Major R2 update!

I was looking back through my entries here and realized I haven’t done an update on R2 in a LONG time! I’ve made a lot of progress since the last update.

Last fall, I received the CNC-scored skin set. This set consists of 4 skins (2 layers for the front and 2 for the back) that have all of the panels pre-scored in them. It wasn’t too tough to cut them out (some of them just snapped out with a little bending) and get them glued in place.

I used the scrap that punches out of the utility arm area to scratch-build some utility arms. I also scratch-built the large data port (the long blue slot on top). I think they turned out pretty good for scrap:

I was able to get the dome painted up well enough to be presentable, and attached the (not finished) radar eye. I also attached the scratch-built holo projector. I’ve decided I’ll eventually replace both of these pieces with resin-cast pieces, but they work for now. The goal was to have R2 ready for “Boo at the Zoo”, an annual Halloween event here that we troop as members of the 501st.

When I bought the old, beat-up dome, I got some resin-cast center vents, recharge sockets, and octagon ports as part of the deal. After stripping the old paint and re-painting them, they came out ok.

I decided to purchase some resin half-moons, shoulder details, and coin slots. I picked them up on ebay. Here are the half-moons and coin slots:

Digging way back into my electronics background, I built a custom flasher circuit to blink the red/blue light on the front of R2’s dome. It’s a simple 555 timer circuit (I used the dual 556 because Radio Shack was out of 555s).

Here’s a short video clip of the light blinking:

And here’s a shot of the circuit board installed inside the dome:

For sound, I put some R2 sounds I downloaded from the R2 Builders Yahoo Group on a little MP3 player I had, and installed a $10 Radio Shack battery-powered amplifier. I put the MP3 player on random. It works for now.

I’ve nearly finished the main feet. I have some detail work to do, but they’re functional. I made a modification to the styrene plans and made the outside cover plate removeable. That way, I can get to the motors/wheels easier if I ever need to. I put some PVC pipe in the lathe and machined the ankle cylinders. I also scratch-built the cylinder wedges.

Overall, R2 is coming together nicely. Here’s how he looked in October:

And here he is with a couple special fans at his first-ever event, Star Wars Reads Day at Barnes & Noble!

After that, I decided to take a break from working on R2. My back and my wallet both needed it.

With spring coming, I decided it’s time to get working again. The first thing I did was re-do the shoulder mounts. They were a bit shakey. I’ve competely redone them and R2 is now rock-solid.

I also started adding foot detailing, and improved the hose connections. I also painted the hoses the correct color.

Here’s how R2 looks tonight:

I’ve received the R/C setup and will be receiving the motor controller tomorrow. I’ll be doing a “proof of concept” of the control setup this weekend. The main foot motors, wheels, and hubs are ordered, and should be here in a couple weeks (the motors come from Australia). I’ve ordered more styrene plastic to build the center leg/foot. My hope is to have R2 mobile by an event we have in mid-April.

Stay tuned!

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