California Museum : R2D2

A couple of weeks ago Matt Mccormick and I headed up to The California Museum in Sacramento to check out a Lucasfilm R2-D2 on display.

At first we thought that it was part of the “Out of this World” / Paul Allen touring collection, but it turned out that it’s part of a separate exhibit to commemorating George Lucas’ entry into The California Hall of Fame at the end of last year.

Until Matt brought it to my attention I had no clue that there was currently an Artoo on display so close to home, so a trip was definitely on the cards. At first, while discussing it with Matt we had thought it maybe a replica because some had reported that it had some strange “features” and was part of the Paul Allen collection, but a quick search of some pictures on the RPF showed that it was almost certainly from the Lucasfilm archive and had some LFL lineage to it.

Matt and I were all over the droid taking as many photos as we could – alas no flashes were allowed making the job hard, and the glass didn’t help 🙁

After seeing it in person, I can confirm that it’s the same Artoo from the Magic of Myth (MoM) exhibit which was first shown in San Francisco back in the 90’s, and before that at the Lucasfilm/ILM Model Shop Exhibits at the Marin County Fair which started back in 1988. After seeing some photos of the same droid in the Madrid SW Exhibit last summer, I’d confirmed with Don Bies that this droid has an original aluminum Kenny Baker body with a fiberglass dome, and was assembled originally for the Marin County Fair Exhibit and has been on tour ever since.

In addition to the Artoo, there’s a 3PO on display as well as some Indiana Jones props, original Lucas scripts and some token Clone Wars concept art.

I must have looked at the photos from the MoM a thousand times but never noticed some of it’s oddities until I saw it in person.

  • He’s shorter in stature than normal due to shortened legs that have been pushed into the ankles.
  • Because of the shortened legs, the body is sitting on the battery boxes (which helps with stability on display.)
  • Dome appears to be aluminum, but is painted fiberglass.
  • Paint is very good, especially the white, so parts were probably repainted at some point.
  • Leg to body hubs thinner than normal, which pulls the legs tight to the body.
  • Shoulder Horseshoes seem a bit too thin as well.
  • Shoulder Buttons stick out a lot more than I remember, but this maybe due to the thin horseshoes.
  • Round inside edge of the horseshoes have no detail/ridges.
  • There’s a silver plate on top of the lower half circle where the hoses enter the battery boxes.
  • Dome doesn’t look like it will rotate as it’s flat on the body.
  • Utility Arms are thin sheet metal.

Here’s samples of my photos, the rest can be found in the gallery here, and Matt’s write up can be found here and his photos are here.

I also shot some video and will try and post it in the next couple of days.

Posted by Chris on January 20th, 2010 in Events, General | 3 Comments

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Dome Travel Box

Here’s some more photos of the Mystery Box, I’m sure most of you guessed it was to store a dome.

It was made by Matt Mccormick for our trip down to R2LA this past weekend. Thanks Matt!


Posted by Chris on October 12th, 2009 in General | No Comments

Darnell Caster Wheels

A couple of people have asked about the replacement 2.5″ wheels I got for my front foot setup back in May from California Caster.

The soft rubber wheels are made by Darnell-Rose, and product number/markings on them show “Darnell Corp X-6 2 1-2 Calf.”. Unfortunately, I can’t find my original receipt nor the wheel in Darnell’s catalog or California Caster’s website. If I find it I’ll try and remember to update this post, but I think if you call up and say X-6 2- 1-2, you be okay.

oh! and a point of clarification, I’m still using the original Proctor Glove / Arrow Hardware caster assembly

Left: Original Proctor Glove wheel – shaved down to 2.5″
Middle: New Darnell wheel
Right: Full Proctor Glove 3″ caster

Posted by Chris on October 9th, 2009 in General | No Comments

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Mystery Box

If your name is not Matt, can you guess what this is?

And no, it’s not a hat box and I’m sure you’ve guessed by now 🙂

Answer: Dome Travel Box

Previous Mystery Box

Posted by Chris on October 8th, 2009 in General | 2 Comments

Mini Dolly to the Rescue

Nearly ever droid builder I know lugs around a large cart just in case their droid fails. This is especially needed for those of us with drive systems that lock when no powered is applied to the motors. Knock on wood, I’ve never needed to use my cart and it’s always stayed in the van.

Well, at WonderCon last week Gerard showed us his latest find – mini 6″ tri-wheel dollies that’s can easily be place under each drive wheel. They’re small and light enough to throw in your backpack or toolbox.

Only downside is the wheels are pretty small so wouldn’t go over any major bumps or door jams easily, and I wouldn’t recommend using them to totally replace your cart, especially if you use it all the time. Never the less, I went straight out and bought a set to have in case of an emergency.

Here’s Gerard in action pushing his droid around on two of these

[Direct link to Youtube video]


Manufacturer: Sheperd Hardware
Mode Number: 9299
Approx Price: $9

Available at Home Depot, Ace Hardware, etc. Cheapest online location: Ace Hardware Outlet ($5 ea.)

Posted by Chris on March 16th, 2009 in Feet, General | 5 Comments

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Maker Faire Coming Soon



The fourth annual Maker Faire is just around the corner (May 30th), it will showcase individual creativity and grassroots innovation in the largest festival devoted to DIY culture and technology in the country. We’re hoping to be there again with our droids, if you’re interested in joinng us drop me an email.

It’s kind of hard to describe the event, but PC Magazine put it pretty well “Maker Faire is an improbable mixture of spectacle and practicality–a combination of engineering, crafts, science, and art that seemed to sufficiently blur the lines between all four.”

[more info]


Posted by Chris on March 9th, 2009 in Events, General | No Comments

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February 2009 Summary

Summary of activities for February 2009

Posted by Chris on February 28th, 2009 in General | No Comments

Steve and R2-XS

Here’s Steve with R2-XS!

I’d popped over tonite to help with some minor tuning before WonderCon, and to start loading the van.

You can’t really tell by this single photo, but the paint is actually a purple/blue chameleon formula that changes color in different lighting.

He even has a matching purple interior.

Here’s a short video of XS in action, he’s pretty speedy even with the heavy Optima battery in there 🙂

Posted by Chris on February 26th, 2009 in General | No Comments

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