A few simple customs

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Lately, Shapeways has been getting most of the money that I’ve previously given to Hasbro. I’ve spent a lot of time fooling around with Tinkercad, and it’s a hoot. My first model is the giant mouse droid seen during the Emperor's arrival aboard the DSII.

The tracked giant mouse (rat?) droid only has one point of articulation, the ball-jointed head. The wheeled version has seven, at least by EE exclusive astromech standards – A ball-jointed head and six rolling wheels.







I designed a snap-together two-piece body so that I could screw the neck into place from underneath, but ultimately that wasn’t necessary. The neck has a tight press-fit, but it can still be removed. After seeing the two versions side-by-side, I think I’ll revise the wheeled chassis so that the two versions are the same height.



The GMDs are fairly simple, and completely 3-D printed with the exception of the wheel mounting hardware (#2 screws, washers, and bushings) on the wheeled version, and the #2 screws on the tracked version.

All pieces except the heads are printed with “strong, flexible” plastic. The “polished” plastic option rounded off too much detail, so I used unpolished pieces and block-sanded as necessary. I used Legos as sanding blocks, and went through 150/220/320/400/600/800/1000 grits. The horizontal “lip” at the bottom of the upper shell, the underbody “chassis” piece, and the wheels keep their original unpolished texture --Partially to create an interesting visual contrast, but mainly because it’s hard to block-sand thin areas like the bottom front edge without rounding off what should be sharp edges. The body was painted with Krylon “Matte Black,” and the stripe is Tamiya “Dull Red.” I sprayed the “grille” black, then masked the inner section and sprayed the rim with Rustoleum aluminum. Printing the grille separately made block-sanding easier.



The heads were printed in “frosted extreme detail” plastic, in order to capture the eyes detail. After painting the head, I “painted” the eyes white by letting thinned white Tamiya acrylic ooze into the lens areas. Due to the slick nature of the FED plastic, there’s not much friction between the head and the neck. I tightened up the joint by placing a drop of super glue inside the socket and rotating the head until the glue dried.



On the wheeled version, I used 2mm sections of 1/8” brass tubing as bushings inside the wheels to help them spin smoothly.





Part three coming up.
 
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The bantha droid was more… complicated. It has 14 points of articulation (shoulders x6, elbows x6, rotating body and head), and an internal clicker mechanism in the body adapted from the POTJ FX-7. Everything was 3-D printed with the exception of the FX-7 arms and clicker, stainless steel hardware, and the beads/sewing pins used for the chest buttons.













For scale and general proportions, I re-sized a bantha droid reference photo until the front of the tread base in the photo was approximately the same width as the Treadwell figure’s base. It’s not perfect, but it was a decent starting point.

The 1 ¼” #6 stainless machine screw runs up from the bottom into a black plastic pedestal that has a recess for a #6 nut, and the lower body sits on the pedestal. The blue lower body, the black pedestal, and the treads were printed separately to make block-sanding the base easier.





The cylindrical base has a series of bumps around the inner wall, and the small disc has a notch that retains a thin strip of plastic cut from FX-7’s clicker. I used JB Weld plastic bond epoxy to fasten the strip to the disc, and the strip is also cross-pinned with a steel upholstery pin epoxied in place.





Using JB Weld two-part epoxy (the filler/hardener that comes in separate tubes), I bonded the disc to the #6 nut and screwed them into position, so that the strip fits between the bumps along the base’s wall. It took a little test-fitting to trim the strip to the correct length.

Although “strong, flexible plastic” is good stuff, it’s not capable of capturing much detail. I designed a sleeve in “frosted extreme detail” plastic that fits over the base. This plastic is brittle and more expensive, but it’s worked well in a couple of non-structural spots.



The disc/nut assembly has to be locked to the machine screw, or it will spin instead of clicking -- At least until the assembly spins far enough up or down the screw, at which point it hits the “floor” or “roof” of the lower body and binds. I used the JB Weld two-part to secure the disc/nut to the machine screw. Super glue or thread locker would probably have been good enough, but I like overkill. As a precaution, I placed a small “gasket” of wax paper between the assembly and the lower body to prevent the JB Weld from oozing down and locking the body up, too. After the JB Weld cured, I removed the wax paper with tweezers and epoxied the cap in place.





Like the base parts, I designed separate “armpit” inserts to make sanding the main body easier. I fastened the body to a machine screw, chucked it into an electric drill, and spun it against sandpaper until smooth. Another use of the “ghetto lathe.” The main body was then sprayed with Tamiya “bare metal” lacquer.





The bump on the inside of the upper rim (around 10 o’clock in the photos) is a referencing tab that matches a notch in the top cap to keep everything aligned.

The FX-7 arm mounting pegs were sanded off, along with sculpted pegs on the “wrists” to let the arms fit closer together. It would be possible to make the arms more movie-accurate, but at the cost of greatly reduced articulation.



The droid’s “face” insert was also printed in “frosted extreme detail” plastic.



The “neck’s” cross-section is oval-shaped instead of round. The head is attached to the cap with another stainless #2 screw. If you look closely, you can see the notch in the bottom of the cap at 12 o’clock that corresponds to the locating tab on the upper body.



Tamiya "Flat Black," "Sand," and "Rust" washes were used for weathering.

Almost forgot about part four... It's no big deal, though. Thanks for looking!
 
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Last is the R1 droid roaming around Mos Eisley.

Reference photo:



I've seen lots of references to the "primer gray" R1, but this doggone thing looks purple to me, so that's what I went with.







I used epoxy to fill R1-G4’s sculpted dents, then sanded/primed/repeated those areas until they were reasonably smooth. After masking most of the soft plastic bits, I sprayed it with Testors purple enamel. Next were black, gray and silver details, followed by Testors “flat black” and “sand” washes and Dullcote.

The pedestrian, whom I’ve named Notlan D’oc Al-rissian, is basically a Mutt Williams with comic pack Owen Lars arms, General Lando head and hands, and the vest from a POTJ Ponda Baba. The torso and arms were dyed with Hi-Tech “Off White,” the vest with Hi-Tech “Black,” and the neck was painted with a blend of Americana (Michael’s brand) brown and cocoa. The head needed to be dremeled, and the wrist pegs received a few wraps with Teflon tape.
 
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Wow! Marvelous my friend!!!! The best I have ever seen. Applaus!!!!! Shoot me a message on FB , please!
 
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Thanks Stan, here's the photo of the extras. It's not in the pic, but the GMD has an interchangeable wheeled base.

 
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Incredible stuff! You are very inventive and talented, the updates/new takes to some of the figures are the best I've seen yet!
 

Utinniii

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Those are all really cool! I wish I knew how to print things out as they look really smooth.
Love the Treadwell and Mighty Mouse droid. There was a second, headless Mighty Mouse Droid in that hanger as well.
 
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. The process is really easy. I don't have access to a 3-D printer, but I downloaded Tinkercad for free. It's so easy a caveman (i.e., me) can use it. After designing the parts, I uploaded the design files to Shapeways and they took it from there. The big drawback is the time required -- Every minor revision or failed experiment added another two weeks to the project due to printing and shipping turnaround times. I actually started these two back in December.

From a technical standpoint, the labor-intensive issue is prepping the parts to get smooth surfaces. The "strong, flexible" plastic that Shapeways offers is apparently nylon, which isn't the easiest material to sand. Not only is it a physically tough material to sand, but sanding generates little "whiskers" that stand out from the surface. Very similar to wood, actually. Spraying the part with either primer or paint and then re-sanding gets rid of most of them, though. Flat surfaces are easy, but the bantha head, for example -- Lot of time spent holding strips of sandpaper taut between my fingers and thumbs and smoothing it out. :)

Another problem was that after sanding, the parts often had pinhole clusters that had to be filled. Model putty would have been easier to use, but I was worried that it might shrink. I used JB Weld epoxy putty instead. The best material would probably have been automotive Bondo, because the JB Weld takes a long time to dry. But that's what I had laying around.

I'd be happy to answer any questions that I can.
 
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Wow, nice customs!

Just a minor note on the R1. The action figure came with a little antenna on top. That is not actually an antenna, but a cable attached to his head where he'd be lowered from the sandcrawler. In the wide shot of the droids sequence you can see the cable going all the way up out of frame, like a black line in the picture. The one in Mos Eisley *may* not have that attached.
 
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Wow, nice customs!
Thanks!

Just a minor note on the R1. The action figure came with a little antenna on top. That is not actually an antenna, but a cable attached to his head where he'd be lowered from the sandcrawler. In the wide shot of the droids sequence you can see the cable going all the way up out of frame, like a black line in the picture. The one in Mos Eisley *may* not have that attached.
Yeah, I remember seeing the discussion about the "antenna," but I figured the R1-G4 base is already so different from the Mos Eisley R1 that the antenna would be a relatively minor error. :grin: Maybe one day I'll go nuts and try to put a different base on... If I do, the antenna will get the axe, too.
 
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Speaking of design errors, I really dropped the ball with the GMD. Recently (yesterday) found a couple of reference pics that show it's actually an ungainly looking thing...



So, back to the drawing board. Although it'll take a while.

 

Utinniii

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It is actually a complicated little droid. It has bumpers on the side, a white cloud-like decal, 2 more scopes on top and thick wires that stick out the side and feed into the back. If you watch the scene frame by frame, you will see all these details, but some for only a fraction of a second.

There were also 2 versions. One was headless.

I made the head on mine telescope using a plastic toothpick and a hollow sucker stick. You can see it here.
 
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See you caught, still beautiful work. Echo radio mean messagers please!
 

kk1

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The bantha droid was more… complicated. It has 14 points of articulation (shoulders x6, elbows x6, rotating body and head), and an internal clicker mechanism in the body adapted from the POTJ FX-7. Everything was 3-D printed with the exception of the FX-7 arms and clicker, stainless steel hardware, and the beads/sewing pins used for the chest buttons.















Almost forgot about part four... It's no big deal, though. Thanks for looking!
Wow great work, just two things, his face is kind of angled up (these are two airplane propeller glued together so I think their were 3 evenly spaced holes for the blades that became the "face" and neck holes, with probably an opening in back too)


and second his "hands" are actually little grabber claws

 

kk1

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Last is the R1 droid roaming around Mos Eisley.

Reference photo:



I've seen lots of references to the "primer gray" R1, but this doggone thing looks purple to me, so that's what I went with.
Probably the best picture of this guy outside of screen shots (slightly darker than "sky" blue it appears)


due note he is a completely different shape than the other R1(more like a half a football with a flat end and dome on top), all the "arms" projecting from its body and the paint around the base, good luck never seen anyone do this droid justice
 
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Wow great work, just two things, his face is kind of angled up (these are two airplane propeller glued together so I think their were 3 evenly spaced holes for the blades that became the "face" and neck holes, with probably an opening in back too)

and second his "hands" are actually little grabber claws

Thanks, KK. Cool pic of the WIP head -- You wouldn't happen to have any better shots of the giant mouse droid, would you? I've tried going frame-by-frame on my DVD, but no luck so far.

Re: The bantha arms, I knew it would be a trade-off between absolute accuracy and playability. It'd be pretty easy to mount more accurate arms, but the trade-off would be less articulation and more fragility.



Picture sewing pin pieces in place of the silver parts above and you have the idea. The shoulders would still swivel along the retaining pins, but the elbows would be fixed. To be functional, the elbows would have to basically be miniature door hinges, and even if Shapeways could print parts that small, I hate to think how delicate they'd be. I had thought about swivel wrists for the pincers if I went that route.

Believe it or not, I thought the head might be propeller spinners joined together. After all the time I spent looking for suitable parts before deciding on 3D printing, prop spinners were the only objects with the correct parabolic shape, and like you mentioned, the holes were a big indicator.

It was the head shape that drove me to printing the pieces. I had started a scratch build bantha using 3/4" PVC for the body, the treadwell droid's base, and some Lego pieces as connectors. Had the arms installed, and a decent neck piece fashioned from a push-in license plate retaining nut. The head, though... Tried fishing bobbers (only found balsa wood and foam, so no go), 15 ml centrifuge tube ends, novelty ballpoint pen parts, and looked at model rocket nose cones but nothing looked right. Model airplane prop spinners looked close, but I had no real way to judge size and couldn't afford buying kits with a hit-and-miss approach. Be forewarned, 3D printing is a slippery slope. After I got the head and face looking okay, it was like "Well, maybe I could design a better head mounting cap..." and one thing led to another. :grin:
 

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Here are some good pics of the mighty mouse droid.

Notice the 2 probe bits on the top-front, and the wire that goes into the back. Also the neck has a wider multi level base.



This shows the back bumpers and possibly where the back wire comes from.


The front side has many layers.


Side bumpers again.


"cloud" logo and round circle on side. (The headless mighty mouse droid is in the background somewhere (cropped out here though).



The bantha droid does have a hole on the back of the head. It also has holes in the back where there are lights in the middle on the front. The middle bit has vertical groves in it (not smooth) There is also a tiny antenna on the base. The face was made from an old stereo.

 
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Wow, Untinni, these are awesome pics . To me this best I have ever seen on any of this droids. No one can match echosix execution , work of art! Great job in these.
 
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Great work. I love your Labria.
I did exactly the same for Ponda. The POTF2 head is great and the scale is just right. The new head is ridiculously pea sized.
Thanks. I agree the POTF head is a pretty good replacement. Nice color match with the flipper hands, too. It took a few tries to get the neck hole in a good position; my first attempt was in the center of the head, and as a result it sat too high on the shoulders. Drilling the hole to the rear at an angle lets the head sit lower. The head jutting forward makes him look belligerent too, which is a plus.:D
 
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Utinniii,

Thanks for the screen grabs! Calling all 'Scummers -- Anyone have additional pics, dare I hope behind the scenes, of the giant mouse droid? Looking at you, KK! B) Trying to get this one right.

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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Utinniii,

Thanks for the screen grabs! Calling all 'Scummers -- Anyone have additional pics, dare I hope behind the scenes, of the giant mouse droid? Looking at you, KK! B) Trying to get this one right.

Thanks in advance for any help.
Sorry I looked and looked but there really are very few shots of the scene when vader arrives, they're almost all from when the Emperor's arrival I'll keep looking but screengrabs might be it. I would like to know what Utinnii is referring to by a "headless" version though, there are numerous similar shaped boxes in the background but they aren't droids.

EDIT: well good news bad news, I found another shot of it apparently there was a cut scene of Luke and Vader arriving on the DS after Luke surrenders, and guess what's parked against the wall



bad news this was NOT one of the cut scenes included on the Blu-ray and I could find only two other photos of the scene one not so great quality and unfortunately after they pass the droid


and another of great quality but unfortunately awful timing (Vader's right in front of it) :(


So there should be a hi-res shot of the first pic somewhere unfortunately I can't find it, there also should be video of the scene but who knows if they ever release it

one more of course now Luke is blocking it...so frustrating


as for height , this IS just the treadwell with a box over it so it should be the exact same height
 
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Utinniii

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While KK is correct, they are only "boxes", I prefer to think of them as droids with their heads retracted as them having the same body as a storage container fakeity-fake-fake-fake.
The mighty mouse droid also retroactively appears in ESB, but I don't see anything extra there. I think it might have been unused ROTJ footage.
 
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Thanks for the help on this guys, I really appreciate being able to pick your brains. Looks like I'll have to fudge the design a bit.

No idea if it's going to work, but I'm fooling with the idea of a telescoping neck like Utinniii's, using aluminum tubing. Also have an idea about adding concealed wheels on the bottom. Just need to find the right material, something like rubber -- I think hard plastic wheels would probably just skitter along a play surface instead of rolling.

And whether boxes or shut down GMDs, the boxes are neat props. :grin:
 

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This update is more pic-intensive than usual, so I'm breaking it up into four posts.


Here’s a pair of pinhead replacements. Ree-Yees uses the larger head from an ROTS Ask Aak figure. It’s a direct pop-on replacement with no modifications necessary. For PB, I tried the Gentle Giant bust earlier but I found that I prefer the POTJ head. I also drilled the post hole further to the rear of the head, which lets it sit further down.





!
Wow that does look so much more accurate (except his teeth still look like a little bum lol)

 
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Finally finished this guy.





Hate to do this to all the customizers out there, but I unfortunately (or fortunately if you like accuracy) discovered today Bo Shek's spacesuit was actually BLUE

 
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Hate to do this to all the customizers out there, but I unfortunately (or fortunately if you like accuracy) discovered today Bo Shek's spacesuit was actually BLUE

No problem! Very interesting, and it gives me a new project :). Thanks for sharing!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Still fooling around with a GMD redesign. I briefly thought about trying a double-telescoping neck but I'll be sticking with a single telescope, probably using nested 3mm and 4mm aluminum tubing. Still need to finalize a way to keep tension when the neck's extended; thinking of printing a piece similar to a small black Lego connector pin. Anyway, here's the current design WIP. Pay no attention to the yellow cylinder, 'tis merely a placeholder until I finalize the neck.

As shown in the photos supplied by kk1 and Utinniii (thanks again, guys), there are still details to add -- A circular opening near the rear, possibly a wire on the back, and greeblies on the top, to name a few.



I narrowed the GMD by a few millimeters and brought the grille/red stripe closer together.





Here's an exploded view. I'm trying to design the parts so that block-sanding will be easier and main pieces will snap together. Will probably have to add support sprues on the red stripe and wraparound bumpers so that they survive the printing process.



Comments, criticism, and suggestions welcome. The more input, the better I can make this. :grin:
 
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Great thread! Utinni and kk1 really turned up some stunning pics. Your updated GMD model is coming along nicely!
 
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Here's a quick and simple custom I did years ago:

I used the VOTC Han Solo Endor Trenchcoat figure, removed the trenchcoat and vest and put on it instead the black jacket from the Kenner 1998 Princess Leia Collection Han Solo figure. I don't have any pictures of it, but it's true. It's something I actually did before Hasbro took a stab at such a figure.
 
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Think I'm getting closer... Made some changes based on the reference photos, and added a few notes to outline ideas about the design. As always, input welcome.



Below is a rough idea of what I have in mind for the neck. The transparent orange piece below would be printed within the upper body. Basically, the larger piece (4mm) of aluminum tubing would be a press-fit in the body, with the smaller piece (3mm) of tubing sliding inside. There is only a 1/10mm difference between the 3mm OD and the 4mm ID, so they nest well. The orange piece should provide enough tension to hold the telescoping neck in position. Obviously the 3mm tubing would need a plug on the bottom to prevent it from pulling all the way out, and the snap-together upper and lower body should make any adjustments easier.

The purple piece is the starting point for the head's ball-joint and would plug into the end of the 3mm tubing.

The red object is just an experimental piece with slightly different sized (1/10mm) holes... Need to print it out and test which size will provide the right amount of tension.



Based on the first two photos below, it seems the droid's nose is the same width as the upper body. The problem is that I can't tell exactly how the wide part of the rear lower body transitions to the narrower front nose section. In the design above, I cut the wide body at the same sloping angle as the front of the upper body.



The photo below makes me think that instead of a double lip, there may be hoses of some type running along the raised edge... If an F/X crew had to get a background droid ready for shooting and it had big gaps, that would be a quick way to hide them.





Not having much luck finding rubber wheels small enough to hide, so I might be stuck with plastic. Better than nothing, though.

Thanks for looking, and if you have suggestions or see something that I don't, let me know!
 
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Echo six, please look me up on messger I got something you need to see
 

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Looking great so far! Look to Kinder toys for wheels, most will still be too big but some are small. Also don't forget to look at the cargo containers in the back. They might reveal some details obscured in the droids.
I think you may be correct about the tubes running down the side "fins".
 
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Thanks. :grin: I'm about 75% finished with this thing; the filling/sanding is taking longer than expected. Imperfections on a flat black surface really pop. Got the neck and wheel mechanics worked out, and amazingly enough they both work as planned. It'll be a few more weeks at least because I still need to have a couple of small parts printed.
 
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Finished the revised giant mouse droid. Thanks to kk1 and Utinni for their help digging up photos of this thing. It's got six POAs; four concealed wheels under the base and a telescoping neck with ball-jointed head. I went easy on the greeblies and left off a few doodads -- Actually struggled with adding the back wire, as exposed cables hanging everywhere seems like a shoddy design to me. :grin: WIP shots to follow.







Curiousity aroused:









Snoot boop:

 
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