I was nine years old back in 1977 when I first saw Star Wars and it had a huge impact on me. I still remember getting the toys, trading cards, bed sheets, record albums (on vinyl!) and anything about Star Wars I could get my hands on. I chipped in with a couple friends to buy the novelization of the movie and we spent hours acting out scenes from the movie. I have forgotten how many times I made my parent take me to see the movie, but it was definitely the first movie I saw more then once in the theaters. I also remember my father building me an astromech droid. It didn't look like any of the ones in the movie, but it had the basic astromech shape and it was a very cool thing to have.
Today I am still a huge Star Wars fan who is eagerly awaiting the release of The Force Awakens. I also enjoy building things, whether it be model kits, sets for my local community theatre or furniture for my house. I thought it was about time to combine these two loves and actually build a life size astromech droid. This blog will document my process.
The first decision I needed to make was which droid to build. As much as I would like to build an R2-D2, I wanted something that I felt I could do as much from scratch as possible, so my plan is to build an R5-D4 because it’s head shape is easier to build from scratch.
The next thing I needed to decide on was what materials to use. Most droids are build from some combination of wood, styrene plastic and aluminum. Since I am most comfortable working with wood, and since it’s a material that is easy to get locally I plan to build as much as possible from wood. At this point I do plan on using styrene for the skins. I have seen people use wood, but I think styrene will give it a better look.
Finally I needed to think about how much mechanization my droid will have. Some people have done very advanced levels of automation where not only can the droid move via remote control but the head can turn, arms can extend and it even go from three leg to two leg mode. At this point I think I am going to do some minimal mechanization. I would like to motorize at least the feet and head.