How to Build Your Own R2D2

By Chuck Mercier
Courtesy of r2d2.stcloudstate.edu
Courtesy of r2d2.stcloudstate.edu

R2D2 is one of the most beloved characters in the "Star Wars" franchise. The comic relief and courage he displayed in the the original film set the tone for his major roles in each of the five films created by George Lucas. Whether you fell in love with his witty indecipherable comebacks or envied his will and determination in a crises, R2D2 always had a connection with the viewer that few other inanimate objects have ever achieved in film. "Star Wars" merchandise is still selling steadily decades after the original movie debuted. If you don't want to pay exorbitant prices for authentic "Star Wars" memorabilia, consider crafting your own. The following steps will help you build your own R2D2.

Prime the trash can and the PVC pipe with the white spray primer. Be sure to cover all areas on the trash can. If metal is still visible after the first coat, apply a second coat.

If you have one long piece of PVC pipe, cut the 2-foot lengths and the 7-inch length with the hacksaw. You may have the option of having your pipe cut at the store where you purchased it.

Using your photograph of R2D2 as a guide, paint the details on the trash can. The PVC pipe will act as the robot's legs, so paint them according to the photograph as well. Use the colored spray paint for larger areas of solid color and paint the details by hand using a brush.

Attach the skateboard wheels to the skateboard trucks and make sure the wheels spin freely. Using the ½" screws, attach the three trucks to the PVC. Attach one truck to each of the two long legs and one short leg that you've already painted.

Using the Super Glue, attach the two long legs to the side of the robot's body. To ensure the legs stay in place while the glue is drying, place the rubber band around the robot and legs to hold the legs in place.

Attach the third piece of PVC to the bottom front of the trash can using the super glue and stand the can on its PVC legs. The weight of the can should be sufficient to hold the PVC in place while the glue dries on the 7-inch leg.

Things You Will Need

  • A detailed photo of R2D2
  • A 35-inch domed stainless steel trash can
  • White spray-paint primer
  • 1 can each of high-quality oil based spray paint suitable for metal surfaces: white, blue, silver and black
  • 1-1 pint can each of high-quality oil based paint suitable for metal surfaces: white, blue, silver and black
  • Paint brushes, various sizes
  • 2-2-foot pieces of 3-inch diameter PVC pipe
  • 1-7-inch piece of 3-inch diameter PVC pipe
  • Hacksaw
  • Screwdriver
  • 6-1/2 inch screws
  • 3 skateboard trucks
  • 6 skateboard wheels
  • Super Glue
  • Heavy-duty rubber band big enough to place around the trash can

Tip

If you find that the super glue is not holding the legs in place, drill two holes in the side of the trash can and the PVC. Attach the pipes to the can with 3" bolts and the accompanying nuts.

Many online retailers have R2D2 decals that can be used to customize your R2D2 model if you wish to give it some extra flair.

Warning

To avoid inhaling fumes and particulate matter from the spray paint, make sure you are working in an area with adequate ventilation. Super glue and other industrial strength adhesives can be dangerous if used improperly. Always read the instructions and take all suggested safety precautions before using the product. Wear appropriate safety gear such as glasses and gloves when handling power tools, paint and other workshop hazards.

About the Author

Chuck Mercier has been writing professionally since graduating college in 2004. He contributes to eHow, as well as a personal blog dealing with foreign affairs and nuclear proliferation. Mercier holds a Bachelor of Arts in English creative writing from Florida State University and is currently pursuing his Master of Arts in international relations from Oklahoma University.