Introduction: The Glowtrooper : an Interactive Stormtrooper Helmet

About: Student at Berry College Studying Political Sciences and Cyber-Law

Hey guys! Today I've got you guys a quick instructable on how to build an interactive Star Wars Stormtrooper Lamp, complete with multi-color lights and a functional 8-trigger soundboard. Hope all the instructions are easy to read and use, and hopefully you guys enjoy the project. If there any difficulties, questions, or comments, just let me know!

Step 1: Resources and Preparing

    Here is a quick list of everything you will need to complete this project:

    • Soldering iron and solder
    • Adafruit soundboard (I got this one, but anything similar should work too.)
    • Two breadboards
    • 3D Printer
    • Lightbulb (I used this cool multi-color bulb with a remote, but any light bulb will work.)
    • Header pins (the more the better)
    • Trigger buttons
    • Jumper wires (once again, the more the better)
    • The files located in the resource folder
    • Speakers (I used a 5-ohm, but any ohm-based speaker should work).
    • Wood, acrylic, or whatever you want to make your base out of.


    Once you've gathered everything, prepare your workspace and let's get started.

    Step 2: Setting Up Your Lamp and Base

    Now it's time for us to prepare the actual lamp of for the helmet. There are a lot of different approaches to this part - I've tried quite a few, some worked well, and some not so much. I'll give you the way I ended up doing it, which I find turned out pretty good.

    As far as the base goes, I ended up using a laser cutter and some wood to design the base. I tested it out first with some foam core to make sure the design worked well, and then finished it off on some 1/10" acrylic. I've found the acrylic cuts really well, and it super easy to paint and work with.

    The base is 5" x 5" x 4". and includes 8 holes on the front side for your buttons to go through. I've included images of both so you can see the prototype, the design, and the end product. Included in the resources file is the SVG file and a DFX file. If you have a laser cutter that works with the DXF file, you can use that to print out your box. If not, the SVG file provides you an overview of the design I used, as well as the specifications. If you want to design your own base, check out - it is the site I used to design my base, and is pretty easy to use. I went a little extra and cut holes into my top and my back for the lightbulb and wires to go through, but I didn't include these, as they were simply extras.

    Now, for the light. First off, go ahead and plug your bulb in ANYWHERE just to make sure it works. If you're using the bulb I did, don't be alarmed if you flip your switch and the bulb doesn't come on - just try hitting the on the button on the button's remote. Once you've done this, go ahead and screw your bulb in whatever you plan on powering it with. I used a simple Snap-In Candelabra base Socket and bulb adapter from Lowes, but whatever you find is up to you. If you chose to use the adapter, bulb, and base I used, I recommend hot gluing the metal parts of the bulb to either the bottom of the base or to a piece of foam core or something else that can fit inside.

    Once you've made sure everything fits and works, you're good to go, and now it's time to move on to our soundboard.

    Step 3: Preparing the Soundboard

    Overall, the soundboard is the hardest part of this project. To begin, start by hooking up your soundboard to your computer with a USB cable. You should see something pop up in your file explorer - navigate here.

    At this point, we can go ahead and begin preparing your files. Because of the soundboard we got, we need either OGG files of WAV files. I chose to use the .ogg file format because the compressed audio allows you to store more time, but the process is the same for both file types.

    After downloading your files, move them into the folder on your computer. At this point, we need to rename the files. In this tutorial, we will be using basic triggers, but you can click here if you're interested in the more complex trigger patterns. So, now, rename your file "T##", where ## is any number from 00 to 10. After you've done this, the soundboard is good to go. Each T## file is now paired to a specific pin (T00 = Pin 0, T05 = Pin 5, etc) on the board.

    Now for the hard part. At this point, it's time to get your breadboard(s) out and begin putting everything together. Check above for a picture of how I put mine together, but I'll also give a quick description too.

    Put your soundboard on the breadboard, and take some header pins and use them to lock down both sides of the board. Take out your soldering iron and solder each individual pin.

    Next, you'll need to solder your speaker into the board. When attaching the speaker to the board, make note to attach positively to positive and negative to negative, otherwise the speaker may malfunction.

    Once you've done this, go ahead and plug in your board and do a quick test. Take a jumper wire and plug one end into the "Gnd" slot on the board, and the other into a single trigger. If you hear any noise, then congratulations! If not, then reread and see if you missed anything.

    Now, plug in your buttons right down the middle of the board. Take the end of the first jumper wire (the end plugged into the trigger) and plug in into the "-" line. From here, begin connecting jumper wires from each trigger to the line corresponding to the bottom area of both lines. On the other side of the board, take more jumper wires and attach one into the earlier "-" line, and the other end to the top of the button. After doing this, you should be able to hit each button and hear the corresponding trigger.

    Because of the thickness of the wood I used, when I attached my board to my box, the buttons could not go all the way through due to the wires. If you don't use thick wood, this should not be a problem, especially if using long buttons. However, if you don't. here is the solution - instead of using a board, solder your wires directly to your trigger buttons. Essentially, solder the pin that is attached to your trigger to one end of the board, and solder two pins to the opposite corner of the button, all but one one of the buttons. Solder the other end of the wires to the other button, connecting the two wires at each corner. In the end, you should have 7 triggers with no loose wires, and one that has one loose fire - plug this into ground. This will essentially do the same thing we did earlier and allow all pins to be connected to ground, giving them all power. If you get confused, check the pictures of the video above for details on how it should look.

    Step 4: Printing the Helmet

    As far as printing the helmet goes, make sure you have the helmet's STL file from the resources folder. If you don't want it as big, go ahead and change the size of it. I have it about 5" x 5 " x 4". Upon loading the helmet into your software, it should something like the pictures above.

    When you're putting in the settings, remember that you have to add supports. If you don't, the helmet will not print correctly at all and you will waste a lot of filament.

    As a side note, I want to be sure to thank Geoffrey for his helmet design on Thingiverse. The file I used for this project is an edit of his helmet design, meant to be able to sit flat and work at the "lamp shade." Be sure to thank him as well if you use either of our designs in your project.

    After the helmet got finished printing, I painted it a nice white. I found two or three coats of spray paint is enough to remove hide the color (if you didn't print in white) and give it a nice stormtrooper white. Here is the before and after.

    Step 5: Putting It All Together

    Now that we have all of our parts ready, go ahead and start assembling everything. Simply put your buttons through the holes in the design, and use hot glue to get your buttons to in. It may take a lot or a little, I found each button was a little different for some reason. Simply tape or glue the breadboard to one of your walls, and do the same with your speaker. Put in your light, put the helmet on, and use hot glue or whatever you want to use to secure the helmet to the base. Now, plug everything in, turn your lights off, and check it out!

    I've included some images and videos of the finished helmet. I think it turned out well, and I'm pretty happy with it. Good luck on your design, share how it goes for you!

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