Celebrate Star Wars by Building Your Own Astromech Droid


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Despite some controversy surrounding the newest Star Wars movie (and no, I haven’t seen it yet, so no spoilers here), The Last Jedi continues to dominate the box office. I’ve long been a fan of the series, well the original trilogy anyway. Aside from the swashbuckling characters, it’s the tech that most intrigues me. The iconic lightsabers, starships, blasters, and of course the droids. Even those who know nothing about the Star Wars universe or haven’t seen a single film, are familiar with R2-D2 and C3PO. And that little chirping R2-D2 astromech droid has especially worked his way into people’s hearts.

At Maker Faire NY , I came across several iterations of the enigmatic little droid at the R2 Builders Club booth. They also gave a talk on how to construct your own R2-D2 and related droids. The life-sized replicas are made from a variety of materials including aluminum, plywood, fiberglass, or other traditional materials and processes. Many builds also incorporate CNC and/or 3D printing. You can even build a BB-8 droid. Plans for both droids are available at Astromech.net . And there’s a wealth of knowledge and helpful advice in the forums section.

Don’t have the room, budget or time to build a full-size R2 unit? No worries. You can build a ¼ scale 3D printed astromech droid by following the U.S. Water Robot’s tutorial, which they made to celebrate International Star Wars Day, this past May. They even have a mod to make the little droid fly by turning it into a water bottle rocket. The parts can be 3D printed even on a very small print bed and in the tutorial they use a Monoprice Select Mini V2. So, if you want to make your own astromech droid, get out your hyperspanners and get to work.

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