How to build an R2-D2
No matter when you got hooked on the Star Wars universe, there is no doubt that R2-D2 will have stolen your heart. So, given that you would love your very own at home, the question remains of how to make an R2-D2 droid. Luckily for you, below we explore what to consider before jumping in, the basics of how to build one, and how much the project could cost you.
Is it possible to build a full-scale R2-D2 replica?
Yes, it most certainly is, and many have done it before you. Just how complicated the process is will depend on the type of project and finished product you’re interested in having; you can make your R2-D2 replica true to Star Wars originals or custom-make it, it can be fully functional or you might prefer a static one. This means that before looking into how to build your R2-D2, it’s important to consider the basics, do your research, and make some decisions to narrow your focus.
Planning how to make your R2-D2 droid
Decide how complex you want your replica. R2-D2’s basic design includes a dome for the head, a frame for the body, one central leg, and two side ones, but the rest varies depending on the complexity you want: a static droid or one with moving parts. Functional parts can range from being simple, such as having remote control forward–and–backward movement, all the way to installing a projector, voice command recognition, and extendable arms.
Select your materials. Typically, for more complex R2-D2 models, materials such as styrene plastic, wood, and aluminium are popular, but if you’re making a more basic or static bot, nothing is stopping you from going for the more affordable option of cardboard. The material that suits how you want to make your R2-D2 droid will depend on your skill level, experience with the materials, budget, and timeframe.
Set your budget. How much you want your R2-D2 project to cost will determine how you make your droid. Buying ready-made pieces in aluminium will push your budget up, whereas going with a DIY approach, and with the cheaper materials like styrene plastic, will keep your budget down.
How much does it cost to build your own R2-D2?
The cost of building an R2-D2 droid is extremely variable. On the one hand, this can be beneficial, as it means your project can fit your specific budget. But it also means that to sidestep the cost of buying ready-made parts, you need the skills, the patience and the motivation to make your droid pieces from scratch. This may be the right moment to decide how much time you’ll be dedicating to your H2-D2 project and if you’re interested in taking the time to learn new skills along the way.
Affordable home-made R2-D2 replicas are possible to make. It is possible and it has been done. You can build a decent and convincing full-size, motorised R2-D2 replica for around the one hundred mark. This has been done, and parts used for this can typically be found in a regular DIY store.
You can buy made-to-measure R2-D2 parts instead of making them yourself. By joining forces with other Star Wars and model building enthusiasts, you can order specific parts along with others in what’s called a ‘parts run’. As a bulk order, the price is lowered, so buying a made-to measure aluminium dome this way might cost around £420.
Instructions on how to build your own R2-D2
You aren’t alone. You’re not the only or the first person who’s learning how to build an R2-D2 model, so you can join online communities and benefit from the wealth of knowledge and experience that has collected over years of collaborative problem-solving. In these spaces you can find R2-D2 design blueprints, the parts runs mentioned above, and details about different pieces and suggestions on how to make them.
Available step by step instructions. Although step by step instructions don’t exist for a full-scale R2-D2, they do for a half-sized one. Fanhome offers a partworks kit for an impressively complex R2-D2 model and provides detailed instructions as well as the ready-made pieces to build your droid. With this option, not only do you sidestep the complexities of engineering your model from scratch, but you also create an advanced and interactive droid complete with sensors, microphones, camera and projector.
R2-D2 is loved for his adventurous attitude, bravery, and loyalty, and it is an honour to have your own at home. It is typically the longer, more complex, and more creative DIY projects that bring us the most satisfaction, and I can tell you that learning how to build your own R2-D2 is not only an enjoyable process, but that the results could not be more satisfying.