Building BB8

Soon after the latest Star Wars movie came out, Sphero introduced its model of the BB-8 robot.


Soon afterward people were taking it apart to see how it worked.


Two designs emerged, the hamster cage


and single axis


A few people started posting DIY projects trying to build a “working” BB-8 robot.

I decided to try my hand at building a “working” BB8 as well. Starting in January with the goal of being ready for PortCon (Portland, ME ) in June.

The Sphere

There are three primary methods for constructing  the sphere.

  1.      Purchase a pre made plastic sphere( two halfs)
    1.      This can be expensive. There is also the issue of assembling the sphere
  2.      3D print various panels and then assemble them to form a sphere.
    1. Reading what others have said about this process its not simple. Because of the size of the panels and their complexity this is a difficult process. Besides being expensive its hard on the printer. A number of people report having to repair or replace their printers.
  3.      Construct a sphere from a material such as fiber glass.
    1. This started out to be the common method most people used. An early DIY project made this seem much simpler than it really is. This method involves covering  a ball,beach or yoga, with a paper/canvas mache mixture. The  BB8 community decided that the body is about 20 cm in diameter. The ball in the DIY project is not that big. As it turns out, finding a beach ball in Maine in January is impossible. So it was off to Amazon.


All three balls are listed as 20 cm. Hmmmm…

First attempt with paper and canvas, following the DIY project.

img_20160301_192948666 img_20160311_070328

Clearly this was not going to work. I decided to use fiber glass instead of canvas. I also found a 20 cm ball at a party store.

img_20160416_102655713 img_20160416_104108166 img_20160416_104059687

The Head

img_20160319_095557159 img_20160319_095709095 img_20160319_095811288 img_20160324_070928610

The Drive Train(part 1)

img_20160713_185919 img_20160713_185911 img_20160713_185900 img_20160616_230545 img_20160616_230535

June, Portcon  Portland Maine

Despite the drive train issues, BB8 still spoke and the light worked. So it was off to the con.


img_20160625_092812 img_20160625_205258061-1img_20160625_211230032

Its back to the drawing board with the drive system…

The new drive mechanism.

I started over with new motors, frame and servos. So far its looking a lot better.



Two videos before this all gets put back in the ball for a test run..



About gricker

Living and learning
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.