3D Printing an R2

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in 3D, Art, cosplay, Design | No Comments

R2-projector

It probably would have been easier to just remake this damn thing. And I still might end up doing that.

I downloaded a free 3D print R2  and imported it into Lightwave. It was pretty good to begin with, but it was not 3D printer ready. I cut off one of the projector knob things and it had some free edges inside of it, which would not have printed.  And I’m not talking about the part I cut off either.  I filled into some spots, then realized the entire (now) pink area of polys were also free floating with no thickness, so I had to use the Thicken tool on it. Except it didn’t quite work because of all the funky triangles. It also had a free floating cylinder inside that didn’t intersect with anything for no apparent reason.

A couple of months ago, my husband got the bug to build his own R2 unit, specifically, Whistler, who is Corran Horn’s droid in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Whistler is green and grey but otherwise is built the same as Artoo, Luke’s famous companion with a bright shiny silver dome and catapults and whatnot.  The biggest difficulty so far has been obtaining a proper dome – as an R2 dome isn’t quite a half sphere, but is slightly extended, almost egg-shaped.  My hubby has managed to collect motors, wheels and has even programmed the R2 brain in a Raspberry pi.  Whistler has a projector, sheets of styrene set aside for body and feel paneling and even piles of MDF that will be CNC cut out for the legs. The dome has been nearly impossible to find or have made – it is 300 mm high and 465 mm across, but 45 cm is acceptable, as are true half-spheres for the purpose of the approval of the many droid building communities – many of which share around free information and are happy to discuss building methods, parts and their own solutions to the myriad problems of  re-inventing the sci-fi astromech that is so universally well loved.

Since we’re going to the trouble to build and modify 3D printable parts ourselves, I’m making it to those oblong proportions. The free model that I found has a true half-sphere dome and I can’t quite use it.  So the plan is that I’m going to cut off or duplicate all the pieces on the dome, then stretch the dome, cut out the new panels and doors, then cut the dome up into printable pieces. That’s going to be a lot of chopping.

The 3D printer we’ll be using can only handle a 9 inch wide by 13 inch tall area, so the dome must be broken up into at least 8 pieces.

My biggest gripe with the free model (besides sizing) is that it isn’t smooth. If someone printed it as is, it would require a lot of smoothing, which would remove some of the outer shape, which might make pieces too small.  But they couldn’t print it, because it has random floating cylinders in it.  Gr.

3D printing requires some smoothing process as it is, so that’s not a huge issue. but the dome is very complicated, and having to remove too much could have serious consequences for the fitting back together stages.

 

 

 

 

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