View Full Version : [Contest Entry] My R2-D2 Project

01-18-2010, 08:53 PM
A friend emailed and insisted I had to post about my project here.

So, here I am.

Here's my buddy...


I've spent the past 4 years accumulating the pieces that make up R2-D2. I found a YahooGroup on the Internet (R2Builders) and as various aluminum pieces were offered to the group, I ourchased them. The club has standardized blueprints so when someone produces a part, it is guranteed to fit with others.

My R2-D2 is all aluminum with the exception of the feet. They are made of steel.

R2 is powered along by two NPC 2212 12 volt motors via a drive system one of our parts guys designed. Two 12 volt, 18amp batteries run in parallel, power them along with a RobotQ AX3500. The motor controller has extensive features to allow for a computer to connect up and view the operations. It also allows me to change the acceleration or even reduce power/increase power to a specific motor.

A Spektrum 6dxi with a failsafe BR6000 receiver provides me with the remote control for driving R2 and rotating the dome. Since I work at a medical center and R2 is near kids a lot, safety is paramount.

I realized I was going to run out of channels in a hurry, since I want panels/doors to open, plus the various gadgets R2 has.

Alas I heard others talking about joystick and even iPod control ideas. I searched and searched and found some code samples that showed how to read the "button pressed" and make Windows do something with it. I hadn't played with visual basic in a long time so I dove into [trying] to learn Visual Basic 2008. With the help of an old friend, we had R2-D2 making beeps via a wireless gaming controller. A friend wanted to help with the R2 project and donated his old Netbook to the cause. After a lot of trial and error, I developed the program so that R2 could play sounds in 3 categories. "Happy", "Sad" and "Chatty" folders were created and each button was assigned to randomly grab a sound at each keypress. We added an "Idle" button and folder, so that when R2 wasn't traversing around, he would randomly chirp something every 45 seconds.

Needless to say, the kids at pediatrics have been thrilled with their newest friend. As has the staff and coworkers. (Ever want to see how many people have camera phones on them? Roll an R2-D2 through a busy hospital cafeteria!)

People have kept coming up with more ideas and over the past two weeks, I finally got it working.

What would that be? Well, R2-D2 playing that hologram of Princess Leia...


I'm still tweaking the program since Windows Media Player and this netbook are struggling to get along (time for a new Netbook!).

Now I am working on how to mount that Mitsubishi PK20 LED DLP projector in the dome, attached to the holographic projector. R2 rocks around a good deal and it needs to be kid-finger proof! However the projector is batttery powered so that makes it very capable of being inside.

Ok, I have written a small novel and hope I have not bored you guys.

Next up is working on putting a usb to servo card in there and programming them into the program I made.

If you are interested in seeing more, check out the build blog at http://paulsr2d2.blogspot.com or my YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/PaulsR2D2



01-19-2010, 10:57 PM
Thats cool