So you want to build a droid?
Here’s where to start.
There’s a ton of great resources available through the R2 Builder Group. astromech.net is the best place to start. There are club members all over the world and there’s a good chance that a fellow R2 Builder may live in your area. Here’s some great websites to get started:
The official website of the R2 Builders group Here you’ll find things like:
• Official plans for building droids and making parts
• Lots and lots of builder logs that show how other people made their droids
• A Guide for Beginners
• Reference material
• Building tutorials and techniques.
• Parts available for order or purchase, including “runs” of parts offered by other Builders.
The official facebook group of the R2 Builders Group
The official facebook group of the R2-MKE, the Milwaukee area builders.
Do your Research
Dive deep into the build logs on astromech.net. Especially ones that are similar to the process and materials you want to use to build your droid. Spend time getting to understand the advantages and pitfalls of all the processes.
Figure out what you want your droid to do and what materials you feel comfortable working with. And what fits your budget. Then start compiling the information posted that you can use when building your droid. Many members have use a notebook or binder to keep printed plans, material, ideas, etc.
Choose your Material(s)
There are many ways to build a droid and many materials that you can build from. Your material choice is the biggest deciding factor on the cost of your droid. Here’s the most common material choices
Aluminum is the priciest option, but there’s nothing like an aluminum droid! Aluminum parts tend to be done in “runs” by group members – from the frame, to legs, to domes, to the outer skins. It can also take longer to complete an aluminum droid while you wait for parts to be available. And aluminum parts demand a premium price.
There are plans on astromech.net for a wood frame, legs and other parts. Wood is great solution for a strong droid and if you’re comfortable with traditional woodworking tools, it might be a good place to start.
There are plans on astromech.net to scratch build an entire droid out of readily available sheets of plastic called Styrene. Cost is low with this option and tools are simple. Pre-cut Styrene kits are also available. It’s a lightweight option that results in a great-looking droid.
Recently, 3D printing has taken R2 building by storm. There are select 3D models available on astromech.net. There are also plans that allow you to build a complete droid right off your 3D printer available at www.patreon.com/mrbaddeley.
Most builders use a combination of these materials to bring their droid to life. There’s really no wrong way to do it!