The moment Professor Tony Dyson’s most famous creation hit the big screen in 1977, R2-D2 began his assault on the hearts of moviegoers. The charismatic robot creation is a part of the collection at the Smithsonian Institution and has been honored with inclusion in the Carnegie Mellon University Robot Hall of Fame.
It’s said that George Lucas created R2D2 after being influenced by the 1958 Akira Kurosawa film, “The Hidden Fortress” and by Douglas Trumbull’s 1972 film, “Silent Running,” and the original Star Wars films featured two R2-D2 models – one remote controlled and another worn by actor Kenny Baker. The iconic sound effects which made up the “voice” of R2-D2 were created by sound designer Ben Burtt who used an analog synthesizer and his own processed voice to make it happen.
Now Briton James Bruton, the majordomo of Xrobots.co.uk, has become a bit of a legend himself with his desktop, 3D printed science-fiction and cosplay inspired projects, and one of his more impressive creations is a 3D printed version of R2-D2. And to top it off you can, if you have the will and the skill, download the CAD files for one of his most impressive builds – a full-sized version of the R2-D2 robot of Star Wars fame.
Since late 2004, Bruton has operated his Xrobots initiative and a popular YouTube channel which features weekly video releases of his work, designs and tutorials from his Southampton lab. Bruton has cultivated a devoted following online eager to check out his detailed explanations of his approach to the design and execution of his projects. He also owns a small import and sales business for creative materials called Creative Resources Distribution Limited.
He largely finances his projects through a combination of sponsorship and Patreon.com, a site which lets fans pledge support money for each of his YouTube clips.
Bruton is now sharing all the necessary data and advice to build his 3D printed R2D2 via Github. He says he was intent on building a version of the classic robot which is lightweight; perhaps 30% more so than a similar version built with sheet or other materials.
When he’s finally done with the project, which is still underway at this point, Bruton hopes to have a fully-operational result which include all the necessary servos, motors lighting and sound capabilities to make it amazing.
And so far, he’s done the vast majority of the construction with his Lulzbot TAZ 3D printer. Using Autodesk, Bruton has designed a very complete digital blueprint and provides a wide range of suggestions and advice on how it can be built.
What do you think of James Bruton’s 3D printed R2-D2 robot project? Would you take on a project of this complexity yourself? Let us know in the 3D Printed R2D2 Robot forum thread on 3DPB.com.