How to build a talking robot with animated LEDs – Claptrap tutorial

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Allow me to introduce myself — I am a CL4P-TP steward bot, but my friends call me Claptrap! Or they would, if any of them were still alive. Or had existed in the first place!

This is how Claptrap, a character from the game series Borderlands, introduces himself when you first meet him. I think he’s hilarious 😄. 3D printing our favorite characters from movies or games is a lot of fun. But if they could talk and light up, that would be next level. And so that’s exactly what we’re going to do today!



List of features:

A programmable LED eye Eye blinks when Claptrap talks Can be set to any color, can be animated An audio player and a speaker SD card slot for audio storage The 3D model

First, we need the model to print. As always, you can download the finished model from PrusaPrinters, but let’s quickly talk about how we created it because it could help you with your own project.

Rather than starting from scratch, we’ve downloaded a really nice Claptrap model created by Chaos Core Tech (they even have a video about it) and used Blender to modify it. The function that we’ve used over and over is the boolean modifier, which lets you subtract one mesh from another.

We need space for the electronics and a way to access it. So we’ve cut the top of the body and then cut out a big rectangular hole, essentially hollowing the main body. Then we’ve separated the eye and created a hole for the speaker. By modifying the original front vent cover we’ve made a new one, that can be printed separately. We’ll use it to hide the speaker hole. To make it easier to print, we’ve also separated the shoulder covers. Lastly, using the sculpting tool, which we have a separate article about, we’ve added dents and scratches to the body to make it look worn out.Modifying an existing model is a really quick and effective way to create what you need. If you want to share your remix, don’t forget to check that the license of the original model lets you do that.

Printing

The majority of the model will be painted, so the color of the filament doesn’t matter too much. However, there are some exceptions – for example, to print the wheel, we picked our Prusament Galaxy Black and we’ll leave it partially unpainted. We printed most parts from PLA. It’s easy to print with, has great detail and especially for the big body piece, it’s really nice that the material doesn’t warp. The arms are quite thin, so we picked PETG instead to increase their durability. The LED holder was also printed from PETG.

Printing the lens, though, that can be quite tricky! Following the steps in our 3D printed lenses and other cool transparent objects article, we printed the lens from ABS, sanded it and polished it. We don’t really use ABS anymore these days (there are better alternatives/successors, like ASA), but for transparent objects, it works quite well. If you have access to an SLA printer, using it for the lens would be even better.

We scaled the whole model up, but it can still be printed even on the Original Prusa MINI.

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