This is one of those parts that isnít so much a part to be machined or crafter, as a mini home made model kit. Being of odd angles and fine detailed slats, the easiest way to make it is lots of thin strips carefully laid and glued in place.
Now there were plans I got off the internet to make this, but on closer examination of the R2 unit built by ILM, their grill bits were thicker and further apart than the plans online. As I preferred the thicker grills I went with that version. The actual outside dimensions and the round bit in the middle stay the same, just the grill thickness and spacing was different.
For the main centre section a piece of 2mm styrene sheet was used and a hexagon was cut out. It was then stuck with pritt stick to the printed off plan sheet I made up, and the grill bits were cut and I started sticking them in place.
I started off with the outward straight bits as this gives the lengths of the ones to go in-between. Once they were done, I cut and glued the outermost ones in place.
Next I cut and fitted the inner grill bits and stuck those in place. Working with a plan sheet under it, the laying of the parts was quite straight forward, and once all cut to size, it was just a case of wiggling each one till it was in place. To get the spacing the same, I made up a little bloc to use as a spacer. This made fitting them much easier.
With the grill bits done, which I had thought would be far more difficult, I set about making the base stronger. For this I glued another piece of plastic to the back, and cut the sides to match. Not only did this make is stronger, but added the filled in back as well.
Then onto the sides. This took a bit more working out than some of the other parts, as it fits against the curved outer skin of the body; I wanted the side curved to match. This meant making two of the sides slightly wider than the other two then sanding them to fit the 18.25 inch curve of the body.
When this was finished and a nice clean curve obtained, I added filler to finish off the sides.
Next and last job is to finish the centre section. I turned the knob type bit on my lathe from a solid rod of resin, then when happy the shape matched the plans I had downloaded, it was glued to the finished main body.
Now as stuff made from styrene is really not that strong or durable, I made a silicon mould of this piece and cast it in one solid piece of polyurethane resin. Having the item cast as one makes it so much stronger, and as two are needed anyway, it saved having to go through the process of making another one.
Last off a coat of aluminium effect paint, gives it that lustre shine finish.