Power Semiconductors

Video: 3D-printed, Arduino powered Lego launch pad

17 December 2020

Arduino has been used to create some fascinating creations from a full wall of LEDs and RC cars, to swimming pool controllers and smart glasses and everything in between.

Now, a maker has created an animatronic, 3D-printed launchpad and gantry for a LEGO Saturn V model rocket.

The project, from maker Mark Howe, took about 1,000 hours of CAD work and hundreds of hours of 3D printing to create a setup that rivals a miniaturized NASA launching pad.

The rocket stands several feet tall with a crane, sway bar, crew walkway, gantry arms and service arms that move out of the way using servos. The entire “launch” process is controlled by an Arduino Uno, an I/O expansion board, a sixteen-channel servo controller and an MP3 shield that counts down audio toward launch using music from the movie “Apollo 13.”

When the spacecraft is ready for lift off, a trio of stepper motor-driven linear actuators simulates the launch with a fiery plume of NeoPixels underneath.

The entire process is shown in the accompanying video.

Learn how Howe created the project on his Hackaday page.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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