SWNZ Forums

Ideas, tutorials, questions relating to armour, costumes and replica props from the Star Wars universe
 #7  by MattG
 Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:04 pm
(This thread started elsewhere, but I'm importing it to continue the project here).

Phase 1 of my aluminium R2-D2 project took him to a static display level. Recently, I've been motivated to start on phase 2...bringing him to life with electricity.

I'm going for a modular approach that will initially be driven by 12-channel RF remote control, but that will be done through a single power distribution board (which will allow a selection of easily exchangeable power supply options), and 12 centralised relays, so that I can retrofit a number of levels/options of sensor-triggered control later...here's the RC and relay board:


I'll use the 12 channels something like this:

1 rotate dome left (momentary)
2 rotate dome right (momentary)
3 front holoprojector
4 front lights (PSI and logic display)
5 rear lights (PSI and logic display)
6 looped sound effects
7 short sound effects (momentary)
8 short sound effects (momentary)
9 short sound effects (momentary)
10 etc.
11 etc.
12 etc.

 #8  by MattG
 Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:18 pm
Initially, I got the front PSI (flashing blue and red...long red, short blue) and holoprojector sources sorted, and hooked up to the power distribution board (9V supply for the former, and 6V supply for the latter).


I didn't solder up the PSI circuits...got them as little pre-built boards a while ago (one is red/blue for the front, the other is yellow/green for the rear).

 #19  by MattG
 Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:12 am
Next was fixing the dome bearing to the body, and installing a drive motor (from a cordless drill) to which an inline skate/rollerblade wheel is attached to rotate the dome. There is a ring of 3M grip tread around the inside of the bearing, so the motor drives the bearing by friction, but holds pretty well (although there is a lot of rotational inertia in the aluminium dome).

The little wooden mounting blocks are adjustable, and were necessary to get the bearing exactly centered, and the dome perfectly level...any misalignment will show up more when the dome rotates.

 #23  by MattG
 Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:17 am
Have fitted some corrugated cable conduit around the inside of the dome so that I can wire things up in a way that they won't get tangled when the dome rotates.

This isn't a hugely interesting pic, but I've upgrade the front PSI (the red/blue flashing light)...have lined the mounting contraption I made for the LEDs with reflective tape, and made this new diffuser out of the same prismatic diffuser I used on my RC backpack (left over from a broken fluoro-tube cover I kept from years ago...never throw anything out!) This completely eliminates the hotspots from the LEDs...a small improvement, but it keeps me happy.


The following is the "lower" electronics board. Everything here is placed because it needs to be accessible without removing the dome (I can get into R2 from the lower part of his cylindrical body...via the "skirt" if you will). So, I've got the rechargeable battery, with accessible recharge terminals (so I don't need to remove it for recharging), a couple of switches (for main power, and "lights-only" mode), and the speakers which I thought I might as well have pointing out the largest opening in R2's body (as some of the other areas are fairly tightly enclosed). It connects to the main-board via the 8-way socket seen...everything needs to be relatively modular for ease of installation, and for transporting the completed droid.

 #29  by eagle1
 Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:02 am
Stunning work on this Artoo dude, I'm jealous as hell, would love one of these, who wouldn't?.
How long has it taken you to get to this point?. I imagine many, many hours of labour!. Have you built this from scratch or are these after market parts from overseas come together to form this awesome build?.
Anyhoo, great thread, I'll watch with great interest!.
 #31  by MattG
 Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:13 pm
Cheers dude.

I started working on R2 about 7 or 8 years ago, when the R2Builders online group was in its relative infancy. The bulk of the build was spread over about 4-1/2 years. Some of the complex, machined aluminium parts were sourced through runs started by other R2Builders group. Some components are scratch built (styrene, wood and/or aluminium) and/or of my own design.

There are now a few other R2Builders in NZ (hopefully we'll see some on these forums), with some pretty cool, animated/RC droids.

Here's a quick video of some of mine, from a few years back now (although I haven't done much on him in the recent past). I'm progressively migrating this thread from material I've previously posted online, so will cover more of my construction soon.

 #37  by MattG
 Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:44 am
This isn't the world's best photo, but here is a test of the remotely controlled holoprojector light. Simple in concept, but there's a bit more than the basics necessary to get an array of power supplies to a dome which has to be removable and able to rotate.


Here's the main-board in place, with the lower-board balancing alongside. At this stage I was able to get the dome bearing rotating, and tweak its control with rotation limiter switches and a speed controller.