All my Robots are scratch built, no kits or pre made parts. I know some R2D2 builders collect loads of resin or metal parts and then put them together into a Droid but for me the fun is in the fabrication not simply putting a pre made jigsaw together.
This is my third Astromech build which is an R11:E1 called Zoe.
The name Zoe came from a film called 'Caprica' where a young girl called Zoe is killed and her personality implanted into the first Cylon. It may sound strange but as the build developed it appeared to become more and more female. The name Zoe seemed perfect .
Zoe is a bit of a high tec girl with a great deal of onboard gadgets. She has her own router and IP webcam which broadcasts as charity events. She is powered by three 25Amp 12v SLA batteries, two running the 24v drive system and the thrid running the 12v electrics. She has onboard, sound system, fire extinguisher, the utility arms and claws work, 140db siren, working Holo eyes, periscope, full smoke machine ported through exhaust, loads of LED and plasma lighting. Full LED el-wire all over, with light reactive paint. She has a full working onboard DLP projector which is setup to display the Princess Leia message from StarWars.
Other Specs include:
Dimension Engineering Sabretooth electronic speed controllers, two of them, one for the drive and one for the dome.
Radio system is a Spektrum DX8 running 8 channels. A further 24 channels are used via RF switches for LED control and onboard sound, totalling 32 channels of control.
The smoke system is very special in that it uses water to generate the mist via ultrasonic means.
Most of the LED closers are home made, just hours of soldering one LED at a time, but the effect was worth it.
The only thing she does not do is fly which would be so cool, I wish.
Zoe was built about a year ago. The initial build took about 12 months but the upgrades are added each week, this is more of an obsession than a robot build that never ends.
I am always adding new gadgets, LED's or new ideas to make the Droid as good as i can get it.
Zoe is based on the Plans of the R2D2 and as such is a full size replica of an Astromech although an R11 was never made, it only went up to R9. Even though she is based on the R2D2 plans she is unique in that so much more has been added and a great deal of Artistic licence used. I wanted to create a cut away design so I could show of all the internal workings and allow the LED lighting to have real effect. I was after creating a real working robot look with all the internal circuits flashing and looking as though they were a functioning entity. Zoe took about a year to create but as I have already mentioned the upgrades seem never ending and she is still having things added even as I type this (new onboard telemetry to the DX8 radio).
One of the main things I like about Zoe is that she is totally unique in her design. The skin less final design worked much better than I expected although it was a real challenge to make sure that all the parts that are on show, which is most of them, looked the part. Many of the visible circuit boards are fake, they are simply old computer mother boards cut up, the main electronics are hidden away on the electronics board in the centre of the Droid. The electronics board is modular and easy removable so I can work on things easily, I learnt this the hard way from previous builds, upgrades are always necessary and having complete access to the electronics is very important.
Recently added was a new charging system for Zoe and her sister Emy which was built to look like a remote Droid power station. I also added into this the ability to solar charge both the Droids when I am out and about on public events. What I would love to do is somehow build in the solar panels to the Droids, maybe in the future.