As I have mentioned before, I have decided to build with Composite Skins.What this means, in essence, is the body of my R6 will be skinned with a shell made up of a fiberglass composite. I have purchased a set of molds from long-time Builders Club member Crash, who had made a number of skin sets for club members plus two sets which we towards building the R2-D2s which were featured in daily parades at the Hollywood Studios park at Disney World.
Skins! I’m really excited to have created my first couple sets of Composite Skins. The process required a fair amount of prep work, including a two hour drive to meet with a Composites Expert to help refine my plan and choose products. As mentioned earlier, I purchased molds from long-time Builder’s Club Member, Crash. I have worked through the exact process that Crash used to produce up to 100 Skins from these molds in the past (including Skins for a Disney park) and have made a few small tweaks for local conditions and my supplier’s recommendations.
As soon as I got my Skins molds in hand and the weather here in BC warmed up a bit, I got to making Skins. For R6-T3x, I planned on Bonded Composite Skins and a minimalistic Frame. These skins are quite rigid, and don’t need a conventional frame. In fact, I’m convinced that I could get away with no frame at all which is why I have been experimenting with a uni-body idea over in the Body and Frame forum. But, I was antsy to get going on 6-T3x and had not finished a design that I was confident in the Legs attachment, so I compromised for this build. I used the methods I was happy with so far; Bonded Skins with Top Ring and full bottom, but open holes for the Shoulder Flanges. Keeping in mind that at this point I still was not sure if 6-T3x was going to be static or have a foot drive system, I chose to build a minimal frame which will be rigid enough to keep the legs straight.
The skirt is another plan gone awry. I had decided that I was going to model, mold and cast in composites a Skirt. I considered a Wood Model, and I considered Foam, and I considered modeling clay over a Wood Armature. In the end I decided to model the Skirt in CAD and print it out in pieces out of ABS, weld the pieces and prepare for molding. So far So good... right?