Trekkie defects to build his first droid

Tomasz (aka Mellow_Labs) is a self-confessed Trekkie, but he went on “a DIY adventure through droid design, 3D printing, and electrical engineering” when he briefly switched sides to build his very first droid.

mellow labs droid

During a stint volunteering at the official Star Wars Celebration in London, Tomasz saw scores of homemade droids. But it was one (pictured above) by Michael Baddeley that particularly piqued this Trekkie’s interest.

Armed with a Raspberry Pi Pico W, a 3D printer, and Michael’s design files, Tomasz set about building his own “slightly unconventional” droid.

Be a love and subscribe to Tomasz’s YouTube channel, Mellow_labs

Hardware

  • Raspberry Pi Pico W
  • D1 mini microcontroller
  • 9g micro servos
  • Joystick breakout module
  • On/off toggle switch
  • Ordinary batteries plus a holder for them

As we’ve mentioned, you’ll need access to a 3D printer to recreate this build, and there’s some soldering involved too.

Print big

3D printed droid before finishing
So fresh and so clean

It’s a beauty but it’ll use a lot of filament. Tomasz recommends following the manual provided by the original designer, Michael, rather than diving straight into the assembly process. He did not consult the manual, and it took ages. Ten points for enthusiasm though.

It is known that if you stare at your 3D prints throughout, they never go wrong

Tomasz also switched out the servo motors used in the original design, so he had to modify the front caster slightly. Michael has an expensive continuous servo motor controlling the head on the original design, but Tomasz decided to use more affordable 9g servos, so he had to forgo his droid being able to rotate its head a full 360 degrees.

Remote control

A Raspberry Pi Pico sits inside the joystick, along with the batteries, and talks to the D1 mini microcontroller inside the droid over Wi-Fi. The D1 mini controls the servos which move the droid around. Tomasz reports his homemade remote is “highly responsive”, so this droid can zip around pretty quickly and smoothly.

3D printed droid controller electronics
These electronics live inside the droid’s body

Will the Trekkies ever forgive Tomasz for defecting? Only time will tell. But he’ll have no trouble at all getting this adorable droid adopted if it ever comes to that.

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Ashley Whittaker avatar

Look! Tomasz posted an update video and his droid has had an excellent paint job: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR4utJliNfc

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