On the 9th of April, I posted a lot about how I was fixing up my dome for the first time.

I have, now and then put up posts of more work, but nothing has been as groundbreaking as what I’ve done lately!

A little while ago, I put up a post about cutting up the panels in the dome, well this is partly that, and partly what I’ve done with the opened panels..

First off, I’ve had a surveillance camera laying about for a while that I got from a friend of mine, Magnus Bodin, and I wanted to put this inside R2’s head, so we can actually see what he sees. An “R2-Cam”, if you will! =)


So, the camera will go behind R2’s “radar eye”. For those of you not well versed in Astromech terminology, this is where it goes:


So, the place that looks like an eye, will literally become an eye. How imaginative!

First off, remove the surrounding blue aluminium radar eye housing, and expose the dome underneath. Please notice that I’ve added screws to the screw holes, since the dome is actually two domes inside each other, and I want to keep them as close to each other as possible when cutting through the almost 3 mm thick aluminium.


I’ve tried to find the center of the circle as close as I can. In this case, it doesn’t matter if I’m not exact, as I have at least 5-6 mm on each side that I can be off, and it will still give more than enough opening inside the dome, yet still be totally invisible from the outside.

Let’s start with just using a punch to make a serious dent in this, so my drill can have something to cling on to!



Ok … no turning back now!

One small hole, followed by a larger, followed by an even larger hole, to act as pilot hole for my hole saw.



Yes, it is made for drilling in wood, but really, all I need is a serious enough groove in the aluminium…



…. and a serious groove, that is!

Next up, bring out the trusty dremel and start cutting slices in a cross-wise fashion..



No, that is not the death star laser. I had to pause here for a while, as my dremel was on the verge of burning up. White smoke emerged from within, and it did not smell good. Once all slices have been cut proper, I started with the outer layer, bent the pieces outwards and after bending back and forth, they snapped right off, as planned.

Next step was the inner layer. I used the dremel to cut along the edge, and bend the inner layer inwards back and forth until they snapped. Follow that up with a sanding disc, and you’re left with…


A gaping hole! Fortunately it is in the exact right place. Funny enough, when cutting with the dremel, I took great care not to slip and accidentally score the surface of the dome. Why didn’t I take the same care when sanding the edges? my sanding disc slipped…. but not a big issue. Easy enough to sand that area and work away the rough pieces until I got a smooth surface again…



This is just a test fit with the camera inside. Since the camera is booting up, you see the amber light surrounding the lens, but without that, it should be fairly invisible. However, since the lens is see-through, I did not want anyone to be able to see any of the LED’s on the inside of the head, or use the eye as a device to peek into the droid.

So, I needed a half-round object. Did not have anything at home that worked. I tried cutting up an old christmas ornament, but it was way too fragile (even though it was plastic) and I had to  make my own ..



… made from duct tape. (No, I didn’t have any black duct tape at home, only the silver kind… so I spray painted the inside!


Now, since the camera is light gray, I decided it was best to paint hat as well…



A quick look at the mounting system inside, with the blocking shield in place…



So a new look from the outside, looks like this:



So much for the radar eye! What else can one do in a day? .. well .. time to work on getting the servos in place for the dome panels, of course!

After some trial and error I have determined that some of the hinges needs straightening up, and since they are only glued in place with E-6000, I can absolutely move them.

I have 3d printed a block of plastic with a curved surface that matches the inside curve of the dome, and I’ve super-glued them to my servos, and then used a very high bond tape (120 kg draw per meter) to stick these to the insides of the dome. At first I was a bit worried that they might not be enough, but after having to reposition them slightly, I am no longer worried. took me 5 minutes with the help of a scalpel to be able to pry one of the servos loose!



So, servos in place … time to connect them to a small servo board…

(powered by an arduino), add a bit of test code…


The end result? … well … check for yourself!