The Ultimate 1:1 BB-8 Build Guide

BB-8 is not only a cute little droid but also presents dandy of a challenge for hackers ’round the globe to try and recreate in the garage. Nonfunctional models are a dime a dozen and the novelty has long worn off the Sphero toy. This brings us to a legit full-scale BB-8, seen in action in the video after the break.

Lucky for us, [Ed Zarick] has written up a blog post that’s as impressive as the build itself. [Ed] has drawn some inspiration and shared knowledge from several online groups focused around recreating the BB-8. He also provides some thorough Solidworks assemblies that look painfully detailed.

To get the ball rolling, [Ed] has gone with a single axle drive system in his BB-8. The axle is mounted directly to the inside wall of the sphere and is part of the pendulum that controls the bot’s movement. Opposite the counterbalance is a BB-8’s head which is kept in place with magnets on either side of the spherical wall.  [Ed] goes into the mechanics of the pendulum throughout the builds documentation which is easier to understand after you watch some of his videos before he painted the bot’s sphere.

[Ed] has also gone to the trouble of making this build reproducible by providing everything from the source code all the way down to part numbers from McMasterCarr. We love it when projects are completely transparent and repeatable so a big +skull to [Ed] for his work on this one!

We’ve covered BB-8 builds since we first got wind of them and we still see the occasional R2D2 project if that’s your bag.

8 thoughts on “The Ultimate 1:1 BB-8 Build Guide

    1. I subscribe to this, not for the end result, but the problem solving aspect of it.

      I’m not even a SW fan, but this concept is quite interesting and the way James from xrobots 3dprints and solvent-welds these machines together is rather therapeutic!

      1. He’s sponsored by Lulzbot, that’s why he 3D prints everything. Even when it makes no sense at all, or the result is worse because of it, he 3D prints.

        I like his channel and projects, but I think he could produce better results if he:

        – Starts using “real” CAD software, preferably with parameterized design options
        – Stops 3D printing everything, but instead applies techniques and solutions suitable for the problem at hand
        – Does a bit more design effort up front instead of winging it all the time (he has been improving in this aspect)

        Still thumbs up for James, he’s been featured in HAD before.

  1. You have to wonder if BB8s designers looked at all the R2D2s made by others out there and said to themselves, “let’s give the Maker community something they can really get their teeth into this time.” and threw down the gauntlet.

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