Composite Skins Overview

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.

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First Skin Run

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.

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Skins and Body

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.

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Printed Skirt

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?

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