Aug 17, 2015 | By Alec

Ever since the first trailer for the upcoming Star Wars movie was released, Star Wars-themed 3D printed creations have flooded Thingiverse and other hotspots in the 3D printing community. Remember this awesome 3D printed lightsaber based on the trailer? However, one Australian father reminds us that we don’t have to limit ourselves to the upcoming movie, as the previous six are filled with fantastic and 3D printable objects. However, Tez Gelmir has immediately set the bar very high, having used 3D printing to create a fantastic rocking chair for his young daughter that is an almost exact replica of the Star Wars 74-Z Speeder Bike from the Return of the Jedi movie.

As Tez explains on his Instructable, he wanted to build something special for his daughter’s first birthday, as he already built quite a lot of stuff for his on. ‘.I felt it was her turn to get some project love and what better way than with her own Speeder Bike?!’ he explains. Now Star Wars fans will doubtlessly know the 74-Z Speeder Bike for the timeless scenes on the forest moon of Endor in Star Wars episode VI: Return of the Jedi. With scout troopers racing for the forest to subdue rebels, Luke and Leia engage in a vicious and deadly chase on one of these bikes. Perhaps not exactly perfect for a one year old, but very fun nonetheless.

But Tez, who hails from New South Wales in Australia, immediately admits that this wasn’t an easy or quick project to do. ‘When the design first came to mind, I had no idea the time and thought that would be involved...’ he says. The design itself is largely based on concept drawings found online, as well as a number of photos of high quality models.

Finally, it obviously had to be adapted to function as a safe rocking bike for a young girl. ‘My first consideration was strength and stability for the safety of the little ones, as though this project is for my 1y/o, I also have a 5y/o who no doubt will want a turn,’ he explains. ‘The need to be strong enough to handle a beating led me to the first part of my design, a rigid backbone with a solid plywood top for the seat platform. This gave me a good foundation for things like the handles and outrigger to mount from, and somewhere to fix the 3D printed hull shell.’

This fatherly approach also meant making sturdy rocker arms and a sensible center of gravity to prevent the toddler from being hurled across the garden. ‘My solution was to use the two center rocker arms to clamp either side of the speeder bike's timber backbone but still have clearance to slide the rockers back and forth 50mm or so to find the center of balance. This design also has scope to easily replace the rocker arms with maybe a (motorized?) rolling mobile base,’ Tez explains.

What’s more, this awesome Speeder Bike also features a bit of electronics to make the Star Wars theme complete. ‘I wanted to end up with an LED blaster canon with the sound of the blaster and another button on the control panel that spun the turbine on the power cell,’ Tez says. ‘My initial idea was to use the guts from a toy blaster but it turned out the circuitry in the toy blasters were very fragile and I managed to damage the sound chip while assembling. So I ended up using a simple 555 timer flashing LED for the blaster and a sound recording/playback module I had laying around from another project. The power cell turbine is a simple circuit and I just used a small DC motor I found from a car windscreen washer pump.’ The result? An amazing rocking chair that will make any child and adult jealous.

Fortunately, Tez has been so kind to share the designs for this partially 3D printable Speeder Bike online. If you’re considering a recreation, just beware: it takes quite a lot of plywood to complete a sturdy frame. The rest of the build largely consists of a large number of curved details (especially around the hull) to get the desired results. If you’re interested, you can find all of the templates for the plywood parts on Tez’s Instructable here.

However, due to the time involved, 3D printing forms the largest portion of this building project. ‘I would suggest to get the 3D printing underway asap as some of the main hull pieces could take 10 hours+ to print. I printed in fairly low resolution as I knew the parts would be painted and also to save some time,’ he says. However, with 35+ parts involved, your 3D printed is set to make overtime regardless of the settings used. Tez himself did everything in PLA on his Makerbot Replicator 2, with an infill of 10%, a layer height of 0.3 mm and a temperature of 230 degrees. All STL files are also available on Instructables.

After building all the parts, painting and assembly is fairly straightforward with the help of Tez’s schematics. Only the rocker arms are slightly more complx, featuring 32 mm stainless steel tubes for extra security. However, even these steps should be easily completed with Tez’s help. While thus a bit of a time-consuming project, the steps themselves are fairly easy and straightforward, while the electronics can always be left out. And the results are enough to make every kid and parent in the neighborhood utterly jealous.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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