"These aren't the droids you're looking for."
Obi-Wan Kenobi EPIV

When I reached my one year mark at my latest job, I started getting the bug to create a new astromech droid. I already have ArJay and I'm still working on Chelsea, but I wanted to take on the challenge of building an R2 this time. Not R2D2, but an R2-unit. I still haven't decided on the final designation or the golor, but I'm leanign towards a green tint, similar to R2-A6 from TPM.

R2-A6 toy shown for reference. Photo rights remain with the original owner.

One of the things I discovered was that within the Astromech builders, there are 2 different types of bodies - CS:L (Club Spec: Legacy), and CS:R (Club Spec: Revised). In essence, the Legacy was what was approved by the club founders in the very beginning based on screen shots of the film and pictures of the screen-used droids. Revised is the specs that were adopted after members were allowed access to the actual droid...hands-on measurements that turned out to be close, but were in fact different than what had been adopted. These specs are still viable and offered on the Astromech.net site, and ArJay, as it turns out, was made from the CS:L specs. And as you can see in the build log of that page, everything was hand-cut. For this new one, I'm making it to CS:R specs, and I'm planning on adding more electronics to eventually have this one move, as well as other stuff...

Below, you can follow along with that build process, just in case you might be interested in building one of your own. All files for the build, including styrene blueprints and 3D STL files, can be found on the Astromech.net forums.

As with my other page, this will be a WIP log for all parts. I'm considering making a video series on YouTube to document it step by step for others, but that's still up in the air and depends on how much spare time I will have. If that does come to fruition, I'll post links to the videos here.


IT BEGINS! I'm 3D printing the head, and this is the first pie piece (top of the dome door).

All Top Dome Ring pieces and pies done. Top Dome pieces are temporarily taped together.
One thing I noticed is that these files have holes for anchors. I assumed they were for bits of the 1.75mm filament, and I was right. However, they are just a bit too small, so I drilled them out with a 2mm bit to set them in place. These are guides to make sure the parts are glued together correctly. There are also similar holes on the bottom edge - shared by the edges of two pieces put together. I'm going to drill those out once the Middle Dome Ring is complete and ready for assembly.

I skipped a couple of steps here (SORRY!!!) where I glued the upper pie wedges together, printed and glued the Middle Dome pieces together, and finally glued the upper dome to the middle dome.

One thing I discovered, the holoprojector on top is pie piece "4" and it goes on pie wedge "B". Looking at it from the top down, the Upper wedges are assebbled clockwise (A thru F). The Middle dome pieces are assembled COUNTER-CLOCKWISE. When putting the upper dome on the middle dome, make sure upper wedge "F" lines up with Middle Dome "1". I have a video coming that will show and explain better.

I got impatient and decided to go ahead and paint the pie panels the final green color.
Layer1: filler putty, dry, and sand.
Layer 2: Self Etching primer, sand
Layer 3: 2-n-1 Filler primer, sand with high grit to smooth finish
Layer 4: Silver base
Layer 5: final color

It's always good to get a feeling of accomplishment, no matter how small, even if it's just temporary like putting the pie wedges in place...

Alrighty, moving on -

Everything taped together to check for fit:

I started printing the panels while I worked on the next step, and here's the first one to check for fit:

And now on to the first filler putty round:

And finally, after sanding that all down, the first etching primer coat:

As you can see, the first coat of paint helps to see all imperfections that need to be filled and addressed. Some can be taken care of with a little more putty, some just with sanding, and some need the "extreme" of bondo.

For the next steps, I actually shot more video than pictures, so it may look like I skipped a step, but here's the finished product for now:

Now on to the rings.
Upper ring parts laid out:

Upper ring together:

Lower ring parts:

Lower ring together:

Finishing and painting:

And finally, attaching to the dome:


I used Autocad as part of the day job I had when I first began this new project, so I grabbed the CNC plans made by Media Creations and put the parts together in a 3D rendering first. I did this to make sure I knew what all the parts were, where they all went, and how. In doing this, I actually discovered a slight typo in the plans that I'll discuss in a video later. Nothing earth shattering, but it deals with the placement of a couple of the ribs.


As with the body, the legs, center ankle, and shoulder hubs are all downloaded from Media Creations. I'll detail all parts and build process in a future video.