The R2-D2 Builders Group

Compleat FAQ

Last Updated - 30/5/02

Latest update available at


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Introduction *

What Is This Club About *

Does This Group Also Build Other Droids? *

How the Club Works *

Legalities - Copyright Generalization *

What will It Cost Me *

Where Do I Get a Kit *

Where Do I Get Parts *

Where Can I Find The Original Parts Used For R2 *

Couldn't Someone Buy a Don Post R2-D2 and Make Copies of Parts *

Can I Pay Someone to Build a R2-D2 For Me *

How Do I Start *

What Skills Do I Need *

Tutorial Links *

Planning *

Building R2 *

What Materials Do I Use *

What Tools Do I Need *


Which Is The Best Way To Go - Static Vs R/C *

Which Is The Best Way To Go – 2 legs or 3 legs *

Which Is The Best Way To Go – Retractable Middle Leg *

Is There a Step by Step Guide *

Are There Plans *

How do I read the Plans *

Using the Plans *

Are There Any Good Reference Photos *

Where Can I find Reference Material *

What Are The Standard R2 Parts Names *

Which Is The Correct R2 *

How Much Will a Finished Droid Weigh *

Where is a Glossary of Terms Used By The Club *

Domes *

Dome size vs. body size *

Where Can I Get a Dome *

Dome Sources *

How Do I Make a Dome Template *

Dome Engraved Panels vs. Cutout and Under Framed - How Why? *

How do I Polish/Finish The Dome - Plastic – Resin – Fiberglass Domes *

How do I Polish/Finish The Dome - Aluminum Domes *

Dome Adhesives – Members Hints and Tips *

Body *

Panels: Hinges *

Skins *

Where Do I Get The Plans For Skins *

Etching Skins *

How do I Make Panelled Skins *

Where Is The Template For Skins and How Do I Get a Full Size Version *

Are The Skin Panels Raised, Level, Set Below ? *

How Do I make The Parts *

Feet *

HPs *

Coin Slots *

Main Eye Lenses *

Skirt *

Legs *

Hydraulic Hoses *

Polydigital Grasper *

Skirts *

What Arms/Utilities/Gadgets etc *

Painting and Preparation *

What Color Blue *

What Color White *

Aluminum Preparation - Hints and Tips from Members *

Painting – Hints and Tips from Members *

FibreGlass Painting *

Resin - Painting *

Electrical – Motors - What Motors Do I use *

Dome Rotation *

Rocklers and other bearing stuff … *

Electric Screwdriver/Drill Motor *

Leg Motors *

How fast does the R2 unit need to go to participate in the R2 parades at the Celebrations? *

Electrical – On/Off Switch *

Electrical – Batteries *

What Are The Direct Mains Power Options *

What Batteries Do I Need *

How Do I Connect Batteries *

Electronics *

Lights *

Where/how can I find/construct the electronics (lights of dome) *


Spinning colored Gel wheels? *

Electronics - Voice *

Is There a "Do It Yourself" Sound Circuit Design or Sound Kit Available From the Club *

Sound Resources *

Remote Control *

Computerizing *

What materials glues etc recommended *

Where Can I Find a Supplier In My Country for (resin/paint/aluminum/styrene etc) i.e.: supplier list *

Mechanical Resources *

Where can I find other R2 related info *

Where do I find info on R2 related props? *

What sort of R2 Toys Models Are There and How Accurate *


Which members live where *

How do I get email address of members *

Who has one near me I can see. *



The R2 Builders group uses a YAHOO forum do discuss building issues, swap ideas, and generally discuss experiences building an R2 *

How to join *

How do I upload a file *

How do I attach a picture *

How do I download an attachment *

Why don't we have threaded messages *

What are Polls and how, why, who, would set one up *

How does chat work - particularly time zones *

How Do I Unsubscribe? *


Using a Dremel – Tips *

How to Vac form *

How Aluminum Domes Are Spun *

Fiberglass *


Making An R2 Body Skirt *

The Do’s and Dome’s of Building R2 by Simon Cochrane *

Cheap R2 Sound Generator *

Install a Headphone Jack into R2-D2 Figure. *

Building an R2 Sound Card for Under $20 *

CREATING A R2 Voice Box using a CD Player *



Congratulations on finding the best source of information on building a full sized R2 unit!!!

Building an R2 unit is not as easy as it may seem and as a group all striving towards the same goal, we hope you find a place here among friends!

The R2Builders Club is growing daily with new ideas, members, and resources of information and parts

This FAQ is a compilation of a lot of the information, hints, tips and advice the club has accumulated over the previous years.

What Is This Club About

The R2 Builders Club is a web based forum on the Yahoo Group website (see see later in FAQ on using Yahoo Groups

The group welcomes discussion about people’s experiences building their own personal astromech droid. With other member's help, you will learn tips on how to create your own R2 D2 from parts and items you can purchase from around the world. Unlike other prop-replica forums, The members of the R2Builders Club strive together to provide each other with proven methods of construction, the most accurate blueprints available anywhere, and a helpful forum to discuss issues that does it's very best in helping each individual with solutions to solving complex problems that may arise.

The only requirement there is to join the club is to have an interest in building a droid.

People from all walks of life are welcome, Couples are welcome in the group and it’s always nice to see ladies interested in building droids, we don’t segregate the guys from the ladies.

As for cost. There are no membership fees or dues. The only costs are what you spend on building your droid.

Remember that there are no stupid questions. We were new at this at some time. If you can't find the answer after looking for it just ask. There are many helpful and talented builders here from many walks of life. (Male, female, old, young, etc.)


Does This Group Also Build Other Droids?

Although it is an R2 builders group many members are working on other R-series droids. Some have built R4s; others are currently working on R3's. One member did a run of R5 heads, which may get done again by a different member.

So, YES this is the place for info on all R-series druids

There is also some other spin off clubs and other builders clubs that specialize in non R-series starwars droids such as:

The C3P0 Builders Club:

For Mouse Droid

For Battledroids see


How the Club Works

The club is as much a social club as it is a technical forum, feel free to discuss any experiences you have had building your droid.

If you wish to ask something or discuss something that is not directly related to building an R2 just place an OT: (Off Topic) designation in the title of your post.

For example, if you wish to discuss the color of C3P0 and you think someone in the group may be able to help you may title it something like

OT: C3P0 colors?

Please note, that while the club is willing to discuss some topics not directly related to R2 you should not drift to far from the subject.

Also we do not under any circumstances discuss anything, which may be considered "profiteering". We do not sell parts for profit or sell complete R2s, as this would breach copyright rules. We also do not discuss Videos VCDs or DVDs, which have been pirated or downloaded off the net.

We also do not allow SPAM or sales pitches or advertising for any other products.

Also note the group individuals do not make a habit of answering questions via private email, as usually if the question is worth asking it is worth posting to the group. However should a member decide that the information is not worth posting to the group they may then elect to continue a private conversation with the person with the question.

Remember we do NOT sell Complete Kits


Legalities - Copyright Generalization

To create replicas of ANYBODY'S intellectual property (including but not limited to Lucasfilm's) is NOT a violation of any copyright law on the books today. To display PICTURES of a REPLICA of somebody's intellectual property and label it as such with no deception intended is NOT a violation of any copyright law on the books today. To create a replica of somebody's intellectual property and then try to SELL it for a profit (even as little as one cent) IS a violation of copyright law. To create a replica of somebody's intellectual property and then try to REPRESENT it as the ORIGINAL (even if it's not for profit) IS a violation of copyright law.


What will It Cost Me

This question has SO many variables. The main one is you and what kind of handyman you are. You can spend anything from $100 to $3,000 depending on materials, finishes and electronics

If you make the parts yourself, the cost can be in the low/mid hundreds, taking a year or two. If you buy most parts, the cost can be in the thousands and take about a year. If you add motors and R/C, add on several months and a couple hundred.

You have to factor in how handy you are, how much time you want to put into this and what you want your R2 to do.

It also depends if you have a good set of tools to work with, the actual costs of materials can be quite inexpensive, however if are required to buy tools you do not have to work it, then that becomes an added cost.

And it will depend on what material you want your parts made of, plastic aluminum wood

The finished result will be up to you; even a very cheaply built R2 can be very accurate.

A good recommendation is to leave the electronics/motors and R/C equipment purchases till last. This way if your budget changes or your building designs change you will not be spending money of equipment that you may not need at the end. These are also the more expensive parts of any droid.


Where Do I Get a Kit

You will not find a "R2-D2 in a Box" type kit from this club. This group is based on communicating with each other on how we built our own droids. You will find a number of members offer individual parts but not an entire kit.

Try posting what you’re looking for, one or two individual parts at a time. Those people that supply those parts will be able to contact you.


Where Do I Get Parts

Keep in mind that this group is about helping each other build there own driods and not about part making.

However, having said that there are some parts being made by various members in the club who are working together on supplying the group with very detailed and accurate parts at the cost for which it costs them to make them, these members are not selling these for profit, simply offering a manufacturing service to fellow members.

The club itself doesn't offer parts, kits or completed R2-D2s, but will gladly point you to trusted members that do sell these items. Check out the Parts section. At the official R2 Builders site

Also do be aware, there are some unscrupulous people out there who could be labeled profiteers and either charge too much or have below standard parts.

This group does not condone profiteering, so please be careful with who you deal with. The best thing to do would be to check with the club for references for anyone claiming to sell R2 parts.

Disclaimer: The R2 Builders Club is not responsible for items sold by members and does not officially endorse parts, kits or whole R2s sold by members. Any problems with items sold by members (shirts, R2 parts, coffee mugs) should be addressed to the seller directly.


Where Can I Find The Original Parts Used For R2

Unlike many other Starwars props, almost all of the original R2s were completely scratch-built by Norank, an engineering firm in the UK.

The only known "found" parts are the Holoprojectors and the Feet cables

The holoprojectors are overhead passenger cabin lights from old Vickers Viscount 700 passenger turboprop, BAE 748 and BAE Beech King aircraft.

The braided cables are bronze hydraulic cables found in older aircraft. Though they can still be purchased new see Cables later in the FAQ.


Couldn't Someone Buy a Don Post R2-D2 and Make Copies of Parts

NO, this would be a direct breach of copyright. Constructing your own R2 or assembling one from parts is one thing, but copying of parts without permission is stealing. There are many people in the club that offer parts and kits that can create a complete R2 for a fraction of the cost of the licensed replica. See the Parts section to view items sold by trusted dealers.


Can I Pay Someone to Build a R2-D2 For Me

With over 1000 members, it couldn't hurt to ask. But it would be very unlikely, understand that most of them are currently in the process of building their own R2 units in their free time. Also, as there can be no money made by someone making droids for other people, it would be unlikely that they would have the time to do this.


How Do I Start

The first and most important step of building R2 is RESEARCH and this cannot be stressed enough. We suggest getting yourself a folder, box, or whatever you choose to keep all of your research in one place. For easy reference, the best thing to use is a three-ring binder with several packs of polypropylene sheet protectors. You can print helpful documentation, posts and pictures to include in this binder, as it is a stress free and clean way to keep all of your information at hand. Sheets can also be easily replaced as you move along in your project.

Just print and save every piece of information you can find. Some people spend years researching and deciding the best way to approach their droid.

The best way to start is to check out the information in the group's Files area, at ... there's tons of info there to keep you busy.

Use the blueprints that are available as a guide and just cut loose - no hard and fast rules on colors, and above all - HAVE FUN

Many builders build a mock-up of an R2 using items like cardboard/foam core or foamboard, etc. Posterboard can be used to simulate sheet metal work and can be folded, as you would thin aluminium.

Foamcore is the same stuff your kids use for projects that you can get at Hobby Lobby and Michael's. Foamcore comes in 1/8, 1/4,
3/16 and 1/2 inch thicknesses.

PVCboard is also called Gatorfoam or Gatorboard depending on the supplier. Basically it is high-density Styrofoam sandwiched between two pieces of .020 styrene. This material can be used to make quite strong frameworks and can be glued quite easily with Elmers white glue.

Good luck, ask many questions, read ALL the posts


What Skills Do I Need

This really depends on you and what you wish to achieve. Most of us are learning new skills all the time simply by trying to build the parts we need.

Best way to learn is to do. Check out if there are some cheap courses in your area that may add to your skills such as electronics repairs courses, fiberglass courses, spray-painting etc.

There are many tutorials on the Internet on how to do just about anything. Just give it a go

Note that many of the members are already building a second droid based on the learning experiences they had with their first effort.

At a bare minimum you would need to be comfortable using tools, glues, and paints.

Tutorial Links

For mold making and laying out, a very good how to section at recommended by Dave Lockwood



The time and cost of building a R2 unit really depends on a number of things. What kind of Tools you have. What kind of materials you want to build it out of. How accurate you want it to be and what sort of skills you have.

The first step is to decide exactly how ambitious you really want to be. And what you believe your skills will allow you to accomplish. Make a list of what you want your droid to do or be and then determine if you can do it, and can afford it

For example

What materials are you comfortable using? Plastics, wood, aluminum?

When you’ve determined what you want to achieve you can then start on the process of gathering parts, materials and the knowledge to start the project.

Some people build their droid to be just a static display but other build theirs to drive around. Static ones do not require motors or R/C equipment therefore will be cheaper to build they also do not have to be as sturdy and can be made out of cheaper materials.

Remote control (R/C) equipment and electronics for speed controllers and lights and other special effects that you might want to put in it, will make the cost go up.

Now for the time element. That really depends on how much you want to devote to it at any one time and how much money you have to spend at any one time for it. Most people that have been working on their droids have been doing so for about 2 or 3 years before it is finished and ready to run. It could be done a lot faster, providing you have the time to devote to it and resources to put into it.

Remember, "The only Stupid question is the one that is never asked."


Building R2

Please note that it is an unwritten policy of the club not to force one specific standard upon any of its members. Since this is a project taken upon yourself, it is up to you to come up with the final decision of how your R2 unit will look or function.

Your first starting point is usually the dome, as this will determine the size of your body.

Then you will need to decide on a material for you body, and skins, then start making or sourcing the rest of the parts.

You can make your own skins, though there are a couple of skin projects in the works, same goes for legs feet etc.

This FAQ and the many tutorials on members pages and information in the posts should be more then enough to allow you to the make your own parts, or there are members currently offering parts, note that these members are manufacturing these parts in their own time and with their own money. They then sell the parts at what it cost them. No one is making money from you.

Any parts on the compleat R2 page are good value and from honest club members, if the part is not there, it is worth checking as to how good a quality it is before buying it...all parts on this page are checked by senior members for accuracy and reliable service from the supplier.

See main site

Select Construction then Compleat R2


What Materials Do I Use

There is not a clear favorite in R2-building materials, but for beginner’s droids or low cost droids, plastics and wood are pretty high up on the list -- mainly because most people have the tools to work that way.

Aluminum is very attractive, but those tend to be parts made "co-op" by one builder who's willing to act as broker for a group of other builders. Though Aluminum Parts can be expensive due to the machining costs

However, if you're asking about raw material from which you'd be doing all the part fabrication, aluminum costs are reasonable -- IF you buy from the right source. Try for some great prices.

There are also cheaper resin parts available, or you can learn to cast resin yourself, but if you do you'll need to make a master part for casting.


What Tools Do I Need

This of course depends on what materials you decide to use. ….

Almost everything can be made with basic tools. Good files, a saw, drills and decent quality rulers are a must. If you are unfamiliar with using hand tools, practice on scrap material first. The same goes for gluing materials together, it's wise to experiment on material you can throw away rather than that leg cutout that took you 2 weeks to get right.

In power tools the Dremel is popular for drilling, cutting, grinding and gouging plastics and soft metals. They also have many attachments that can help like the flexible shaft attachment that makes it easier to control the rotating tool.



Please be aware, if you are knew to this or learning new skills as you construct your R2, be sure to follow any recommended safety precautions for any products or tools you use.

Always wear goggles when using power tools especially the dremel, the blade4s are very fragile and have a habit of snapping into small pieces, which fly in all directions at great speed.

You won't know the value of it until you pull a chunk of cut-off wheel or aluminum out of your eyeglass/face shield.

When using exacto knifes or other carving tools, be very aware of where you fingers are, many an experienced droid builder will be happy to show you their scars…

If you use anything other than Elmer's school glue and cardboard, work in an area with sufficient ventilation. Many of the glues and resins used will emit toxic fumes. Aluminum dust from grinding is bad, too. Don't risk your health on poor ventilation.

Heating plastics for Vac-forming does or in order to bend or shape it will also release toxic fumes.

Most important, make sure you have a GOOD filtered mask with cartridges, not just a dust mask. Any autobody shop will have several different ones made by 3M.


Which Is The Best Way To Go - Static Vs R/C

It seems quite a few people are starting out with more static droids (having lights and turning heads, but not R/C or roaming around). If you are on a limited budget that this is the way to go. You can always make him radio controlled later on if you choose.


Which Is The Best Way To Go – 2 legs or 3 legs

Most people join the club wanting to build an R2 that does everything, of course that is a huge task and may be beyond your capabilities. But taking on this project in the first place gives you new skills and helps you improve existing ones. It makes sense to start off simple and work towards the more complex capabilities later.

If you are just planning a static droid then two legs is fine, and will save you some time, however, If you plan on making R2 move then you simply must go with three legs. R2 is not the best-balanced droid in the universe and driving along on 2 legs is just asking for trouble.

You can however, then choose to have the third leg permanently out or can make it retractable.

If you decide to make it retractable then you have yet another choice, do you want to motorize the movement or do you just want to be able to convert from three leg to two legs even if you need to do it by hand.

An example of this is Richard McColeman's droid; you'll see an easy way to make a slide mechanism for the third leg. It involves a pair of front and
rear vertical "V" channel rails, and 4 non-swivelable (fixed) casters mounted on the leg. Materials cost about $20.

The beauty part of the setup is that if you decide later to motorize your droid, you can motorize this setup. In the meantime, a pair of heavy-duty cupboard catches (magnet or spring) can keep the leg held in position up and down.

Need link to pictures or minitutorial


Which Is The Best Way To Go – Retractable Middle Leg

This is probably the biggest R2 project you could take on and there are many ways to do it. Several members have working 3rd leg retraction systems in their droids, ask on the list for any links to picture galleries about the process.

Needs to be converted to a tutorial ->

the two main ways that folks looking to extend/retract the middle leg -- that I'm aware of anyway -- are the lead screw approach, and a
method utilizing two small sprockets and a loop of chain oriented vertically next to the leg. A motor is attached to one of the sprockets,
and the leg is attached via a mechanical link to a single point on the chain. As the chain moves, it drags the leg up/down. Obviously, there are
limit switches also attached to this setup to establish high and low stop points. Martin and Christina did theirs this way. If done correctly, this
arrangement doesn't take up much more room than a motorized lead screw assembly.

You're right that most/all commercially made lead motorized screw assemblies are fairly slow. To have fast action with a lead-screw-based
mechanism, you'll probably have to design and build one yourself. I've been considering doing this using a piece of threaded rod and a fast
(probably non-gearhead DC) motor. The biggest concern with either approach is having fast end-to-end travel, but still have enough torque to keep the
mechanism from bogging down as it hits the floor, or when retracting. That's probably why they used a pneumatic system for the
2-3-2-leg film R2 unit.


Needs to be converted to a tutorial ->

I have the setup you're talking about sitting right here. 2 slides and 4 little worm gear "hydraulic" lifters, callipers, whatever you call them for raising/lowering the seat front and back. The 2 slides were going to be my ultra find for the group. With the aluminium slide mounted as part of the body frame, the inner slides would raise and lower as the middle leg mechanism. Controlled by one motor and the flexi cables.

The slides had 2 problems; SPEED, they took about 8-9 seconds to go from end to end. DISTANCE, the Cadillac GM ones I found went 8 1/4" R2’s middle leg needs 9 1/2" at least and perhaps more for a wider leg stance than I have. Someone mentioned piggybacking 2 sets to get twice the speed and more distance, but I feel that the cost and weight get excessive, and I'm on the quest for the ultimate cheap simple effective rig. ...Craig

Is There a Step by Step Guide

There is no specific step-by-step guide as there are so many ways to make an R2 out of so many materials.

There are several generalize tutorials around like how to Vac Form. There are also many mini tutorials on how some members built their own part or parts.

See the appendix for a list of sites featuring generic tutorials or see specific tutorials on separate parts or methods in different sections of this FAQ


Are There Plans

One of the many hurdles faced by this club were that there are no official measurements for R2. Lucasfilm has 16 R2s in their possession, and differ in measurement depending on where they were assembled and what their function is. The consensus is that R2's diameter is between 18.0 inches (45.7 cm) and 18.5 inches (47.0 cm) with the height being around 42 to 43 inches (106.7 cm to 109.2 cm). It is suggested that the dome is the first piece that you purchase/build, with any other measurements based on that diameter. The Construction section has blueprints free for download.

There is a standardized set of R2 plans being completed. This allows parts makers to ensure their parts will fit with other being made for the group.

See the Official R2 Blueprints section of the Yahoo site Documentation/Official R2 Blueprints/

Or go to files FILES > R2-D2 Documentation > Official Blueprints

Currently, these are mainly for the leg assemblies. The rest for the body and dome are being worked on.


How do I read the Plans

Some of these are in PDF format, you will need adobe acrobat reader to read them. It can be downloaded from

Others are in various CAD formats

Try downloading AutoDesk Voloview Express. It's free and downloadable (25MB),837403-123112,00.html


Using the Plans

Because the original R2s were built to imperial measurements and the majority of the members are from the US. Most of the plans will be in imperial (Inches)

Also as there is a mix of engineering plans (decimal inches) and plans which use fractions of an inch yor will need to be able to convert between the two.

Some basic common conversions you will need to do are


For converting Decimal Measurements i.e.: millimeters to inches you can use a decimal to fraction Equivalent chart.
Remember some decimals on the drawings won't convert to a standard fraction.

Try this link...

Siemens Distribution Equipment SPEEDFAX 1999 - Fraction, Decimal, and Millimetre Equivalents

Are There Any Good Reference Photos

The best idea is to search the web over and over. There is always new material out there.

Or see photos of the Smithsonian Institutes Museum display of R2-d2


There are also many good references and links to other sites on the Main R2 Builders Club Site:


Where Can I find Reference Material

The main R2 Builders Club site has many pointers and links to a lot of alternative references; you will also find most of the information you need contained in this FAQ

What Are The Standard R2 Parts Names


Which Is The Correct R2

There were many different R2’s made throughout the history of the movies, and there are multiple versions made by different individuals at different times. There are variations in each one. Some are metal. Some are fiberglass. Each one has its own quirks of dimension and detail.

And as to paint color, the paint colors have changed throughout the years from a deep dark blue through to lighter shades. There is no PERFECT R2.

To complicate things the director may flip images t o fit the composition of a scene, certain portions of action were "flipped" or mirrored to have the action flow in the same direction. So in some scenes R2 is backwards

There are also other changes such as a panel changing from silver to blue and the details on the legs switching position throughout the different movies, also swapping parts amongst the stable of R2s happens ALL the time. There is probably not an R2 that is assembled as it was originally built.

Other examples are, The ANH bodies are aluminum, and the ESB bodies are unique with their foam filled walls. The UK crew for Ep1 made new feet for some druids that are wider than any of the other feet.

Most members are constructing an amalgam of all of the R2s (which is what most member's blueprints reflect) with a few building a movie specific R2. It is suggested that you gather as much information as you choose (feel free to use this excuse to watch the movie again) and base your design on what you feel is correct.

How Much Will a Finished Droid Weigh

They can average out at about 90lbs. Most of the weight is batteries and motors.

Converter for metric and imperial measurements:


Where is a Glossary of Terms Used By The Club

Need an R2 Glossary updated. Probably in the appendix of the FAQ

Glues,materials,parts,tools etc etc etc


Note: The dome on R2 is not an exact hemisphere, but a semi-ellipsoid shape - taller than it is wide - giving it a slight egg-shape. Since this is something that very few people notice outside of the R2 Builders Club, Many builders are happy to use hemispherical domes.

The official blueprints measurements of the Domes have the diameter at 18.25

Dome size vs. body size

The dome is slightly larger then the body circumferences. The "official" club diameter of the body is 18.1735 inches

Where Can I Get a Dome

The head or dome will be most likely to most expensive part. You can use a Plexiglas, or plastic domes that run around $40.00 and then cut all the openings in it yourself. Or there is aluminum domes, and steel domes available, though these are much harder to work with.

Note: most domes that are available are only 18inches in diameter which is close enough to most people, but not entirely accurate.

You can also make the domes yourself using a variety of Techniques


Dome Sources

Ross Cole

Ross will be having some pre-cut domes made to the group very shortly but you have to get on the waiting list. Ross Cole is working on the "superdome" that is going to be as close as you can ever get to the real deal...Inner and outer domes with all the details laser cut out... These are laser cut and are to the exact measurements to those of the real R2's.

Other Sources of Domes

Note all other sources listed are hemispherical and not as accurate, and in most cases the lower rings will need to be added to get the final height.

Acrylic Domes

Those of you, who may be thinking of the acrylic dome route, try

They have 18" domes, which are "fake" security camera domes.

D& D Domes (Doug Hines)

These used to be called Doug and Don (D&D) Domes though now only Doug is doing them

Doug Hines sells some blank aluminum domes, but they are only hemispherical and still need to be cut and grooved. They are around $70US...not perfect, but most everyone at the Celebration used them...And they looked pretty good...

Doug’s email address is


Bird feeders with Plexiglas domes are available from Home Depot or Lowes. The domes are actually squirrel guards on some of the hanging birdfeeders.

Weber BBQ Domes

Insert story/description

Need uncut or need to fill holes and bend vents. ?

Hand Made Domes

There are also many methods available to hand make domes.

Some members have used clay, Styrofoam or cardboard to build a mold over which they fibreglassed or resin coated.

Insert members tutorials here

How Do I Make a Dome Template

Need a members tutorials here

Can anyone tell me if the dome measurements in the blueprint section (where to cut out the panels on the dome) are based on a compass measurement from the center (which would be a straight line) or is it a chord measurement (which would be a curved line following the curve of the dome which would place the same measurement closer to the apex of the dome). I am assuming that these measurements are based on a dome 18.25" in diameter.


Dome Engraved Panels vs. Cutout and Under Framed - How Why?

Is it common to cut out the panels on the dome and if so how do you replace the panels? Or do you just engrave the panels and paint.

See: The Member Mini Tutorial on The Do's and Domes of Droid building by Simon Cochrane

Dome Construction Tips

Require info…

Dremel Guide for Domes

Cutting or etching the circular (horizontal) lines is easy for the top panels. I drilled a small hole in the DEAD center top of the dome. I took a long, thin bolt, filed a tip on it, and with a pair of nuts, mounted it in the hole so the pointy end sticks up. Using the nuts to adjust the height of the pointy tip, which you push into the casing of the Dremel tool (making a divot in it). You can then, rotate the tool around in PERFECT circles. Keep the bolt tip low for inner circles and raise it up for the outer such as the outer edge of the pie slice panels. Doing the lower panels is a bit more difficult, but it can be done using a different technique. Consisting of hose-clamping an angle iron guide to the tool and riding that along the dome's bottom edge. The discs I used were those cheap ones that come in a 35mm film-type container, 36 discs per container. They were real thin too, about 1mm, although they are sized in inches, like 3/64ths. Remember, start lightly then gradually cut deeper and deeper. The first light pass is a way to make a perfect start, and then the next passes tend to follow the first. You still need a STEADY hand though


How do I Polish/Finish The Dome - Plastic – Resin – Fiberglass Domes

To get fiberglass, resin or acrylic type domes looking good, the head can be scratched carefully with sandpaper to simulate the spinning marks, then primed and base coated with silver paint (any color will do).

A material called Rub N' Buff, a waxed based polish (the color is silver leaf) can then be rubbed over and buffed in, giving it that aluminum shine. Once you've polished it and let sit, the finish becomes pretty robust. A lot of handling will ultimately dull and mark the surface, but that happens with real aluminum anyway. After some time, simply reapply the rub n' buff.

Don't clear coat the rub n' buff, as the wax base would cause havoc with the clear coat.

Source in U.S.A.: check out a hobby supplier called Micro Mark or any hobby shop.

Note: The Rub N‘ Buff will continue to come off on your hands until it is fully buffed out and there is no material left to come off. You might have to buff it several times with clean cloths to get the entire residue off the surface. Then let it dry for a week before handling the parts. After that, there should be no residue to come off on your hands. The paint pigment is combined with a waxy type of a base that allows you to rub and buff the silver on to the surface. Look at it like it was a car wax, where you have to rub the wax on and then buff it off to get the shine. It works the same way, but your buffing off the excess paint.


How do I Polish/Finish The Dome - Aluminum Domes

There are two different views on this. Many members prefer to leave the spinning marks the manufacturing process produces on the dome. Indeed most real R2s have these marks, although depending on the dome and depth of the marks some might lightly sand them down a little.

Note: You will have to sand "with" the marks or you will get an undesirable crosshatching. The easiest way would be to place the dome on a lazy susan, which allows you to spin the dome and sand with the marks.

The other method is too remove the spin lines all together

Start by wet-sanding the dome with wet-or-dry sandpaper, starting with 220-grit, then progressing to 320, and then to 400-grit. The courser sandpaper reduces / removes the spin-grooves, but does leave visible scratches, but these scratches will be diminished with the finer sandpaper. After the 400-grit, use fine a Scotchbrite pad, with water, which reduced the fine scratches even more. Scotchbrite gives a sort of matte finish to the dome.

After the Scotchbrite, dry-buff the dome with medium, fine, and then super-fine steel wool. For all of this, sand/buff using circular motions.

To achieve even higher sheens the dome can then be polished and buffed using standard polishing and buffing methods.

You can even combine methods to have a semi polished dome, but leaving some spin lines visible.

The technique you use simply depends on the look you want for your dome. Some people want to leave the spinning grooves visible. Others want a smooth, matte-surface. And still others want a slightly more polished effect.

NOTE: You will want to practice the method you chose on some scrap aluminum to ensure you will get the finish you desire.


Dome Adhesives – Members Hints and Tips

When attaching things to your Aluminium dome You may be better off with an adhesive that has a little bit of flex to it. JB Weld probably works best on big metal parts that are completely rigid, rather than using it on thinner sheet metal that can flex. Keep in mind, though, that the JB Weld will probably work better if you roughen the metal surfaces with sandpaper, dremel, or such

But in situations where The aluminium dome may flex it is recommended you use a silicone adhesive/sealant, You will have to let it cure for around 24 hours, though.

Household Goop is a very good flexible glue. It really bonds tight and is similar to silicone. GE also makes good silicone glue. Both work well. You can get them at Home Depot or just about any grocery/drug store.

Need an expert to create a generic mini-tutorial on glues and preparation and to sum this up and make recommendations->

Dome: Aluminum Adhesives I used silicone adhesive/sealant, and also Liquid Nails on my D&D dome. Both are somewhat flexible (so they'll withstand any flexure in the metal), and form tough bonds. Make sure the dome surfaces are clean, and it wouldn't hurt to roughen them slightly in the areas you'll be adhering. Richard M

Dome: Aluminum Adhesives I used 'Araldite Super Steel Epoxy Weld' which is basically an epoxy resin based two part adhesive for metal. It seems to stick fine to aluminum but the surface MUST be cleaned and then keyed quite rough. It seems to hold fine - I've had lipping fixed into the dome this way for about 2 months now and it seems fine (but rather messy inside!) Simon C

Dome: Aluminum Adhesives Quick Grab is not exactly crazy glue, but it is a similar idea. They've got a website at, <>. Basically, it retains a very slight spongy texture (not that soft, just not super stiff like crazy glue). This allows the glue to absorb stress and shock, allowing to hold its grip. I've used it on everything! I even made my Fett boots with it! I took a pair of slip on shoes, then sewed together on outer pattern that I simply glued around the lower portion of the shoe where the sole begins, leaving a Velcro closure in back. The stuff will never come loose unless I rip it apart. Toby Markham

Dome: Aluminum Adhesives If you scuff the gluing surface, the J B Weld is what I use. In fact, I swear by it. Craig S

Dome: Aluminum Adhesives this is a perfect place to advertise one of my favorite links: S


The first thing you need to figure out is what materials you want to use and that you’re comfortable working with. The bodies have been made out of everything from Sonotubes (the tubes that they pour concrete in), PVC sewer pipe, Wood tubes, Plexiglas, Fiberglass, Foamcore and aluminum.

Some of these require internal bracing, while others don't, so that is also a consideration because it means additional work and time and money for materials.

The various methods and materials include:

Frames are generally made from Aluminum tubing, plywood or acrylic or a combination of materials. This methods includes a layer or layers of sheet material around the outside -- typically either aluminum or plastic sheet.

Each route has advantages and disadvantages. If you want your R2 to move around with motors, you'll want to make sure that it has a good, solid structure. If you're only building a static R2, heavy-duty structure is much less important. Weight is another consideration. PVC pipe and fiberglass tend to be a bit heavy.

Keep in mind, that if you are running your R2 by radio remote control, you may want to consider how your RC receiver unit will effectively pick up signals from the transmitter. Housing the receiver inside a metal body will demand more than just a haphazard strategy to ensure reliable signal pickup. In other words, a metal body/head could inhibit reception if you just mount the receiver and antenna totally inside.

The body should be 18.1735 inches outer circumference when completed with skins on. The thickness of your skins or the methods of skinning you use will determine the size of the body frame you want. Though, it will also be determined a great deal by the size of the dome. If you have an undersize or oversize dome you may need to adjust the body diameter accordingly.

If however, you select pre-made forms such as the Tapease product, then you may need to adjust skin thickness to suit or build up additional layers under the skin to achieve the right diameter.

The Tapease product seems to be the recommended way to go, however note that they can vary in size, and thickness so verify the details before purchasing.

They are generally 18 inches outside diameter and very light and strong, you may need to add additional layers of styrene, to thicken it to your desire width with skins on.

Thickness is 5/16 with a decent hardness to the wood.

In comparison with a Sonotube: The wooden tube is much lighter, and has the same strength and rigidity as the cardboard tube. Additionally, it will not fray at the edges like Sonotubes seem to do.

Cost: around $66usd plus $12usd shipping.

There is another online company that does sell the same product with a thicker wall, plus they carry end caps that fit the R-Tubes. (I don’t have the URL handy :-(

Panels: Hinges

SOSS Invisible hinges a very cleverly designed hinge ideal for Batteries: Gel Cells Gel cells are a lead acid battery, usually of the deep cycle type. With the electrolyte in a gelled form so you can position the battery at any angle or even inverted with out the electrolyte running out. Michael T



No matter what you use for the base of the body, you have several choices for the actual skin or detailed part of the body. Styrene, Fiberglass, Plexiglas or Aluminum.

Most people are using Styrene, because it is cheap and easy to work with,

To make styrene skins, you will have 4 pieces. They will be an Inner front, Inner Back, Outer Front and Outer Back. All 4 of these should be made from .040 Styrene. That is the official measurement, but a number of people have used the .060 styrene as well.

Be sure to check the files section and then the blueprints section to find the skins drawings. A new set of official skin drawings are being worked on and should be ready soon. It would be best wait till they come out before starting to cut and scribe your skins.

You can also get a section of Styrene sheet plastic from almost any plastics dealer for about 10-15 dollars for an 8x5 foot piece.

There is a member that is working on the molds to make the skins or outer part in fiberglass. And there are also others that are working to have the skins laser cut out of aluminum. Both of these are much more expensive.

Where Do I Get The Plans For Skins

The skins plans when available can be Kinko's, Mailboxes Etc., or any business printing place. Most printing firms can reprint the skin pnas direct form a DXF cad file. They should be able to plot it for you.

Or if you know someone who works in an engineering office, ask him or her to plot it for you.


Etching Skins

This will depend on what your skins are made of. Hobby knives work great on ABS, anything thicker then you might consider a dremel with a cut off disk. These cut through anything.

There's this Dremel bit that looks like a tiny masonry nail with ribs down the sides. I used this to etch the lines in my PVC body. For a Dremel guide I used a steel ruler with the cork backing and added old inner tube rubber to the cork. That gave me more of a non-slip surface as well as raising the ruler edge away from the plastic so the smooth shank of the bit rode along the ruler and the cutting edge was on the plastic. Holding the ruler with one hand and using the other hand to guide the Dremel along the ruler, I had to keep aware of the pre-marked line, and keeping the bit pressed along the ruler so it wouldn't skewer off. Being that my PVC body is over 1/2" thick, I had no worry about going too deep. I'm sure you'll have to find a way to solve that. If a rig threaded on the Dremel could keep depth at a constant. Also there are these bits that look like tiny de-burring spheres, but I've never played with those. Good luck... Craig S

You could also try engraving your lines with the Dremel tool with Router attachment and 3/32" dia. milling bit. That's what I used. The lines come out 3/32" wide. The depth is controlled by the router attachment. The only thing to watch is to play with both the rpm's and how fast you move the tool to leave a decent finish in the bottom of the groove. I had to run a file in the grooves to clean it up.


How do I Make Panelled Skins

Need some mini-tutorials based on theses questions and responses ->

Hey guys;

Am I missing something here or am I just doing something that no one has thought of before. It seems to me that if you use the correct
thickness of Styrene or ABS for the inner and outer skins, that scribing should not be necessary. Both the inner and outer skins
should be .040 thick (Thats Official). The inner skins for the front and back would have to openings cut out for the power couplers and
vents and such. Now when you make the outter skins just cut on both the panel lines shown on the blueprints and drawings. If you do this
you will have an outer skin that has all the panels cut out. After it is applied over the inner skins, there will be a recessed areas
where the panels should be. If you cut on both the lines on the drawings you should have a panel that will go inside each of the
recessed areas. If this panel is centred in the proper area and glued or taped down, then you will automatically have the correct
depth and width of panel lines with out the need to etch or route the lines.

Granted that this will only work if you are using the correct thickness of material for the skins, but it should work just as well
for aluminium skins and well as styrene or ABS. After the panels are glued in place and a little bit if liquid cement is run along the
edge of the panel in what is now a grove, it will look as if the panel lines were etched.

This is how I am doing my skins and it seems to work well. Granted it takes a little longer to cut the skins, because of the extra
lines I have to cut on, but I don't have to worry about melting the plastic or haveing the Dremel run away and mess something up or
getting uneven or ragged scribe lines. This is the technique that I have used for years for simulating panel lines of scale spacecraft

Dan Stuettgen
Imperial Droid Works

I'm doing my droid that way also, Dan. I call it the "jig saw puzzle" method. I cut out each panel to the inside measurement, then attach it in place. I then align the adjacent panel with the correct gap. That way, if I make an error on one panel, I'm not sacrificing all the work I did on all the others. I'm about 2/3's done skinning my
droid, and I'm very happy with the results.



Where Is The Template For Skins and How Do I Get a Full Size Version

The final skin plans are not quite ready although there are some other sources for skins which are closs to accurate, The major thing to check is that any openings cut into the skin will be the right size to accept parts made by other members ( should you wish to purchase some parts rather then scratch building the lot)

Need more info

Are The Skin Panels Raised, Level, Set Below ?

Need more info


How Do I make The Parts

Most of the detail parts like the vents, and holoprojectors, eyes and legs details are made either in resin or aluminum by members of the group.

The prices are a little cheaper for the resin parts over the aluminum ones, but most of the current resin offerings are not to the official specs and do require some work to make them look good.

There are drawings for nearly all part in the files sections, you can make the parts yourself, or purchase the parts off a supplier (if there is one for that particular part).



Need some mini-tutorials based on theses questions and responses ->

I am currently constructing the outer feet and discovered that the photos from the Magic of Myth photos are slightly different than from the
blueprints. The blueprints do not show a "skirt" on the bottom, but the photos do. See the attached file.
Yes I know. details details details. Was the skirt omitted from a "later model" droid? Since the feet are so small, and my choice in motors is so big, I decided to add the skirt back to give some extra room for the drive system. Just some thoughts for those of you who
are currently or starting to build the outer feet. Thanks guys, excellent prints!


Well after reviewing my son's high school trig book and going back to the drawings, it dawned on me that a work around might be to make
mock ups out of poster board which are taped together. Since as was pointed out earlier, parts of these drawings are projections of
pieces leaned over on various angles, as the piece is uprighted to 90 degrees, the measurement changes. One could make the mock up to the
proper angles per the drawing and then using a ruler and pencil at 90 degrees to a tabletop, (a simple device could be made up to do this)
you then trace the various projections onto the mock up per the drawings. Take the mock up apart, cut out your stuff and you should
have templates you can transfer to your building material of choice. Remember to allow for material thickness based on the type of joint you
use, and remember the edges of the material will need to be squared to correct the "lean". Compensate for this too. This might not be
accurate to the 0.1 mm, but for some of us it will prevent the urge to tug out tufts of hair while doing this.



The Holoprojectors or HPs were originally made form salvaged overhead lights from an aircraft passenger cabin.



Coin Slots

The coin slots down the side of R2’s chest were possibly a coin slot off a British telephone; however, no one has been able to confirm this.

The same part is also found on the front of Darth Vader’s chest, which suggests it, is a part that can be "found" and was not manufactured specifically for StarWars.

As this part is found on Darth Vader you can often source these from Prop and costumes makers who do Darth Vader costumes.

For example try Vader makers - Galaxy Tradings have Billet aluminum coin slots. However they are a little bit too big, but metal.

Also some of the members will also soon be supplying these parts or they can also be handmade using a variety of materials and methods.

Note on Some R2s these are painted blue except for the face, on others they are all aluminum. As such they don’t necessarily need to be made from aluminum to look good if they are to be painted.

See Members Mini tutorial–insert tutorials here


Main Eye Lenses

Need a general overview


Need a general overview

As far as the two recesses areas at the bottom, these are on the blueprints. This is where the battery boxes on the side of the legs
pass by the body. Take a look at some of photos of the body that other builders have posted in the photo or file section. I thought
that this would be difficult to do, but it was really easy.

See Members Mini tutorial



need a general overview

Need some mini-tutorials


Hydraulic Hoses

The real hoses are braided bronze hydraulic hoses. The Outside Diameter is 1/2". They terminate in the foot and "battery pack" in a machined fitting.

Need length of both cables and whether measured from top of fitting or base of fitting, are all cables the same length ?

It is possible to use the stainless steel variety and paint it to match the existing ones. Check out McMasters and Carr (their website at Under braided metal hose, they have some bronze covered variety.

They are tricky to work with and difficult to slice them to specific lengths as they like to unravel when cut. If you need to cut it, wrap it with tape to prevent unravelling of the weave then cut.

They can be filled with thick armature (aluminum) wire, to give it its shape and hold it in place better


Other Sources

Home Depot in the U.S. sells 1/2" braided connection pipe in the plumbing section. It is only available in stainless steel color but is reasonably priced. It comes in various lengths with fittings already crimped on.

You can source bronze braided cable at mcmaster-carr ( They have bronze braided hose in .55 inch outer diameter in varying legnths.

Their measurements include a coupler (which would need to be removed)

48 inches may be short. The next legnth up is 54 inches @ $46.60.

Part number:
54895K518 (Same as 54895K51) Bronze Braided Hose Assembly Assembly, 1/4" ID, W/Male Couplings, 54" Length $ 46.60 Each.

Can anyone verify the foot hose length answer?

Tim straddling

Polydigital Grasper

The polydigital Grasper was a new arm for R2, first introduced in Attack of the Clones. Need more…

See Members Mini-Tutorial on how to construct the fingers of the hand from easily obtainable items



The Skirt is the tapered panel at the bottom of R2's torso that houses the middle foot, a panelled truncated cone shape.

Now, in the Kenny Baker R2 units, to allow Mr. Bakers legs to fit into the R2 feet, this skirt had to be cut at either side and flexible pipes joined the feet to the skirt to conceal Mr. Baker's legs.

These pipes were dark coloured in ANH, ESB and ROTJ but in TPM they were white and clearly visible (pod race scene, end scene)
Basically, MOST of the shots of R2 in 2 legged mode wobbling back and worth were the work of Mr. Baker.

The leg tubes in themselves don't look bad; it's just that they disappear whenever a 3-legged R2 unit is visible. Look closely at the
R2 unit in EP 1 on Tatooine and you will see that it has a crossbar joining the two legs!

Another 'unit switch' to look out for is in ANH on the Death Star, 3po says "come on r2, we're going'" R2's 3rd leg drops and he rolls forward albeit with a slight buckling in his legs.

The scene then cuts and then goes back to R2 rolling across to the falcon and if you look very closely, you can see brackets joining the feet to the skirt to keep the legs stable - a different unit but still the same R2 to the untrained eye.


What Arms/Utilities/Gadgets etc

Verbose listing of sub-pages available from this map image:


Periscope Hatch

Pneumatic Cargo Hold

External Scanner Unit

Small Holographic Eyes

Radar Eye

Logic Readouts

Fire Extinguisher

Head Mounted Claw

Data Slot

Blue Arms

Charge Hatch

Six Small Slots

Cutting Disc Hatch

Front Right Corner Hatch

Front Left Corner Hatch

Rear Right Corner Hatch

Rear Left Corner Hatch


The Back

Small Grill

Polarity Sink


Heat Outlet

Peripheral Interface

Other arms……

See A highly detailed R2-D2 reference site arms and gadgets.


Painting and Preparation

What Color Blue

R2's blue has changed slightly depending on which version is used in front of the cameras. As of Episode 2, all of the R2s have been uniformly painted a single color of blue. While the actual color combination has been kept a secret, it is known that a purple metallic base was used followed by a layer of transparent blue.

The most common answer among members is to choose a color that you feel best suits your eye.

You know, if I were to paint an R2--and this is just hypothetical, mind you--I would order a brand of paint called Shimrin Kolors from House of Kolor, located at 2521 27th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55406 (800 328 5139). I think I might order Pavo Purple, Zenith Gold and Orion Silver as basecoats, mixing them with a ratio of 50% purple, 25% Gold and 25% silver. I then might coat it with Kandy Oriental Blue, and probably wouldn't put a clear coat on it, though it would add some more depth. I'd guess that a quart of the basecoats each cost about $26.55 and the top coat about $31.49 per quart. Of course, I would have to buy a quart of catalyst at $35.40 and a quart or two of reducer at about $9.80 per quart. I bet if I did all that, I'd have a color that's pretty close to the real color.

For those of you struggling over the blue, remember we did the same thing. The blue photographs so totally different in different light that it is hard to nail down. We went with the slightly lighter for Ep2 because George felt that it wouldn't look black in low light situations, something we were in a fair amount. However, it absolutely popped in the desert sun. Because the basecoat is metallic, it usually looks darker when looking straight at it and lighter at the edge. My advice is to use whatever looks good, but if you want something close to the "real" one, you'll need the 2-stage candy coat process, though not necessarily the one I hypothetically discussed. You want a paint sample? Find a Pepsi can...that's what the original (New Hope) droids looked like.

Painting: Finishes On the topic of paint finishes, the original WAS done with a candy apple finish. That is to say there was a metallic undercoat with a blue tinted clear finish. (Very popular with show cars in the 70's!). The best you will do is a mixture of 50% metallic purple, 25% metallic gold & 25% metallic silver as a base, with a transparent blue top coat. Experimentation says this works best. Too much gold gives a green hue, too much silver isn't right and just the purple gives a purple hue, which you don't want. The finish is a deep, rich blue that works well when photographed. Dave B

Note: There are two types of Shimrin Metallic to order. Glamour Metallic or Fine Metallic The one you want is Fine Metallic

At celebration II Gary Weaver's R2 had the closest color of blue to the original...The only real difference was Gary's was not glossy enough...The original had a very "deep" looking gloss to it however Gary Weaver method is an alternative... Insert Gary’s Mini Tutorial here


For small quantities of House of Kolor candies, etc. try Black Gold, a Texas company that offers 4 oz. bottles for airbrushing. Their latest ad in Scale Auto says they will be offering 6 oz. spray cans soon as well.


What Color White

Well, if I were to paint R2--and mind you, it's only hypothetical--I would use paint code LS015K from Dupont in this country...but only hypothetically speaking. Of course, it should have a bit of sheen to it, so a clear coat helps. But the most important step would be to dirty it down--even when clean, R2 has some "dirt under the fingernails". A water based/acrylic paint, such as burnt sienna or raw umber brushed on then wiped off helps give him his "lived in" look. – Don Bies


Aluminum Preparation - Hints and Tips from Members

Aluminum doesn't normally take paint very well without special surface treatment, called etching, A Recommended product is a liquid chemical product called Prep & Prime, and it does a nice job of etching aluminum. Some of the other members have found some other ways to etch aluminum, including use of a special self-etching primer that's supposedly available at auto paint stores. If you don't use some method to etch the aluminum, the paint won't stick as well. Some members have painted aluminum parts without etching (opting for sanding the surface, instead), but chemical surface etching is the only method recommended by the paint industry for preparing aluminum for painting.

Preparation Well since you asked. I would scuff the alum. With either a 600-grit paper or a GRAY 3M pad. This will let the primer get a good "bite" on the alum. Then I would run a soft cloth with Klean easy (product name) over it, let the klean easy dissipate, then run a tack cloth over it. Always remember not to touch the prepped surface because the oil in your hands will make fish eyes in the paint/primer. Most of the self-etching primers are non-sanding so all you have to do is wait a half hour (30min.) and paint your top color on. Again remember not to touch the primer before painting. All of this can be used on the plastic skins so many of us are using but you would only use the GRAY scuff pads NOT the 600 paper.

Another recommended product is called Bond-Aid found at Walmarts...look in the section with Auto paints and look around that area.

Another source for self-etching primer. It can be found at the Eastwood Company. The URL is <> The 16 oz. aerosol can is #16014Z, and is $14.99, or $13.99 each for 2 or more cans. It's also sold in 1 quart cans (non-aerosol) for $19.99, or $18.50 each for 2 or more.

Preparation - Jasco Prep & Prime Well, I think I've finally found a product to make paint stick to aluminum (after searching in vain for self-etching primer in small quantities). While wandering through our local Lowes, I stumbled upon a liquid chemical product called Prep & Primer, made by Jasco Chemical. By merely brushing the chemical on (or dipping the part in) for 30 minutes, then thoroughly rinsing it off, the aluminum is etched on the surface, giving it "tooth" with which to grab any paint that's applied. My test indicates that it seems to work well. Ordinarily in the past, spray primer can be easily scraped off aluminum with a fingernail, even after sanding the surface. But the primer clung tenaciously to my test piece of aluminum after it was treated with Prep & Primer. The stuff contains phosphoric acid and dichromates, which is one of the pre-paint treatments recommended by authoritative web sites dealing with the subject of prepping bare aluminum for painting. I believe I paid about $6 US for a 1-quart bottle. The Jasco web site is: Here is the write-up on Prep & Primer: Converts rust into a black paintable surface. Prepares old/new metal, rusted or unrusted steel, aluminum or galvanized prior to painting for interior or exterior use. Treats up to 600 sq.ft. per gallon. Non-flammable and water clean-up Brush, roll, spray or wipe-on application Jasco also has a product called Metal Etch, which will also treat aluminum for painting: Removes rust, oil & grease Cleans & prepares for painting all metals: iron, steel, aluminum, zinc Excellent for galvanized surfaces Eliminates paint peeling Wipe-on, wash-off & paint Concentrated, may be reduced as much as 3 parts water / one gallon Prepares metals for welding or soldering I thought some of you might be interested.

Painting – Hints and Tips from Members


Painting: Ageing Instead of airbrushing the areas that you want to accentuate, i.e. panel lines, go to a hobby store and buy some weathering chalk. Take the chalk home, use a small brush to get some chalk on the brush and brush it on your R2 in the panel lines areas and voila! This stuff works great. I have used it on my SW models to bring out the details of the panels and to give them an aged look and I am very happy with the results. The weathering chalk comes in a variety of colors for any type of aging and weathering. After the desired finish is complete, spray on a clearcoat to protect the chalk. You should give it a try; it's cheap, easy and looks very good. Brett L

Painting : Ageing There are several ways to age something, but it depends on how permanent you'd like it. Typically, water base paint thinned way down and spritzed on with a spray bottle will do the job nicely, but tends to be difficult to remove. That technique works really well even if you want to take down a brand new paint job, to take the edge off of the ultra-clean look. Another techniques is to use theatrical hair colorant--it's like hairspray with color in it, available from theatre supply stores. It cleans off with rubbing alchol, but may disturb the paint underneath. Another technique is to use fuller's earth (available from theatre supply house also) and mix it with water and make a mud, though this will not be very permanent and tend to rub off. The EPI UK crew used fuller's earth mixed with beeswax thinned with kerosene...very smelly, but made a great paste and washed off long as it wasn't left on too long. With any of these techniques, apply the mixture, than brush it around with either a brush or a rag, wiping off the excess. Never use a thinner based paint, as it will eat into your basecoat. Another consideration is the color of the dirt. R2 usually was a muddy brown, so using browns rather than black makes the aging look more natural. I wouldn't recommend doing it in the house, no matter what technique you choose.... Don

Painting: Preparation. First, if you have a sandable primer, remove the masking paper while it's still wet. However, if you are masking on an edge, the primer will "fall" away from it and it's not as necessary, although still a good idea as sanding can damage the edges of the masking paper. Use fine line tape for all edges, available at an auto body supply store, as this will give you very good lines without imperfections. Be very careful when pulling masking paper when the primer/paint is still wet because you don't want to touch the surface you just painted. If you wait too long to pull the tape off, it can leave jagged edges along the finished lines. Do this as well with your paint job but only pull the tape off after the whole thing is painted will base and clear. You do not need to sand between each coat of primer. If you are using a non-sanding primer, you do not need to remove any tape until the whole thing is painted and done. Enamels are good paints; a lot of boat trailers use that kind of paint. However, if it were me, I would use a catalyzed polyurethane paint. Very durable. Enamels, if not catalyzed, will come off with some solvents. Good Luck. Brett L

FibreGlass Painting

Need some mini-tutorials based on theses questions and responses ->


I was wondering if anyone could give me some tips on painting my fiberglass dome. ?

I'm looking for any paint suggestions, color and kind of paint. ?

Is it best to paint it all silver first then do the blue areas?

What is the best way to keep from painting the parts I don't want a certain color, tape? Other suggestions?

First and foremost, catalyzed acrylic urethane paint. Why? It's the best paint to put on fiberglass. It's also the industry standard and
is used on 10 million dollar yachts. Don posted a few days ago about how to do the silver on the dome to get it to look like aluminum, so
go back and check his posts. You will have to dig through them but the info is there. You can do two things for the blue. The closest
color to the ILM units that isn't their formula is Candy Apple Blue available at Pep Boys. Otherwise, you'll need to mix up 3 paints from
House of Kolor. I forget the specific names but they are 50% purple,25% silver (Orion?) and 25% gold. All basecoats. Then top coat with
Kandy Blue.

For masking, use fine line tape around the edges, 1/4 inch width, available at any body supply store. The mask off the rest of the area
with masking tape/paper. Remember that wherever you don't mask, it will get painted. Take your time and mask it well. Remove the tape
as soon as you are done painting.

Hope this helps!



Resin - Painting

Require info…


Electrical – Motors - What Motors Do I use

Dome Rotation

Require info…

Rocklers and other bearing stuff …

Require info…

Electric Screwdriver/Drill Motor

Require info…


Leg Motors

Choosing motors will depend on the weight of your R2, how fast you want him to go and the diameter of your drive wheels. You can calculate out your requirements using the Excel spreadsheet at construction/R2%20drive%20calculator.xls

Use the results in your search for suitable motors.

Need some mini-tutorials based on theses questions and responses ->

Wipers motors are avalable from many sources surplus new for around $20.00. MECI and allelectronics are two of the best sources. I can
get them from my local junk yard for $34.50 but I have to remove them fro the car and most of them are covered with road and engine

I'll get mine new for MECI or Allelectronics.

Imperial Droid Works
TI3755 Buy em NEW from for 19.95 each!


Those motors are all about the gearbox and using big wheels to get the gearing even lower. The motor itself is actually relatively
small. The biggest problem I have found is the output shaft on them is designed to mate to the wheel with a number of fingers in a
circle (hard to explain). So if you don't use the wheel, you will need to modify the output shaft of the gearbox. But they are cheap
you can readily find them at most surplus places also. Here's a link to one of my favorites. I just check and they no longer have those,
but did not too long ago. Being surplus though, they may come around

That should take you directly to the main motor section. They have a number of other motor selections also.



There is some variation in the type of foot motors people are using. A few people want to find the exact type of "pancake motor" used in the real R2s. These are very expensive - around $300 each!!!

Some are using wheelchair motors. They're quiet and efficient (will run long time off of a battery charge), but still expensive - $150-250 each.

Others are taking the "low-end" approach and using power window motors - about $15 each. While these little motors work well for brief operations like 2-to-3-to-2-leg transitions, they are only designed for intermittent use, and could burn out if run for longer periods (driving R2's locomotion, for example). Their internal braking effect when power is removed means that they will start and stop on a dime.

The "middle ground" is the windshield wiper motor. They are tough, are designed for continuous duty, and are price-friendly -- around $30 or so each. Most members are going this route. You can find motors of this type at: <>. Click on the "motors" category and then the "gearhead" subcategory on the left side of the web page, and you'll find a listing for a "12 VDC Worm Gear Motor", which is designed to fit a 2000-2001 Saturn "L"-seried car. It's part # 420-0578, and costs just $24.95 each.

Beware: Wiper motors as they are, are very inefficient and chew up limited battery amps very quickly. But they are readily available and cheap.

The main alternative to wiper motors -- to improve battery-usage efficiency -- are wheelchair motors. They are $150-200 or more each, and I understand are typically quite a bit larger than most wiper motors -- therefore it would be pretty difficult to even think of fitting these into the feet/battery boxes, as you can wiper motors.

BTW, if anyone has found a specific make/model of wheelchair motor (or motor with similar speed/torque/power efficiency characteristics) that's small enough to fit in the foot/battery box area, I'm sure a lot of us would like to know.

Most motors setups involve chains or belt drive rather then directly driving the wheels with the motor. This is primarily due to the lack of space in the foot. Some people are putting the motors in the battery box and running the wheel directly, however others a using the battery boxes for their batteries and as such need a chain or belt drive in order to fit everything in the foot.

There is/will be a tutorial from one of the members showing how to fit a windshield wiper motor coming soon.

I can't say whether there definitely is or isn't some wheelchair motor out there that'll fit in the battery box, but of the 4-5 gearhead wheelchair motor models currently sold for robotics applications by National Power Chair, only one comes close to fitting the foot/battery box, and even it appears to be just a little bit too large.

Has anyone looked at optically encoding the drive motors to allow the circuitry to make the motors go the same speed and the robot to drive straight?

I might go this way eventually; the system to lock the speeds is called PID (proportional, integral, Derivative) and is an error correcting method for keeping multiple motors running at the same speed. It's used a lot in robotics. If you look up PID you'll find plenty of links explaining how it


Motors: Torque Ratings 75 I/P comes out to 8.7nm or 88 kg/cm. You need to multiply that figure by your gearing, and then divide by your wheel radius to get the final figure. The figure quoted is stall torque, which means how much torque it provides when the shaft is locked. Torque is not a great way to rate DC motors as they usually provide the same torque over their entire RPM range, unlike an internal combustion engine that usually has only a narrow torque band. Also in DC motors, you only need torque to get you started since rolling resistance is very low once you are moving. A better rating would be watts, and then I can tell you how it'll perform. For example: If R2 weighed 50kg (110lbs) had a rolling coefficient of .05 (this is a guess based on the footprint and wheel widths). On a flat grade, to get 6KPH (3.7MPH) you’d need to pump in about 4.2 amps, at 12v that means 50.87 watts. Bear in mind this is driving with one wheel, you would consume half that figure per motor in a normal setup, but it's always good to factor another 100% in since occasionally one wheel may lose traction, or you might be executing a turn. Increasing the grade drastically increases the power required. A 3% grade (2.7deg) raises the required wattage to 80. Dave E


How fast does the R2 unit need to go to participate in the R2 parades at the Celebrations?

Need some mini-tutorials based on theses questions and responses ->

In some cases, as fast as you can pull it on a trolley

Dave Everett said in another post that we needed some thing that could run at 300rpm. The wiper motors can go as high as 106rpm.

Motors: NPC did supply a set of motors to us for the Episode 1 R2 we built at ILM, though those motors are still in a box uninstalled. The motors that we did use were the same make as the ones Nation Power Chair sold us, but we bought them from a local supplier and bought the NPC's pair as a back up. I'm not sure they know that, and I certainly hope they don't use us in their advertising.... Though I can't speak for the other motors, the make we are using are very good, though big--the inside of the "ankle" and lower part of the leg had to be modified to accept that motor. Don

Pancake Motors: For those interested in using the pancake motors, the correct part number as used by ILM is: GPM12, they cost about $300 US each. The website for PML is Dave E


Electrical – On/Off Switch

Need some mini-tutorials based on theses questions and responses ->

I'm not sure this has been discussed, so please forgive me if I'm repeating.

I was wondering where to put the power switch on R2. I was thinking about using one of those little knobs/bumps on the back of his head
but still haven't decided. It never occurred to me that this button is a vital part of the droid and I have yet to decide how and where
it will be. Where has anyone here put the on/off switch?

Thanx in advance.



Electrical – Batteries

What Are The Direct Mains Power Options

Require info…

What Batteries Do I Need

Require info…

How Do I Connect Batteries

Need some mini-tutorials based on theses questions and responses ->


Batteries: Misc. When connecting the batteries in series ---|(- +)--(- +)|--- will sum the voltages. Note: "(- +)" represents the battery, and "-" and "|" represent wired connections. Connecting them in parallel (with all the "-" sides connected to each other, and all the "+" sides connected to each other) will sum the currents. That is, two 6V 10A batteries connected in parallel will give you 6V 20A. |(- +)| ---| |--- |(- +)| Similarly, mixing these two ideas can give you various combinations. If you take two 6V 10A batteries, and connect them in series, then take two more and do the same, then connect the unconnected negative sides together and the unconnected positive sides together, you would have a 12V 20A source. |(- +)--(- +)| ---| |--- |(- +)--(- +)| A few technical notes from the Power-Sonic Sealed Lead-Acid Battery Handbook about series charging: "Charging in Series: Lead-acid batteries ... may be charged in series safely and efficiently. However, as the number of batteries in series increases, to does the possibility for slight differences in capacity. ... Depending on the characteristics of the individual batteries, some may overcharge while others remain in a slightly undercharged condition.... To minimize the effects of individual battery differences, use batteries of the same age and history, and, if possible, charge in strings of no greater than 24 to 48 volts." Regarding "sealed" enclosures: I believe (but I am not certain) that "sealed" refers to being airtight. Another Power-Sonic note: "Caution: Never charge or discharge a battery in a hermetically sealed enclosure. Batteries generate a mixture of gases internally. Given the right set of circumstances, such as extreme overcharging or shorting the battery, these gases might vent into the enclosure and create the potential for an explosion when ignited by a spark." Mike V

Batteries: Type I was planning on going the motorcycle route myself, but I've opted for a gel cell like we use in our aerobatic planes. There 12 volt and only 3 1/8" X 7 5/8" X 5"high and 6Lbs each. Two should be plenty of juice. Tom K




Dome: Fiber Optics The real R2s use a multi-strand plastic fiber (Polymethyl Methacrylate) clad in a plastic (Fluorinated Polymer) jacket. There are 64 strands, each with a diameter of 0.010", and the jacket's outside diameter is 0.130". You can get this cable from Poly-Optical Productions ( for POC1501.64 I'm waiting for word on pricing, but it appears as though the smallest quantity available is 1640 feet! Don

Dome: Fiber Optics I believe fiber optics have been around for quite some time, though its use in applications such as telecommunication may not have been widely popular until the 1980s. Though another approach might yield a similar result, the fiber optic approach was used on all the R2s since its inception. Don

Dome: Fiber Optics. The fibres should be about 3mm each. 0.130 inches equals 3.3mm

Dome: Logic Display Light Boxes, 8 x 5 for each front box and 28 x 5 for the rear unit. Dave E

Where/how can I find/construct the electronics (lights of dome)

Dave E in Sydney will shortly have the lighting system all finished and I suggest you wait for that one (unless your electronically inclined),

Dome: Processor State Indicators 2 Thanks Dave - that saves me from typing too much... However, to expand on it a bit: Dave is correct about all the R2s and their approaches to the blinkies. The lens at the front is simply milky acrylic (milkplex in the US), and the light unit is mounted in a "can" behind it. For Ep2, we streamlined it ever so slightly; we CNC'd a light box, and wrapped the appropriate colored gels around the lights. Since the timing of the lights in all the other films varied, we decided to go with a 50-50 mix, although it could be electronically varied...something we never did (or have yet to do...!) The effect we were trying to achieve is for the red to blend to blue and back again, and that's what we got. A side note: In some of Ep1 and Ep2, the green/yellow light on the back is usually disabled. The director of photography didn't like the look of the light spilling on to the set. Don

Dome: Processor State Indicators 1: In the original R2s, there was a mechanical shutter, with a red and blue gel that wiped across the light to change color. In some shots this has been turned off, mainly because it was noisy, and you can see the light is part red and blue. By ESB, the setup is different, with 2 lights, one with a red gel the other blue, and a circuit to switch them back and forth. One colour fades out while the other colour fades in. Dave E


Glad the PSI plastic worked for you!! It’s the right stuff to use too!!! That tidbit came right from our beloved astromech master himself!!


Someone posted about a UFO light that was modified; well I found one that runs on dc power. It's a little mushroom type light. Here is the link.

They are on clearance for $9.00. The bulbs can also be replaced. I picked one up today and the only problem is you don’t get that twinkle. The 3 lights just turn off and on randomly.

Spinning colored Gel wheels?


Electronics - Voice

There are several options are available for sound. Wav Files burnt to a portable CD player are the easiest and the CD player is just let run, or stopped and started using a remote control, you may need an amplified speaker to get loud enough sounds. Although this doesn't have any control (purely random) It is simple and cheap (if you already have the CD player)

James Houston mailto:jameshouston@currantbun.comhas a CD compilation of R2 sounds. Email him for details or you can cut your own CD using the cleaned sounds from the main site.

Some have taken the approach of installing laptops or PCs inside the R2 frame with soundcards and interface circuitry. Mark Hamester has a PC in his and his R2 works via radio, voice command and ultrasonics.

Also Sound encoded onto Sound Chips and played back by interfacing chip with a product like Switch 8/16 from MCD Hitchhiker KeyKoder 19/23/39 channel R/C from Vantec The ISD5008 is a simple, single-chip voice record and playback solution with up to 8 minutes duration of high audio quality available from ISD

There are some pre-made boards already completed, or in the works, that are even sound activated

See Jim Shimas website has optional motion activated!

Mike Velcheck also has another similar though more complex soundcard in development.

Other builders have cannibalized "talking" toys such as Commtechs and the R2-D2 3D puzzle and utilized the chips out of those.

Basic Stamp Circuit Click on this link www.faq_bs_sound.htm to view the "Basic Stamp Code" to produce sounds for R2-D2 voice-activated switches for a modest sum which could be slaved to a CD player or other devices for voice activated "conversations"

Also See the following Members Mini-Tutorials

Cheap R2 Sound Generator *By Steve Otte with improvements by Barry Murphy

Building an R2 Sound Card for Under $20 *By Darrin Fuller - not yet complete


Is There a "Do It Yourself" Sound Circuit Design or Sound Kit Available From the Club

Hello, anybody help me with the sound circuit for my R2 D2 Unit? I´am need de plans of the electronic circuit for the sound.

Sound Resources


Remote Control

This is an explanation by Don Bies, on how the film R2s work via remote control.

"Here's how the film R2s work: Each R/C robot has a drive motor in each of the side legs, for a total of 2. Each motor is plugged into its own heavy duty speed control, which in turn is plugged into a channel on the R/C Receiver mounted on R2, using 2 channels on the r/c system (we typically assign them to channel 1 and 2). The speed controls can range in price from $60 US to $500 US--it depends on your budget. The difference in the units is how large a load they can handle, a factor determined by your choice of motors. An overworked speed control will blow frequently--which happened a lot to the UK crew on Episode I, as they were using hobby speed controls for model race cars. We have now standardized the speed controls in all the robots except for 2. Except for those, we use a Vantec model that costs about $100 US each. If I had my paperwork here I'd tell you the model number. The other 2 speed controls are also Vantec, but were around $500 US, though only one is needed in each robot, since that model controls 2 motors. I'm sure if you called Vantec and told them what you want to do, they could guide you through it. We've found them very helpful. As to the controlling of the motors, we use the high-end Futaba 9ZAP, a helicopter/airplane controller (yes, I know...but we haven't brought down an R/C plane or helicopter...yet...) which costs about $1500 US. We also use a Futaba 6 channel skysport (6XAHS, or something like that), which costs about $250 US. Both of these models have the capability to mix two channels together onto one joystick, allowing us to drive R2 by using the right joystick. R2 drives by tank method, so when the joystick is pushed forward, both motors engage and it moves forward. Reverse is the same. When turning, a slow turn is made by pushing the joystick to a corner position (45, 135, 225, 315 degrees). That engages one motor only, and a quick turn is accomplished by pushing the stick full right or left, causing one motor to go forward while the other goes in reverse. The function that mixes is the "flaperon" mix settings, and it took some time to play with it to trim it out, but it works great. The difference in R/C systems is important--make sure you use an FM system, as well as a PCM (I'll let those in the electronics field explain those differences...) we tried PPM settings (both Futaba systems we use are capable of both), and R2 had a lot of glitching. Whenever possible, I like using the 9ZAPs, as they are very smooth working and have a lot of functions. As a side note, we power the receiver with its own 6-volt gel cell, and that runs any small servos, like the holo-eye, as well. The Transmitter is powered by a Makita 9.6 volt battery in an external holder, allowing long operating times and fast changeovers. Don



Has anyone looked at a pc motherboard inside the R2 frame with soundcard and interface circuitry?

Several. Mark Hamester has a PC in his and his R2 works via radio, voice command and ultrasonics.

I was asked about this system the other night as some of my classmates have decided to build a battlebot for their Senior Project. I'd never heard of this before, so I must ask the Republic :)

The system is called an "Isaac16" and is made by a company in Greenville, Texas called IFIrobotics. Has anyone used these in an industrial application or elsewhere?

As I understand it, the basic version of the "16" goes for about $50USD, with the full blown control system all the way at $800USD and known as the "Isaac32"

If nothing else, the club may be interested in these controllers or the speed control units, etc.

URL is

Telephone number is given as 903-454-1978

These folks are strongly recommended by the Battlebot people, but I'm not familiar with them so I thought I'd ask.

What materials glues etc recommended

Check http://www.mcmaster.comfor a wide variety of materials fasteners cables etc

Try for some great prices, on aluminum



Where Can I Find a Supplier In My Country for (resin/paint/aluminum/styrene etc) i.e.: supplier list

Require info…

Eg Where in the UK can we get the RNB for our R2s and also what ref No. are the paint colours for R2s white blue and silver

If any Members find useful links on supplies or materials please submit an email to with details of the product and a URL. Thanks


House Of Kolor Paints -

SOSS hinges -

Mcmaster and Carr –

Jasco Prep & Prime - :

Meci –




House Of Kolor Paints








House Of Kolor Paints





Mechanical Resources

· Spreadsheet to calculate motor requirements



Where can I find other R2 related info


Where do I find info on R2 related props?

Droid restraining bolts

Bartender R2 equipment

Docking frames

What sort of R2 Toys Models Are There and How Accurate



Which members live where

How do I get email address of members

Who has one near me I can see.



There are tons of great sites out there with R2 related material but if your looking for essential R2 Builders material then we suggest visiting the sites below.

The R2-D2 Builders Club website website was created by group founder Dave Everett and acts as the home website for the group. Containing many pictures of member’s droids, personal stories and general information, it is a great place to get started.

Ramjet EP. IV

If you are looking for an accurate set of blueprints then it is essential that you visit Ramjet!!

Ramjet also has a large image gallery of R2 and other R series astromech droids.

Dave Lockwood's R2 Astromech

Dave has great parts and tons of information, pics, and links to help you get started!!

RXC'S R2 Site

Ross Cole and his informative website is a link not to be missed as well, containing tons upon tons of images for reference, parts, interviews of builders and how they constructed r2, a glossary of terms, a must read FAQ <> section for newbies, more blueprints, fun r2 related files, and a valuable resource of links.


The R2 Builders group uses a YAHOO forum do discuss building issues, swap ideas, and generally discuss experiences building an R2

How to join

You must make a Yahoo ID to get access. Go to and look for a Join hyperlink, make sure you associate the ID with the email address you use for this group.

How do I upload a file

How do I attach a picture

How do I download an attachment

Why don't we have threaded messages

What are Polls and how, why, who, would set one up

How does chat work - particularly time zones

To use chat you need the following

The regular chat session is at 8:00am-9:00am EST Australia. Time every second Sunday. You will need to use a time converter site to work out your local time. Remember to take into account Daylight Savings either In Australia or local to where you are.

Also note the Chat room can be used anytime, and not just during the regular meeting.

How Do I Unsubscribe?

The way to unsubscribe from any Yahoo group is to send an e-mail to:

So, in this case,



Magic Of The Myth Tour

The R2 that is part of the MOM exhibit is an aluminum body and head, which would date it as an original R2 from "Star Wars: A New Hope". I can't remember if there are "Kenny feet" on that one or not--it would be obvious by the big hole on the inside of the battery pack, with little booties inside. Not all the two-legged configured R2s are Kenny ones; there have been 2 leg R/C ones as well, such as the R2 serving drinks on Jabba's Barge and R2 adjusting to launch the lightsaber to Luke in "Jedi". As to what other films that particular robot has been in, I can only say for certain that he was in the first one, and probably "Empire" and "Jedi". I can state for sure that it wasn't in Episode I or II, as it has been part of one exhibit or another since 1988. During the original film productions, the bodies did get mixed and matched with heads and arms. I believe I pulled that body and head (and possibly arms as well) from various units, finding a complete set in good condition for it's first public exhibition in 1988. I'm pretty sure it was not used as a Kenny unit as it never had the little seat he used while inside. It was never used as an appearance R2 as someone said I reported; I believe he confused my statement from when I was discussing the Smithsonian Magazine photo I posted in the files section. The same BODY as in the exhibit is in that photo, but the HEAD in the photo is from the R2 used for personal appearances. Another photo of the personal appearance R2 is in the Archive book. If you ever saw an R2 in public from about 1984 until 1997, THAT was also the R2 at MOM.... Don


Using a Dremel – Tips

When dremeling the curves, do the first pass with your dremel set on a slow or one notch (higher) still slow. Hold tight to the dremel, but let the blade kind of walk it self on the dome this will make your first groove. After that speed up almost 1/2 way then go back over the groove still holding tightly. Then if you want to make the groove a little deeper speed up to full speed, hold tight, put blade in the groove and again let the blade walk through the groove.


How to Vac form


Resistor Values: The formula for LEDs is: R = (E - Vf) x 1000/I where: R is in ohms E is voltage supply Vf is the forward voltage drop of the LED and I is the LED current in ma For a typical white LED of 3.6 Vf and I of 50ma, you would need a 56R resistor. 56 = (6 - 3.6) x 1000/50 Dave E

How Aluminum Domes Are Spun

Have you ever wondered how they make those domes for R2? Well it’s a process called spinning. See Aluminium Dome



The issue with getting paint to effectively stick to polyethylene isn't just isolated to flexibility. The molecular structure of polyethylene gives it an almost "wax-like" feel to the surface, making for a "slippery" surface. Because of this, paint can't "grab" or bond onto the material the same way it can polystyrene other traditionally paintable Materials. It's a bit like trying to paint Teflon or nylon, although it has a bit less "slip" than those materials. To be sure, you can get paint to dry onto the surface, but it is very bad at surviving the "scuff test" - paint generally scrapes right off. Supposedly, this Bondite prep coat helps (though again, Bondite doesn't appear to be widely distributed), or the material might be run through some sort of exotic chemical treatment bath. I'm looking for a readily available method to improve the paint-bonding characteristics for polyethylene. Richard M

Painting: Polyethylene

Polythene and Polypropylene are both classed as 'oleofin' polymers and are characterized by their good flexibility and chemical resistant properties. Neither are as good as PVC for structural strength but polyprop has excellent fatigue resistance allowing boxes with hinges to be moulded as one - the hinges will NOT break. Both of these polymers are resistant to all 'off the shelf' adhesives and probably paints as well. Glue spreaders, which are supplied with some adhesives, are made from polythene and the glue simply peels off when set. I would avoid using such plastics at all costs as they are both susceptible to bending and shrinking due to temperature changes. Mouth wash caps made of polythene would on the other hand be IDEAL for making silicone moulds for resin castings. Simon C



Gelcoat is resin but is much stronger and has pigments to give it color. It's main purpose, however, is cosmetics and to provide a barrier of protection for the laminate. FRP stands for Fiberglass Reinforced Polymers (plastics). The gelcoat and the resin are the polymers that are reinforced with glass. The styrene that you mentioned is put into the resin to help keep it in liquid form. If exposed to a peroxide catalyst, the styrene burns out of the resin (exothermic reaction) and causes the resin to harden. In the process of making resin, it is in a solid state until the styrene is applied. If gelcoat or resin is exposed to air long enough without being kept mixed it will harden as well. The styrene separates from the resin and causes hardening. The best way to apply gelcoat is by gun. DO NOT thicken it, as you will have pinholes and an ugly surface to finish. If you are putting the gelcoat into the mold first, do not put a wax in it. If you are laying up your laminate then applying the gelcoat, use a surfacing agent wax. This will seal the gelcoat's surface from air and will allow a sandable surface, which would otherwise be tacky and will gum up your sandpaper. Apply all gelcoat at once and not in layers and let it cure to a tacky surface, then apply your laminate, this is for use in a mold. An FRP mold gets the best results, as silicon is best for casting resins. Do not start lay-up too soon as laminating resin bleeding through the gelcoat will occur. When painting gelcoat, sand the surface to 400 grit and use polyurethane single stage paint. It's the industry standard and recommendation. I use nothing else when painting gelcoat. Brett L