The Dome – Logic Displays

Logic Displays- those little sparkly lights on the front and back of the dome that make R2, well, R2. They tell you this is a live thing, that something’s going on inside that dome of his.

The original logic displays were fiber optics that ran to a light with a color wheel. That is so 1977. Today we have LED’s and computers to get the same effect. I lucked out and was blessed to get a Hyperdyne set (expensive) from a friend for practically nothing. I truly believe that God has been blessing this build, and so far He has helped me save a lot of money on the build. Amen!

What the boards look like:

Rear logic

I had a friend make some black screens for these at work on the CNC (I’ve GOT to get one someday).

Screen next to the rear logic bezel

And the rear display mounted.

Rear display mounted

And the front displays being mounted

Mounting of front displays

And from the front of the dome:

Front logics in place

Next up: Adding in the PSI light circuits


The Dome- Holoprojectors (or HP’s)

Moving along, the next step was in mounting the holoprojectors – the projector lens housings that stick out of the dome in a few different spots. For the most part, the two that go on the top and back of the dome are painted all silver, and I used acrylic cabachon lenses from Craftics, which cost me something like $5.00 a piece. Ask for Tracy Pineda and tell her what you want them for.

So, I thought I’d really focus this post on the front HP, which is going to move via RC servos and be hooked up to an automated system. One of the builders on developed and sold a kit that holds the moveable HP (which comes in resin or aluminum). The kit is all CNC cut styrene.

All the bits with some of the hardware

There’s really no instructions- just a list of hardware that’s needed, and the design of the rig from different angles so you can kind of get how it goes together. The rest is trial and error- thus why it’s called droid building. There are some things you need to sand, grind away, and so on to get it to go together and eventually fit into the dome next to the PSI housing.  I decided to paint the front HP to match the one from Star Wars A New Hope.

All the pieces together

After assembling it, I needed to add a small tube to the base of the HP that would a: be actuated by the servos, and b: used to route the wires for the light inside the HP.

The copper tube


Then I needed to find a suitable light source- in this case it was a LED push light for $3.99 from the hardware store. Some dismantling, adding some wires, and voila!

Light board mounted

Side view

Built completed:


Another view


Added some servos then did some grinding to get the HP to fit next to the PSI.

Ground down

And mounted with servos from the inside. I uses a liberal amount of silicon glue to hold this in:

HP mounted

And from the front:

HP in!

Next up: Logic displays


The Dome- PSI diffusers

There’s been a debate on about what the diffusers are for the PSI lights are – the blue and red light on the front of the dome and the green and yellow one on the back of the dome. These are known as Process State Indicators, and sometimes tell how R@ is feeling, or can also tell when he’s processing something (and the flash faster accordingly like the activity light on a hard drive). Some guys sell diffusion lenses (spendy), and others find diffusers from materials at the local hardware store. Me? Old milk jugs cut up and glued in…

Milk jug circle

Glued to the PSI housings

And in the dome…

PSI's mounted

The Dome- Radar eye

Howdy. For lack of a better term of hello, I decided to use Howdy. So, last look at the dome, it was painted silver.

I did paint all the blue panels (but didn’t take any photos). The process was sand them, primer them with automotive gray, wet sand, then a layer of silver paint, wait 10 minutes, then a clear purple, wait, then clear blue, wait, purple, and then a clear coat.

The Radar eye photos show that process sort of. Also are some pics of the lens, which is one of those hobby ornaments from Michael’s you can fill with potpourri. Photos below:

The eye painted silver

Purple then blue 1st pass

and then one more purple coat and clear coat




The lens uncut

The lens cut to size and not painted

The lens installed to the back of the eye


The finished eye!

The eye now mounted




Lots of work and no posts

It’s been a long time since I last posted, but that’s how life is. You get a job, and then you find you have very little time to update a blog or do much of anything else except enjoy what time you have with your family and friends.

So I haven’t been posting here, nor on my design blog at I have though been working on R2 here and there as time permits, mostly nights when dinner is getting ready or everyone’s off to bed.

I need to get the little guy done though – God has been prompting me a LOT lately to finish this and get R2 to Rady Chidren’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald house by this summer. The droid is going to be our ministry- to share the gospel and good news of Christ with families, bring a smile to kids’ faces who are suffering from some form of disease, and make new friends.

So, I wrote a small book called “R2andU- How to be a servant of God”, which is about 10 pages, and discusses how R2 was a hero, friend, servant, loyal, trustworthy, brave, humble, and so on; which we’re going to give to families when we visit, as well as to churches with children’s ministries. Our first test will be at our church, The Rock San Diego.  An idea for the book cover:

So, I’ll be putting up a lot of posts of the progress that’s been made. Next up- the dome progress.