Building BB-9E droid from Star Wars, Episode I "Madness is Back"

in #art4 years ago (edited)


Madness is back. I started building anew droid, BB-9E from recent Star Wars movie. I already forgot all the pains of my previous build, you can read about it in detail in my previous post, which is the first in the series of post about all steps of the build. Most of them will apply to this project. I am going to show it to Public on Dublinmaker at 21 July in Merrion Square Park in Dublin, Ireland, so if you are around, please come and see him alife, touch it and take a selfie. Alright, now I promised to build it, no going back :) That is the best way to motivate yourself to long project, create deadline and announce it, so you will feel bad if you don't deliver ;)

Photo Source:

2 weekends ago I realized, I can't go to this event with the same project- BB-8 even if I will upgrade him with few parts. I want to show something new and exciting. I still have some time left so decided to build it. This time the project should take much less time. I already have a frame with triangles sanded and fitted. They were waiting for rolling mechanism but I realized that I will need to start with injection molded frame as a better base. The one I build is too heavy and less accurate. I don't want to have problems in the future when bad aligment of the panels cause the head to pop and crash. I will use this parts to construct a static figure of BB-9E with animated head. I will need to repaint triangles black and cast new set of 6 rings, fit them and paint. That is the most of the work already done.

Photo credit: Me

My 2 printers work in other room on plastic panels for last 2 weeks. They just finished all of them so I decided to show you the progress. It is beginning, so I am still excited about it :) Look at these beauties, so detailed. I printed them in plastic I had at home, they will be at the end painted matt black and hidden behind silver grills so I don't need to sand them! Yeees! That would be very hard work. Each of them printed in 2 sections and every half panel takes from 5 to 8.5h print time. All you can see on this photos was made with 1.2 spool of PLA plastic. The files come from BB-8 builders club and this is their official version. They were created before the movie was released but look very accurate with the character. Are you also disappointed how little screen time this droid had? I thought he will have a bigger role, I hope they will show him more in next episode.

Photo credit: Me

So many grills, all 6 the same. They are printed in halves, each taking 7h and 18m and using 18.777m of plastic with 100% infill. Thats 88hours of printing just for this parts. I think This part will be the hardest to finish. I already started sanding them using the file. After spraying a test piece, I can see lots of holes which will need a lot of filler. I am guessing, I will need to repeat the operation at least 3 times. I want it to look like real metal so can't have any print lines or holes. I will make 3 first and if can't finish all on time, people will be able to look inside the droid. That's great feature on maker fair.

Photo credit: Me

Look at this, isn't it beautiful?? :) So many layers of details! Imagine when it will be all smooth and shiny with blinking lights and all the sounds. He will look awsome! Can't wait to see this guy finished. It will take 2 months minimum to finish him. I will keep you updated so follow my profile and check the feed. If you like others see it, help me with your upvotes. Thanks for your time, for reading it, and now, I am going back to sanding ;) If you havent seen my previous build, check the other post about BB-8. See you later!

Photo credit: Me


R2D2 is like superhero to me, I just love this Blue can
but after reading your creative post and the work you did i start to understand more when people talking about BB, and a specelly the dark eveil looking one

and want to say than i can't wait till your next update to see the work in progress.

defently falloing you.

Thanks, I love the animation you posted :) That is how I sometimes feel when building :) There will be more. Can't wait to see the progress too

I totdaly undrestnding you, I my self a programmer and this how I fell sometimes when working on something, are you using arduino in your project?

Yes, for remote control, activation of sound and blinking neopixels leds. The servo will also be controlled by arduino.

the funny part is:

you familiar with the feeling when your favorite team is playing and you didn't watch the game yet, so you trying to avoid hearing something about it until you watch the game"

well, I tried to avoid anything that can spoiler me any information about the new Star wars move, including steemit, as a Star Wars fan this year I didn't have time to watch it yet was busy so you can imagine how I feel when seeing any information about the new movie until I can find the time and finally watch it myself now, and after all this time of avoiding any information since the new movie came out:


but your post got my attention.

By the way is it me, or the new BB look like DEATH STAR

Whatever you do, drop it and watch the movie! :) yes bb9e head is inspired by death star.

Today I getting from hospital I had Surgery
Today and I have two weeks stay at home this is the first thing on my list

done, finnaly the movie is [email protected] awesome.

This is going to be so cool. I prefer the sleak look of the "evil" bb8, personally.

I think for my astromech I have decided on a small R2 then a larger Chopper :)

Honestly, I like the black and chrome too! :) I plan to make his head move at random left and right, so it can watch the space in my living room later :) I will see how it goes, maybe will start printing r2d2 in the meantime :)

Even better would be to put a pi in there with webcam - motion tracking! :D

That was the first plan. My friend who I fly my drones with is working on it. In case if his own project take his full attention, I will need to go for random option as plan B. I am not a programmer :( I will see how quick I can build the figure and how much time to deadline left to experiment. I already have Pi at home, so can give it a try.

If you need any help just shout :)

It should be simple, just one servo controlled by the presence of people, but I am sure I will do something wrong and stuck :) Good to know, you are willing to help. Thank you.

I made a CatCam that took photos and uploaded them to Dropbox based on the same principle (no servos of course) :)

That would be a killer feature for my smart home security system :) I would like to be able to login and see if my living room is fine when I am on holidays. Just for peace of mind. If this could double as that, would be awsome!

Can’t wait to see further updates. Will the BB-9e be with a drive ?

No, this one will definitely be static. He is too shiny, any little dirt or roughness of floor would cause lots of scratches, I could not live with :) I don't want to repaint it after every use :)

That’s like real weathering :) so you don’t need todo this in the first place :)

If I could accept this it would be time saver :)

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First of all, wow! Your work is great. I think you got viral on this one. I didn't even know there were makers over here on steemit. Btw your photos are flawless and look very professional. Do you have an account on instructables? I'm going to check out your other posts before I ask you about your 3D printers and all the magical tools you have. Did you know there is a scholarship in a San Fran Maker Space from AutoCAD for people like you? I think it's called Pier 1. My dream was to have a laser printer because I used to make laser-cutt jewellery, which I hope to make again in the near future. This post is very inspiring and I will keep following your series. Best of luck with this build, the pieces are already looking fantastic @mitchhunter.

Thanks fo checking my post. Yes I already found few makers here.
Thanks for your kind words. I use light tent to take photos and then change brightness and edit in Gimp. I like white backgrounds :) I dont have anything on instructables yet. I always feel I am more a student than a teacher.
I already know AutoCad. I am an architect by day and work in Autocad in my office job. This skill always helps in making.
I use 2 3d printers now and lasercutter. I also have little cnc router but need to setup it in enclosure and use it more often. I will be working on it after i finish my move to new apartment. I am now putting floors for the first time and am exhausted but happy with new skill.

Awesome.... hey... we follow each other on Instagram. Now here too.

That is awsome. Thanks for finding me here. I hope you will enjoy my little builds.

I will follow you to see your future posts! I give you a vote!

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