R2DC Summit A Success!
Dustin on April 27, 2004 at 05:34 AM CST:
The overcast and cool weather could not stifle the turnout at the 2nd semi-annual R2DC droid summit meeting. Over 60 people showed up at the event to share their love of the plucky little astromech, to see R2 droids in various stages of assembly, and share and exchange ideas.
This years summit took place Sunday at the Amherst House in the Kings Contrivance village center of Columbia, MD -- in between Baltimore and Washington DC. The group has upgraded their summit location since last year, where the event was held in organizer Barry Murphy's living room. The bigger space was welcome, allowing the group a large meeting hall to set up and display their creations as well as a smaller dining room, with tables for those choosing to stay for the Chinese food. What? Don't your fan meetings get catered?
On display at three tables in the main meeting area were parts and components from different R2 projects being worked on. Barry showed off his collection of aluminum R2 parts, enough to make at least three droids, along with electronic LED boards, R2 droid effects chips, and numerous resin elements. He also had a collection of droid domes for fans to look at. These include an aluminum R2 dome, an R4 plastic dome that was currently unpainted and an R5 dome from a Gordon R5 kit. The aluminum dome was part of a bulk purchase made by the group to allow many members to benefit from the machining of these expensive pieces.
Another table had a display set up for Andy's R7 Builders Group, and included photos, blueprints and template information. Not only did he have photos, but his full size, working R7-S1 was on display for people to inspect and play with. Several of the older children had a go driving it around with Andy's RC controller. Andy also had his R3 dome on display made from, of all things, a sit n spin, and a squirrel guard for a bird feeder.
Pete brought in his full size working R2-D2 for all to see. It was the centerpiece for a lot of photos, as both children and adults alike had their photos taken with the droid. For those of you thinking about building a droid of your own, here's some interesting facts that Pete presented: His droid weighs about 150lbs and when he wants to transport it via airplane, he needs to buy it his own ticket. And you thought travelling with kids was bad! Pete also let me know that he attended RoboMaxx 2003 [more photos] in Oregon, which is sponsored by TechTv, and took R2 along for the competition. His droid came in 2nd place in the open class competition, plus he used it to help raise money for Toys For Tots and other charities.
Several presentations occurred later in the event for the die-hard enthusiasts. First up was Patrick's resin casting demo. Last year Patrick demonstrated mold building, and concluded the process this meeting with the casting of different types of pieces. Andy then made a presentation detailing how a Saturn windshield wiper motor could be converted from a 12v to a 24v system and used to power your droid. His R7 includes one motor in each foot to drive his 'bot.
Security for the event was provided by the Imperial 501st Old-Line Garrison from Maryland. Having been a squad for approximately five years, the Garrison was formed just this past February and several Storm & Sandtroopers in attendance, plus Darth Vader, Zam Wesell, and a TIE pilot.
Members of the DC Metro Area Star Wars Collecting Club were on hand to present Barry a limited edition "Class of 20R2" photo poster, culled from the various pictures the group took at their February Meeting. A follow up photo was also taken of the R2 droids and their owners as, over 80 astromechs were gathered and placed on display for visitors to see.
For those with an interest in building your own astromech droid, or to see other photos and discover yet another fascinating Star Wars subculture, visit http://www.astromechs.com or http://www.r2dc.com.
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