Cardboard R2-D2 With Secret Compartment

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About: Instructables user.

Welcome to my first instructable!

People always say it's a bad idea to mix business with pleasure. Well, I say you can.

For a while now I thought about this - a trash can hidden inside a big R2-D2 droid. And I finally did it. But with a twist: it has a secret compartment under its bottom.

If I learned something from all the detective/cop movies I've seen, it's that they have no problem looking in your trash. But I've never seen them look under the trash.

The pleasure of having your own droid and the practicality of hiding your secrets inside it.

Step 1: The 3D Part

It all starts with an idea. And that's nice, but from an idea to the finished product there's a long way. And you got to start somewhere. This is it.

I opened the completed model, that I previously had, in SketchUp, and broke it down into its basic parts.

After that I removed the small details. They can be done, but for the purpose of this first mode I removed them in order to focus on the basic idea and the functional elements.

This part was the most time consuming. It took a lot of work to make it right. There were a lot of things to consider for a model that I thought was going to be more than simple. But I had to get it just right.

In the end I think I did it a bit more complex than needed, but for me that's the fun part.

It's easier to fixmistakes in 3D. That's why I only got to the practical part when I was satisfied that things were just right.

Even so, after I got to cutting, there were a few small mistakes. Imagine if I were to do it without planning everything in 3D.

Step 2: Supplies and Materials

What I used:

  • cardboard (of course)
  • paper - I used it later to create the outer skin
  • white glue - water resistant, dries transparent
  • scotch tape
  • cutters, and a lot of blades
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • marker
  • rulers
  • tweezers - to handle the small parts
  • pens
  • cutting mat - a magazine in this case
  • simple cardboard - to reinforce certain parts
  • chocolate - for the soul
  • and, of course, something to hide (I hid my memory stick with all my precious secrets - MY PRECIOUS!

Step 3: Making the Internal Structure AKA the Skeleton

I realized that I wanted the droid to be functional, resistant and look good.

It all had to begin with a strong foundation on which to add everything I wanted.

So, I split it into 4 parts:

  • dome
  • cilinder
  • outer legs
  • inner leg

Step 4: The Dome

After creating half of a sphere in 3D I came up with this internal structure for the dome.

Also, you can see the papercraft outer layer, in order to look smooth.

Step 5: The Cylinder

Compared to an old, similar project, I doubled the elements for the vertical and the horizontal.

This made it stronger than I expected.

Also, in the last picture you can see its cover half way down. I made this with the radius of the cylinder, plus 1 millimeter. This helped to slide it down easier.

About the secret compartment: as you can see in the first picture, the real bottom of the cylinder is formed by the 4 cardboard circles at the base. But there is another bottom, which forms the secret compartment, that rests on slots at the base of the vertical elements. Also in the middle of the second bottom there is a small hole, made with a needle, that's barely visible. With the tip of a pen, which is inserted in this hole, the fake bottom can be taken out, revealing your precious treasure hidden inside it.

Step 6: Outer Legs

I wanted to fill the size that resulted from the 3D plan, so I created the internal structure of the legs so that the width was exactly right. I needed to think about how to do it. Maybe it's a bit more complex than needed but it turned out really well and strong. Also, as I found out later, it helped me to easier connect the legs to the cylinder by making holes in one side of the leg in which a paper dowel was inserted. And the other dowel part got in the side of the body.

After this was done, I "dressed" the legs in their shells. This turned really nice, as expected.

I did the leg shell in multiple parts - it made life easier for me. It reminded me of the OOP programming principle. Apparently it applies in other fields as well: break apart a big project in smaller steps and it's easier.

And later I added some more details to the legs.

I intend to add more details later.

Step 7: Inner Leg

This proved to be more challenging than the outer legs because it needed a different way to be attached to the body.

Inner structure is simpler. Three pieces of cardboard, cut to length and at the necessary angle in order to stand.

Under the cylinder is what I called the "tray" (with its own "skin") which along with the aesthetic part, also kept the leg in place.

Step 8: Finished!

Seeing as I did all the cutting by hand it took me longer than I would have liked.

Also, because of that, small changes were sometimes needed. I'm sure that with a laser cutter things could have been easier and more precise.

All in all, all steps took me more or less a month.

The 3D planning was the most time consuming, but also the best. It's so satisfying to find solutions, and sometimes make them more complex than needed. But hey, you know what? Why not?!

To quote the guys from The Big Bang Theory: "I did it because I can!"

Well, if you had the patience to read it all... Thank you!

Star Wars rules, right?!

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