When building your R2D2 coffee maker there are several important thoughts to consider, with two of them being vital.
First would be the dome, this has got to be the hardest part to find. You wouldn’t think finding a perfect half dome wouldn’t be that hard, but it is, at least for someone as rural as myself. Whenever I build something I always try and use recycled bits and pieces to keep my costs down and help the environment. After all, every dome that is recycled rather than store purchased means one less innocent dome is hunted down and slaughtered. That and I’d rather spend the money on my wife and kids then into give it to some middleman dome pusher. People have tried using all sorts of things from salad bowls to cake moulds. The life sized R2 makers typically use a bird bath that was produced for a period of time, evidently these have stopped being in production. I found a industrial stainless steel float valve that was actually a perfect sphere at the local dump. I was able to cut in half giving me two domes. What you really want however is a dome that has about an extra inch at the edge like the real life production model had. Mine is faked a little with the paint scheme disguising it. The second dome was used to make the top water door and the central eye piece and made the build a lot easier. So if you can get two identical domes, do it. Now the size of the dome directly plays off the next crucial design step.
The BUNN coffee tank – really my dome should have been 3-4 inches larger to keep the aspect ratio of R2D2 true to life. Once again I have disguised it by building a base on it that is cantilevered between the legs. Another visual distraction is the Barista apron.
Other thoughts are things like
What material are you, or can you use? I can weld and cut steel and stainless steel, so this is my primary choice of material used. If I had the means to weld aluminum who knows... As is I ended up using a variety of metals from steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper and even some brass. Of course I don’t have the means to perform mythical metallurgical welding so I had to mix it up a bit. A little welding, some brazing, soldering and some epoxy to round it out. With all these types of joining you really want your materials to fit tightly together for good strong bonds.
Electricity – you really should have a basic concept of what you’re doing otherwise you could fry yourself or someone else down the road. When you are not sure, make damn positive you talk to someone who does.
Cutting, welding, brazing, soldering and gluing metal is very hazardous. It will cut you, burn you, electrocute you and finish off by poisoning you. You’ve been warned, take precautions
After that everything else is pretty much for kicks, like making him talk, adding lights and other finishing touches. Details are important, but remember this is still a coffee maker that you or someone else has to clean. All those little nook and cranny details are suddenly not so cool when you have to clean it!