C3PO Robot - Build log

The beginnings

We were celebrating Arduino day at the asylum, While having lunch with Anool, Vaibhav started the discussion about making an Start wars inspired C3PO which was to be displayed at Godrej’s Leadership forum organized by Godrej Culture lab and asked me if I’d like to make the electronics control system, without question I immediately said YES!. Himanshu[Origami Champion] dropped by we started discussion of how to execute the plan, we decided to get a mannequin as the base as we were short on time. I headed out with Sachin, the intern at the asylum, to check out the mannequin of how the arms, head and the torso are connected and if it would be hack friendly, there were many options there the shop with the material of mannequin the joints on all were more or less same. There was fiberglass and plastic. I went for the plastic, hoping it’d be easy to work with.

We got the mannequin at the asylum and folk started playing with it in a good way.


I posted this photo of the Mannequin on Facebook, it turned out to be a great sales man.



Anool gave me some MAPone (Arduino clone designed at the asylum) few weeks ago, it was time to use that instead of the original Arduino. We had to control four movements of C3PO, head, waist and two arms. I started with idea in my head and pen and paper,this is what that came out.

After making the system diagram I started soldering my way to completion



I used L298 driver which can control two DC motors, which were mounted on the arms and two servo, one for head and one for the waist.

I wrote a basic sketch to test out the system was working.

Meanwhile Rupin had designed and printed the servo head mount and tested it using RC rx-tx.

The arms were quite heavy so we used 3.5 rpm DC geared motor. I was done and waiting 3D printed parts for the arms as Vaibhav was in Delhi setting up now not so secret Maker’s asylum Delhi.

It was also required to cover the mannequin in masking tape so the origami can hold on to it, folks at asylum were very helpful.


Rahul applying the Masking tape to leg



The event was on 16 April, We all gather on 14 April at the asylum, the parts were done for the arms, but we had to laser cut the gears for the waist. I went to Himanshu’s workspace so that he can start the calculations so the origami would fit on top of the mannequin. it was a more involved process than I thought. He was not happy because of such short time left to finish, but the good man worked 2 sleepless nights along with his other commitments.

Some bad news, I finally mounted the four motors. The servo motor for waist was not of the correct torque and we had no time to replace. We figured, we’d just move the hands and head. More testing lead to another mishap, the gears in the DC motor on right arm broke, with origami on top no chance to replace it either. We had to go that one as well.


Inside C3PO


The brains of c3po are in its stomach

I head back to asylum to set up the drawing robot(link blog post here), by the end of the day, I was tired but feeling good.


Drawing bot


15 April comes, time to get wares to the venue and set things up. Meanwhile Himanshu working hard as ever and not giving up. works all night long, the spray paint artist Sunil Gogia was on standby.Me and Vaibhav went to Godrej One in Vikhroli to set things up,it took too much time and finally reach back by 1AM, 5 hours later we had to be there again at the venue for event start.


Setting up drawbot at venue.


Showing off 3D printer. 70% of crowd saw it for the first time.

It was a great event with leaders from around the world giving inspiration talks, we were lucky enough to listen to some of the talks, which included a talk on Copenhagen wheel and a talk by Noble laureate Kailash Satyarthi. A big thank you to Parmesh Sahani for inviting us to join in.

We were also allowed to join on the property tour of Godrej One, where the Godrej’s old soap factory was converted to beautiful spaces with some elements of the old factory to remember it by.


The old boiler, and violist playing.

In evening we join in on the roof top dinner,great food and drinks, with a splendid view of the city and factory downstairs.


View from the rooftop

17 april, the bot finally arrives, with only the head moving, it still got a lot of attention and praise. It is not the end, me and Himanshu are going to work on it again to make it better as he is not satisfied with the origami as it was made in such short time and it was a little rough around the edges, I’m not happy with the fact all the movements were not articulated.


C3PO, hands were being spray painted


c3po close up.

The event ends with euphoria playing, I had to leave early to catch a train back home.

It was a great experience working with a team. It was the first time we were working together so learned a lot about one another.

Also while working with Himanshu, we got an idea to build more cool projects(hush-hush for now).