Introduction: Little BB-8

BB-8 is a well-known droid character from Star Wars franchise. Even though BB-8 has been implemented crazy number of times in different forms, shapes, sizes and with different technical basement by many people all over the world, we still decided to build it ourselves to understand if we can make it, to build it our own size and to add some important feautures.

BB-8 is controlled with bluetooth, made from ABS plastic with a little plywood inside. This project has been created in 7 days during VIII International Fablab School in Saint Petersburg, Russia as a part of International Design Project 2016. Additions, improvements and final corrections will be done during next two months and the result of it will be presented in Hannover, Germany. The future plan includes providing our robot with different types of sensors, such as temperature sensor, humidity sensor and etc.

Our team is:

1) Svenja Fabisiak

2) Moritz Gutt

3) Shen Lui

4) Petr Maximov

5) David Ensky

6) Polina Buriak

Tools and materials:

  • ABS plastic
  • Arduino Uno x1
  • Bluetooth module x1
  • Plywood (4 mm in thickness)
  • Bearings x4
  • Magnets x8
  • Battery
  • Servo motors x2
  • DC motor x2
  • Motor drivers x2

Step 1: Body and Head

The whole idea about the body was to print two parts with 3D-printer and then connect them together. The mechanism of connecting two parts together was pretty simple in theory: to make ledges on both semi-spheres, on one from outer side and on another from inner side, and then connect them together with the mechanism similar to the one in kinder surprise egg :) But it appeared to be more complicated then we thought. Two parts of this sphere (that took us 24 hours to print each) wouldn't fit in so we had to consider other ways to connect the balls: we cut the ring of ledges off one semi-sphere, we printed one more semi-sphere, a bit smaller than the previous one, to put inside the bigger one to help connect everything and many other solutions. In the end we decided to print an additory ring of ledge and glue it to one semi-sphere. After that everything connected easily.

The head is also printed. It is connected with the body through special magnetic mechanism: there is a servo motor inside the body that turns a wooden stick, on the end of this stick there is a magnet holder for three magnets. In the head there are also three magnets installed. Due to this the head can move without being installed into the body. You can see it on photos.

Step 2: Painting

On photos you can see how we painted our robot :) We made six stencils from sticky paper for painting it, but this techonology is not perfect as a lot of colour flows off the right space. So we need to repaint it and find a new method of painting it

Step 3: Wheels

The carcass for wheels is also printed on 3D-printer. The main material for the wheels is a liquid rubber which we prepaired ourselves from alcorsil. We just needed two wheels for our project because for stabilisation we have special rollers

Step 4: Assemblying Electronics

The final choice for our platform is Arduino Uno with bluetooth module that controlls DC motors for the wheels and servo motor for the head. The BB-8 is controlled by smartphone adroid app. We used Arduino and Android Studio softwares for programming our robot. It answers to five commands: go forward, go backwards, stop, turn right and turn left. It wasn`t easy to put everything we needed on the plywood platform, but red tape you can see on photos helped us with that :)

Step 5: Inner Structure (with Models)

Everything that is supposed to be inside:

  • two wheels
  • two DC motors
  • one roller (for stabilization)
  • one stick with servo motor
  • battery

You can find all the models attached here. On the platform there are wheels, two DC motors for them, battery and adulterants, on the other side there are Arduino Uno, breadboard, servo motor, stick with magnet holder and many different wires. Battery is held with collars.

Step 6: Final Assembly

A little bit later we add a video here :)