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How to Build Your Own R2-D2

http://slightlywarped.com/how-to-build-your-own-r2-d2/

Source: http://imgur.com/a/iXo7o

Styrene body, legs and feet with and Aluminum dome and resin detail parts.

I’m following the Dave Everett Styrene plans from astromech.net they need to be printed full scale at your local print shop.

Cut out the different parts from the plans and attach to the styrene using a spray glue. I started with the body. The body rings are cut out on a router.

Straight piece’s are cut out with a ruler and utility knife. Tools for assembly. Needle bottle, 90 degree brackets, to keep everything square) several are needed as you work thru the parts and lots of clamps of all sizes

This shows the body after adding all the layers in an eggcrate frame approach. The openings are carefully laid out on the plans so that body components in the skin will line up.

This shows the typical interior layout of the legs. The central chase provides a raceway for foot motors this gets overlaid with 1/8″ material and eventually a 1mm skin of styrene.

This view shows the 1mm styrene skin being applied to the completed leg. This opening is for the under shoulder detail.

2 layers of 1mm skins are glued to the frame this creates a strong light weight body. The inner skin and outer skin go together to simulate body panel openings.

Lots of cutting. This view shows the skirt that goes on the bottom of the body with the center foot opening. my droid is 3 leg only so there is a flat surface to mount the center foot to. Similar to the legs an internal structure of 1/8″ material is glued together then 1mm skins are attached to create the exterior surface.

The 1/8″ material used on this curve needed some extra power to hold down until the glue cured. This shows how you have to get creative in clamping odd parts.

Skirt side

1 mm skirt side is chambered to fit the opening

Skirt curve

This shows how internal supports are added so that a curved piece can be cut to fit the skirt

Skirt Ribs

I layered 2 pieces of 1/8″ styrene and used a disk sander to fit each piece individually into the opening.

Center ankle parts

This shows the center ankle parts that have been cut from the plans and are ready for assembly. The paper is removed and goo gone is used to remove the residue.

Center Ankle

This shows the beefy construction of the center ankle. I had to create a jig to hold the ankle square so I can drill and tap the ankle so it can be bolted to the body.

Ankle cylinders

I used 1″ PVC to create the ankle cylinders. I set up a stop on the band saw to cut the groves in the part. The tab were created with layered 1/8″ styrene and formed on a disk sander.

Ankle cylinders

Finished cylinders painted. I used a blue automotive paint that had some metal flakes that gave a great look. I also settled on using Valspar metallic aluminum paint I was very happy with the results.

Main Feet

This shows how the internal structures are built up. I had to make two so I did them both at the same time. her you can see having lots of clamps and 90 degree angle brackets help in moving the build forward. each piece is held in place with brackets and clamps then the glue is applied with the needle bottle after the glue is cured you can remove the clamp s but over night will allow parts to fully cure.

Main feet

The out side of the feet require lots of chamfering to get the angles to butt up together and get a good glue. I made a lot of used of the bench sander to shape the correct angles.

Main Feet

Take note of the center foot channel the sides are beefed up to allow for a strong connection with the ankle

Main foot

The side is made with two layers of to give the appearance of a panel. the bottom piece is 1mm with no openings. the outer skin (1mm) is cut to look like a panel and glued on.

Main foot motor detail

A 6″ wheel from dfrobots along with a small 12 Volt electric motor (jaycar YG2738) drive the feet. A standard drive for light weight droids but for every droid builder there are as many ways to power the droid.

main feet and battery boxes

Battery boxes show how they are cut out to feed wire from the legs to the feet and have space for the motor. Larger motors take up a lot of this space. my small motors have plenty of room.

Battery box

At this point of the build its an exercise in patience as its the repeated dogma the internal structures are made of 1/8″ material and skinned with 1mm material that is easy to curve. The seam is hidden on the side that bolts to the foot so it’s concealed and doesn’t need to be filled.

Foot assembaly

Lots of test fitting of parts and reference to the plans are required to make sure things line up.

Foot assembaly

A nice tight fit between the battery box and foot as they mate together took a lot of preparation and planning.

On three legsOn three legs

With the feet built, bolts are used to attach the ankles and feet together. bushings in the ankles ensure the bolts don’t wear out the plastic thru use.

Profile

Trivia time R2’s legs are at a 33 deg angle. The corner of the shoulder should line up in the middle of the body.

Front footFront foot

Front Foot.

Front foot Front foot

A 3″ castor is used in the center foot. To access the bolt a panel is made I used magnets so he hardware would be concealed.

Detail parts

Test fitting detail parts, every part has a name to ease in construction as you build and buy parts.

scratch building vents

1 mm material is used to create my parts. then silver paint or silver Rub n Buff is used to create the look. These parts are laid out by hand and cut out.

Octogon ports

lots of parts can be made by hand helping you to reduce the cost of your droid. These were made using scrap material from previous parts.

Painting

This shows silver Rub-n-Buff and the blue paint I chose Sonic Blue Pearl
Test fitting detail parts
Time is taken to trim and fit each component into its opening and support material created to hold them in place. Little kids and bumpy ground will be your main culprit in knocking these pieces out.
Center vent details
1mm styrene is cut to fit in a resin detail piece.
center vents
I used a Dremel with ta barrel sanding bit to slowly cut out the blue panel for a tight fit.
Horseshoes
boxes are created in the Horseshoe to create openings for details to be added latter on.
Ankle constrcution
This shows the use of a drill press and step bit to cut access holes in the ankle. I would recommend a drill press and bench sander if you want to tackle this project.
disassembled for paintdisassembled for paint
After all parts have been built and assembled they are taken apart and prepped for paint. I used tamyia White Putty to fill gaps fix any opsies with the knife. Everything was then wet sanded to 1000 grit. A good quality automotive plastic prier was used. Then the white paint was applied. I used Rustolium satin white. (a little birdie tells me this is the paint used on the Episode 7 droids)
Booster cover
This is an example of a club part made from aluminum. Runs of parts in aluminum or resin are found some happening frequently others not so much. So building many parts from scratch helps keep your build moving along. Unless you want an all Al droid then you may be waiting a while.
Booster cover
I created this detail from aluminum flashing usinfg a epoxy to hold it together. It is secured in place with a silicone adhesive like E6000.
coin return detail
fuses, motor controllers I kept mine simple with RC motor controllers from Dimension Engineering sized for your motors mine are a Sabertooth 2×12 to provide tank style drive to astandar airplane controller and Syren 10 for the dome motor.
Details weathered
Weathering is built up using brown and tan acrylic paint. Using both wet washes and dry brushing. I’d recommend Adam Savages weathering tutorial on Tested.
Weathering detail - with acrylic paints
Building up that Tatooine grime – going heaver lower to the ground painting on the acrylics heaver and spraying with a water bottle and wiping of with a damp cloth in several layers gives a great result.
Weathering detail - with acrylic paints
Splotches here are created with a tan acrylic with a dry brush technique
Right profile
Left profile
3/4 view
Front view
Back view
Final product
About the author

Jason Donner

Jason Donner devoured the universe and you are all living inside him.