Snips associate editor James J. Siegel with a metal fabricated R2D2.

I consider myself a bit of a geek, which is why I was super excited to attend WonderCon here in San Francisco. The three-day event April 1-3 is a mecca for comic book lovers, and fantasy and sci-fi junkies. Growing up I lived and breathed Star Wars (which is probably common for anyone in my age bracket), so I felt like a kid again when I saw attendees dressed as Strom Troopers and other famous George Lucas characters.

But I have to say that the most amazing thing to see was a life-sized replica of R2D2, the pint-sized sidekick to C3PO. There were several of the little droids running around the convention that were controlled by remote. What was so fascinating is that these replicas were built from scratch by Star Wars enthusiasts. After doing some research, I found out that the builders are part of a droid building club based in Sacramento, Calif. They even have their own website that can show others how to build their own R2D2. You can check out their site here. When you visit the site, you’ll see that these guys have tons of sheet metal machinery tools at their disposal. They have water-jet cutting machines, CNC tables, plasma cutters and much more.

When I see equipment like this it’s usually to build ductwork or architectural sheet metal parts, not to fabricate a robot. But it just goes to show how advanced the sheet metal and fabrication field can be. This builders club has taken its fabricating and engineering skills and built droids that could outpace the ones used in the movies.

If you are looking for a new challenge with sheet metal, and you are a Stars Wars fan like I am, look these guys up. You might be able to build your own R2D2 to cruise around your shop floor.