Make: Projects

FPV Star Wars Speeder Bike Quadcopter Puts You in the Driver’s Seat

Modify an off-the-shelf Star Wars toy to fly like you've always dreamed of.


I got into FPV (First Person Video) multi-rotor racing a few months ago. The fast, low level flying instantly reminded me of the Star Wars speeder bike Endor chase scene from Return of the Jedi. This project was an obvious choice to combine my interest and experience in RC (remote control) flight with my love of Star Wars stuff. I like always having some strange project on the work bench and this one was next in line, an attempt to build a version of the Imperial Speeder Bikes from the movie that I could “get into” and fly around myself.

The body is from a 1:6 scale (or 12 inch) Hasbro Power Of The Force series Speeder Bike (if you do a deep nerd dive on wookieepedia its a “74-Z Speeder Bike” or “Imperial Speeder Bike”.) Hasbro did a ton of re-releases of toys from the 80’s (using mostly the same molds) when they released the special edition films in ’97. The particular one I have has a 1999 stamp on it. It was re-released several times with Scout Trooper, Luke, and Leia versions. The old Hasbro toys are cool in that they are generally pretty light/hollow (plastic=$), and easy to take appart. Also while most of the shell is styrene, the skinny bits, that a kid would be most likely to break are made out of what I think is vinyl. So while it looks pretty delicate, it’s actually a pretty durable model for the weight. You can still pick them up on ebay for around $50.

The big challenge was to figure out how lift the whole thing, without making it look like just a big quad rotor tacked on. I did some layout in CAD, based off of an overhead picture of the model, and experimented with different rotor layouts that just barely cleared the rider and bike elements, kept the center of lift over the center of gravity, and was capable of lifting about 600grams. I ended up settling on a layout of four 7″ rotors, driven by 880kv 28mm motors. These motors typically spin 10″ or 11″ two-blade props on an 11.1v Lipo, so to make up for the reduction in diameter I used 3 bladed propellers, running on a 14.4v 2200mAh Lipo. It’s not the most efficient setup, but it keeps the quad compact, and lets me lift the heavier than usual frame.

The booms are 10mm carbon tubes, with stick mount style motor mounts. I angled both the autopilot and the rotors about 10 degrees forward, so that in forward flight the bike is at a level attitude.

Control is provided by a 3DRobotics PixHawk, although any controller would work, like a Naze32 or kk2 flight controller. Tuning was a bit challenging given the very short fore aft rotor spacing, but with a bit of work it flies smoothly.

The power combo could accommodate about 600g of extra mass, the bike was around 475g, so there wasn’t much left for the rider. The stock rider had a barbie doll style body, that weighed over 200g without the armor or clothing. To cut the weight down, I made a new body out of pipe cleaners and a variety of old Nerf darts (any round foam would work). A 6mm carbon tube runs through the Skeleton, and mounts into a hole drilled into the bike seat. The skeleton only weighs aroun 15g, and is much more flexible than the stock one. The boots and legs are zip tied to the bike to keep the legs from getting sucked into the rotors.

The Helmet can be swapped for an FPV camera that’s mounted to a styrofoam ball. It’s a combination camera/video transmitter unit sold by Spektrum and I’m using FatShark Dominator video goggles with a little security camera DVR to record the video on the ground.

I’ve got the Luke version on order, so I can build a second to race through the trees. I’ve also got plans for a few of the other Hasbro vehicles.

(Outdoor flight images: by Stephen Warrener)

Adam Woodworth

Adam Woodworth

I'm a lifelong aviation nut who's been flying RC since I was a kid. I studied Aerospace Engineering at M.I.T. and have been in the aviation industry since graduating in 2007. Currently, I'm a Hardware Engineer at Google.


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  • Charles Haase

    So. Awesome.

  • MXB

    very cool. well done

  • Elliot Dellorco

    now just add tiny servos in the neck and program it to be compatible with occulus/steamvr :D

  • E Will

    Recognition well deserved Adam.

  • Kurt Edelbach

    Nicely done!
    I built an RC X-Wing that flies great, now on version 2 with larger size and more scale details.
    Love Star Wars vehicles :)

    • Lawrence Meng

      Put a camera in the cockpit!

  • Lawrence Meng

    I need one.

  • Elly

    Here’s mine.

  • ThatSonyGuy

    One thing i dont get is why almost ll fpv setups have a microphone on the board as well? Honestly the sound from the blades / motors ruin most videos and it is only in post production that you can change / remove it.

  • ThatSonyGuy

    I will be doing this however sometime in the near future in a galaxy not so far away

  • ThatSonyGuy

    also, start a kickstarter to sell kits to the masses.

    • Guest

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    • Barry Hugh

      My thought exactly!

    • fire115

      also, start a kickstarter for a full size version.

      • I wouldn’t want to be sitting next to those whirling blades at full size. Remember, speed of the blade tips is proportional to diameter. Which is why giant windmills are so environmentally destructive – the tips are supersonic.

        Enclosing the blades in a housing would solve that problem (ala the never finished Moller SkyCar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moller_M400_Skycar ), but you still have noise, and the FAA might take a dim view even for recreational use on your own property.

  • Charles D. Rhodes

    Two words: Trench Run

  • Lori Yannucci

    Adam Woodworth, if you’re reading this, I just want to say that I love you, you mad genius! Now put this on Kickstarter so the rest of us nerds can have one!!

  • Gawth Brooks

    Glad to have stumbled upon this. Great work, Adam. Hardware Engineer at Google and MIT graduate not surprising, lol. Will be keeping an eye out for more projects you may share with us.

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    http://www.hologlunakliyat.com

  • Sajid

    This was amazing…!!

  • Joseph Denis

    How can I get in contact with Adam

  • Avatar Ng

    WoW

  • Ross Lenoir

    Id try a small pusher motor on the rear on a separate channel for more forward speed. And then id probably crash it.

  • Eric Daye

    Just great work all around! PLEASE offer for sale. Made to order. I will supply the speeder bike if necessary :-)

  • Oscar Xarco

    Take my money!!!

  • Guest

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  • Barry Hugh

    Wow! Impressive — and inspiring. I’ve got this bike on my desktop. Would be cool to fly it around our office. Why not do a kickstarter campaign? I’d gladly get a flying version, or maybe a kit to build one? (I’m not that good at tinkering unfortunately)

  • scrizo

    why hasn’t this gotten a kickstarter yet

  • Jim Bartko

    That’s the best use of someone’s bar mitzvah money I’ve ever seen.

  • Troy McWhirter

    where did you get your parts from? i really like the look of the motors and booms, very clean. i just ordered my bike. it has gone up in price. mine was $113 shipped. you can get the princess or luke for cheaper but i wanted the storm trooper. thanks in advance

    • _noe_

      Where did you buy the bike from? Could you share the link?

  • Julio Roman

    Adam… i would like to contact you. I’m a toy rep and i think what you have here is something I can bring to one of the major toy companies. Is there a way where I can contact you. i would like to present this to Hasbro, who holds the license to Star Wars. i cannot make you any promises but ut we can definitely give it a shot. I know a lot of the players in the industry. let me know if you are interested. My email address is [email protected]

  • Emanuele Fiorillo

    Adam, this model of yours is awesome. Would you like to see it featured on an Italian magazine? I’d like to ask you permission for publishing this story. Please contact me at e.fiorillo§§§blulapis.it (use @ instead of §§§).

    Thank you, best
    Emanuele

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  • skullofcob
  • Jay Shreve

    Using Lego Stars Wars sets for this would be the greatest. If only there was a COMPLETE parts list for what was added to the Speeder Bike.

  • Troy McWhirter

    i love your design, very clean. where did you get your drone parts? i have the speeder. i am making one.

  • Michal Miszta

    Here is my version, based on Episode 7 trailer. Everything was scratchbuild and 3d printed. I uploaded files to thingiverse, you can find lin under the video. Enjoy building it.
    https://youtu.be/79Qyur3cBew

  • Legend_Josh

    Is there any way anyone could make an RC Quadcopter Biker Scout and sell it? If so could you also send me info on the cost please. Thank you

  • Rogue Leader

    Where can I get mine ? :) … soon.

  • _noe_

    Really awesome, however the link to get the bike doesn’t work anymore =(… Does anybody know anywhere else i can get a 12 inch speeder bike? They all seem to be 6inch…