Category Archives: Dome

Magnetic connector for dome (version 2)

I’ve always wanted an easy and affordable magnetic connector for the dome to body connection.  I’ve used the DB25 connector with FlthyMcNsty’s board since the beginning and it works great, but it takes two hands to make the connection.

Here is version 2 of the magnetic connector that I’ve designed.  It uses conductive magnets for the voltage and then a 8 pin millmax connector for the data.  This mirrors the high current board I previously used.  Basically 4 wire for the slipring carry each leg of V+/V- times two as I run 5V and 12V to the dome, and the 8 remaining wires carry data.  Each wire is rated at 2A, so that gives a max of 8A per power leg, each magnet is rated at 8A, but I doubled up just to be safe.  So 2 magnets per power leg.

Here is a list of parts, again this is NOT perfect and will take some builder experience to get it working.  If I have time I may fix the things to make it easier to put together, but mine works so it won’t be a high priority.  Warning – the millmax connectors are tiny and difficult to solder as they are brass pins that heat up great but also melt their own housings.  Tried the solder verisons of them and just melted them all the heck.  So went with the pin mounts and provided a separate pcb board, much easier to solder these.  SO USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

3D Printed Female end
3D Printed Male plug
3D Printed Male back piece
8 sets of conductive magnets
Male Millmax connector
Female Millmax connector
PCB Board for female end (brd file)
PCB Board for male end (brd file)
PCB Board for Millmax connector X2 (brd file)
5.0 pitch 2-pole screw terminal x2
2.54 pitch 4-pole screw terminal x2

(obviously you’ll need a slip ring and a way to connect it to the dome – this is only for slip ring to body connection)

Here are pictures of the connectors


Video of the mating, sorry for the shaking video as I had one hand on the dome another on the camera.


R2 Dome re-wire

When I first wired up the dome, I got it to work and was happy as I had other pieces/parts to work on.  One of the ‘to-do’ items was to go back and clean up the wire installation. One of the main things that bothered me was the inline resister needed for the holoprojector LED.  I found round circuit boards at Radio Shack, and soldered on the resister and two two-pin headers.  I then soldered on two female connectors to both the wires from the arduino and those going to the LED.  I mounted the circuit board behind the HP, and now I can simply plug-in both the power/ground and the LED making for a simple swap-out if needed.  My HPs do not move, but in the future if I decide to have them move I’ll just relocate the circuitboard.





After cleaning up some of the wires, I used a blue mesh wirewrap to bundle the wires together.  I also moved the 25-pin connector from the vertical piece of styrene to the inner ring for a more solid and easier place to plug it in.

Re-wired Dome

Re-wired Dome

IMG_3248 IMG_3249 IMG_3250

$x Mesh tubing
$x Circuit boards

I could play the tin man on Wizard of Oz!

Been fretting on what to do for the dome finish.  I’ve read several build logs which talk about painting the styrene, some used other finishing methods, and some used Rub-n-Buff.  The latter is what Izzy recommended from the start, but a few trial pieces didn’t turn out too great for me.

Izzy had done his Jango Fett costume with it, and he send me the tutorial video on Youtube

I followed it exactly.  I sanded and cleaned the dome with degreaser like all the other parts.  I then painted it with the Rustoleum Automobile Primer Ultimate Finish as shown in the tutorial.  Once it was dry, I wet sanded the entire dome with 400, 800 and 1000 grit sandpaper.  I re-applied another coat of primer and re-sanded it.  It was freakin smooth!

I then applied the rub-n-buff with my bare hands.  I rubbed and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed.  It took a few minutes to figure out how to get a real good consistent shiny but it worked.  It looks awesome.


My advice is to start at the top and do the parts around the pie wedges, only go about 1/2″ down from the pie wedges.  You’ll need to buff up enough along the inner skin that will show when the outer parts are installed.  I used cotton balls to get in these tight spaces where the inner and outer skins met.

I then did the lower part of the dome where all the other panels/parts are.  I found it was easy to shiny up the small pieces but in doing so it would affect the area above or below it.

Once you have the top part and the lower part shiny up, now hit the middle piece which is a large and wide open.  Feather into the upper and lower parts you buffed previously, and keep rubbing.

Part of my previous apprehension was about the silver getting on kids when they touched the dome, if done correctly you will not get any silver on your hands when you touch it.  Of course I mean after you are done rubbing.  You will look like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz while you are doing it!

Rub-n-buff cleans up with any good hand cleaner soap you’d find for car repairs.  I had read you needed Mineral Spirits but in reality I didn’t.

Tip:  Since the dome rings are MDF they don’t like water.  I recommend sealing them with paint prior to installing them.  I didn’t do this with mine and they started to fuzz up where there were openings (holo projectors, PSIs, etc.).

Rub-n-Buff: $4/tube, $8 total

The dome has arrived

I guess I’m really doing this!  The dome arrived today, the box was a little smashed so was concerned what shape it would be in.  I opened it up and everything seems to be ok.

The plastic is thicker than I imaged and there are two domes, one for the inside and one for the outside.  The laser cutting is only on the outside dome, most of the pieces are still attached by their tabs but a few have come off.  There is also a round disk with the astromech builder logo on it.

Time to call Izzy as I have no idea where to start.  There is an overwhelming amount of information and it seems hundreds of different ways of building R2.

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step

After seeing the various R2 astromech units at several Celebration events, I always dreamed of building my own.  Today, I start that journey!

In the past I was dissuaded from starting one given the cost, time commitment and the necessary skill level involved.  I was never really good at models growing up, so figured it was out of range for me.  However, a good friend in the DCSWCC (DC Star Wars Collecting Club), Izzy, persuaded me to give it a shot by pre-ordering the styrene dome from a part run on    He promises to help me out, so I have that going for me.  Considering he cranked out his aluminum R2 in about 4 months, and previously built a Jango Fett costume that was amazing, at least I have a fall back when I get stuck.

Styrene?  Izzy and another fellow DCSWCC member are either building or going to build one out of styrene so I’m going with their advice.  They say it will be less expensive and is easier and more forgiving to work with.

Dome is pre-ordered!  (1) Laser Cut Styrene Dome from Daren M. on here is a link to my post

Styrene dome: $175