Automata – Star Wars Pod Racing

Hello again everyone.. I’m back after a long hiatus with a new/upgrade automata from my X-wing automata i did a few months ago.. i have been getting feedback from you guys to add lights.. and here we are with a new weaving automata of the famous podracing scene from Star Wars Episode I on tatooine..

I’ve gotten these flexible LED filaments for a while now but i haven’t gotten any ideas on what to do with them until i saw a youtuber made a podracer using the same kind of LED filaments.. and i thought it would be a good idea to incorporate it to my weaving automata..

I’ve also wanted to upgrade the automata to use an internal powerbank that can be charged using USB.. As always, everything was design using Tinkercad and 3D printed..

Difficulty Level:

  • 3D printing – Easy
  • Assembly – Easy
  • Wiring – Intermediate
  • Painting – Easy

Supplies:

  • N20 dc motors – 25-50rpm 
  • Electrical Connector Block
  • TP4056, DC-DC buck converter – USB to lithium battery with protection
  • Lithium battery 18650 3.7v
  • Lithium battery 18650 1 cell holder
  • Wires – AWG24
  • Rocker switch 2pins – 15x10mm
  • M3 screw – 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 25mm
  • Lubricant – grease
  • 3mm brass tube – 20cm long x 2
  • LED flexible filaments – 30cm long x 3
  • Single LED from 5v LED strip
  • Duponts connectors
  • Glue

3D printing files:

Assembly – Base

Disclamier.. i forgot to take pictures while i was assembling the base until i was half way into wiring the powerbank..

So im gonna have to use the tinkercad image to illustrate the assembly..

The front base and the ramp needs to be screwed first with a 10mm m3 screw x 2

Add the small gear and 10cm wires onto your motor before installing it into the base.. the gear should have a tight fit.. and glue them in..

Insert the internal base mount to the motor side and insert it to the base sideways until it align with the square hole at the bottom of the front base

Insert m3 8mm screw on the internal base mount

Add the large 36 gear in the middle socket and the the rack pinion on top of it.. make sure you put the large gear with the notch in the center so its easiler to assemble the other parts..

Add the 2 stands.. the longer stand should align with the rack pinion..close up the base. add the cliff base and screw them with 2x m3 25mm screw to hold the 2 half base together.

Assembly – Base electronics

Now installing the wiring and electronic for the base is a little bit tricky.

My crude diagram of the wiring of the electronics should help when you start wiring the electronics. The wiring is easy to understand since all the LEDs and motor run parallel to the USB battery charger.

Solder the USB battery charger first to the battery holder

Next run a short positive wire to the rocker switch. when wiring the rocker make sure that the wires are from the inside of the base and the the rocker is on the outside

Align the USB charger PCB into place at side of base hole and put the battery holder in place as well

Now bring the 2 positive and negative wire to the connector block.. make sure to run the wire though the hole at the back of the motor.. run the motor wire through the hole as well and add both to the connector block

Charge the battery using normal micro USB charger and test out the motor

Next run 2 set of wires from the connector block. the short wire set is around 25cm and the long wire set is around 35cm

Run the wires though the base and into the 2 stands

You’ll need 2 x m3 10mm screws for the hinges

Shorthen the wires at the end of the 2 stands that add dupont connectors to them

Next add the side panels for the base with glue.. add glue on the front base side only and leave the back base side free of glue so that when you want to unassemble the base its not glued together by the panels..

Once you’ve done that you can put the top on and screw them together with 4 x m3 8mm screws

Now the base is ready to be painted

p/s: the engine wiring assembly is slightly different than what i did in the photo.. the difference is instead wiring everything directly to the engine connector block.. im using dupont connector on the stand to the engine’s light-mount.. while i did my wiring straight to the from the stand to the light-mount.. i think using the dupont connector is a safer bet if you have any problem with the wiring.. you dont have to dismantle the whole engine to open up the base case again..

Assembly – Engines test assembly for paint

Before final assembly and wiring we need to paint the engines first since its easier than painting it when its fully assembled..

In order to paint them, we will need to assemble the engine with only the necessary parts

The nose needs to be glued to the pod1 once inserted from the back following the groove

Pod1 and pod2 will need 2 x m3 8mm screws to hold together.. just align the holes correctly.. dont force the screw or else the part might break..

Insert the light mounting into pod2 and screw using m3 8mm to hold it tight

Insert pod3 and pod4 aligning the groove with the light mounting

Screw pod4 with m3 8mm screw

Repeat for the opposite engine and now you’re ready to paint.. once finish.. you’ll need to unassemble them to get ready for wiring

Assembly – Engines LED mounting

p/s: the engine wiring assembly is slightly different than what i did in the photo.. the difference is instead wiring everything directly to the engine connector block.. im using dupont connector on the stand to the engine’s light-mount.. while i did my wiring straight to the from the stand to the light-mount.. i think using the dupont connector is a safer bet if you have any problem with the wiring.. you dont have to dismantle the whole engine to open up the base case again..

The led mount is just a mounting for the LED flexible filaments wired to a block connector.. you do however need to solder the LED to a 8cm long wire and connect it to the connector block.. the light mounting uses 10mm m3 screws to assemble..

Once the light mounting is assemble.. loop the LED around the mounting make sure to put some glue to keep it in place.. do this to both side of the mounting and wire it to the connector block on the other side of the mounting..

Add a set of wires with dupont connector on one end and add it to the connector block on the light mount.. make sure to test the wiring with 5v power to see if the wiring holds and the LED filament lights up..

The light mounting has arrows pointing on one side.. make sure to insert the transparent color cone on the mounting that doesnt have an arrow and screw the cone tight with m3 8mm screw.. glue the tip to the cone and you’re done with the light mount

The engine assemble is still the same as before when we assemble it for paint except for a few additional parts.. screw the internal fan and transparent color internal1 together with m3 8mm screw.. then insert it into pod1 aligning with the groove.. add pod2 and screw pod1 and pod2 together..

Insert lighting mount to the pod2 aliging the groove and have the notches facing towards the hole on pod2.. run the wires with dupont following the notches and out to the hole in pod 2..

Turn on the power to test the wire connection and if the LED wiring holds up..

Next up is the power cupling wiring.. as always solder 5cm long wires to the LED flexible filaments.. and test the connection..

Assemble pod3 into the groove on the light mount but dont insert it all the way.. make sure the 2 holes on the side passes through enough and not get stuck..

Then insert the power cupling LED to one of 2 holes on the side of pod3 and goes out on the other holes.. stretch it out so it would be at the same length both hole..

Next is to prepare one wire with 30cm long to wire the LED in the cockpit.. wire it to the connector block either positive or negative cause the other engine will be the opposite of this wire..

Now run the 30cm long wire to the top of pod3 with a small square hole

Once all the wires and LED are routed out their holes.. you can push pod3 all the way aligned with pod2..

Insert pod4 at the end and screw them tight with m3 8mm screw

Now we’ll twist the 2 end of the LED flexible filament a few times and insert them into the 2 holes on pod3.. but instead of looping the LED power cupling we will run the wires to the connector block

Run the opposite 30cm long wire though the square hole and out the back from the brass holder..once all the wires and LED are routed out their holes.. you can push pod3 and pod4 at the end and screw them tight with m3 8mm screw..

Assembly – Cockpit

The first thing we’ll need to do is prep and bend the brass tube that will hold the cockpit together.. we’ll be using a 20cm long brass rod and put 5cm mark on each end of the tube.. then bend both end at opposite end 45degrees

Now insert the 30cm wire from both engine and run it into the brass tube..

Now for the cockpit assembly.. the assembly is quite simple with front and back part.. 2 dowels to hold them together and a cockpit screen that’s suppose to be transparent color.. paint the cockpit first before final assembly for easy working..

Once painted we will now run the 2 wires from the brass tubes to the front cockpit.. the front cockpit has holes for the brass tube and a channel for the wires to the cockpit..

Pull the wires through the cockpit and fasten the brass tube to the holes.. now just solder the wires to a single 5v LED from a LED strip.. once done.. pull the double side tape behind the strip and stick it into the cockpit..

Insert the transparent screen and install the back of the cockpit.. to keep the cockpit from falling down from the engine.. add a tiny drop of glue to the brass hole and that should do it..

Now finally you’ll need to test all the wiring and see if all the LED lights up..

Congratulations.. you have finish assembling the PodRacer Automata..

Conclusion

Adding flexible LED filament was a great addition to this automata and made it look so cool.. but learning to make the wiring assembly was a freakin challange..

I had to make a lot of itterations to my engine design cause i forgot to add wiring channels or i forgot that the wires need to be inserted to this hole or i forgot that my hands cant fit into that space to wire them and so on.. i wasted 3d printed parts that i could have made at least 2 more sets of the autamata..

In the end it was a great experience working with electronic wirings and cant wait to design and make more 3d printed project..

Have fun making the podracer and happy 3d printing

if you like the project.. please consider donating to us so we can make more awesome project like this in the future

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