Chris Lee Talks About and the Millennium Falcon Project

Chris Lee Talks About and the Millennium Falcon Project
Millennium Falcon Cockpit at TEDx Nashville 2014
Millennium Falcon Cockpit at TEDx Nashville 2014

What do you do after you’ve joined the 501st Legion, made an Imperial Storm Trooper costume, built a full-scale R2-D2, and married a wife named Leah (pronounced Lay-uh like the princess)? Well, you start a project to build a full scale Millennium Falcon, of course. The man I’m referring to is Chris Lee and he is what I lovingly refer to as a super maker.

I had a chance to catch up with Chris at TEDx Nashville where he was presenting on “Robots, Spaceships, and Greeblies: Build Your Dream.” Basically, Chris’ dream has always been to make the Star Wars fantasy world a reality.

It’s important to understand that Chris’ plans started very early as a young school kid. Although he didn’t have the resources to take action, the planning started soon after the first Star Wars movie (not the “kiddie” new movies but the real movies as he refers to them) in 1977. He presented us with photos of the very early sketches of his high school engineering designs to build a Millennium Falcon.

As time went by and Chris excelled in his profession, resources became more plentiful and it started to become possible to put some of his plans into action. He started by joining the 501st Legion (#61) with a used store-bought Storm Trooper costume. He later built the first replica costume of an Imperial Biker Scout. But this wasn’t enough…

He then decided he needed to build an R2-D2 and happened upon the R2-D2 Builders Club. He spent the next three years building a movie accurate replica R2-D2. Still not enough…

It was now time to scratch that itch that had always been there – the desire to build a Millennium Falcon. Not a quarter or half scale version but a full scale Millennium Falcon. To say this is a big project is an understatement. To say “it can’t be done” would be to say words you will never hear from Chris. Most of Chris’ projects were small in comparison and required (only!) a few years to complete. However, it was obvious this was not going to be the case with this project. He was going to need more than just a little help. He was going to need a community — a [clone?] army. So, he founded the Full Scale Millennium Falcon Project and now people all over the world are helping to build pieces of the Falcon. When all the pieces are complete, they will be assembled into a single Jedi delivery system for all the world to experience.

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Enter Greeblies are the detail pieces that are used by model makers to make a model appear more interesting and complex than it was originally designed. For example, hub caps, stereo parts, or coffee mugs might be glued to the side of a model to add shape to an otherwise flat panel of a space ship.  There are literally hundreds of these different parts used on the Millennium Falcon. Some have been identified and some are having to be recreated by hand or 3D printer. Cataloging, designing, and creating all of these parts is a monumental task – one that requires software tools that are not currently available. So, of course, Chris has started yet another big project:

Much like the Falcon project, is much bigger than one man alone can complete. So, once again Chris is calling on the community for help. will be a community for connecting talented, like-minded individuals together for the purpose of fabricating large or small scale projects in an open crowd-sourced way. Chris tells you all about it in the video. is only an idea right now but with the help of a community of developers, designers, and architects he believes it can become reality. If you’re interested in being a Jedi helping make a reality, register at the website today.

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I'm a software engineer by day and maker by night. Most of my making revolves around woodworking, electronics, and the combination of the two. I'm also the founder & president of NashMicro - the Nashville Microcontrollers users' group and the father of three future makers. Follow me on Twitter as @ianlee74 or for the most recent news on everything Gadgeteer, follow @gadgeteerin.

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