Astromech – The Official R2 Robot Builders Club. OK, so according to their brochure [PDF] there are around 5000 members worldwide, and they build R2 clones for anything between $500 and $40,000. The site features parts listings, tutorials, a registry and mailing list. This is seriously geeky, isn’t it, but you’ve gotta love it. [via Growabrain]
One can be made for as low as a few hundred dollars, to well into the thousands for an accurate, metal droid with lights, sounds and motion. The biggest shortcut can be made by making your own parts, following the official club blueprints. Another popular shortcut is using resin cast parts and painting them silver. Machined metal parts are always more expensive than their resin counterparts, but usually only R2 experts can tell the difference once painted.