As an aspiring engineer, I really appreciate the many functions of R2-D2. Along with an advanced AI (artificial intelligence), R2 can repair and analyze just about anything. Plus, he's adorable!
I recently attended the "Sci-Fi Central" event hosted by Science Central. The 501st was there (I love them!), along with the Midwest R2 Builders Group. The Midwest Builders gave a talk about building your own life-sized R2 unit. I was hooked! I ran up to them as soon as they finished their talk and asked to join. At the very next meeting, I was there early, ready to learn everything I could about building an R2 unit.
The gentlemen of the Midwest Builders could not be more supportive or helpful, especially Dennis Spillers! They're willing to support me every step of the way. I don't know what I'd do without them! They have patiently talked to me about components, suppliers, costs and schedules. They have explained that an R2 can be built in as little as a few months, or it could take as long as two years. The cost is around $3000, depending on the materials chosen and whether you do most of the work yourself.
I'm in high school, and I have a part-time job. I am the head of IT for a small, local company. I designed and maintain the company's website, and I maintain their computer systems (hardware and software). I love my bosses and I love my job! However, I am also saving up money for college (just two short years away!), and I'm busy with the ACT, PSAT, and AP classes and tests, so the money and time required to build an R2 are big factors for me.
I love working with my Arduino and my Raspberry Pi, and my soldering iron is my favorite tool, so I plan to do most, if not all, of the programming and electronics myself. Other parts, like the aluminum dome, I'll have to purchase.
This is going to be a fun project! I'll try to post about my progress every week or two. In the meantime, may the force be with you. Always.