Build Your Own Star Wars BB8 Droid – Here’s How

BB8 Star Wars Force Awakens

Who wouldn’t love to have their own personal BB8 Droid?  It’s one of the most popular characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  If you’ve seen the movie, chances are you’ve already wondered what it would be like to have your own BB8.

When the first Star Wars movie was released back in 1977, it became a massively popular cultural phenomenon, attracting an insanely devoted fanbase. Episode IV: A New Hope, followed by the two equally successful sequels in the trilogy- The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Return of the Jedi (1983)- spawned an extensive media franchise, and the Star Wars expanded universe was literally everywhere.

BB8 Star Wars Force Awakens

You have books, TV shows, video games, comics, as well as action figures and replica Star Wars toys such as light sabers, Imperial walkers, helmets of stormtroopers and of the most recognizable villain in fictional history- Darth Vader. But certainly, the hot favorite with all geeks have been the replica toys of astromech R2D2 and the droid with etiquettes- C-3PO (who is also fluent in more than six million languages). Why is that so? Because, robots. Robots are cool!

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was announced, we all went delirious with excitement (especially since the last three prequels were just kinda ok. That awful, awful Jar Jar Binks. Ugh). When The Force Awakens released, I had goosebumps just watching the intro crawl with that iconic soundtrack by John Williams

True to its legacy and fans’ expectations, the movie has been a spectacular blockbuster, reminiscent of the original trilogy. The Force Awakens has crushed all box office records, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time, surpassing Avatar (Seriously, does anyone even remember Avatar? James Cameron’s groundbreaking epic science fiction flick was magnificent to look at, but even now has virtually a zilch fan following).

A BB8 Droid you can build

Anyway, on to our favorite movie at present- The Force Awakens. What really clicks with Star Wars fans is that the series has given us some of the most memorable characters- Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Jabba the Hutt and our two favorite robots- R2D2 and C-3PO. The Force Awakens doesn’t fail on that count and gives us BB8– the ridiculously cute white and orange spherical robot with a free-moving domed head, owned by Resistance X-wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron (played by Oscar Isaac). The thing looks like some long lost cousin of R2D2, with its cuteness magnified a million times.

If you are a Star Wars fanatic, then you would have already brought the app-connected BB8 toy made by Sphero, available in $150 for the larger version and $80 for the smaller one (kids will love it, even though it is just a remote-controlled plastic ball). However, the steep prices are surely not something which everyone can afford. So, if you are fairly acquainted with electronic machinery, soldering, spray paint and have the hours to spare, you can create your own full-size, fully-operational BB8!

A complete DIY tutorial video is on Youtube, made by 17-year-old Angelo Casimiro aka TechBuilder.

The entire process is explained step-by-step in the video, though I must warn you that it could be overwhelming for those who have no background in dealing with electronics. For starters, here is a list of things that are required for the project:

  • Arduino Uno to function as the brains of the BB8
  • High powered Pololu VNH5019 motor driver to power two metal gearbox
  • Bluetooth module to connect to your smartphone to control the BB8
  • Three cell lithium-ion battery pack
  • Beach ball (±51 cm or 20 inches)- this will be the BB8’s body
  • Canvas and glue (pva+wood)
  • Paintbrush- to apply the glue
  • Wood putty- for smoothening the body of BB8
  • Sandpaper

That is overwhelming for a novice, I told you.

The BB8 created through this project has a really ingenious design and is also low-cost, as compared with the expensive replicas being sold. However, this will certainly requires several hours of your time . So if you have the patience and you feel the force awakening within to dedicate yourself to this job, you can have your own pet BB8 complete with all those cute, squeaky voices that it makes!

Here’s the video showing you the complete DIY project:

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