R2-D2: An Upwardly Mobile Droid!

I’ve decided that I’m a real slacker when it comes to updates here. Over the last month, I’ve made a LOT of progress on R2. I received the motors from jaycar in Australia, and got them installed. R2 is now moving and is radio controlled! Here’s a quick video:

I then needed to order the lazy susan bearing for the dome. Unfortunately, the one recommended by the R2 builders club is $80.00, and I just didn’t have it to spend. I found a similar bearing on ebay for $19.99 and decided it was worth the gamble for $20.00. If it worked out, it would save me $60.00. It worked out GREAT!

I ordered the club-recommended drive wheel and motor. The motor comes from pololu.com and the wheel and hub from servocity.com. I scratch-built a motor mount and got it all mounted up. FYI for you other builders out there, the pololu motors have the exact same mounting hole spacing as the jaycar motors, so if you’re using the styrene plans, you can use the foot motor mount template as a drilling guide for mounting holes for your dome motor. Anyway, here’s a pic of the bearing, motor, and drive wheel installed in R2:

And here’s a video of a test of the dome rotation:

When I started building R2, I had decided I didn’t want any opening panels etc, for strength and durability. However, once he was motorized, I quickly discovered that it’s a pain in the neck to take the dome off every time I need to charge R2 or turn his power on or off. Additionally, I learned from fellow builders that I need to have switches between the motors and the electronics to disconnect the motors in the event I need to push R2 – otherwise the motors can act as generators and send power back to the electronics and destroy the speed controllers. So, I decided to install a small control panel behind one of his side vents:

Here’s the side vent which is secured with velcro (still need to paint the blue on it):

And here is the control panel. The top 3 switches are left and right drive motors and the dome motor. The center large switch is main power. In the “UP” position power is on. In the “Center” position, everything is off. In the “DOWN” position, the charging jack below it is connected directly to the battery, and all other electronics are completely isolated from the battery and charger.

I then turned my attention to something I’ve been dreading: Details on the feet. I ended up completely re-building the outside foot panels. I’m still not 100% satisfied, but they look much more accurate. I had debated how to attach them until I was checking out the special features on the Star Wars blu-rays. While examining photos of a screen-used R2, I noticed you can see screws on the outside foot panels. If it was good enough for on-screen, it’s good enough for me! I still need to finish some touch-ups, but here are the more-accurately-details foot panels:


Finally, I decided to scratch-build the other 2 holoprojectors for the dome. Eventually, I’ll buy resin-cast HPs, but these work for now:

These Holoprojectors were made from parts from the dollar store including a “ball” yo-yo, mouthwash bottle caps, and flashlights. The Front and Back HPs have lights installed, and there’s a hidden switch in the top HP that turns on the dome electronics.

That’s about it for now. Up next, details on the center foot, and remote-controlled sound. Then (hopefully) next week, a new laser-cut dome!

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