If you’ve seen many of the Star Wars movies — which is a good bet given that you’re reading this blog — you may have noticed small black geometric robots scurrying around various Imperial locations. What are they doing? Where are they going? While we may never know, Ali of Potent Printables decided to create one of these droids with a trap door that pops open to reveal a scrolling LED marquee, perhaps to provide these answers. While the jokes it displays before it scurries off are questionable, the build itself is quite clever.
Ali’s droid uses a servo motor turned into a custom linear actuator to pop the door open from a closed resting position, while the stepper slowly lowers and raises it via a reel and fishing line mechanism. An Arduino Uno is the brains of the operation, along with an Adafruit Motor Shield for stepper and servo control. An HC-05 Bluetooth module provides communication with this system, allowing Ali to open and close the door with the push of an on-screen button, as well as manage the scrolling LED sign inside.
The latest (as of this writing) video in the build series is shown below. For more about how it was assembled, as well as other interesting projects by Ali, be sure to check out the Potent Printables YouTube page.