CNC-built R2-D2 brings childhood dreams to life


As a kid, [Wes] always dreamed of building a full-size, functional R2-D2 droid from Star Wars. While most youthful aspirations such as this fall to the wayside amid adult responsibilities and commitments, he did not allow his dreams to disappear along with his childhood.

He began his droid-building journey armed only with his dreams and some assistance from the friendly folks over at R2Builders. The entire replica was built using MDF, wood, and styrene sheeting, along with just one tool: a CNC machine. He walks you through the every step of the construction, stopping to give recommendations on CNC hardware, software, etc. along the way. He also provides Gcode files for each of the pieces he has constructed, which should be a huge help to anyone looking to build a R2-D2 clone of their own.

It looks like he is just getting around to fitting motors into the leg housings of his R2-D2 replica, but we can’t wait to see what it looks like once he has all of the electronics and other details finished.

If you are interested in more R2-D2 coverage, look no further than right here.

R2D2 wannabe lacks lightsaber launcher, autonomy

Is this what the lovable Star Wars droid would look like without its protective skin? This R2D2 inspired robot is another Olin College of Engineering (where that CNC cake decorator came from) build developed by [Nathaniel Ting] and his classmates. Alas, it lacks autonomy, relying on an operator for guidance. But we enjoy it for the build quality. Two motorcycle batteries supply DC motors on the two rear legs of the trike. It can be driven with a wireless Xbox controller or through a Python interface that also randomly plays droid audio clips from the movie. That’s a tilting projector on top, which would be used to show Princess Leia’s pleas for assistance. That is, after the operator plugs in an extension cord to power it up. Oh well, it’s still a lot of fun to watch. See for yourself after the break.

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BAMF2010: Look sir, droids!

Ask any engineer what originally sparked their interest in technology, and almost universally the response will be a Hollywood film or TV robot — Star Wars’ R2-D2, the B9 robot from Lost in Space, or Short Circuit’s Johnny 5, to name a few. Engineers need a creative outlet too, and some pay homage to their inspirations by building elaborate reproductions. At this year’s Maker Faire, droid-builders had their own corner in the center hall, their work ranging from humble craft materials to ’bots surpassing their film counterparts in detail and workmanship.

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R2D2 build video

Follow along with [Victor] through the journey of building a life size replica of R2D2. While you may not be able to scrape too many specific details from the video, it is still great to see the project progress from his first cut to the finished product as well as some fun little outings. His R2 looks absolutely impeccable and he deserves dome credit for taking it to places to show kids. We would have probably just found interesting ways for it to bring us beers.

[via Makezine]

Postal hacking

Apparently our Russian brethren have some issues ordering things online. Their shipping solution? A bit of remote social engineering. Thanks to the nature of Russian addresses – that is, the language is pretty easy to recognize – they’ve found that putting down their address in Russia along with a Canadian zip code will usually result in the package being forwarded along thanks to the thoughtful Canadian postal workers. Thanks [Jock]

Social engineering not your thing? OK, well here’s a few extra hacks to chew on. [Sam] thinks you should wrap your electronics in a condom to keep em dry. If you’re in NY, you might want to check out the circuit bending festival. Oh, and if you’ve had your head in the sand, you might have missed the steam powered R2D2.