This Isn’t The R2-D2 Controller You’re Looking For

Who loves a good R2-D2 robot? Everyone, but especially young Star Wars fans who — frustratingly — have no problem spotting a controller and spoiling the illusion of an R2 unit brought to life. [Bithead942]’s concealed his R2-D2’s remote and re-establishes the illusion of an autonomous droid — no Jedi mind-tricks necessary.

[Bithead942] prefers to accompany his droid in traditional a Rebel Alliance pilot’s suit, so that gives him a bit of extra space under the jumpsuit to help conceal the controller. Dismantling a Frsky Taranis X9D controller, [Bithead942] meditated on how to use it while so concealed. In a stroke of insight, he thought of his unused Wiimote nunchucks, and launched into the build.

Since he only wanted to use the joystick and buttons, he had to perform a bit of circuit sidestepping and run some extra wires to get all the functionality he wanted from the nunchuck. That achieved, an appropriately sized project box needed to be cut to size with a lightsab– a band-saw and glued together, punching some holes for the various buttons, wires, cords, barrel plug for recharging, and the antenna in the process. Like a Jedi — or Sith! — using the force to guide them in building their lightsaber, [Bithead942]’s remote worked almost perfectly on the first try.

With the project box riveted to a padded shoulder harness, it is barely noticeable under [Bithead942]’s costume, and wrist straps manage the cables along the length of his arms while also letting him drop the nunchucks to hang if needed. Shortly after finishing he took his R2-unit for a test-run using this new setup at a convention — with great success! He did run into a few issues: notably, the harness moved around a bit too much for comfort and the rocker switch that controlled the head rotation fell apart a few times,  so they’re getting swapped out. The concealability of the nunchucks are a vast improvement over the bluntly conspicuous controller, but aren’t perfect. Still, there were no heat issues and other attendees were generally amazed at the seemingly independent droid. When it comes to figuring out how the BB-8 droid from the recent movies works, we have you covered too.

6 thoughts on “This Isn’t The R2-D2 Controller You’re Looking For

  1. The extra wires look like regular stranded wire. These will break after awhile, and will need replacing – when that happens, consider using wires from an old pair of earbuds.

    The wires from earbuds are made to handle lots of flexing without breaking, and are more suitable for costume builds, where any movement tends to work-harden and break the inner conductors.

  2. He dismantled a $200 RC transmitter? He could have started with something like https://www.banggood.com/Coollvse-Open-Source-Mini-Er9x-OpenTX-Motherboard-Mainboard-With-OLED-For-Flysky-Remote-Control-p-1113580.html
    and an appropriate TX module such as https://www.banggood.com/2_4G-CC2500-NRF24L01-A7105-CTRF6936-4-IN-1-Multi-protocol-STM32-TX-Module-With-Antenna-p-1153902.htm

    Of course, even easier would have been a used FS-TH9X/TGY-9X which you can find for around $50 sometimes.

    1. Good thought, but as I mentioned on my blog post, the benefit I valued most with the Frsky Taranis was that it can use one transmitter with a pair of X8R receivers that allow me to control parts of R2’s head and body separately with no wires in-between. This allows me to spin R2’s head without worrying about tangling wires (i tried slip rings, but they did not last). I’m not aware of any other transmitters that can work with 2 separate receivers simultaneously like this, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s