VACUUM FORMING – Project 007


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Project 007 – R2D2 Model Pilot

A model pilot is required for a Slick 360 3D plane. The model of choice is the famous R2D2.

Making The Moulds

Four moulds are made for the complete model. They are the body, arm, arm embellishments and a mould for parts to attach to his head.

The final character is required to be 90mm high to fit the scale of the plane. The mould for his body is made 105mm high and 60mm diameter.



The body mould is made from a block of balsa wood initially shaped roughly like a cylinder. A hole is drilled into the base and a reaming tool is lodged firmly in the hole. This is then put in a drill stand and then shaped with a chisel while the block turns. A semicircular template is used to check the roundness of the head. When the balsa is shaped, a thin layer of wood filler is applied to whole surface. When it dries, the block is again turned in the drill stand and smoothed with a file and sand paper.


Head Diameter Template

Making R2D2

The parts are formed using 0.5mm thick HIPS.


Arm Support Tube

Arm Assembly


Two holes are cut in the sides of the body. This holds a tube which supports the arms. A hole the same diameter is cut on the inside half of the arm. A joining strip of HIPS is glued onto the inside of the arm walls. A polystyrene foam ring is then glued into this half of the arm. When the glue is dried, the outside half of the arm is glued to the joining strip. The arm embellishment is then painted and glued to the outside of the arm. The attachments are glued to the head and the head is then sprayed with a primer before it is painted silver.


A couple of paint masks were drafted on the computer and printed with a laser printer on clear self-adhesive plastic sheet (available from office supply retailers). The holes are cut out in the masks, stuck on the model and sprayed with blue acrylic paint. The masks are peeled off when the paint is dried. PVC tape was used as masking material for other parts of the head.


Paint masks for the head and front of the body


R2D2 is cut off around the middle because a full model is not needed. The cut is made at an angle so the body leans back about 5o. A polystyrene foam cylinder is glued inside the base of R2’s body. The foam is attached with Velcro to a square cut out of the ‘floor’ of the cockpit. R2 is placed on the square and pushed up through the square gap in the floor of the cockpit and the square is taped to the underneath of the floor.





Putting R2D2 in the cockpit of the Slick 360 was a good decision. He flies better than I do.



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