Dec 13, 2015 | By Andre

Pod racing and the Star Wars universe have been married by the hip since the early days of the franchise. There was the epic race on the Ewok plagued planet of Endor in Return of the Jedi and then again during George Lucas's effort at reviving the franchise with young Anakin squeezing his way through an abundance of narrow rock formations in The Phantom Menace. Based on trailer footage available from JJ Abrams rebirth of the franchise, it seems the tradition of fast moving, single person racers lives on with Rey, the new protagonist of the franchise and her ability to zip along in her rusty looking speeder.

What’s different this time around is that the technology we’re exposed to in this second decade of the 21st century provides the curious tinkerer the ability to turn this fictional universe into a reality; albeit in miniature form. A Force Awakens fan has taken it upon himself to design and create a quadcopter based on this new generation of racer and it’s definitely something that’ll tickle the fancy of any tech-savvy Star Wars fan.

Utilizing 3D Printing, some very thorough finishing work, buzz-worthy drone tech, and a lot of patience, he has been able to piece together what many would consider a hobbyist's masterpiece. To be sure, the notion of when at first you don’t succeed, try try again was not lost on Michal, the creator of this particular quadcopter. His custom drone ambitions started after building a flyer called Hovership that, due to his inexperience as a pilot, was lost (along with a GoPro camera) in the Irish Sea, taking a huge hit on both his ego and his pocket book.

Rey’s Speeder is now his third attempt at a custom quadcopter and he’s definitely learned from his previous efforts. Using the popular carbon-fibre ZMR250 as the skeleton of his pod, he began designing all of the schematics in Sketchup based entirely from the trailer video. He has even released his designs for anyone to download and print for themselves on Thingiverse.

Using his 3D printer available at home, he was able to get the frame to weigh 500g, which he admits isn’t as sleek as a performance drone could be but says he was focusing on appearance and durability more than speed this time around. After sanding and adding some fibreglass cloth and resin to the print, there was suddenly an additional 50 or so grams of weight. This said, after watching some videos of the thing fly around, there is not much worry that the thing does what it’s designed to do.

To save weight on what was already shaping up to be a rather heavy drone, he used a styrofoam cutout and some cloth wrap for the pilot body.

From a technical standpoint, DYS BE 1806 2300KV, updated 6 inch propellers, the CC3D flight controller and the Turnigy 9X for control. This said, any quad-copter enthusiast knows that you can mix and match a variety of components depending on their preference. That’s one of the great things made possible by the ever-evolving world of 3D print and open hardware.

I think this thing is super cool and any Star Wars enthusiast will likely think the same. Who knows, maybe by the time the next generation of Star Wars movies makes their appearance in fifteen years or so people will be full-sized 3D printing racers. One can dream!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Michael C wrote at 12/14/2015 5:42:35 AM:

I think the flying motion would have been better with a tricopter, which turns and banks more naturally like a speeder bike.

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