Transporting R2-D2

October, 2016

Now that my R2-D2 build is complete, I’m excited to show her off at some local events.  So how do I safely transport my creation?  Additional design build work was required.

  1.  I own a mini-van and quickly determined that the body without the head could fit upright in the back with the seats folded down.
  2. A padded box would be required to safely transport the head
  3. Once on site, a cart would be needed to move R2 long distances.  In my experience, a cart is best to get over the uneven pavement and through buildings.  The cart’s wheels are bigger and offer better clearance.  It also saves on R2’s battery life.
  4. In addition, accessories such as spare batteries, the RC controller and other small items must also be transported.


The Cart

  • I did a lot of research and struggled to find a cart that could meet all my requirements (correct size, light weight, low cost, load capacity, etc.)
  • I opted to buy a 2′ x 3′ cart and add an additional platform to provide the width required.
  • Because the back wheels are so far back, it leaves room to build a small area to store my spare sealed Lead-Acid batteries.
  • I added some 2×4’s under the platform so it fit snugly over the cart, but could also be removed if necessary.
  • I also added some padded 2×4’s on the sides to keep R2 from sliding around.
  • I painted the platform white to keep with R2’s primary colour scheme.
  • I bought some ratchet straps that go over R2’s shoulders and under the platform to limit the movement.
  • I used some scrap foam reinforced with some nylon web material to protect the paint on the shoulders


Board 2.jpg


The Head Box

  • My first attempt to transport, I had to ask someone to hold R2’s head during the drive since I had no better options planned.
  • I knew I needed a box that I could safely transport R2’s head, and also stack other stuff on top of it without risk of damage.
  • I bought some 3/8″ plywood and a 2×2″ posts and assembled a box that could fit the 18″ round head, aligning the protruding holo-lenses into the corners of the box.
  • I added 1 inch to all measurements to leave room to add a 1″ thick layer of foam to cushion the head during transport.
  • I added hinges on the top and a adjustable staple safety hasp that can take a padlock if needed.
  • This box became quite large and heavy, so I added 3 handles so I had plenty of places to grab
  • Later, I bought some corner protectors for the bottom corners to allow it to slide more easily and protect the wood a bit.
  • Again, I painted it white in keeping with R2’s primary colour scheme.  The hardware was silver, which kept with the colour scheme.
  • I finished the box by adding a nice sign on the front.  I carved the letters “Astromech Transport” into a 1/2″ thick piece of pine using my X-Carve.  I downloaded the Star Wars font and used Inkscape to build the pattern, then imported it into Easel.


Accessory Transport

  • Secure transportation of some of the smaller, but fragile items is equally important as the robot they support
    • The RC controller
    • Re-chargers
    • Tools
    • Extra batteries
  • I learned from previous experience that this is best done by using a padded case.  I bought a Plano pistol case and carefully removed some of the foam to fit the components.

Remote Control.jpg

Additional Thoughts

  • I admit, I was a bit concerned about the straps – they pull the legs straight down which puts stress on the shoulders and ankles.  However, the legs and body are designed for this stress, and so far it has not been an issue.
  • I found that I can put the board into the car first, then put R2 on top to prevent her from sliding around while I drive.
  • It can sometimes be alarming for children to see R2 headless.  So, I try my best to keep the head on whenever possible to maintain the illusion of the prop.



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