BB8 Replica

A foundational understanding of robotics is a key skill to have as I work towards my goal of becoming a medical device designer. Because I don't have opportunities to learn this skill on the job at Boeing, I thought it would be fun to build a robot in my spare time. Inspired by the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I set out to build a replica of the BB8 droid. This project has given me exposure to working in C++, troubleshooting electronics problems, and insight into how to build a round robot. Although this project is still ongoing, so far I've learned a lot along the way.

The Body

Step 1: Buy globe on eBay & saw in half

Step 2: Cover surface with Bondo & sand

Step 3: Add layers of paper Mache

Step 4: Add layers of fiber glass for durability & sand

Step 5: Add layer of Bondo & sand for smooth surface

Step 6: Connect two halves together with...

  • Duct tape (only temporary)
  • Screws & sided nuts
  • ???

Expert Advice: skip the trial and error phases of steps 2 &3

The Electronics

Figure 1

Step 1: Connect electronics in manner shown in Figure 1

Step 2: Upload program to Arduino

Step 3: Diagnose upload error messages

Step 4: Buy new Arduino

Step 5: Upload program to new Arduino

Step 6: Connect controller via Bluetooth

Step 7: Wait in eager anticipation for the robot wheels to move

Step 8: Find a tissue when nothing happens

Step 9: Diagnose the problem

Step 10: Write a detailed essay filled with pictures as to why Pololu should send you another motor shield for free. Because I swear the first one arrived broken!

Step 11: Complete steps 5-7

Step 12: Celebrate minor victory of wheels turning with a cold frosty root beer

Level Expert: Skip steps 2-10

The Robot

Step 1: Mount electronics to the robot base

Step 2: Place robot in 1/2 shell to test

Step 3: Order stabilizing wheels for robot when you realize all it does is flip itself over

Step 4: Build support for the robot head

Step 5: Test robot in full shell with temporary duct tape closure

Step 6: Contemplate the meaning of life and why your robot refuses to be easily controlled over a cold frosty root beer

  • Programming problem?
  • Wheels the wrong shape?
  • Motor not powerful enough?

Level Expert: Eliminate step 6 because your design is already perfect

The Extras

Step 1: Dress up like Rey for Halloween even through your sidekick isn't finished yet

Step 2: Show friends unfinished robot & let them take it for a test drive

Step 3: (In Progress) Finish robot & paint