BB8 - Star Wars RC Droid

by DIY_Machines Jan 7, 2018
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Nice, I really consider doing it, adding a raspberry pi to add more option for bb8!

Android Users Perhaps others know this already but I found that for Android I was not able to use the HM-10 Bluetooth module - Not exactly sure but it wouldn't connect without using another app.

Without changing any code - I swapped out the HM-10 for an HC-05 and then used the app called Arduino Bluetooth Controller and was able to control the drive module.

What printer settings did you use

I used a layer height of 0.15mm for the sphere and head base piece. 0.2mm was used for the internal frame. I did use support when printing the two sphere halves as it needed to maintain its spherical shape both inside and outside the ball.

Wow this project is great. Can this be scaled down without too many problems. My printer bed is 140mm x 140mm only. I work in a school and this would be great project for a STEM club. Thanks Jo

Hi Jo, It would not scale down very well I'm afraid. It took a lot of trial and error to find the right balance between the friction, the pull of the magnets and the weight of components such as the head. Perhaps you can print it in smaller pieces and join them up to create a full scale one.

Loved this. Thankyou so much for sharing this.

No problem. Glad you liked it. :)

Hi how's everything?
Well I have loaded the script and everything seems to be fine, from the arduino console the engines respond well.
Now I find that I do not have an iphone and I can not install the application to communicate with the bluetooth, would be so kind to advise me an application for android, thanks again

hello greetings, happy with this project my congratulations.
I would love to be able to do it I am sure that my grandson will be as excited as I am, I do not know much about programming and I would ask you to pass me the configuration file.
Thanks for sharing.

Hello, thank you for the congratulations.
You can find the code here on my website: http://diymachines.co.uk/?p=71
I’m sure you’ll enjoy building it, especially the decorating.

Hello, such a genius
Well I have loaded the script and as soon as I have the engine controller I will try it again thanks for sharing.
I'm in the theme of decoration and I was wondering where I can get the template with which to paint it that serves as a stand.

Thanks. :) Glad to hear yours is coming along. The template for decorating / stand is available here http://selz.co/Vke92NmXN

if i were to make a larger bb8, i shine i would have to scale the inner assembly proportionally with thr size of the ball. is that right? thanks! excellent job by the way! very easy to follow!

Hi Goofy87. Thanks. :)
That is a good question. If you scaled all the printed parts such as the inner assembly and ball then they should still fit together. The only thing that would not line up would be the Arduino screw points and the holders for the two motors (as the Arduino and motors would not change sizes).

Hi I was wondering does anybody have an idea of the best infill/wall thickness etc for printing the half spheres.
I am using a Prusa i3


Hello, I printed mine as solids in the video. They are designed to be thin to allow for the magnets to work at their best.
If I recall correctly the walls were only three if not two 'extrusions' thick. Perhaps someone who has made theirs more recently can confirm this.

Could save a lot of plastic if the ball was cut in 4 so only the 'top' and 'bottom' would need to be printed with supports whereas the other two parts can simply be printed without any supports. Can you consider this please? By cutting the both halves horizontally again around the 72 heigth and making another tongue-groove which we'll then glue together.
Love the design, like to support, not sure about Patreon myself though.

Very interesting project. I wonder how easy the batteries change. If I stay for a while I would think of an option for easy opening of the sphere.

To change the batteries on mine I just remove the tape, pop open the two halves and can then change the batteries.

What if I used an HC-05 Bluetooth module instead of HM-10? Would it be the same code? I know the HC-05 will not work with iOS but that is fine with me since I have android.

I've not tried it myself but i don't believe the code would require any modifications.

This is my next project, I love it! instead of bluetooth can I use reciever module for transmitter used for rc? I see rx and tx on bluetooth you use so it should be possible. Next upgrade is putting fpv gear in head (vtx and camera) so i can drive it around in fpv with my fatshark googles

Wow, FPV would be a brilliant addition. I found weight to be an issue when designing the head - too much made the design difficult hence the styrofoam.
RC transmitter and receivers should be fine, as long as they're RF and not IR.

yeah, they are, vtx is 5.8ghz, and rx (transmitter one) is 2.4ghz. but the question remains. do you just wire it (rx) to rx wire you have in 5:34 of the first video?
antenna, vtx, and camera are really light (i'm using those on racing quads so they have to be light). would be great to drive with bb8 around the field inbetween batteries on quad and my rc buddies would just love it.

I don't think you can connect an RC receiver into the RX and TX pins of your Arduino.

The RX and TX pins on the Arduino are used for RS232 type serial communication. It expects ASCII characters.

The receiver on an RC unit puts out PWM signals that are expected to be connected to servos.

I know the Arduino can generate PWM signals to drive servo's. It might be possible for the Arduino to read PWM signals as well. But I would have to investigate that. If it can, you would have to modify the code to read the PWM signals, mix them, and then send them to the motor shield in such a way for the motors to respond the way you expect them to.

This could be done. But it is not as simple as you are thinking at the moment. I think Shawn Hymel, at Sparkfun, made a series of videos on this very subject.

Also, I am intrigued by this project. My wife just mentioned yesterday that she wants me to build her a BB8. I recently got a Creality CR-10 so I could build a rather large body. But I see you are using a Prusa (Mk2 or 2S possibly). I have a Mk2S and a Mk3. I will probably use those.

THanks for sharing,

EDIT: I went and found the two blog entries Shawn made at Sparkfun.

Part 1: https://www.sparkfun.com/news/2462
Part 2: https://www.sparkfun.com/news/2463

Thanks for the information and advice in regards to RC receivers. It's really helpfull.

It is a Mk2 I used to design and print the project.

If you make your and your wife a larger version on your Creality I'd love to see an image. A lot of people are using the Creality - how do find it compares to your Prusa units?

I doubt I will get around too super sizing this project to fit the CR10. It is possibly beyond my skill set at the moment. But it is an interesting idea.

The CR10 is a very interesting printer. The print quality is downright decent. However, there is simply no comparison in features between that and the Prusa: particulary the Mk3. Also, the CR10 comes with a special version of Cura for slicing. I have tried Cura in the past and it didn't really resonate with me. The version that comes with the CR10 is especially limited.

I have only had the CR10 for about a month. So, I am still looking at ways to make it better. I hope to find a profile for a better slicer in the near future.

The bottom line is the CR10 is great. You get a large print volume for a good price. But the niceties you get with a Prusa are not there.

Thanks again,

If the information being received and output by your RF receiver are the same as is output by the Arduino IDE's serial connection you'll be fine

This page might shine some light on what's required: http://www.ladyada.net/learn/arduino/lesson4.html

Awesome! Busy building one.
Do you have to print the Grooved half ball side down. As in the same way it is prepared in the file? Or should you flip it around to print the same way as the Tongued half?

My Tongued half stopped printing at about 90% of the way due to a thermal runway warning. Am trying to see if I can print the missing part and glue it on. :O Lets hope I didn't waste so much filament.

I found it best to print the grooved half with the cut side down like the tongued half.
Best of luck with rescuing the tongued half print - 90% is so far along in a rather large print. :/

Please do share your make on here when it's done. I'd be really chuffed to see the first one built by someone else. :)


So I managed to print the other 10% and glue it on. But my printer is having issues lately so am struggling to print the second half...

But I managed to print the Chassis and put the electronics together. I used my Adafruit Motor Shield V2 and quickly realized that your code doesn't work on it. But after a bit of fiddling got everything up and running including the bluetooth. Now just have to wait for the final half to print today!

Attached is the code for Adafruit Motor Shield V2 for anyone using the same shield.

Thanks for sharing your modified code for others to use, it's appreciated. :)

I'm also glad you rescued the first half of the body, good job!

This is brilliant! Simple, basic, easy to follow. Now if I can find a BB9 head to graft on top of the head's base, I can make the evil First Order one of these, add a few other goodies in the head (so that I can get him to turn his head too) and voila!

Thanks SkyRider. Yes, it would be very easy to make BB9 as well. If you make your's please share a photo here on thingiverse. I'd love to see one. :)

I'm debating a small modification to put the magnets on the inside of the ball, but mounted to a motor as well so that I can control the head as well. A separate power source in the head could also allow me to install a few other modules. Maybe instead of magnets in the head, a steel disk (or even an array of magnets, or magnetize the disk) so that I can turn the head around....

That's something that I wanted to do, but I found that at the scale required to make a unit relatively easy to 3D print (so that as many people could make on as possible) I did not have the space. As the head gets heavier you require more magnetism to hold it in place. As the magnets get stronger you need better rollers or ball bearings to allow it move over the ball with little resistance. What's offered here is the sweet spot I settled on between features, cost and skill requirements.
Go for it though, it's certainly possible! Share a video if you get it working.

What kind of motor and reduction didi you used? Do you have a ebay link?
Nice Job! Thx

Thanks. Here is a link to the motor and wheel I used in the video: http://amzn.to/2mQGYxl

Amazing! Really like the build and video! Just curious, what is the diameter of the ball?

It's about 200 mm outside diameter.

How big of a print surface do you need to make the half spheres?

Looks like 200x200 mm.

Can't wait to make this!

I'd love to see a 'I made one' photo when you're finished building it.