Robotics – Automation Projects

Automated LEGO BB-8!

We absolutely LOVE the new LEGO Star Wars sets that have come out over the last couple of years. They’re well designed, fun to build, and look great. What would make them even more fun is if they also moved on their own!

We took an off the shelf LEGO BB-8 set and automated it so the head spins around! Even better, we added sound effects and lighting effects! But if that isn’t enough we also added a motion sensor so that it would activate when someone walks by. Overall this project isn’t overly difficult to do, but does take awhile and requires a healthy amount of random Technic LEGO parts to built the gear box area.

Step 1: Parts Needed

For LEGO parts we used such websites as BrickOwl.com or BrickLink.com. These sites are really handy to use for random LEGO parts or supplies. When in doubt you can also just buy bulk LEGO parts off eBay and spend the afternoon organizing them all.

LEGO BB-8 Set

Worm Gear Drive Set

Large Technic Gear

Technic 1×4 Brick x 4 (or 8)

Technic 1×8 Brick x 4

2×8 Plates x 4

Electronics:

Crazy Circuits Robotic Board

Crazy Circuits CR2032 Holder

Crazy Circuits Blue LED

Nylon Conductive tape

9G Servo with LEGO Adaptor

YX5300 MP3 Player Module

HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Range Finder

Step 2: Video Guide

We made up a Step by Step video to show off what the BB-8 can do and how to make it.

Step 3: Build Your BB-8

Build your LEGO BB-8 as normal.

Seriously though, kudos to LEGO for putting together a really darn nice project. The rubber band head wobble, the little welding arm, and the attention to detail is just fantastic.

Step 4: Remove the Head Control

Using a pry tool, remove the side of BB-8 that controls the head.

Put inside half of the axel back in if it comes out.

Put that section to the side as you’ll need it later.

Step 5: Construct the Base Adaptors

Using 1×4 and 1×8 Technic bricks, construct an adaptor to mount the BB-8 onto your large Base Plate.

Remove all the extra parts on the bottom of your BB-8. You want to leave the bottom white area completely flat.

Connect your white bricks UPSIDE DOWN to your black technic bricks.

We ended up using two of the 1×4 bricks per adaptor for extra strength, but it’s probably not necessary.

Step 6: Connect Adaptors and Plates

Attach your adapters to your BB-8.

If possible, use some 2×8 plates to increase the footprint and connection area.

As mentioned before, we also added in a second 1×4 brick to be on the safe side.

Step 7: Attach to Base Plate

Connect everything to a large base plate.

Give yourself some space in the front and a lot of space in the back in order for the rest of your parts.

Make sure the empty “gear area” is pointed towards the BACK of your project. We need space for the gearing and electronics.

Step 8: Remove the Spinner

Remove the spinning section from your head control area.

Grab a long size 12 or better axle and attach it to the connector inside the BB-8.

Reattach the entire side.

Step 9: Add Spacers and a Large Gear

You’ll need to attach a couple of different sized spacers before attaching your large Technic Gear.

We also added a small bushing to the end of our axle to hold everything tightly in place.

Step 10: Create Worm Drive Stand

Use a couple of standard LEGO 2×8 sized bricks along with 2 2×8 sized plates to create a platform for your worm drive.

Connect everything below your large technic Gear.

Adjust parts as needed to make sure everything connects and fits well. Give the axle a spin to make sure they work.

For More Details: Automated LEGO BB-8!

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