How To Build Your Own Working BB-8, The Ball Droid From ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Entertainment Editor
04.20.15

Did seeing BB-8 the ball droid rolling around during the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens make you long to hear the pitter patter of little ball droids rolling around your home? Did seeing BB-8 make a real-life appearance at Star Wars Celebration last week fill you with a yearning only comparable to that felt by Nic Cage when looking at the Constitution of the United States of America? Is a non-operable 3-D printed version or a tattoo of BB-8 just not enough to slake your various and sundry rolling droid needs?

Good news! A miniature, working BB-8 has just been made in a single day by industrial design student Christian Poulsen, and he details the full building process over at MAKE.

He used a Sphero 1.0 toy (which is an older discontinued model, but they used to cost around $100) for the body, CNC polyurethane foam for the head, and neodymium magnets to keep the two pieces connected. The painting was admittedly a bit slapdash, as he was trying to get everything done in a day and was focused on fully covering the green LEDs on the toy and putting a smooth topcoat on it to reduce friction. He also adhered felt to the underside of his BB-8’s head to further reduce friction.

The result is a little BB-8 replica which can be controlled via bluetooth, although it tends to roll it one direction till it hits something, like so:

Some people might complain that they want a droid to go exactly where they tell it and never smash into things or veer off course. Those complaints aren’t going to slow BB-8’s roll.

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