My name Keith Henry. I joined the R2BuildersClub in the summer of 2000 after typing "How to Build R2-D2" into my search engine. To my surprise, I found a group of about 300 members on an email based forum that was not yet owned by Yahoo Groups. We had no official blueprints, very limited suppliers of parts, and we were making droids out of bird feeders and concrete tubes. This was before the official specs were standardized, before Star Wars Celebration, and even before a single metal part run had ever taken place. Don Bies, Official Droid Wrangler for the Star Wars prequels, had found us shortly before Star Wars Celebration II and joined the club. He was amazed at our drive to build R2's of our own and became interested in meeting with some of us. I was given this very prestigious opportunity to schedule a small meeting and roughly six months before Celebration II in Indianapolis took place, myself and several others became the first members to meet him in person.
Star Wars Celebration II was an amazing event. I was one of a very small group to first represent the R2Builders at the convention in Indianapolis and the memories from those golden days of the club will always be with me. It was at this event that things really began to blossom for the R2Builders in many ways. The fine folks that were there for those three days know exactly what I am talking about when I say it changed things forever. We now had official specs to draw up blueprints, members were beginning to talk to machine shops and metal parts began being fabricated. In 2004 I began casting resin copies of the metal parts we were making for budget builders as a less expensive alternative. I started off casting only six pieces for the club and as time went by, I was able to produce new parts as they were made. I have made countless parts for replicas that exist out there in the world today, I am a proud to say that I have lent my hand in the creation of many Astromechs over the years.
Celebration III came, I actually won 2nd place in the droid races, I got to meet George Lucas and have my photo taken along side my comrades in the Official C3 photo. I did our room duty and guarded the official ILM R2 unit. I may or may not have scraped off a little Tatooine sand from him and stashed in into my pocket. I even got to help go behind the scenes and pack him into his world-traveled shipping crate, it was exciting to see all the stickers from places he has traveled for filming on the door. It was so fun to feel on the inside of things, access to off limit areas, the crew but not crew feel of it all, still a buzz to this day. If you went to the BUDGET BUILDERS PANEL, I sat along side several of my friends answering questions.
I have made several contributions to the club in form of writing the official R2BuildersClub welcome letter, a book entitled "The Beginners Guide to Hypo Blue" and several tutorials on using resin as a medium for builders. I have a droid here of my own that I have been working on since nearly the beginning of my adventure as an R2Builder. He is literally entirely made of metal and metal parts. I still continue to make pieces for members of the club all the time and I have come a definite long way over the years perfecting my skill at doing so. I have been doing it so long now that its almost legendary when I look back at all of it.
I would like to personally thank all of the people who have made my building experience and my life as an R2Builder a pleasant one. It has been an honor to be of service and give back to the club that in some ways, I helped to create into what we are now today. I have been and always continue to be grateful.