Introduction: R2-D2 Astromech From Cardboard

I wanted to build R2-D2 for my son's birthday party but didn't want to spend two years and $10,000 so I went with a non-moving (for now) cardboard version. The whole project took about a month ( just a few hours a night as I have a full time job) and probably cost about $50 since I had most of the materials.

Step 1: Research and Planning

The first thing I did was research. I found a list of R2-D2's measurements online. Throughout this project I referred to my interactive Artoo , taking measurements and scaling them to full size. All I needed was the dome size ( approximately 18") and everything else was scaled around that.

Step 2: The Dome

This was the hardest part. I cut several 18" circles from corrugated cardboard and cut them in half. I used them as formers for the dome glueing them to another 18" circle with hot glue. My glues of choice for all projects are hot glue and The Ultimate white glue. Next I cut tapered strips and glued IMG_6912.JPGthem along the edges to make a semi globe. I then apply a layer of spackle to the entire dome. I allowed it to dry and sanded it and repeated this process until I had a smooth dome.

Step 3: The Structure

I made the legs from wooden 2x4s so they would be strong enough to hold the body and give it some weight. The body was two cardboard circles glued together with a series of 1" thick foam core strips.

Step 4: The Legs

The legs were made with foam core and mat board over the wooden leg base.

Step 5: The Skin

I Wrapped a sheet of mat board around the cylinder. I then drew the compartments on another sheet of mat board and cut them out (saving the cut-outs and shaving off thin strips). Next I glued the cut-out layer to the cylinder and then glued all the compartment cut-outs. The round detail in the bottom center was made with a plastic solo cup and some mat board pieces.

Step 6: The Dome Details

I drew the dome details with a pencil and then traced them with a nail to etch the details into the dome.

Step 7: The Details

I cut the vents out of mat board. I made the leg details from gift wrap tubes. Additional leg details include some paint lids and a highlighter marker split down the middle with a hacksaw. The sensor eye was made from a plastic convex mirror I found in the automotive dept at Walmart. I colored it with a black Sharpie marker which worked very well. I painted some airline tubing gold and attached it to a painted marker cap and glued it to each foot.

Step 8: The Holoprojector

I made these with plastic containers found in a vending machine and mat board. For the one on the front of the dome I inserted a small flashlight I bought at the dollar store.

Step 9: Painting

I sprayed the dome silver and brush painted the dome compartments. I sprayed the body white and then did a wash with dirty black paint water so he didn't look so brand new.

Step 10: Finishing Touches

Finally I punched a circle from a piece of red reflective tape and stuck it on the dome. I also put a yellow on on the back side of the dome. I cut a hole in the dome and inserted the flashlight and Holoprojector . I put a rod in the center of the dome so it can be manually rotated. At some point I hope to mechanize the dome and build the third leg so he is truly finished but he looks pretty good for now. Just have to make sure the Jawas keep their hands off of him.