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Styrene Droid Frame Tutorial

This tutorial is to supplement what Dave already has in his tutorial sheets.
Make sure you use Dave's sheets to help guide you through the build.
For me, It's sometimes easier to have a actual picture.

I hope this helps and there will be more tutorials coming soon.
Brenda has a tutorial on the Skirt and the Outer Ankle she will post soon.
As we build each part we will add more.

If there are any questions or something not written clearly, Please let us know.


In this tutorial, I will do my best to walk you through the steps to get your frame ready for skins. You will need to join and download the blueprints from

Once you have the plans, Call around to some of your local print shops for the best price and have the prints printed full size 100%.
You will also need some Tac Spray. You can get this at your local decorations shop.

As I go through this tutorial there will be additional tools you will need to buy and a few Jigs to make circles.

The 1st and hardest thing to make is the rings for the frame.
You will need to buy a Router. I found this router at Home Depot and the price was under $100.00. This will be the most expensive tool you will have to buy during the build. Here's a picture of the one I purchased and it's light weight and easy to use.

The router comes with a separate base and you will need to attach it to the router. This gives you a larger cutting base and is much easier to keep the router flat as your cutting your styrene.

The cutting bit you will need is a 1/4 inch straight cut. You can also get this at Home Depot.

You will need a 24 x 24 inch piece of Plywood as a cutting base.
In the dead center of the Plywood drill a small hole to insert a screw from the backside of the plywood. This will be the center post to go through the styrene and it also is the pivot point for the router circle jig.

A circle jig for your router can either be purchased or you can make your own jig from 1/4 inch plywood or 1/4 inch plastic.
I made my own jig from plastic using a Jigsaw (Sabersaw).
After you cut the jig in a similar shape as you see in this picture, You will need to cut a 1/4 inch hole through the jig for the router bit to fit through.
Attach the router to the jig using some small screws.
With the router attached and the straight bit installed in the router you will have to make some measurements from the router bit.
The measurement you will need to drill the pilot hole in the jig is 9- 1/8 inch and another hole at 9 inch. Make sure the measurements are as accurate as you can get them.

I know this seems like allot to do just to make the frame circles,
But don't let this stop you from building a droid. If you have a friend that already has a router then it may be easier to let them cut your circles.
As far as expense in buying the tools, Believe me the styrene build will save you so much money in the long run the start up tool expense will be nothing in the end.

First I want to say I'm sorry if I don't have a picture of everything for the tutorial, But I will explain everything that you will need to do.

Start with the bottom rings for your frame.
On your sheet of styrene measure a 20 x 20 inch square, Then from corner to the diagonal corner with a straight edge mark a line.
Then do the other 2 corners the same. What your doing is marking a cross hair or X across the styrene. Then cut out the 20 x 20 square. Where the X cross this will be the center of your 20 x 20 inch styrene. Drill a hole at this point the same size as the hole drilled through the Plywood and through the router jig.
Place the styrene down onto the Plywood making sure the screw through the plywood is sticking through the hole in the center of the styrene.

On blueprint marked Body Frame 1, Cut between the circle and the other frame parts. Right now all you need is the circle print.

Tack spray the back of Base Plate 1 print and attach it to the 20 x 20 inch square styrene. Be sure to get the center mark on the blueprint on the screw sticking through the styrene and flatten the print out smooth.
Take care in these steps as they are very important.

Using a metal ruler, Scratch any lines you see on the blueprint.
These are the marks for the upright frame parts  to be glued later.
All of these marks are important and don't scratch them to deep, But deep enough you can see them once the blueprint is removed.

Ok, Your ready to route your Base Plate 1.
Place the router with the attached Jig on top of the blueprint.
Use the 9- 1/8 inch hole in the jig, This will give you a rough cut.
Put a nut onto the screw you have through the entire setup.
Hand tighten the nut.
Run the router around the circle 2 times, Then reverse the direction
1 time.
Remove the router and clean the top of the styrene getting all the shavings off. Replace the router using the 9 inch setting.
Run the router around 2 times and you will have a clean edge on the
Here's a picture of how it looks after it's routed.

You can see all the lines are scratched, The center hole and there's 2 mounting holes you need to drill the same size as the center pilot holes.
Those 2 solid lines on each side of the plate need to be cut off.
After you cut them off and remove the blueprint the Base Plate 1 will look like this picture.

Mark this plate as Base Plate 1 and put it aside for now.
You've just cut a main part of your frame!!!!!

In the plans cut another 18 inch circle the same way as you did in the previous post. Dave E. bonds these 2 plates together and this makes the inner frame 1/4 inch thick and adds allot of strength to the bottom of the frame.
When you bond the 2 plates together 1 plate will have small etched marks near the edge and 2 long etched marks.
These marks need to be seen from the bottom of the frame.
The other plate has etched marks along the 2 round sides.
These are the frame vertical marks. So make sure you can see all these etches when you bond the 2 plates together.

Spread Weldon 3 all over the plate ( You will need help and work fast).
Use some small screws in the center holes as guides.
Press the 2 plates together, Just be accurate because once these plates touch they don't want to come apart.
Let them dry overnight .

Using the plans to cut the vertical plates are next.
These are cut using the OLFA knife.
Cut the styrene several times until you think your about halfway through the styrene. It should snap apart fairly easy, If you have cut deep enough.
Remember, It's not how hard you push down to cut the styrene, It's the amount of cuts you made which is the magic to cutting styrene.
After you have a cut part, Use a Mouse Sander and just LIGHLY clean up the sides where you have cut. This will give you a much better joint.

In these pictures you can see how the 1st layer of verticals come together.
Make sure you use a small square and some steel corner brackets (available at Home Depot) to set each vertical. Don't rush this part.
Use Weldon 3 and a applicator bottle, Wet the bottom plate where the vertical will be placed. Place the vertical in place and square.
The Weldon will tack in a few seconds then put the brackets up to the vertical for about 5 minutes. Make sure to keep everything square or you will hate it later.

Once you have these 4 verticals, Start on the other end.

There are 2 larger verticals that go on each side where the flat area is located. Once your frame looks like this picture, Stop.
Allow the frame to dry overnight.

Now that the lowest verticals have been glued and dried, It's time to put the 1st frame ring in place.
Place the 1st frame ring on top of the verticals, Place the ring so the etched marks are facing up so you can see them. Check around the ring and check the verticals are lining up with the etches.
Use Weldon 3 and start at the front of the frame. Lift the ring just enough to wet the top of the vertical. Set this vertical and check the alignment of the other verticals, If all looks good let it dry 5 minutes.
Across from the vertical that is bonded, Glue another vertical.
Keep doing the crisscross pattern until all verticals are bonded.
If some of the verticals do not line up perfect, Try to adjust them.
I placed the Weldon can on top of the vertical I was gluing to help hold the position.
This is what you should have now.


admin wrote:

In these pictures you can see how the 1st layer of verticals come together.
Make sure you use a small square and some steel corner brackets (available at Home Depot) to set each vertical. Don't rush this part.

Just as some feedback - thanks for this.  I never thought about some corner brackets like this, as Dave's plans just call for set squares.  This is an awesome way to get this done easily, though.  

The pictures you have help out a lot, too.  Keep up the great work!  You are definitely making me anticipate my styrene order coming in at this point!

Thanks for the comment  Very Happy
I hope this tutorial takes some of the questions out of building a styrene droid.
It's really easy to build.

On to the second story  Very Happy
Now that you have something to show for your hard labor, It's back to work.
Dave Calls these verticals (Strip Uprights).
Just as before start adding the verticals on top of the 1st ring.
Using Weldon 3, Bond them in the correct places and square them.
They basically go on top of the lower verticals except on the flat sides of the frame.
These pictures will show you how they look as you go.

Allow this to dry overnight, I know this seems slow but it's so important not to rush each level. Always refer to Dave's instructions for exact positions for each part.

Now that the Weldon 3 has dried, We can install the 2nd ring.
You will have 1 ring that will be cut up into different shapes and this is how it looks and each of these parts will come into play.

This is the half ring we need for now.

This 2nd ring is the backside of the droid. Here again make sure the etched marks are pointing up so you can see them.
Take your time and align this half ring very well.
Use Weldon 3 and bond all the verticals to the 2nd ring by wetting the tops of the verticals.

(Something I do different than some builders do is wetting the tops of the verticals to do the build and then going back after the frame is complete and applying more Weldon 3 to each joint. I just want to make sure it got enough glue and will not come apart.)

Now that you have another level, Yep it has to set again overnight.

Ok, We've made it this far without any problems.
Now things get a little tricky, It may not look tricky but it can be.

Back to the front of the frame you will add the long sides for the 2 long doors in the front of the droid. Pay allot of attention to the following parts.
This picture shows the outer 2 verticals bonded in place with Weldon 3 .
Make sure these stay as straight and square as possible. Let them dry for 15 minutes before moving on.

Start bonding the front uprights into place, Make sure the are square.
Keep the etched lines facing inward towards each other.

Here's the second upright.

Add the top quarter plate on top of the 2 verticals. This plate is from the ring you cut into several parts.

I don't have a picture to show you on this step, But it's the other long vertical which is the other side of the long doors on the front of the droid.
This area is the chest of the frame and this is where you may run into a problem. We have 2 frames built and 1 of the frames the chest area leaned forward out of the frame. We had to cut it loose and reglue it back
into the frame. So if this happens to you don't worry it can be fixed.

You fellow builders ready for more?
Ok, That's better.

Now that we have the frame almost complete, We will add the next layer of verticals.
This picture here shows how the verticals are placed around the frame.
It's basically the same all the way through the frame. Just keep squaring each vertical as you place them into position.


And the last verticals are in place.
Let this dry overnight before moving on.

Now we get to top this badboy.
Here's a picture of the top ring with the blueprint still on.
You should have all these lines etched and any holes drilled before continuing.
Now lay the top ring with the etched marks facing up.
You'll need some help on this part.
Flip the entire frame upside down and place it on top of this last ring.
Align all the verticals into place and they should line up pretty easy, If they don't check and see if any were bonded in the wrong spot or if they need just a slight push to get them into place that's fine.

Using Weldon 3, Bond each of the verticals to the ring and adjust.
Use a crisscross pattern as you bond each one and if you need to add alittle weight on top of the frame to hold the vertical in place that's fine.

After you have bonded each vertical, This is what you should have to show for all your hard work.

Let this dry overnight and we will add the last few parts.

Last parts come into play.
Now using Weldon 3 , Bond the shoulder plate into position.
It should look like this:

There are some additional plates that go behind the shoulder plate,
But I don't have pictures of them. You will have to use Dave's tutorial sheets to put them into place.

Well, Guess What Buckaroo.
You have a Dave E. frame sitting beside you now!!!!!
I know your looking at the frame and shaking it saying:
The skins that are added to this frame are bonded to the frame and it becomes extremely strong.

I hope you enjoyed the build and could put up with my stupid jokes.
If you need any help, I'm here to answer any questions you have.
Now move on to the skin tutorial and I'll try to keep the jokes under control. (But I can't promise)
Now you can move on to the skin Tutorial.
Calvin Thomas

Quick question - is this particular frame done with the long door panels being closed, or will they be able to open?

During the build process, You have the option to have the doors closed or hinged to open.
Spanner Murraan

What would you say was the total build time for this? I know there was a good amount of waiting.

Had you used any of the #16 yet?

With glue drying time and cutting the parts, Hum.
I'd say 1 week.
That's working on it alittle each day and not rushing.
The 16 I have glued 3mm with several times, I like it.
If you have a area that just won't go together real good the 16 comes
in handy.
And it's good for reinforcing joints.
Spanner Murraan

Ok. I have build day planned for this weekend. Was gonna cut my Rings, and maybe lay up the first round of uprights.  Then throughout the week, add more.  

Question - I plan on using a slip ring.  Do I need to make a crossbeam in my top ring to act as a bracket to hold the slipring?

That's something I've thought about myself.
Not sure how are what I will do when the time comes.
Spanner Murraan

Hey Calvin -

Is it possible to build a rear door into the styrene droid?  I think I saw that Brenda's droid had that.  Could you explain how you modified the plans to do it?

actually on jessicas droid i am really thinking hard of a removable door, leaves a bit more room for a little larger fold down electronics panel. this way you wont have hinges in the way and the door is totally out of the way when your working.

Brenda's R3 was built before Dave's plans.
The frame setup is completely different than Dave's.
You would have to see if you could modify Dave's frame and not loose
the integrity of the frame.
Spanner Murraan

That is what I was afraid of.  

I started my lower ring tonite. But for some reason, lowest plate (the the skirt mounts to) came out a bit off in some areas, maybe a 1/16" or so.  I should be able to sand that down to match, correct?

Yea, You'll have some places you'll need to sand so you can get a match.
After I built my frame I sanded the entire frame to get everything nice and smooth so the joints all fitted nice.
As you cut your parts, Sand them lightly to remove any flashing from breaking the part apart.
Start a Thread showing your work as you go so we all can see  Very Happy

Is there a difference between a regular utility knife and an OLFA or Kobalt knife?  I am having difficulty cutting the styrene with my utility knife.

An OLFA knife the blade is a break away design so as it dulls you snap off the end and it's a new sharp edge again.
Go to Lowes and get the blue Kobalt OLFA knife they sell.
It's the best I have found yet.
What are you working on? Skins or frame.

I'm working on the frame, but my skins are on the way.  Madison does not have a Lowe's but I'm sure Home Depot carries that knife.  Thanks!

Kobalt is specifically a Lowes brand, but they should have something close.

I will order that knife online at Lowe's.   I went to pick up the glue tonight and they are out of Weldon 3 but I got a tube of Weldon 16.  Will that do or do I need the Weldon 3?  They won't get anymore in for about a week.

You really need the Weldon 3 for most everything.
The Weldon 16 is good for bonding areas that don't join up that good or areas that would benefit with extra holding power.
Weldon3 only on the skins.

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