Sunday, April 27, 2008


After the frame is roughly pieced together, everything is fitted together to make sure all is correct. The unwelded ends are measured for steel brackets that will be riveted to secure the correct diameter and radius for the body tube. The head is placed onto the frame to ensure the body frame matches flush, as the the head has a perfect 18" diameter. So far, everything looks excellent.


The frame is constructed by using the body tobe as a guide to drill the holes. The rings are sandwiched flat-side together just inside the body tube. The center lines on the rings are checked against the center lines on the outside of the body for reference. Two holes on opposite sides are drilled, then a 5/16" bolts dropped in temporarily to keep the rings from shifting. The rest of the holes are drilled, and then the third ring is drilled the same way, placing it with another ring, and drilling through its holes as a guide to be accurate. To deburr the 5/16" holes, a 1/2" drill bit is spun by hand a couple times over both sides of each hole to clean up sharp edges. Using the body tube method rather than a drill press to drill the rings ensures everything will be accurate in relation to the PVC body.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cut the frame rings today.

Spent a couple hours in the shop over at my office cutting the data port slot and 1/4" off of each unwelded ring. The rings now fit perfectly in the body tube. Now all I need to do is finish filing smooth cut surfaces of the rings, and I can start assembly of the frame. I should be able to have most of the structure completed this weekend.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Start of the Frame..

Aluminum angle formed into 18" rings will form the frame. Tonight was spent measuring cut-outs required in the rings to create the frame. The top ring is marked to be notched to allow flush fit with the data port and bearing that will be used to spin the dome. The dome will also incorporate a ring. The central ring is marked to remove a section facing the rear of the R2 for easier access under R2's rear access panel, and that leftover section will be used for a radius on the front of the droid to form a box around the utility arms.

The lower ring must have sections on both sides completely cut out, and flat lengths of aluminum angle will be welded back into place to create the flattened areas on right above the lower skirt so The feet will clear the body correctly.

After these critical lines are marked, The rings are double-checked, and the final center lines drawn on. The center-lines will allow correct alignment of all three rings used in the frame, and allow them to be drilled correctly with a drill press.....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Exterior aluminum panels.

Today was spent going to the hardware store, finding the correct thickness aluminum for R2's vents, buying files and bits. I used the Vent patterns cut out of the old sheets, cut off 1/32
around the aluminum pattern to allow the panels to line up with the etched lines in the body tube.
Cutting aluminum is not difficult, just time consuming as there are small vent details, and the filing can take time. I was lucky to find some nice looking aluminum sheet with no scratches and decent thickness to work with. the "coin return" vents actually use 2 pieces for depth. I think in my case I will cut and bevel the body tube where needed, and then add the inner chute to the bevel.

Monday, April 14, 2008

R2's Head arrives...

R2's machined aluminum dome arrived in the mail today, and WOW is it nice.
Spun from a solid piece of metal, It also has the grooves around the base milled in, and fits his body very nicely. I can't wait to get to work on his head.. But I have to finish his body first, lots and lots of work..

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Body ready for etching and cutting...

Here is the corrected Body tube, using revised versions of prints for the panel lines
The newer version had slightly changed sides for the vents, and areas around the fold out utility arms, but my original interior panel prints lined up actually quite well. Here you can see the finished result ready for etching.


David took a look at my droid layout and noticed a problem, something was not correct.. after going over his new blueprints and the ones I was using, I now see he was right! I need to add 1/8' to all panel and door lines..
Im glad he noticed this. The corrections will be very simple just adding the additional space around the panels..I also noticed the central lower panel needs to be the same flush line along the bottom of the droid body, and the side vents need to be corrected. I realize this diagram while basically correct is patterned off some older diagrams and toys..probably the MPC R2-D2 model I had in 1979... Thanks again David~!

Body tube layout

Today I went to kinkos, printed the full size EPS files, cut them out, and stenciled the etching and panel lines.. The patterns were about 20 dollars to print full size, and a couple rulers and pens from Micheals Hobbies for a few dollars more..

Here is the body tube with the pattern being test fitted onto the tube

David's PVC Body Tube

Thanks to David in Phoenix for making the blank 18" PVC body tube complete with accurate beveled data port, and pre-marked panels to help with pattern alignment. The body tube is incredibly strong, and could resist very strong blows, or possibly being ejected from some strange Degobahn swamp creature with hardly scratch....simply amazing...I highly recommend this body skin in conjunction with aluminum frame for the toughest droid possible. Mercedes-benz Diamond white auto paint optional...
I found an Aluminum dome Charlie from Colorado had for sale, Its a second generation Formosi, so it should work out great. David was actually the previous owner of the dome, so he gave me some advice. I have the most important parts to the R-2 unit, and I owe it all to David L for helping me with the parts procurement.