BB-8 Progress Update 9/30/15

I’ve been working on a lot of different things over the last month so I though I’d do an update. First, I’ve been working on the audio module. I’m using an old XGS PIC-16 development board I had lying around plus some custom firmware to play wav files from an SD card. I’m also trying my hand at building a home-made class D amplifier (basically just an h-bridge) to take advantage of parts I have lying around plus the chance to learn.

Audio Devel

I cut a higher quality roller/magnet board from ABS which will be used on on the gimbal and on the bottom of the head. Here is one of those boards:

Gimbal Head

And most exciting, I convinced a friend (thanks Dylan!) to let me borrow his 3D printer so that I could start working on the details on BB-8’s head. Below is a photo of the main eye I printed. I still need to clean up the parts, but I am very happy with the result, especially since this is my first 3D printing experience. I’m hooked!

3D Printed Main Eye

I used the 3D models made by James from so thanks to him!

Oh yes, one other thing: I added an LCD screen to the main CPU for debugging purposes. It allows me to view the measured tilt angle of the frame as well as the input levels from the controller. It’s been very helpful.


OLED Display for BB-8

BB-8 OLED Splash Screen

BB-8 OLED Splash

I’ve added an OLED display to BB-8 to assist me in configuring and testing the little robot. Above is the splash screen shown on load. Below is the current diagnostic screen. The numbers on the left, labeled P, R, and Y represent the pitch, roll, and yaw of the robot platform. The series of dots on the right are 8 slider bars which correlate to the input from the remote controller. This information will help me a lot as I build out the stabilization and automation features in the software.

BB-8 OLED Diagnostic

BB-8 OLED Diagnostic

3D Printer Update Aug ’15

The 3D printer has unfortunately been sitting for almost a year with no progress. I hope to get to work on it again soon, especially since I’ll need it for the BB-8 project. I should currently have all of the hardware pieces I need except for the extruder. I haven’t decided if I want to try and make the software work on the PIC32 I have or if I should just buy a pre-built 3D printer controller. I’m leaning towards the latter for the sake of time.

Here is the last update I made:

Here’s a quick update on the 3D printer I’m building! As soon as the parts arrived I dug into the box and pulled everything out. I ordered a TON of hardware, all through

2014-02-25 19.40.28

They event sent me some candy! I quickly consumed it as I progressed through the build.

I can’t hype ServoCity enough. Even with how large my order was (parts list below), they shipped the next day, and the box arrived in less than a week. In fact, I just put it another order on Monday (I forgot some pieces for the printer) and it didn’t ship until today (Wednesday), but ServoCity upgraded me to Priority Shipping for free to make up for it. Much appreciated, I can not wait to get this printer frame done. Here’s a picture of the progress so far:

3D Printer

Parts List (partial):

  • 15 inch Aluminum Channel x 6
  • 18 inch Aluminum Channel x 1
  • 18 inch length x 1 inch dia. Aluminum Tubing x 4
  • 24 inch length x 1 inch dia. Aluminum Tubing x 4
  • 1 inch Bore Tube Clamp A x 16
  • 1/4 inch x 12 inch Precision Shaft x 4
  • 1/4 inch x 8 inch Precision Shaft x 2
  • 1/4 inch to 1/4 inch Set Screw Shaft Coupler x 3
  • 1/4 inch Shaft Clamp x 6
  • .250 inch ID x .500 inch OD Flanged Ball Bearing x 28
  • 1/4 inch Bore Pinion Pulley 16T x 14
  • 1/4 inch x 2 inch Precision Shaft x 8
  • 1/4 inch Collar x 16
  • Channel Slider A (pair) x 6
  • Dual Screw plate (pair) x 6
  • 6-32 x 5/16 inch Socket Head Machine Cap Screw x 156
  • 6-32 x 1/4 inch Socket Head Machine Cap Screw x 12
  • XL Belt Mount A x 7
  • Aluminum Hub Spacer (1/4 inch think) x 7
  • 90 Degree Quad Hub Mount B x 18
  • Timing Belt (22 feet)

Stereoscopic Camera Gimbal Demo

Here is a demonstration of the Stereoscopic camera gimbal I built. The 3-axis gimbal’s motion is synced to an Oculus Rift. The gimbal hardware was built primarily with with Actobotics parts and Hitec Servos from


Technical Wizardry 1st post!

Welcome to my technical blog! This is where I will keep build logs on projects I’m working on. I’ll import my existing projects on here soon, as well as show off my current project (a wearable illuminated Iron Man arc reactor controlled via Bluetooth!)

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