MSE-6 "Mouse" Droid
After slowly working on a full size MSE-6 "Mouse" droid from Star Wars for a few months in hopes of having it completed for Wizard World East 2007 I realized that I wouldn't have it done in time. This was mostly due to my inability to work on it over the winter months. With a little over a week before the convention I decided to make a "quickie" version. I started by going to Toys-r-us and buying a $20 R/C car.
The first step was to remove the body shell.
Next up I had to remove the "ground effects". I decided to salvage the parts for future use so I had to unscrew the main board to get them off. If you don't really care about them you can just cut all the wires and not bother. I clipped the power leads sealed them in electrical tape to prevent any shorts.
With the car chassis ready I started work on the droid body. I scaled down the measurements for the droid from The Mousedroid Builders Club that I was using on my full size version. The car I used wound up making it about one third to half size. One sheet of black foamcore was enough to make all the parts.
To mount the body to the chassis I got some nuts, bolts and washers from the hardware store and used the existing attachment points. Some scrap styrene helped secure the foamcore. After running it around the convention I found that while the attachments to the chassis were fine, the point where the brackets attached to the body weren't strong enough. I wound up reinforcing the joint by pushing some old X-acto knife blades through the body into the bracket.
The side "circuit boards" were simply made from sheet styrene.
The top details were made from 2 sizes of styrene tube, sheet styrene and brass tube. They wound up being knocked off pretty quickly at the convention, I should have put holes in the top of the body and sunk the posts down into it.
Once completed the detail bits were given a coat of black spray paint.
I wanted to add sound to my droid to I downloaded the zip file from the Mousedroid Builders Club and found my old 64mb mp3 player. I bought some un-powered stereo speakers from Radioshack for $10, tore them apart and mounted them into the body. While at the convention I found out that the mp3 player alone wasn't loud enough to be heard over the background noise so I added a Radioshack white amplifier as a preamp between the mp3 player and the speakers.
The top of the body is secured on with some industrial velcro. The detail parts were attached with hot glue. The weight of everything slowed the car down nicely but it still had a tendency to tip over if I took turns too sharply on fresh batteries. The MP3 player's batteries lasted all weekend while the car's batteries lasted for 3-4 hours. The top speed stayed the same as the batteries drained but turning response and range decreased. I periodically had to re-align the front tires to keep the car running straight which is pretty standard for cheap R/C cars. All in all this project only cost about $50 minus the mp3 player and white amp. Now I just need to finish the full sized one.