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BB-8 Star Wars Ball Droid remix for Sphero (or just as a stand alone toy)

by UrbanAtWork, published

BB-8 Star Wars Ball Droid remix for Sphero (or just as a stand alone toy) by UrbanAtWork Apr 23, 2015

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We made this model before this toy came out: http://amzn.to/21Jlv6O

But even if you don't have a Sphero lying around this model can create a fun printable toy.

2015-09-30 UPDATE: Added STL versions in a zipped archive for download.

IF I HAD THE TIME: I would create a custom "top guide", for the 3 pronged part inside the sphero, for two magnets to sit in and keep the head facing forward. or I would create a weighted piece that replaces Sphero. Maybe someone else wants to take on either challenge (someone without a full time job, kids, and a honey-do-list).

Working from Lilykill's great model the base has been re-scaled and sliced in to halves for convenience and easy use with a Sphero.

NOTE for perfectionist: I scaled up the base slightly to 74mm which makes the outer diameter of the base a little larger than the original Sphero but it better matches the inner diameter of the original and seems to make the robot move more freely.

This first version requires you to cut the Sphero open and glue a magnet to inner 3 prong top guide.

NOTE: I've tried a couple of different magnet combinations and haven't found the perfect mix or placement. (more detail later)

Also included is a version of the head for resin printers. It is hollow with two drain holes at the bottom.

Some fun testing with the kids:

Built using resources from the Ross School's Innovation Lab.


Still unsure of the best way to print this and I imagine it will depend on your printer... but I've printed the head of this on a Ultimaker 2 in white PLA and had some really nice prints with just a brim. I have tried the half sphere with just a brim but the inner top area was too rough for the Sphero's tight tolerances and he/she would get stuck.

I have also been able to print it on a Form1+ in white resin with some success but I'm not convinced the quality is worth the trouble in this case.

The trick is printing it and having a really smooth interior so the Sphero can spin freely inside.

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Why? I don't understand why you would ditch the original shell for a 3D printed one?
Is this one bigger?

You have to get inside to add a magnet to the mechanism in the main ball so the head will stick to the top. From there I made the base match the material for the head and it included the grooved patterns from lilykill.


They make these now so it would probably be easier to just buy one, but I did this before those toys came out and we had a Sphero laying around so this gave it a second life.


Ohh right... it's for Sphero! I mixed up their new BB-8 model with old sphero!
Thanks :D

Great model thanks for sharing, any plans to model the base?

Cheers Buddy,


Which base? The Rebel one?

Maybe I missed this detail in the comments, but do you have to cut the sphero in half to put it's internals inside the printed sphere? Or does the shell just go around the sphero shell?

Yes, unfortunately. You need to get a magnet on the inside, glued to the post, so that you can attract the magnet in the base of BB-8's head.

Cutting it open is probably the hardest part of the process, be careful.

Any stl file for the riser with the 2 magnets? I printed this thing, came out great. Just need to find a deal on a used Sphero now. I just ordered a 5/16 X 12 bearing retainer to experiment with a manual version (thinking it will have the weight and roll needed in the base).

can you post a video of how to paint it

I never painted the whole thing. I only did the head. I used a silver and orange sharpie (permanent marker) for the some of it and then used some http://amzn.to/1G4FSF8 Testors enamel paint for the eye(s). The paint is probably the best choice since the sharpie tends to bleed. There are so many pictures of BB-8 out there now, since this was posted, that I would just follow one of those schemes.

Can you attach the STL files Please?

You know you could use MeshMixer, it's free and as easy as open/export?

Regardless, I am posting the files in a Zipped archive in STL format. (I just ran them through MeshMixer).


Awesome thanks! Printed awesome! I converted the file but the top half always messed up, yours worked like a charm! Thanks again!!

Share your Make when you get it done (or sooner)



I actually just got the print on Friday and have been playing with it all weekend.
I'm happy to report that my design works out really well. I couldn't figure out the
plastic Easter egg idea so I moved on to a twist and lock idea that works beautifully.
With this design and THIN plastic walls the Sphero can connect to the app and take
a hit if you run into something. Next step paint design. Could you send me the design
you made for your ball?


I was thinking of going all out and printing this thing in plastic at Shapeway.com. How thick are the
edges of the half sphere? Maybe they can be changed to fit together like a plastic Easter egg.

Trhainer... did you ever print this?


I'm new to the whole 3D Printing. I really like your design. My question is do the two side close or do I need glue?

You will need glue. I have thought about a screw together design but since the shell needs to be thin for the magnets and the inside of the sphere needs to be smooth I am not sure another method would would work with out another fabrication technique.

Good luck!

What magnets gave you the best results?

Hi, I tried 3 different types that I had and settled on one of each of these for the version seen in my video:

I had one hot glued to the top of the sphero guide and one hot glued to the underside of the head. The inside and outside of the print needs to be very smooth so that the piece will slide without getting hung up and either slowing the bot down or knocking the head off.

I think if I had little cube sized ones that would fit in the sphero inner guide (underneath) I would have used two to help give the head an orientation. I was thinking of designing a part that would make it much easier but the response to the model has been kind of underwhelmed so I haven't put the time in.

This youtuber was probably on the right track of what I was thinking about adding. A printable part that had two sets of magnets or bar magnets (if they make them in neodymium) so that the head always stays going "forward".

Good luck and please share your Make!

Well I'll be able to give feedback in about 7hrs (3 1/2 per sphere side). Already have a head.

Was personally thinking of doing a dual sphere enclosure. So that I could put led's in it without getting in the way of the sphero. But magnets would be an issue...

That is the coolest thing I've seen for a Sphero to date. But when you reattached the case, was it still water proof?

From my experience FDM prints are water resistant but are definitely not as waterproof as the original Sphero shell. I'll say that it was a tough nut to crack. Plus... it kept waking up as I was cutting in to the shell, moving around... near the end it really seemed like it wanted to get out of the ball...ending with a spring loaded shot of the stabilizer out of the shell. (it was pretty funny).

I should be able to test assemble it tomorrow if all the parts clean and smooth.