Smoke system tutorial - Part 3 Assembly

Last year I was working on an upgrade to the bad motivator system, in that I replaced the e-cig atomiser with a small vape tank. The reason for it was that the atomiser wasn't really up to the task, current going through it and was only good for short burst's of smoke.

Using a vape tank is not my invention, so can't take credit, it just seemed the next step in how to best get more smoke. Also this is STILL on a budget!

Since posting up and sharing of my original set up & 3D collar (on my Thingiverse page) other's have asked about this set up. And I've seen similar collars appear on other  builds. Am happy to share what info I have & have also been asked if it would be ok of them to offer as a kit form to members over in the USA.
(credit given, thanks).

So here's was my latest upgrade:
vape collar, R5D4 smoke, bad motivator
This is the vape tank I bought.....it was actually the wrong one I was actually looking for, but it was late at night and think I clicked and bought by mistake. The one I wanted had the vent hole in the outside of the body....nevermind lol.

In the above picture:
'A' is where the inlet hole is, just above the thread.
'B' there are four grooves that cross, allowing air flow.

So in order for the collar to to fit and allow air flow, I had to modify my original idea into this version. This I've not posted up yet on my Thingiverse page.The new collar fits directly over the 'flat top 510 spring loaded connector. Which has slots in it. The collar's cut outs, lines up with the 510's slots to allow the air flow through to the vape inlet hole.

vape collar, R5D4 smoke, bad motivator

I had been working on the electronics etc on this set up, so it's still not put back together lol.
But here's a picture of the collar fitted onto the vape tank.
vape collar, R5D4 smoke, bad motivator

And how it would all be assembled.
This assembly diagram is missing the bracket, which can be seen in the previous picture. This would fit between the 510 flat top and the terminal connectors underneath.


'JamesR5astromech' Etsy shop

Few more patches sold.....

JamesR5astromech Etsy page

I've also advertised them on three Facebook pages,
two are dedicated Star Wars Patch ones
& also on the Replica Prop Forum.

The Mandalorian - R5D4 - Jon Favreau

Woke up this morning to this great instagram post by Jon Favreau.

A post featuring a picture of R5-D4
assumingly on the set of the the new TV show....
'The Mandalorian'

Link to Wookipeedia

R5 looks great, love the weathering and the faded paintwork!

Details I picked up on tho are:
  • no recessed panel above the coin slots
  • no 'lights' in his sensor eyes
  • missing restraining bolt
  • neck reflective tape
  • standard centre foot half moons
lol no big deals, just me noticing these things 😃


My R5-D4 patch - 'JamesR5astromech' via Etsy

Just re-sharing link for my R5-D4 patches.
I still have these for sale.

I created these myself as wanted to try design and then own my own R5-D4 patch.
I have sold loads to club members/friends, and once these are all sold there won't be any more, so these are limitied in availability.

Click here for the website, thanks.


Vintage Futaba Antenna - Ribbon indicator 1.0

One thing that I have wanted to get but couldn't find was a ribbon antenna (clip) ....later to be found to be called a 'frequency penant or pennant'......to match the controller seen below in the picture.

vintage futaba transmitter, star wars, r5d4,

I searched online for images & also ones to buy, but the pictures were never really clear for the top of the antenna and also I didn't find any that, for what I wanted, cheaply enough. I then found an instruction manual for an ACOMS ATB-227 (Mk2) transmitter. It had a nice drawn sectioned view of the clip. So I thought I'd give it a go at drawing & 3D printing one.

transmitter ribbon clip, vintage futaba transmitter, R5D4

I first drew the clip part for the antenna. After a few test prints I was happy with the grip. Next up was to draw the rest of it up. I assumed that the ribbon itself would be no more than 1" in width, so this plus the dimensions I'd collected off my actual Futaba's aerial, I was able to produce something to a scale.

I then found a picture (I think) eventually of the ribbon clip used by Futaba. It's looks basically like a coat hanger design lol......after all the designing for the above version lol.

This following picture link takes you to a great site which has vintage 'adverts' from magazines etc. These are for the Futaba's, and shows the range and changes over the years. I found this years ago when I first started looking to try to identy the controller in the first picture. The controllers used were from 1974 to 1977. The newer modles were seen and used in the later films.
vintage Futaba transmitters, R5D4
click pictutre for link to this site for info on vintage Futaba's etc

I have now found a similar clip, so will purchase this instead.

....I'll post the ACOMS's version up on my Thingiverse account, [free].


UK R2D2 Builders Christmas Event December 2018 - Event Report

Last years Xmas 2018 event was again hosted by Sam,
making all the arrangements for the venue and
assisted by early birds helping set things up.

The event was live streamed for club members on FaceBook page.

Link to some of the photos taken on the day, viewable on the

Fellow Bristolian Paul, offered to drive us up in his Transporter. So once loaded up, we set off on up to London way.

Early arrivals had helped set up the test track (link to video posted up by Jedi News UK), that was seen at the 1st UK R2 Builders Weekend last year.

There were quite a few droids in attendance as well as two stall's selling Star Wars related items. One of these was Amanda, with her amazing art work! Awardart (click for link).

On with the photos.....
This is the time trial test track.
Purly for fun...although yes, it did get compettative lol

If you've not clicked on the video link above. There are two sections of the course to complete. Each section has pressure pads which light up Green for a successful centre pad press or red for a fail. You then had to negotiate the course, not hitting the wrong sensor arms. The course returns back to the middle, under the clock timer,
before carrying on to the second part of the course.
The clock stops when you hit the last sensor arm.

Oooooh what has Santa brought us lol. Well, on the far table was some of Michael Baddeley 3D printed work. He also did a presentation on the cad software he uses and demonstrated his work.
If your into 3D stuff then check out his work at this link Mr Baddeley @ patreon.com .

My table full of stuff, R0-D4 dome, R4-D4 dome, R5-D4 dome and body

Ian's droid

As part of the club's insurance, we carry out MOT inspections on the droids so that they are 'safe' for event's. This covers structual, sharp edges, electrical & transmitter fail safe operation. As part of the MOT crew, a few of these were carried out on the day, including WIP's & renewals. The benefits also extend to more 'interesting' oppertunities!

Alden Ehrenreich popped in to say 'Hi' as he's an old friend don't you know.... lol.
......no it's not a cardboard cutout....it's really him!!! :D

aaaaah forgot I'd posted this picture as well :D
Just like old times......


There was a special presentation of a charity cheque presented to fellow club member Mr Yates for the Menengitis Now.

And finally there was the usual group photo.
Half of the attending members were heading out for a booked meal afterwards, but myself & Paul had to head off. Another great day spent with a great bunch of people!

Looking forward to the next event. Details coming soon.......


3D Printed dual smoke bracket

Just posted up on Thingiverse my dual smoke bracket
that I drew up and printed off for testing, before Christmas.

Link also to the You Tube video I posted up of the e-cig unit's in action.

R0-D4 - new 3D neck printing 2018 - 1.4

I managed to run out of time before Christmas, printing off enough panels on the works 3D printer. I took what I had home & glued them pieces together. They all fitted together and are starting to look like it might actually work.

I had to notch out some of the inner neck wood to allow the tabs to sit flush with the inner face of the base ring. Will post up pictures of this later on in progress posts.

And here is the first half section glued together.

I just need to print off a few more pieces and then start a test fitting for clearance around the rockler bearing on R5's body.


Rogue One - two years on (2016-2018)

Can believe that I didn't post up pictures of the
Rogue One event we attended back in 2016!

So as a tribute, here's some of the photos taken on the day.
The UK R2D2 Builders Club,
(myself, Brad, Colin, Emma, Simon & Adam)
joined up with Joker Squad
to raise money for charity.
Rogue One - droids
group picture
Rogue One - R5-SK1

Rogue One - R5-SK1

Rogue One, R5-SK1

Rogue One, R5-SK1

Rogue One, R5-SK1
what do you mean you don't serve my kind!?!?!

Rogue One - droids

Rogue One droids

Rogue One droids

Rogue One droids

BHD - Rogue One droids

Jedi, Wookiee & droids.....

Rogue One droids


I also forgot about this sticker on my old transmitter box.
Had to get it down to document a modification
I'd carried on to add the hand strap.


Following links to past posts......

Designed by Paul 'Wiz' Johnson.

Watching Solo at the cinema with my youngest.

Welcome to 2019

Back after the Christmas & New Year break,
and I’m back in work
& will be back to building and upgrading soon enough.
Well, that’s the plan for 2019.

R0-D4 Dome
I did get some of the new neck ring/skin put together before Christmas, but needed a few more pieces to complete the full circumference. So that was as far as I got, will continue once back at work.

www.astromech.net & www.astromech.info Have been on the forums briefly over the holiday period, welcoming new builders from here in the UK & from around the world. Hopefully giving them some pointers about info, blog reading etc before starting their droid build.

I made a small return to Twitter, auto-posts via Thingiverse mostly. Not much posting on Instagram either. Giving Facebook a small break is always a good thing, found just generally giving socials a break helps clear your mind, well it does for me.

Thanks to everyone who’s stopped by, noticed I hit 125,000 page views.
I hope this site has been of help.

There are more events requests lined up for the club this year,

including ones that I’ll hopefully be able to attend with R5.