By: Rob Howdle
Droid (s): R2-D2
How long have you been apart of a Droid Building Community?
I joined around 2010 I think, maybe 2011.
What are your current build? (Droid, Materials etc)
R2 is a fully aluminium droid, made from club sourced parts. I’ve got R2-ATL Mk7 drives, and a hydro formed dome.
What made you want to build a droid in the first place?
I was at a Collectormania in Milton Keynes with the mrs, and she’d always been pestering me for a drinks cabinet in the shape of a globe like you see in posh offices and the like. We saw the R2 Builders at the event and I mentioned that an R2 would be a good drinks cabinet, and she said that I could make a fully working one that delivered the drinks to us! Challenge accepted. We now have a droid, but still no drinks in him (yet).
What future plans do you have for your droid? Constantly upgrading? Show piece? Events droid?
No droid is truly finished. I’ve a number of tweaks I want to do. More panels opening, a bit more automation for things like the dome movement, etc. And always looking for events to do, especially charity ones. The buzz you get at an event when you see the smiles you put on peoples faces is just the best thing.
Do you have any more droids? If so what other droids do you have either complete or WIP/ planning stages?
Currently in the works is an R0 astromech, a BB8, and a MSE droid. The R0 is going to be using brushless Q85 motors (way over powered for a styrene droid), but I’m using it as a test bed for upgrades to R2 so that I don’t have to take him out of commision. I also intend on using some programs that another club member has worked on to give the droid a different voice to other astromechs.
What are some of the challenges you have faced during your build?
Initially the challenge was getting parts, part runs were infrequent especially for things like legs and ankles. These days there are a lot of different ways to get things, and also we are doing our own runs in the UK which helps a lot. I’ve always been an electronics person, so that aspect was fairly easy for me (and I’ve written my own code, so I’m not using a club system like Padawan or Shadow), but metal work was new to me so had a bit of a learning curve on that one.
Do you have a ‘proudest moment’? If so what would that be (could be from the build itself or an event)
Besides my first outing, I think passing my MOT was probably one of them. I’ve also participated in a couple of weddings and done a bell ringing ceremony for a kid at hospital.
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 don’t think I found anything particularly easy or hard to be honest. Theres so much help within the club that if I ever got stuck I could just ask.
What is the most important piece of advise you would give to any new builder?
Join the forums, come to the builders meets, and read lots before you start. At the very least decide what materials you want to use and how much you want your droid to do.