Droid (s): R2D2, BB8, Battle Droid WIP, Pit Droid WIP.
How long have you been a part of a Droid Building Community?
I joined the R2D2 Builders club in 2014
What are your current build? (Droid, Materials etc)
My droid is the iconic R2D2 and made from aluminium, I went for a screen accurate droid and 6 years on I think I am close but sure I will change more.
What made you want to build a droid in the first place?
It was a dream to have a companion like R2 since my childhood, I discovered the builders club through internet searching after a failed attempt at buying an R2 unit that was for sale and had a crazy idea that I too could build one like these other guys!
I have never built or made anything in my life and had no tools but the journey began with a dome and kept on learning and buying tools and building, although I finished R2 in time for TFA I have never stopped building and changing parts.
What future plans do you have for your droid? Constantly upgrading? Show piece? Events droid?
I am currently upgrading the drive system to a Q85 electric bike hub system, this upgrade will mean my droid can go up and down ramps without the fear of him running away and over most terrain without any issue. I am also finally attempting at getting all the servos in his dome to work. He already has a smoke machine and I will add more gadgets as time goes on.
I take R2 to Cons to raise money for charity and give photo ops to fans, I also work full time with my wife at www.OperationForgiveness.co.uk a knife crime preventative initiative, we sometimes take R2 or BB8 into the school once the children have completed the course.
I intend on taking R2 out as much as possible once his new drive system is installed.
Do you have plans to build more droids? If so which one (s)?
G11 and a Probe droid have always been favourites of mine so I will probably build them, I would love C3PO but I abandoned the build due to cost, I had the head and chest but sold them.
What are some of the challenges you have faced during your build?
Lack of knowledge or experience were big hurdles and of course money or the lack of. I bought most parts second hand from abandoned builds and had parts made from club plans like the frame and feet. Space was also an issue for me as I lived in a flat at the time with no outside space. I spray painted in my shower and even used the car boot (trunk) as a makeshift spray paint booth.
The kitchen table was my work bench and I found a corner of the kitchen to keep my build and parts much to my families delight. Actually without the support of my wife and kids I would of given up with the build but everytime I hit a wall that was impossible my family encouraged me telling me I can do it and to keep on. I listened to them and crossed massive hurdles learning new skills and I am forever grateful.
Do you have a ‘proudest moment’? If so what would that be (could be from the build itself or an event)
I think the proudest moment was when I used R2 to help a guy propose to his fiancé in Greenwhich park, and the video went viral online. To be real every time a fan see’s R2 at an event or out on the street I am overwhelmed at the responses and I cannot believe that I built him!
Are there any parts of the build process that have surprised you with how easy/ hard you found them? (For example something that you thought would be very hard that turned out to be easy for you etc)
I am a sound engineer by trade so not new to a soldering iron but I struggle with Arduino and coding etc its like a new language to me and getting servos to move has been my nemesis.
The part that I thought would be impossible for me based on past attempts was spray painting and weathering. I watched video’s took my time and got great results.
What is the most important piece of advise you would give to any new builder?
Do or do not, there is no try!– Yoda
R2D2 exists to bring joy to people and is open for any opportunity to do just that, please do get in touch if you want to meet R2 he lives in Lewisham South London. Follow R2 on social media and please support the anti knife crime work we do.