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A fully-animated, Arduino-powered launchpad for the LEGO Saturn V model rocket

Arduino TeamDecember 16th, 2020

Approximately 18 months ago, Mark Howe embarked on a journey to build an animatronic launchpad and gantry for a LEGO Saturn V model rocket. After approximately 1,000 hours of CAD work, hundreds of hours of 3D printing, and a major redesign, he’s created a truly impressive setup that resembles one of NASA’s.

Howe’s rocket and structure stand several feet tall, with a crane, sway bar, crew walkway, gantry arms, and service arms that move out of the way using servos. Everything is controlled by an Arduino Uno, along with an MP3 shield to play the Apollo 11 countdown audio.

Once ready for liftoff, the rocket rises via a trio of stepper motor-driven linear actuators, simulating the real thing with a fiery plume of NeoPixels underneath.

More details on this dynamic diorama can be found on Howe’s project page.