming the Ship

The ship is programmed via the Arduino software. The code can be downloaded below.

The code for the Bluetooth module is a shell program that can be downloaded and changed to fit our project. The following video explains the Bluetooth part of the project:

Each section and important line of the code is commented to better explain what each command does. If you have any questions, please comment to this section and somebody will be able to help you understand.

After assembling the ship and wiring the electrical components, connect the Arduino board to your computer and upload the code to the board. After the code has uploaded, disconnect the cable from your computer, connect an external power source to the Arduino, and reassemble the ship.

Step 12: Bluetooth App Controller

On a Bluetooth-enabled device, download the 'S2 Terminal for Bluetooth' app in your app store.

Through your Bluetooth settings, connect to HC-05 and use the passcode '1234' when prompted.

Open up the app, press the connect button on the top right, and connect to 'HC-05'

If you have any difficulties, check out this video that helped me understand the wiring and the code:

The device should now be connected to the module!

Step 13: Bluetooth Commands

The following is a list of string input commands that is included in the code:

Mast rotation

  • '0' - 0-degrees
  • '90' - 90-degrees
  • '180' - 180-degrees
  • 'CW' - Rotate clock-wise 10-degrees
  • 'CCW' - Rotate counterclock-wise 10-degrees


  • 'furl' - Furl the sails
  • 'unfurl' - Unfurl the sails.

Input the strings within the commas in the text box at the bottom of the app and press send to control the ship motors.

Step 14: Finish!

Congratulations! If you've followed the steps up to this far, you now have a working model.

Please watch the video I made as a guide for how to control the ship and to see it in action. Thank you for following along!