Mini R2D2 build - first thoughts

Hi this blog will be my log for building a surprise gift for my wife. She loves R2D2 from Star Wars and she is having x0 year (x>1) birthday next year. This idea started as a joke in my head but when I thought this more and more in my head I realised that this could possible be done by me.


Thinking of specification

First thing is that the droid cannot be full sized, unfortunately, because we live in a small apartment and there would be no place to keep it. So it has to be smaller. That will make some of the features much harder to be done. So I need to cut some of those out.

Size should be max 50 cm high and it should be possible to do as much features as the size gives room. Head movement around is one of the key functions that makes R2D2 regonicable (if seeing it does not do it) with sounds that it makes. So those are must. I want the droid to be able to move and also to be possible to lean back, like R2D2 does. Also retracting the middle leg.

Most wanted feature is holo projector to project video content. This gives first problem to surpass. I'm not absolute with this and I think it is success if it gives any resolution projection but of course better resolution is more impressive.

Head also has Processor State Indicators (PSI) and Logic displays that can be done with LED-logic. Those give easily better look for the droid.

Optional but very wanted functions are opening side thrusters, opening hatches and light saber sling in head. Opening hatches gives possibility to do retracting tools inside but I'm kind of sceptic to be able to implement those.

What this can be done with?

For the electronics I need to order lots of stuff but before that I need to figure out what can be done with what. Logic will be done with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, just their roles are not figured out yet. Technically this can be done only with Arduino or only with Raspberry but video and sounds are easier with Raspberry and I have experience with Arduino controlling leds and servos so I think there will be bouth.

For the body parts I decided to print them with 3D printer. I own one with few of my friends so that will cut down costs a lot. My friend pointed me to a wonderful stack of knowledge on this subject There is links to tutorials and blueprints of the life sized droids so all I need to do is 3D model all the parts and print them. Eazy… at least it would be if had even a little experience in 3D modeling. So that will be fun to learn. For the modeling Im using Fusion 360 which is free on a personal use and it has many tutorials on YouTube.

What will be done first?

Head will be the most diffucult thing to be done. I think so first I need to model the head to see what can bee fitted inside it. Probably I will also 3D print the head to see if that is possible and if there is any problems with it.