Replica Movie Props

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Laser Cut Dome Work

Here’s the outer laser cut C&D Dome. It is a beautiful thing to see in person. The light weight and lower cost of styrene is great for ‘budget droid building,’ but add laser cut panels and you have one of the best domes available for the price.

One thing I noticed right off is that the club-spec resin logic surrounds don’t quite fit. A little work will take care of that.

After numbering all the panels for putting them back together, I began sanding the laser cut plastic ‘slag’ from all the cuts. I did this with the panels in place for getting a tight fit of outer to inner domes before removing them.

After sanding off most of the slag, I taped some of the weaker panels in place for fitting the inner and outer domes together for a final tracing.

I traced all the logics and holo eyes for cutting on the inner dome. I also traced a few panels and the lower edge of the outer dome onto the inner dome to help in re-fitting later.

Until now, I have left off the ring around the bottom of the dome (not the dome ring that you mount to a rockler, the blue strip that runs along under R2D2’s panels, or green one on my R2A6.) Now I put it in place and trace its location on the inner dome. This will tell me where to trim the inner dome along the bottom and to insure that I have an even fit between the ring and the rest of the outer dome. Note also that I have previously trimmed a lot of the extra off the inner dome, leaving only a ¼” to ½” of extra at the bottom.
I also left the laser cut tabs between the upper part and the ring to ensure the correct distance between the two.

Once that’s done, I cut the extra material off the bottom of the inner dome using a pair of strong scissors.

One I am satisfied with the fit of everything I cut the panels out with a hobby say and an X-Acto knife. This leaves the little laser cutting ‘tabs’ which I clean up with files and sandpaper.

Finally , I have cleaned up the laser cutting ‘tabs’ on the panels too. Some of the panels have an uneven laser cut edge which needed to be evened out with files and sandpaper.


  1. Wow! I'm drooling!! You're still working on your first dome too, right? I've been tossing back and forth about picking up a laser cut C&D, but I think I'll wait for a future run if Cole does one...I'm sure he will.

    So, will this be an alternate color scheme? Maybe a different designation? Skies the limit, you know. Nice work Sulla!!


  2. Hi Jon. Thanks. I have temporarily halted my work on the other dome. I will most likeley keep it for a second droid should I catch the fever again. Maybe a static traditional R2-D2?

    I can't praise the laser cut dome enough. Talk about a clean and precise look! And for so much less work! I am a huge proponent of scratch building, but when you want something to look perfect, there's nothing like laser-cut/CNC/etc...