After years of seeing how successful R2LA and DroidCon in the US were Colin Barker took the initiative and started to look at a similar UK event, R2UK. After months of planning and trying to find a suitable venue we settled on a village hall in Barnwell, Peterborough and the event was held Aug 3-5th 2018.
The tagline for R2UK was “By Builders, for Builders” and we aimed at what builders wanted, rather than members of the public. This meant talks about droids, control systems and topics that other droid builders would be interested in.
At the event we had the Astromech race/obstacle course, along with quiz, talks, panels and it set the scene for what would become a successful event and the largest collection of droids within the UK outside a Celebration.
Following feedback it confirmed what we knew already, we needed somewhere bigger and slightly easier to get too. This is where Chris Williams stepped in and suggested Harper Adams University in Shropshire (very close to where Chris lives), it’s a great venue and in 2019 the second R2UK was held. It was very similar to R2UK 2018 with the same format of talks, panels, droid races, but also the addition of the 39.1% egg races due to extra space we had. It also had the addition of a dedicated lecture theatre which was perfect for our requirements.
However like 2018 we quickly ran out of space and needed something bigger. Harper Adams was a great venue given it had onsite accommodation so we agreed to use the student union bar as the main area for 2020.
As with the rest of the World everything stopped and prevented R2UK 2020 from happening. One thing we learnt from 2019 and lockdown was that the number of 3D printed droids and non-Astromechs within the club increased a huge amount almost overnight. At this point we re-branded as DBUK (DroidBuilders UK) to be more inclusive of other droids, as well as offer more of a variety for the public events we do.
In 2022 we were finally able to offer DBUK 2022, this was the first outing for a lot of established and new Droid Builders after COVID and a great opportunity to meet everyone. Along with the established talks, Astromech races and egg races we added a speed trap courtesy of Darren Poulson and 3D print area with Sam Prentice (and friends).
In 2023 we decided to skip a year due to Celebration Europe; given the expense for a lot of builders it seemed unfair to do two UK events the same year.
Now we are starting to plan DBUK 2024. It will be at Harper Adams Student Union University again and will hopefully grow on the success of past years, whilst new additions should keep it fresh for the previous members.
We will still have the basic format of talks, panels, droid races, MOTs as well as display areas for droids, WIP (Work In Progress) or just as a fact finding opportunity.
See link for 2024 – https://droidbuilders.uk/2023/08/26/its-back-dbuk-2024/