Wandering around Maker Faire Austin, I stumbled upon quite a unique little droid. This half-sized R2 D2 unit was rolling around, beeping and booping as R2 units tend to do, but immediately caught my attention with its steampunk style.
I took a few minutes to interview Tim Fredoluco about his creation and quickly became fascinating by the construction.
Tim explained that he actually started with some other sculptures. Here you can see his terminator arm and the Darth Vader lamp that were on display in his booth. This Vader was a huge hit as well, I heard people talking about it all over the faire!
R2 kind of happened as an accident. As Tim explained, he was just doing a simple sculpture that ended up looking a lot like R2’s foot. Once he noticed that, he just couldn’t stop. The droid is constructed from many found materials and many, many, hours of Tim’s hard work. As you look around the robot you can spot things like boat compases, a lazy susan, drain wrenches, motorcycle fuel lines and more. Surprisingly, all of these things seem to come together and look perfect on the wood-slat body.
This may not be the most movie correct version of R2, but for me it was a welcome artistic take on the style.
One interesting anecdote Tim shared was about the motors. He had intended to use a roomba’s drive system as it just seemed like it would be perfect. However, after inspecting the generic alternative, he realized that he would have a much easier job fabricating the support structures for the generic. This is how his R2 came to use generic vacuum motors instead of Roomba motors.