An ILM R2 Story

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Duncanator

Sr Member
An astromech is def something I want to build someday (I've bought a dome and a few other associated parts years ago) but it intimidates the hell out of me, especially the electronics and such, which I know zilch about. I figured I may go for a static "statue" and work myself up to something that can actually move, with lights and such.
Go for it dude!
You can always add to it over time.
 

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Duncanator

Sr Member
I am really enjoying following this thread. You should cross post it to the R2 Builders forum at Astromech.net.

I've been a lurking member for many years over at Astromech and I just tried to post a thread there today, but it won't let me post any pictures without using 3rd party hosting site. It won't be very interesting without photos. Bummer
 

DBoz

Sr Member
I've been a lurking member for many years over at Astromech and I just tried to post a thread there today, but it won't let me post any pictures without using 3rd party hosting site. It won't be very interesting without photos. Bummer

Yeah, the Astromech forum software is pretty dated. I use Imgur for my photo hosting needs these days.
 

Duncanator

Sr Member
In my quest to make as many parts "accurately":unsure:, I was looking at the vents on R2. The variety of vents looks and materials was surprising.
The New Hope vents (pocket and underarm) were made from aluminum, of course. But Empire and later ones used vacuformed styrene vents.
(It's also possible that some may have had resin cast vents, but that is conjecture on my part.) I also looked around the 'net to see what the fan sites were making, but no one is making an accurate set of vents. So again I'm faced with the conundrum regarding "accuracy".

Initially my plan was to make my vents from styrene, but I was fortunate enough to have access to an original New Hope aluminum vent. My preference has been to steer toward the look of the New Hope R2s for mine. After studying it for some time, I decided I had to try to make mine using the same construction techniques as the original. After all - how hard could it be?!!

Well, it meant learning a new skill.:D

Yippee!!!

I love learning new skills!

A lot of R2 is built from folded and layered aluminum sheet, and the vents are an example of this. Each vent is made from 3 separate bent plates that have been brazed or welded together. The pocket is an additional folded piece.

Now my TIG welding skills are mediocre at best - not good enough to tack these thin plates together without blowing holes through them.
I've heard of folks who were so good that they could TIG weld soda cans, but that isn't me.

So I started looking in to aluminum brazing - My New Technique!!!
Brazing sort of falls in between soldering and welding. It works just below the melting point of the aluminum, so I wasn't gonna blast through the thin sheet material.

Behold! The fruits of my learnin'!

20.1 Vents Paint 4.JPG


The lower right vent is the original New Hope vent that I copied. You can see where it once had a switch and 2 LEDs installed in the pocket.
There is also a rough repair on its far right slot.

I'm pretty proud of these. I think I nailed my copies!
 
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nkg

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The lower right vent is the original New Hope vent that I copied. You can see where it once had a switch and 2 LEDs installed in the pocket.
There is also a rough repair on its far right slot.
The pieces look fantastic - but whoa! Wait a sec - you're saying that the vent with the holes is an original component?

It's brought up an interesting discussion. My 3Dsf.info page, though sadly a page that Google has screwed with for no apparent reason, included this line:

"Another interesting detail is that the RC R2 had, at some point, cutouts in the recessed pocket on the port/left side of the droid. These cutouts, apparently for a slide switch and possibly status lights, don't exist on any other droid that I know of. While they didn't appear to be in use when this photo was taken just after the filming of the pickups, John Stears' typed manual for the droid indicate that a switch for powering down the radio was located here."
 
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r2maker

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I haven't gotten to this body detail yet on my personal build, but it does look like the lights and the switch are something that were called out in the 1976 production materials.

The 1977 Electronics Today articles definitely had a switch in one of those slots called out to turn the RC radio on and off.
This is likely only on the RC unit and only on the slot on the rear?

image0.jpeg
 
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r2maker

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The production blueprints have always called out two holes for Practical Lights.
I am guessing that practical means not a SFX requirement, but for practical use on the prop?
What is interesting is that these are called out in both slots.
It looks like it was only built on the rear slot, and the lights were put in mirrored.

image1.jpeg


I like the detail that one light was round and one light was flat.
Always thought that was kind of cool.
 
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Duncanator

Sr Member
As I've said before, R2 parts got swapped, repaired and replaced many times over the years. So who knows which droid this vent came from.
I even recall seeing a picture with the switch and lights on the front vent.
 

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r2maker

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
R2 parts got swapped, repaired and replaced many times over the years

Yeah. They have all definitely been through it over time.

I thought these two images might be helpful if you were doing an ANH build. Evidence from that time period has that panel on the back side of the RC unit. It looks the the on and off switch for the remote control receiver.
 

Duncanator

Sr Member
The pieces look fantastic - but whoa! Wait a sec - you're saying that the vent with the holes is an original component?

It's brought up an interesting discussion. My 3Dsf.info page, though sadly a page that Google has screwed with for no apparent reason, included this line:

"Another interesting detail is that the RC R2 had, at some point, cutouts in the recessed pocket on the port/left side of the droid. These cutouts, apparently for a slide switch and possibly status lights, don't exist on any other droid that I know of. While they didn't appear to be in use when this photo was taken just after the filming of the pickups, John Stears' typed manual for the droid indicate that a switch for powering down the radio was located here."
I used your site for some reference as I went through this build. You've got a lot of good information there!
 

Duncanator

Sr Member
The production blueprints have always called out two holes for Practical Lights.
I am guessing that practical means not a SFX requirement, but for practical use on the prop?
What is interesting is that these are called out in both slots.
It looks like it was only built on the rear slot, and the lights were put in mirrored.

View attachment 1435045

I like the detail that one light was round and one light was flat.
Always thought that was kind of cool.
That drawing confirms a few things I noticed making mine - especially that the dimensions were imperial, not metric.
 

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