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He's a big boy alright, and it is a good price indeed. As you say, perfect for an EZ hack. Shame I don't have a Walmart near me, but I've got enough going on with my Astromech build anyway. I'm sure someone here will grab one and have a play.;)


It's already been done a few times... I hacked the Interactive astromech R2-D2 two years ago with an ezb3... The Interactive is 18 inches tall.... Is the one you posted different somehow?


@richardr yea this one is like 50 bucks, and easy to get. The old Hasbro one, which i have as well is a pain to find now and pricey. Also the interactive one is not as big as this guy


Good find @Jayutmb, does it come with motors and sensors?

Ironically enough I am hacking an interactive R2D2 at the moment, I bought mine second hand for $50:)

@Richard R did you end up re-using the sensors in R2's head when you did your build?


Hey @Jeremie I Just kept the speaker and motors.... I gutted everything replacing them with off the shelf components like leds, pings and PIRs etc... Later I eventually took the dome rotating dc motor out (because of a lack of position control) and replaced it with a servo.... I also used a sabertooth 2x5 as the motor controller...


Yeah that dome rotating motor is super fast lol. I will likely try using the onboard encoder to get positional feedback and apply lots of PWM to slow it down.

I was thinking about reusing the onboard Ultrasonic and PIR but I'm not having much luck with the sensor board. I'll likely try a bit more and if I don't have success then I may hack in the electronics from an ezrobot Ultrasonic senor. I'm not sure what I'll do with the PIR since I've never directly interfaced to a raw PIR sensor before. I know a lot of them have voltage boost and amplification built in and I don't want to have to recreate that.


@Jeremie ... I am super jealous of you electronic skills... I keep saying I really should take some community college courses and learn more stuff like this.... I think it will be my new years resolution now... So C# and some intermediate electronics's courses are on the list....:)


I'm also wanting to place a projector and smoke machine in R2 so he can project the "Obi Wan you're our only hope!" Hologram.

I was thinking I'd use a laser pico projector (due to the short focus capabilities) and multiple vaporizing modules to produce smoke to project onto.

Anyone have an good sources on those?

I've been scouring the net for a low cost (small form factor) vaporizer that could easily be triggered. Vintage robots STROBOT and Magic Mike have this feature but I'd like a whole lot more smoke.:)

I've been looking at Ultrasonic misters but I don't think those will work. I need something like a unit that burns mineral oil. Or maybe a miniature fog machine, but I'm guess that type of condensing system is much too large for a small robot.

Anyone have any ideas?


@RR don't be jealous! I learned a lot of electronic theory in school but truthfully it didn't help me nearly as much as having challenges to meet and mentors/co-workers willing to teach me.

Find yourself a local hacker space with some electronics guys and strike up a conversation with them:) Be warned! It might be difficult to engage them at first (due to the nature of people like me LOL) but I'm am 100% certain they would warm up to you in no time.


@jeremie not totally sure what he has onboard ( description is kinda vague) but i want to go to wally mart and check him out first hand:) I will report back if I get a chance to see him in person.




warm up to you in no time
.... We're talking about me right? LOL :P

Thanks dude and the hologram idea would be really sweet...


:D come on @RR! Of course I'm talking about you!

Yeah I'm really skeptical the smoke system will work how I picture it but I really want it to work, it's been in my head for far too long!

This guy has a cool idea for a mini fog machine:

Not as much smoke as I had hoped but I think he's on the right track. I actually have one of those vacuum motors in my stock. I picked one up from Princess Auto years ago. I think Sparkfun currently sells those motors as well.

@Jayutmb I would be very interested to see how functional those R2s at Walmart are, maybe we can get a bunch of people building them and compare notes on our mini R2D2 builds. @RR has a head start on us all, so he can be our go-to guy!

Right now my R2 rolls around and does sound clips but he is currently headless while I figure out the sensor situation, lol.

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The secret for a good holographic projection (which I haven't found yet) is a steady stream of smoke/steam to try and form a solid sheet. I had a similar thought for my E4-B4 project. Before I installed my Pico projector in to E4's head, I had a play using some dry ice and hot water.

Long story short, I used a piece of PVC pipe with some holes drilled in to it, connected it to a length of hose which went to a bucket with a lid (an old bird seed container). When I put the dry ice and water in the bucket and put the lid on, it did form some nice amount of vapours through the holes in the pipe, but when I projected something on to it, it was really distorted and you couldn't really see the picture very clearly. Because of that, I gave up on the idea as the projected image just wasn't good enough to keep running to the store to get some more ice, so I used the PVC pipe to make E4's leg covers instead. I did play with the idea of using glass and mirrors, but it never got any further than an idea. I'd be interested if you do find a good way to do it.


Hello All,

I got a Walmart R2-D2.. Has nothing in it! It has a battery compartment on the back but empty. The dome spins on plastic to plastic.

A shell is what you get for $50.00. I assume it is a good base. The detail looks good.

I have to think hard to see if I am going to hack it, or it goes back.

Ron R

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So essentially it's meant to be an R2D2 Statue, lol.

Doesn't even look like it has plastic wheels to roll on, too bad.

*Edit: Thank you for doing the research Ron!


Yes it does that well.

I still wonder, , , If I wanted to make a R2D2 it would be a lot of work to duplicate what is here.

I still will think on it. We normally throw most motors, electronics etc. away anyway.

Opinions requested.. Richard R, Steve G, Rich, I what do you guys think ?

Ron R


@ Jeremie , I have a friend that did Halloween with me who uses smoke machines for some of the displays. I will stop by his farm and get some of the "Smoke Juice" he uses and see if I can make it work by a nichrome coil and a fan, or something like that. Due to the upcoming holiday, it may be a day or two.

Ron R


To All,.

The wife likes it, I guess it stays. ..LOL..

I will post pictures of tear down in the next couple of days.

Ron R

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I would suggest that you keep it too. All of the hacking would mainly be done on the inside so you wouldn't ruin it's looks. I look forward to see how you will tackle it.


Hi Steve, Yeah, I think it will be fun. The best part is the wife likes it too. LOL

I haven't taken it apart yet but I took a fast look at it and I think it was designed to be an interactive toy. I think I see places under the dome where leds would be located. Even though the foot bottoms are flat, it looks like the foot pods were made to have wheels. Once I tear it down I will see what can be done.

The arms are moveable which will allow me to pivot the body and install a front leg for stability and help with the steering.( I guess just a caster). I plan on 3d printing the front leg unless I find something lying around that fits. I did a quick search of the local club sites to get quick ideas. After the holiday later this week, I will look at what I have to work with, and begin a plan.


Ron R


Quick update,,

I pulled the R2D2 apart and it looks like I was right about the original concept of design being motorized. The dome has a ring gear and mounting for a gear box on a bearing tray. There are also mountings for LEDs and the large "blue eye" comes out as one piece, which allows an easy hack for lights or camera mounting.

The body has some areas that also allow removal.

The legs have some kind of strut inside. Though the bottom of the foot is solid, it may allow an easy wheel mounting.

I couldn't take pictures this morning, but I will start a new post showing what is inside. I am curious if this is the shell from the old Hasbro unit or the same molds were used.

I found a front foot on the net and will modify and print one out. Once I get it right I will post the .STL. The mount will come later.

I guess it wasn't a bad investment for a hack after all.

Ron R

United Kingdom


You defiantly should start your own project showcase thread as I t'll be great to see the mods you make step by step.


I can't wait to see the break down!

On an unrelated note if anyone knows of a big ( not the little ones but at least foot high) ED-209 let me know I am dying to hack him as well and don't feel like making one from scrap


Maybe you could use an electronic vapor cigarette unit to generate fog for your project. You could use a small air pump to draw and disperse the vapor fog.


@jeremie I got the gallon of smoke juice and a smoke machine. I will try to do a projection, but it probably won't work. I spoke with my friend about what you wanted to do. He said it is really hard, because the smoke disperses and there is no way to focus the image.

We came up with an idea to put a very light silk ribbon (as wide as the projection you want, kind of "V" shaped, )update: or a round tube for 3d)) in a tube with a flat nozzle at the end. Blow smoke, using the smoke juice and an electric cigarette thru the tube while paying out a thread to which the light silk is attached to. The smoke would disguise the silk, but give a focus area to project on. The tube would be deployed from the robot, smoke started, silk sheet deployed, projection done, video completed the silk retracted, smoke stopped, tube retracted.

I know it sounds complex, but the only way we thought it could be done.

Co2 cloud is complex but has the same issue plus costly to produce.

A glass screen placed in one spot to project on could work but looks lousey.

I tried, but doing a image projection on smoke is real tough.

Ron R


Hi @jayutmb

Give me a day or two. I will post teardown photos. It look pretty good for a hack.

Ron R


Wow Ron, thanks for looking into that!

Hmmm maybe it's just a pipe dream (seems like there should be a pun in there somewhere since we are talking about smoke lol). Just as @Steve had suggested I was also thinking of trying to push the smoke through a manifold with lots of exit points to try and direct the smoke into a sheet of smoke. Thanks @Steve for sharing your experience with dry ice.

Funny enough on Halloween a friend of mine sent me a link for some rear projection material (probably close to silk) that is semi-transparent. Check out the video, you can hardly tell it's there:

Maybe I'll try the projection material first, seems it'll be a lot easier. Thanks for the idea Ron! I know you mentioned smoke + silk but using just a silk-like material may work as well.

I think I'll get R2 to open a hatch, flip up a small piece of the material and then project onto it once it is in place. It will likely look much better than projecting on smoke would but smoke is still a cool effect.

I didn't realize that model trains have tiny electronic smoke producing accessories. Edit Thanks to @Hecbom for the info!

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No worries Jeremie. I did think about putting a fan on top of the bucket to force the vapor through the pipe faster (bit like jets), but didn't like the idea of hanging an electric fan over the vapors.

I did have a look about the stuff that's used to make steam for model railways, but apparently it's quite messy stuff and leaves a sticky residue once it settles. I love the video though. That's a really good projection image. (made me jump too, lol). eek Have you got that link for the projection material?

EDIT: Don't worry, I found some.

Clear rear projection film


lol, hopefully it didn't scare you too bad Steve:)

Here's the link:

I'm sure there's probably an equivalent material at my local craft store but I haven't had a chance to look. I'd much rather go the local route as I only need a small piece of material.


Well,, LOL,, I got a gallon of "Smoke Juice" and a smoke machine. It looks like I will fire it up on the weekend and see if I can fill my workshop with magic smoke anyway.. I must warn my wife not to call the fire department..

Ron R

United Kingdom


Just gone to bed, but having trouble sleeping for some reason?:P


Good luck with the experiment. I'll look forward to hearing/seeing your results.


Hello All, I ran the smoke machine and got way more than I expected. It filled the shop quickly and it drove me out...LOL...

Commercial smoke juice comes in gallons (US) and works by heating a cup then pumping the juice into the cup. Blowing air over it thru a nozzle with holes in it makes the smoke.

You can make a lot of smoke easily, but it may get messy. Combining it with the fan and screen ribbon would look great for the projection.

Ron R

PS there it an odor, not bad, but it has a smell.


Ah man.... you guys are doing it the hard way.... Here's what you do... Just go out and buy a bunch of arduino Uno's and run 24 Volts through them. Reverse the polarity if you're feelin' it:D...... That should provide you with a lot of that magical smoke for your hologram.... :P


Hello my friend,,,, Yes, there are plenty around, and cheap too!

Any thoughts about those VEX motor Servos? or should I add them to the Arduinos?

Ron R