Imperial Shuttle Drone Is Sure To Scare the Cat

[Adam Woodworth] tries to build some kind of RC plane every month. He’s been at it for almost a decade, and he’s getting pretty damn good at it. By day, he’s a Hardware Engineer at Google, though he went to MIT for Aerospace Engineering. Coincidence? We think not.

His latest project is an Imperial Shuttle drone, or to be specific, a Lambda class imperial shuttle — the infamous Shuttle Tydirium. You have to watch this thing unfold.

Using paper model plans, [Adam] printed out the shuttle on a combination of 3mm and 6mm thick foam board (Depron), and then assembled it. This kept the model light enough that the set of quad rotors would have more than enough power to fly it around.

Continue reading “Imperial Shuttle Drone Is Sure To Scare the Cat”

Tie-Fighter Quadcopters Anyone Can Build

These are things of beauty, and when in flight, the Tie Fighter Quadcopters look even better because the spinning blades become nearly transparent. Most of the Star Wars-themed quadcopter hacks we’ve seen are complicated builds that we know you’re not even going to try. But [Cuddle Burrito’s] creations are for every hacker in so many different ways.

tie-fighter-drone-partsFirst off, he’s starting with very small commodity quadcopters that are cheap (and legal) for anyone to own and fly. Both are variations of the Hubsan X4; the H107C and the H107L. The stock arms of these quadcopters extend from the center of the chassis, but that needs to change for TFFF (Tie Fighter Form Factor). The solution is of course 3D Printing. The designs have been published for both models and should be rather simple to print.

ABS is used as the print medium, which makes assembly easy using a slurry of acetone and ABS to weld the seams together. Motor wires need to be extended and routed through the printed arms, but otherwise you don’t need anything else. Even the original screws are reused in this design. Check out test flights in the video after the break As for the more custom builds we mentioned, there’s the Drone-enium Falcon.

Continue reading “Tie-Fighter Quadcopters Anyone Can Build”

Very Detailed BB-8 Robot Build

[James Bruton] has just finished and posted the designs for his very impressive BB-8 robot build. We covered the start of his adventures some time ago when we were theorizing about the secret in the new droid, but it was for a completely different robot design. [James] was pursuing a design that used a little robot sitting on top of a big ball.

This new version has a robot sitting inside a ball with the head being magnetically coupled to the body. Among many things with this build, we thought it was cool how the robot has one drive motor and turns by spinning up and reversing a big flywheel in the base of the robot. That was certainly not one of the top theories proposed for the secret behind the robot. The robot is mostly made with a 3d printer, with the occasional cosmetic piece being vacuum formed. If you’d like to make one for yourself, [James] has also posted all of the design and cad for the robot on his GitHub. On Thursday he posted the final installment of his 10-part video series on the build. Check out part one after the break.

Continue reading “Very Detailed BB-8 Robot Build”

StarMAT greets visitors with the Imperial March

Strong is the Force, with this Padawan. To coincide with the latest installment of the continuing saga from a galaxy far, far away, [Rohit Gupta] built a Star-Wars themed interactive doormat. The doormat detects a footstep using capacitive sensing and plays a random Star Wars audio clip like the opening theme or the Imperial March or a famous phrase from the movie. Check out the video below the break.

The current setup is temporarily breadboarded, but we are sure it will be popular enough with his visitors to make him tidy it up. The hardware consists of an Arduino with an audio shield connected to a pair of speakers. A capacitive wire loop under the mat and a capacitive sensor tuned to the mat size wire take care of the sensing.

When Earth people step on the mat, the sensor triggers the Arduino to play a random audio clip from the SD card. The capacitive sensing is taken care by the TP223 1-key touch pad detector chip (PDF), which he mounted on a home etched board with SMD parts. The whole bundle is powered by a small “power bank” battery pack like the ones used to charge mobile phones.

Continue reading “StarMAT greets visitors with the Imperial March”

Truck-Sized Star Destroyer Takes Flight

While some of you may have been to see the new Star Wars movie, you might be sad that everything happened a long time ago in a galaxy far away. But there’s a group of RC enthusiasts called [Flite Test] who are trying to bring at least a little bit of that fantasy into real life. They’ve created a truck-sized Star Destroyer that actually flies. It looks kind of terrifying, too.

While it’s not as big as a “real” Star Destroyer, it’s certainly one of the biggest we’ve ever seen in real life. Built out of foam, this monstrosity is 15 feet long and powered by two huge electric motors and a large lithium polymer battery. Of course they didn’t start out by building this huge flying spaceship; they created a smaller model as proof-of-concept and flew that one around for a while to make sure everything was shipshape. While it’s exciting to see the small model in flight, it’s another thing to see the 15-foot version swooping around.

We’re sad to report that the Star Destroyer did meet a similar fate as the one that Rey was scavenging at the beginning of the movie (spoilers: it crashed), we hope that the RC team rebuilds it so it’s space worthy again. Maybe they can even add a real-life ion drive or a few lasers to make it even more real.

Continue reading “Truck-Sized Star Destroyer Takes Flight”

The Scientific Implausibility of Starkiller Base

This post contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. These spoilers won’t affect you if you haven’t seen the movie; they’re equivalent to saying, “in A New Hope there’s a moon sized battle station with a superlaser” and “someone gets a hand amputated with a lightsaber in a Star Wars movie”


A lot has happened in the Star Wars universe since the battle of Endor. The Empire is in ruins, and Yavin 5 and the forest moon of Endor both have new planetary ring systems. The Rebellion has given way to a new Galactic Republic, but there is a spectre of evil looming in the unknown areas of the galaxy: the First Order, a malevolent force that has built a planet-sized superweapon capable of destroying entire planetary systems from across the galaxy. The Starkiller gets its energy from harvesting entire suns, moving from one solar system to another to feed this massive weapon of terror.

We’ve had nearly forty years to argue the plausibility of the Death Star, lightsabers, parsecs as a unit of time, and hyperdrives. It’s time to pass the hallowed tradition of arguing over fictional spacecraft to a new generation. Starkiller Base is a cool idea, but does the science behind it hold up? No. It’s completely implausible. It makes for a great story, but it’s completely implausible.

Continue reading “The Scientific Implausibility of Starkiller Base”

MIT Robots Fight with Lightsabers

Students of the MIT Robotics Lab decided to have some fun this holiday season with the big release of Star Wars. They built a lightsaber wielding delta-bot, and some very interesting hip-mounted lightsaber robot arms, akin to General Grievous.

First up in the video though is their Jedi Training robot, which is a variation of the delta-bot robot we’re all familiar with thanks to 3D printers. With a lightsaber mounted on top, it’s not too fast, but has a large range of motion to allow you to practice your lightsaber form. They call it the Triple Scissor Extender — and as you can imagine, it was built for something completely different. You can check out the designer’s personal blog here, though he doesn’t have any info on this particular project — yet.

Second is a robot they designed for a project called Supernumerary Robotic Limbs (SRL), which is literally designed to give you extra robotic arms — it was the next logical step to give them lightsabers…

Continue reading “MIT Robots Fight with Lightsabers”