For as long as there have been dad’s, there have been cool dads, but we live in the age of nerd dad’s, and it is fairly evident that nerd dad’s take things to a whole new level of cool. For his youngling daughter’s first birthday, Australian maker, DIY nerd and probable Jedi master Tez Gelmir decided to give his daughter a little piece of Star Wars history made just for her. Perhaps the most iconic scene from 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is the thrilling speeder bike chase through the massive trees on the forest moon of Endor. When Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia were spotted by Imperial Scout Troopers they had no choice but to commandeer a pair of 74-Z Speeder Bike’s for themselves to insure that their mission wouldn’t be spoiled. With his own little Princess Leia running around his Deathstar, Gelmir decided to build her an amazing Speeder Bike Rocker fit for his future cinnamon bun-haired badass.
For a project of this size, Gelmir really had to put all of his DIY skills to the test because the Speeder Bike Rocker required lots of 3D modelling, 3D printing, woodworking, sewing, painting and electronics wiring. The 3D printed parts alone would take weeks to print, with most parts requiring up to ten hours a piece. Then there was the plywood that would need to be meticulously cut into shape and sanded smooth so there would be no splinters for the little ones. Thankfully for any padawans (Last Star Wars joke, I swear) interested in building their own full-sized version he documented his entire project on Instructables.
“For the most part, the facade of the speeder is based on the original concept drawing for the movie prop I found on the net, while using photos of ultra high quality scale models to fill in the gaps. Customizing the design to suit its purpose as a child’s rocker (sturdy with no small breakable parts). 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. 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,” explained Gelmir.
Here is a great video that Gelmer posted showing off the various parts of his project:
All of the materials that Gelmir used were selected for their low cost and their ease of use. The plywood pieces can easily be cut into the correct shape using some printable templates that Gelmir included with his Instructable. He chose Plywood because it is relatively inexpensive, and if it is finished correctly can very easily look like a much higher quality type of wood. The 3D printed parts were ideal for the rounded components and all of the Speeder Bike’s small details. He also used several lengths of PVC piping and a handful of screws and bolts to hold everything together.
The 3D printed parts, including the main hull and the engine details were printed out using Gelmir’s Makerbot Replicator 2 in gray PLA. Because he was going to be painting the parts he chose to speed up the printing time by setting a 0.3 layer height with just a 10% infill. Most of the parts can be printed completely support or raft free, however the main hull parts will need a few supports at the curved areas.
“Once at the stage where you have 3D printed all components and profile cut all timber parts you will be ready to assemble some of the parts, bearing in mind some parts will need to be left separated for painting as they may be a different color like the steering vanes and their mounts for example. Having said that, it is a good idea to do an assemble then disassemble to make sure everything is coming together ok and not fouling on other parts et,” Gelmir advised.
After Gelmir had cut, sanded and test assembled the various wood and 3D printed components,, all that was left to do was put a few coats of paint on the Speeder Bike Rocker and install the real upholstered seat. The rocker includes tons of cool little details, including the power cell turbine, which Gelmir decided to make spin as a novelty, light up blaster effects and even realistic sound effects. It is a safe bet that nerds all over the galaxy will be lining up to make themselves full-sized versions of this project. Let us know where you would put yours over on our Star Wars Speeder Bike Rocker forum at 3DPB.com.