Home Dome Frame Body Legs Electronics

Skins - Cutting and Fitting

I had looked at styrene and other skins and even considered a PVC tube at one point, but skimping on the frame, and buying a cheaper wooden one I decided to go all out and purchase aluminium dome and skins. As these are the most obvious parts, and thought this was worth the outlay. The skins come in "inner" and "outer" with a front and back and attach to the frame.

The skins have all the necessary panels already cut, but held in place by small tabs. The idea being you cut out the panels and doors by cutting the tabs. The doors and panels on R2D2 have a "paneling" effect. With an inner and outer surround to each door. The outer surround part comes from the outer skin and the inner, panel, pice form the inner skin. This means that once the pieces are all cut out you need to identify the outer and inner pieces for each door and then glue these together. To ensure that once I had cut out all the panels, I knew exactly where they would go back I labeled all the panels

The inner and outer skins do look identical, but one skin contains the outer doors and the other the inner panels. If you look at a door, you will see one skin has just the door and the other has a small surround and an inner piece. This inner piece is scrap and this skin is the outer skin. If you scroll down you will see how a door is formed and it might make more sense then.

There are small tabs that hold the panels and these are cut to free the panels. A shot of this is shown opposite. You can see the tabs cut through on the bottom.

I used a small acto saw I bought on ebay that has a thin blade, that can easily cut the thin tabs and thin enough to get into the gap. Once I cut the panels out, I stored these safely away.

I then used a standard file to carefully file off the remaining tabs on the skin.

For the outer skin, the pieces removed have 2 parts. So its easy to remove the complete panel by cutting the tabs. However, the removed part from the outer skin consists of two parts, an Outer surround and an inner piece, which is scrap, and not used. The gap between this inner and outer surround is miniscule, and so you need a different technique to remove the outer surround from the inner. It is laser cut and has tabs, and these tabs need to be cut, to separate the outer surround from the inner.

The technique I used is known as the "chisel" method which is shown below

Completed Front Skin with all panels Removed. Only 3 more skins to do !

Skin with panels removed

Skins - Chisel method

Having removed the outer skin panels, only the outer surround is used. The inner bit is scrap and must be removed. The gap between the inner and out isn't large enough to remove the tabs so the best method is to use a sharp chisel to cut through the tabs.

I found a scrap piece of wood and laid the removed outer door on the wood. I then took the chisel and placed the cutting edge over the connecting tab. I then leant on the chisel and used this to cut the tab. Successive cuts on all the remaining tabs separated the inner and outer surround. As I had previously marked the surround, I knew where it was positioned, and I then stored this safely to use later.

Having removed the outer piece the inner piece is now scrap. I decided to keep these safely stored incase I found a use for them after.

Skins - Building a Door Panel

The next stage is then building each door panel from all the pieces removed. Its here that your labeling comes to the fore. You need to use the pieces cut from your inner and outer skin. The panel surround comes from the outer skin and the inner part cut from the inner skin. These overlap and form the panel

I decided to use just the standard 2 part epoxy glue, like Araldite, to glue the outer surround to the inner. I found in the pound shop (guess equivalent in US is dollar shop) packs of 2 part epoxy for a pound and though these would do. There's only a thin layer of the inner edge of the inner panel that will adhere to the outer surround so first I test fitted the inner and outer. Before doing anthing I used my Acetone to clean the panels, so make sure there was no grease or dirt preventing a good bond

I then drew with pencil around the inner panel so that, when I separated the panel and surround I could clearly see the small overlap where the epoxy would go.

Before glueing i used a piece of rough sandpaper to roughen the edges, so that the glue would adhere. I needed a small flat tool that would allow me to spread the glue on this small overlap. At first I used a tootpick but it was too sharp, so I took a stanley knife and cut the pointed end off the tootpick and then cut at an angle to make a flat thin end, so that I could use this narrow flat edge to spread the glue on the narrow overlap.

I then took multiple spring clips to hold the panel and surround together whilst the glue set. As I added the spring clips the araldide would squeeze out onto the back and the front. The back I wasn't concerned about but the ooze on the front, wouldn't look great, so I took some cotton wads (one my wife uses for removing eye makeup) and soaked in acetone, to clean up the excess. This worked well, and meant that once the panels had hardened I didn't have to then chip off hardened glue.

I then set the panel aside and left overnight to dry. This took several nights to complete all the panels.

Now having cut out and completed all the panels its time to match them to the frame.

I decided just to test how the skins would fit, and to see if any overlap at the sides or any gaps.

Frame

I used some straps I had. I initially had intended to use ratchet straps, that you would use to hold your luggage to a roof rack, but was afraid it would damage the skins, so ended up with some wide, soft velcro straps, and some strechy staps I had from the Stormtrooper braces. These worked well, and as you can see held the inner skin to the frame

Inner skins strapped to Frame

The fit on one side was perfectly aligned and on the other was out, leaving a 5 mm gap. As I have a wooden frame, I used my mouse sander to sand down all the uprights and ribs of the frame so I could loose a bit of the overall diameter. I would stop and retry the skins after some sanding and gradually after various sandings, and re fitting I got the gap reduced to what I can live with.

Here is the side after completing sanding. I'll eventually add the skin snaps. There's still a small gap, but this may be ok with the skin snaps and I'm comfortable with a very small gap, as its hidden by the leg and hub, and it will even its self out on both sides to be smaller. I'll not actually connect the skins using the snaps yet until I have the skins painted and the leg hubs in place, so I can check for alignment at that time.

Side skin joints

The gap at the top isn't great either, but not bad enough to worry me, and looking at various blogs everyone says there is a bit of excess, and to put this at the top.

I want any slight overhang of the skins to be at the bottom. If there is any overhang, it won't be noticed provided its small. In addition the skirt I want to use is the vacuformed skirt, and this has a slight lip, that I'll want to hide with this overhang so 3mm to 4mm is fine.

Having test fitted the skin the next stage is to fit the skin to the frame. I am going to use Darren's skin snaps, so that I can attach these to the frame and then easily remove the skin when and if I need to. I first placed the skins on the frame, and ensured that there is no overlap at the top.

I centered the skin ensuring that the wooden uprights are right behind and in the middle of any aluminium skin pieces. I then marked with a pencil the ends of the large data port and the ends of the skin, so that when I remove the skin, and place it back it will go back in exactly the same spot. I need to add the arms and then drill holes to mount the arms and once these are drilled then the position of the skin will be fixed, as the skin arm cutouts must fit over the arms installed in the frame.

I strapped the skins in position and then test fitted the arms, ensuring these didn't snag anywhere, and once I was happy I then decided to try the position of the large dataport. The problem is the arms will have an M6 bolt as the hinge, and so I need to drill a 6mm hole in the frame for the bolt to slide into. However, the bolt will sit under the large dataport so I need to remove the wood above the large dataport before I can then drill the hole for the arm hinge.

So I positioned the large dataport and then marked the back of the port where the wood would have to be cut out. I took my dremel with a cutter and used this to cut out the wood piece.

I then fitted the arm, and placed this into position within the skin, using the skin to hold the arm in its position. This was so I could get the vertical location of where the hole for the M6 bolt (hinge) would go. I then marked this on the wood with a pencil, and removed the arm and skin.

Now with the vertical position of the arm marked, I removed the skin and marked how far in the hole would go to support the hole. As it turned out, to just have the arm slighly protrude the hole would be 10mm in from the edge. I marked this and then drilled the position.

In this picture, the top hole is drilled through the top rib, and the bolt will then be recessed so that the large dataport can sit flat on the top rib. I used a 8mm wood drill to countersink the hole so the head of the bolt can be recessed in the top rib. Having marked the position of the hole in the middle rib, I purchased a 200mm long, 6mm wood drill, and then drilled the lower hole for the arm.

Here is the drill with the long wood bit fitted.

I then drilled from the top through the top rib and the next two down. A standard drill bit is not long enough to reach the bottom rib, so this allowed me to drill the holes in the bottom ribs for the bottom utility arm left hand hinge.

I then took the resin arm and clamped this so I could drill a 6mm hole through the arm, so allow the bolt to pass through as the hinge. Once drilled i then fitted the arm to the frame and passed the bolt through. I used two additional nuts (one above the arm and one below the arm ) with washers fitted to hold the arm midway between the ribs and adjusted the nuts so that the arm would then site prefectly in the slots in the skin. Next, in a similar fashion, and with the first arm in place, I added the lower arm again matking the vertical position. Then with the skin removed I marked the position of the hole. For the bottom arm the bolt will only be between the midlle and lower rib, rather than the top and middle ribs for the top arm. However its impossible to drill from the bottom just the lower and middle rib, so I drilled from the top, drilling the top middle and lower rib, (although the top hole will never be used).

I painted the frame behind the arms and the Large data port, black so that the details and wood could not be easily seen. Painting them black helps them merge into the background.

Tis is the arm fitted on the right hand side. The Large datapost isn't in place so you can see how the bolt fits through the ribs, with the hex head of the bolt hidden in the top rib.

My next task, is the octagon ports. These will sit up against the inside of the outer skin but poke through the inner skin. The skin pre cut hexagon is perfect for the outer skin but too small to allow the port to protrude. So I positioned the port behind the skin, to ensure it would fit and then placed port on the outside of the inner skin and with a pencil drew around the port to give an outline of how much I would need to file to allow the port to protrude. The skin is relatively thin so it wasn't going to take a lot of hard filing to allow the port to protrude, and within around 10 mins with my flat file, I had the octagon hole widened.

I started the 2nd octagonal port but unfortunately this wouldn't fit, and would need some alteration to the frame to remove some of the excess wood and allow the port to fit in position. To ensure I had the correct port and the correct positioning I took a pen and marked on the back of the port which was the top and sides and which port was which.

I marked the frame and where the wood would have to be removed to allow the port to fit in the skin. I then removed the skin and with a wood chisel, simply removed the excess wood to ensure the port would fit. Once I was happy with this I then used the outline of the port and mared this in pencil on the skin, and again filed the octagonal cutout to make it larger. I would stop often and then test fit the port, and in test fitting see exactly where the port would fit and where a little more filing was required.

By stopping frequently and test fitting as I filed, I was able to ensure that I didn't file too much, and then found that the port fitted prefectly in the new octagonal hole. For the Power coupler Tthe inner skin has a round hole and the outer has a square hole.

The power coupling has an outer squarepart, and inner cylinder. As such the inner skin is circular and the other skin square. I initially planned to just paint the other skin piece with the 4 small corner triangles, but practically this was going to look poor. So I had no option but to cut the inner skin to allow the port to fit. I then joined the inner and outer skins, marked with a pencil the square outline of the outer.

I then used a dremel cutting disk and cut out the hole. I then test fitted the out port edge and where appropriate used a file to get the perfect fit. Again it was a method of test fit, file a bit, re fit, file a bit more. Nothing worse than filing too much, you can always file a bit off, but if you file too much you can't put the wee bit you filed too much back. In the end it was the top and bottom of the inner skin that needed a lot of filing. the outer sherrel aluminium skin was perfect.

I plan later on to fit an aluminium Power coupler here, once I save up for the part.

Now that I was happy with the skins and the fitting, the next stage would be to add the skin snaps, but as its April an the first hot and dry day in Northern Ireland and I'm off on the Easter Break, I thought I'd paint the outer skins. I had purchsed some primer and the recommened Rustolleum Satin white. The primer I decided to use was Halfords Primer suitable for car paints. I had seen the self etching primers refered to in other builds, and this Halfords primer seems to be ideal for the job, and was used for car body repair. I took some cardboard and positioned all the parts to be primed and then outside in the still air used the primer. I started with a light dusting and then went back adding more and more layers, just adding enough to not run.

Once I had the primer completed and built up in layers I left them to dry in the sun for 2 hours.

Once dry I very carefully lifted each part, and transferred them to the shelf in my greenhouse. As it has been sunny all day the greenhouse was like an oven so all the parts were then left to dry in the greenhouse overnight. In the morning I set them back out on cardboard and painted them in satin white.

As Rustolleum Satin White was the recommended paint for the body, I managed to track this paint down in Homebase where its recommended for painting metal chairs and railings. Having used the halfords primer and the Hypo Blue BMW mini paint for the blue, I wan't impressed by this Rustoleum paint, its horrible. I had no difficulty with the primer or the Hypo blue. I then found if I bought th larger Rustolleum paint this works much better. I had to be careful. but in the end, it ran in several places, so I had to let it dry in the greenhouse and then take some 400 sandpaper and sand down the runs and re prime and then re paint.

Having painted the doors and the frames, I left these in the greenhouse overnight and with the sunny day the greenhouse acted as an oven and seemed to harden the paint perfectly. I'm taking no chances though and leaving the painted items for a week or so before trying anything with them.

Having pained the white, next is the blue. In the UK we don't have access to the various blue's and purple's in Rustolleum and I find Rustolleum a devil to work with. So I went for BMW Mini Hypo Blue and bought spray and laquer on ebay. To me its looks perfect. As there's only me in N Ireland building, so I can't pop down to see someone else's R2 and see if the colour matches so It will have to do. I also painted the booster cover and other blue panels for the dome. I wanted to use this self etching primer but again couldn't source any easily, so use the Halfords Primer.

I used multiple coats just starting with a light dusting and then adding layers leaving for about 10 to 15 mins between coats. The blue went on perfectly as did the primer, with no runs. This was then left in the greenhouse to bake.

As the weather was holding I moved onto the aluminium spray. This has given me great bother as I just can't find a good aluminium to match the real aluminium of the vents or the coin slots. I the end I did several test examples on the skin cut outs that were spare, and the closest to aluminium was rustolleum metallic silver. Its not great or perfect, but I can't find anything that is, so this is the closest. Again I used the halfords primer and then the Rustolleum Metallic silver. I built up coats as before and used the primer on the resin parts. For the booster cover bottom I masked off the bottom and used the silber metallic. I even used this on the legs ankle braclet, masking off the legs. However when I removed the tape it just took the blue and primer right off !! I ended up having to sand it all back and lighly sand the resin booster to get the primer to adhere. I had cleaned all the resin parts in fairy liquid (dish washing soap) and then acetone to remove any moulding stuff but I think it was just the surface of the cover wasn't sanded to allow the primer to bond as the other booster cover was perfect.

After a week of leaving the paint dry, I fitted the arms and then added the skin. I used the simple straps I had used before to hold the skins in place to ensure alignment. Then I started to add the skin snaps from darren.

I decided to use 3 skin snaps on each side and added the snaps in roughly the right position. I found with the wooden frame that I had to cut the ends of the skin snaps to allow them to fit between the "risers", but this wasn't going to impair the operation. Once in position I marked on the inner skin the outline of the snap and then where the holes would go.

At this point I then tried to remove the skins, and realised that the risers impinge on the ends of the skinsnaps, so as I try to move the snaps they aren't able to move. So I ended up having to remove the middle snap altogether and cut the ends off the top and bottom snaps to allow the snaps to move. This means that there isn't as good a joint as I wanted, as instead of holding each snap with 2 screws I'm reduced to one. I could alternatively cut holes in the risers to allow the ends of the snaps to protrude, but decided to opt for the one screw. I'm now going to add additional m3 rounded allen screws on the outside, which will screw into the wood. so removing the skin will consist of first removing the outer screws and then pulling back on the snaps. This will also help with the issue I had over the edges not being flat.

I proceeded to do all 3 snaps on both sides in the same way, and am happy with the fit. I removed the straps that I used to hold the skins and the skins look Perfect. I'm not that happy, where the edges of the front and back meet. They still stick out some. Also I then realised the ones at the top fit lovely, but can't come apart ! Look at the pciture 2 above and you will see no space to undo the snap ! So I might just replace some of the snaps with screws . The M3 hex bolts are so small that I think no one would notice and I may get a better fit as the edges.

With the snaps and skins in place, I drilled a countersunk hole in the frame to hold the center joint of the skin snap.

I just drilled a hole for the M3 countersunk screw through into the plastic snap center piece.

This is where I realised that the snaps were too long, and that it wasn't possible to remove the covers easily. So I ended up removing the snaps and cutting off the long lengths, so that the skin sides could be pulled clear. Unfortunatley this meant in several places that the 2 screws I had in place were reduced to only one.

I used a 3.5 mm drill and rilled through the skin and the skin snap. Then using a 10 counter sink hole drill counter sunk the hole, so that the screw will fit in nice and snugly and the outer skin will fit over this.

Having completed the skin snaps, and attached the centres of the snaps to the frame, the next stage is bonding inner and outer skins. I decided to go for araldite to connect inner and outer. This time rather then the cheap (pound shop) 2 part expoy I had used on the door panels, which did work extreemly well, I decided to go for the branded item.

I mixed up the expoy and bought some specific glue brushes from a hobby shop. These are short bristle brushes, so that I could easily spread a thin layer on the inner skin.

For the front skins I used the coin slot for alignment, as I had heard of bonding the skins only to find the coin slot holes on inner and outer overlap slightly and then the coin slots, won't fit. I used lost of lolly sticks from my local hobby shop, so that the clamps wouldn't mark the skin, and with the length of the lolly sticks it gave more even pressure.

For the rear skins this was easier to align, and again I used clamps and sticks. As I discovered when glueing the door panels, any excess epoxy ouzing would be removed with acetone. However I had to be careful as acetone can strip the paint off, so as I wanted the inner edges of the inner skin to show these hadn't been painted, and careful use of acetone should be ok. This after all, was why I painted the outer skin before bonding, rather than bonding and then painting. In fact as I used the brush to spread the glue evenly I had no problems. These were left overnight and bonded perfectly. Only after they dried I noticed that the edges around the leg to body hub were ever so slighlty out and I should have taken greater care to check this, but its very small, so I got away with it.

I plan to attach all the panels using silicone. I'm then hoping if I ever need to remove the panel I can easily cut the silicone. I'm using just the standard clear version of silicone that you would use for a bath surround. I know others use JB weld, but I do want to easily remove panels if they get damaged. I have some panels on JAG hinges, so the hinges will be JB welded. I simply attached each panel in position and then added silicone around the inner edges on inside of the skin and left this to dry.

Note that you can't just stand the skin up as the silicone takes a while to dry, so in that time the panel will slide down. One mistake I made was on the rear, with fitting the upright panels before the large horizontal panel. Once I had the vertical panels in place I couldn't get clamps in position to hold the large panel in place, I should have fitted this first.

Now with the Arms fitted and the rockler in place - the Large Data Port removed - dimensions are

So from top down - on Thomas Frame we have

32mm - bottom of rockler to top of 1st rib

6mm - 1st rib

45mm - bottom of 1st rib to top of 2nd rib

12mm - width of 2nd rib

50mm - bottom of 2nd rib to top of 3rd

Now with the skin in place - its looking well.

With the skins painted and bonded I then tried these against the wooden frame, and just to top it off I added my dome (still lots to do here). But starting to look like the R2 I know.

This is fitting the inner Octagonal port. Again if I am ever able to afford the aluminium Octagonal port I should be able to cut out the silicone and replace the resin part. I did think of attaching the port to the frame and then fitting the skin over this, having already cut out the inner skin previously to allow fitting (see above), but I just couldn't get the alignment right, and with being abe to take off the skins I thought this was best solution.

Here the Octagonal port fits neatly butted up against the inside of the outer skin and through the inner skin. I then added silicone around the edges and used small clamps to hold the port in position whilst the silicone dried.

Next is the coin returns, I got these made in aluminium, and quite cheap, so I don't haveto go through the pain of fitting and attempting to paint like aluminium, so here I didn't go for resin, but aluminium and as easy to manufacture they aren't any where near as expensive as the ports. I had decided to make my own from the skin scraps, but managed to source these beautiful items and save the multiple botched attempts I would have had to make.

I found the top vent was pretty near perfect but the lower vent needed more work. But its better to be too large than too loose, as easier to spend a few mins filing than trying to add material somehow. The vents are superb, and whereas I have chosen the round and octagonal ports to be resin, due to cost, I felt the vents as so prominent should be aluminium.

The lower vent is the one is the one with 5 slats, with the lower of these slats being rounded.

These are the two vents, one is larger than the other, and they both have a curved side and a flat side. Place the surround on a flat surface to identify which is the back and which is the front. The larger surround is the one fitted to the top. The smaller (and so bottom one) has a slight slope, with the top edge larger than the bottom..

Starting with the lower vent, I took the 5 slats and arranged them in order, ensuring the rounded slat is the bottom one. There are two right angle side pieces, and these have tabs that fit into the back plate. In the picture only one right angle side piece is in place. I decided to test fit them first and once I was happy then I would use super glue or JB Weld. I plumped for super glue, but after dropping the completed super glued vent, the vents popped out, so perhaps I should use JB weld.

Examination of the right angle side piece you will notice that the slots cut in the side, are the same size for 4 slats and smaller for the rounded one. The side piece fits into the back plate using the tabs and then slot into the back plate. The side piece should fit in the middle of the back plate. If the side piece is inserted the wrong way, it's pretty obvious.

I dry fitted the pieces and then placed the surround over the backplate and found the sides are just a tad too large. So a bit of filing is required. I decided to use my zap a gap super glue, this isn't instant but alows a degree of positioning before setting, so it allowed me a degree of play before it would set. So now I was happy with the fit and sure the side and vents fitted into the holes I began to glue the slats into one of the side pieces.

I put glue on the side of the slats which would be hidden by the side piece, and then added the other side piece and again glued the slots in place.
I then added the assembled slats and side piece to the back plate glueing these to the back plate. Now with these glued I was happy that any filing could be done on the assembled pieces.

Now the back plate was assembled the surround wouldn't fit, and I needed to file the edges of the right angle sides. To get and idea of the amount I placed the outer surround over the assembled slats and back plate. I looked down into the outer surround and with a pencil marked the inner sides of the outer surround, on the side pieces. I then removed the surround and could see there's quite a bit of filing required. I found the side angle pieces are just too long and so had to file off about 2 to 3 mm from the top of each side, using my pencil marks as a guide. I also had to file the edges of the side pieces. This was tricky as I had to preserve the curvature. So I took a large file and began to file, stopping frequently and attemting to fit into the surround. I started with the bottom of the side piece first as these almost fitted and needed little filing, and then tried to fit the surround. After a bit of filing, I found it would fit snugly at the bottom but a lot more filing on the top and a little on the flat sides. After about 30 mins of filing and keeping the curvature it did then fit into the surround.

The top vent was a lot easier, still a bit of filing but very little. I first test assembled the zig zag sides and the shelves. The shelves looked as if they had small sprues or tabs that were left over from the manufacturing process, and I went to file this small tabs off. But in checking these are supposed to be there and will fit into the small cut out in the shelf. Now that I was confident these fitted I glued in the sides to the back plate using the zap a gap super glue, and left this to dry. Once dry I then added the shelves ensuring the tab fitted into the back plate and the small tabs fitted into the side pieces and added super glue to bond it all together.

Once these side and shelves dried I place the outer surround over the back plate and my newly assembled shelves. Then from the front tried to add the slats. The upper one went in perfectly with no filing. The others required a little filing as they were a midge too wide, but with a few strokes of the file these fitted. I then supergluded the top slat and bottom slat and then the two middle slats, and that was it complete.

The wood frame contains no mounts for the vents. There are just two vertical risers (see frame pictures above) So the vents vertical position needs to be set. To do this I placed a small block of wood at the bottom of the frame, to support the bottom vent. This bottom vent then rests on this block and holds it at the right height in the frame. I then added a small horizontal piece of wood to hold the top of the bottom vent and the correct height to support the bottom of the top vent and also provide the correct spacing between the top and bottom vents.

To hold the vents horizontally, I wanted to be able to adjust the horizontal postion, so that if the bottom vent was too far right I could move it across buy adjusting its position.

The vent is held in place vertically by the wood blocks and so I drilled holes into the wood and tapped these for M3. I then took a long M3 bolt and added these through the wood tapped hole. Screwing in the one on the right more would push the vent to the left. I drilled and tapped M3 holes in the side of the vents that the screws could fit into the sides of the vents and hold the vent in position. This seemed to work well.

It means the vents have a bit of movement, and this allows me to move them slightly so the outer skin cover can go on.

I then push fitted the blue painted main front panel over the two vents. I found I didn't need to add mounts to hold it in place. So that its now easy to remove. I may later decide to add some small magnets to hold it in place, but it doesn't require it. In the picture, I hadn't yet added the small flat panel to the outer skin, so you can see the M3 bolt here. This was actually accidental as I had thought all the panels on the skin had an inner and outer, and couldn't find the outer and inner for this position. I then thought it was lost, but studying pictures found its just a simple blank panel - Phew ! :-)

With the rear panel complete, I still have a good bit to go on the front panel, so as I completed the dome, I added the domeand the rear panel, just so I could see how well things had come along.

I purchased a vacuformed skirt and painted this satin white. It needed to be trimmed to fit the bottom of the frame, so there was a great deal of positioning and then drawing round the frame bottom and careful cutting.

I couldn't see a great way to fix the skirt and then remove it later, without obvious fixings, so I just bonded it by gluing it to the wooden frame bottom. Hopefully I'll never have to remove it. I used many clamps to hold the skirt in place whilst the glue set as it a pretty flexable thing. The bottom of the Sherrel frame has an overlap so this hides the lip of the skirt well. Overall I was pleased.

Here is a shot, of the dome and front skins in place.

The LDP (large data port is missing) but its starting to come together and resemble R2D2.

Initially I had gone with resin power coupler. But this was extreemly difficult to paint the smaller blue parts without it creeping onto the surrounding aluminium painted parts. Also as its in a prominent position right in the middle, I decided to go with an aluminium one.

This was sourced in the UK from the astromech board, and comes apart allowing the inner pieces to be painted.

I masked up the inner and outer pieces so that the blue paint would only cover those pieces I wanted it to. I used electrical insulation tape, as the glue on the sticky side is more tacky than sticky, and so, on removal doesn't tend to remove paint. I only wanted the outer circle on the front to be painted so all the rest was masked. The four outer triangular pieces are also removable, making painting easy.

I masked the inner piece, carefully only exposing the small 4 panels, whilst ensuring the sides of the panel were covered with tape, so that only the small panels would be painted. I had to cut the tape in small strips to get this positioned correctly. I then mounted the pieces on a vertical card and primed and painted the parts, leaving to dry.

Once dry, I connected the inner and outer parts and fitted the triangles.

The coupler has 4 holes drilled for fitting on the outer edges. This would have been great had I not already glued my inner and outer skin together, So I had no pre-drilled holes in the skins. I had previously cut a square in the inner skin so that the face of the power coupler would mount on the inner skin.

I decided to mount the coupling to the skin, rather than mount to the frame. My reasoning being, I didn't think I'd ever get a snug enough fit.

I had to cut away some of the wooden frame to allow the coupling to sit in place, so there was a bit of work to do this. The power coupler has a large flat bottom plate and so I had to cut slots the wooden frame to allow the base plate to slide in.

I then placed the power coupler in position and used clear silicone to hold it in place, and left to dry The beauty of this is the silicone is easy to remove, should I later decide to remove the coupling. In fact I have to admit, I put the coupler to far to the left the first time and had to remove the bloomin thing.

This is the power coupler in position on the frame.

Here is the skin attached to the frame.

The pocket vent has 3 parts the vent and the two covers. One cover behind the vent and one behind the pocket. I sprayed the rear cover in primer and when dry added the coat of hypo blue. The pocket back is left aluminium.

I have 2 pocket vents one for the rear and one for the front.

The vent itself is about half a cm deep (5mm) and it fits on the outside of the skin. The rear cover has 4 tabs and when screwed to the vent holds it in position.

As the pocket and the vent itself are fairly deep I needed to cut the wooden frame quite a bit to allow the vent to fit. Also the tabs on the back of the vent need room so I had to cut four slots to allow the protruding tabs to fit into the frame. I used used a chisel and stanley knife and dremel to cut the frame. I had previously sprayed the wood black so that it couldn't easily be seen.

With the frame cut to allow the vent to fit I placed the vent through the front and then screwed the rear in place, the tabs then held the vent in place.

I had to cut short one of the tabs as it fouled on the skin snaps I used to hold my skins in position, but this had no detrimental effect and the vent is held securely in place. I had tought I would use silicone, but its not needed.

Now from the front the vents looks superb. I then fitted the rear vent in exactly the same way.

The small side plate, is just a flat plate. I believe it was a hole cut to allow the person inside to put their fett out onto the top of the ankle and so jump and move r2.

With the skins screwed in place, I made measurements of the plate hole. Funnily enough each side was slightly different, but not by much. I made the plate out of 0.5m aluminium plate. and just wide enough to just slip under the edge of the side skin. That will ensure its held in place. I made the height, enough to extend under the skin. I then painted the plate with primer and then Rustoleum satin white.

Once, the paint was dry, I turned R2 upside down and slid in the plate, with the edge of the plate just beneath the skins. I wanted the plate to extend to the bottom completly level with the bottom of the skins. The larger height meant it was hidden behind the skin. My bottom skirt is a molded plastic skirt from Azman, and so I had to cut the skirt back as small bit, so that the panel was exactly flat and that the plastic skirt edge was behind the plate.

To hold the plate in place, I cut a tall block of wood. This I then glued on one side and pressed the plate up against the plate, and left it to dry.

With the plate held on the sides by the skin and behind with the block of wood it holds perfectly. The bottom of the wood block is flat and so sits on the bottom of the wood frame hodling the plate in position. If I wish, I can remove the side skins and easily lift out the plate. I decided not to glue the wood block to the wood frame, so I can lift the plate away once the skins are removed.