We recently acquired a piece of our past, just in time for the new Star Wars movie installment, " The Last Jedi"...
So let's back up a bit. 2 years ago, just before the release of "Star Wars:The Force Awakens", we had the privilege of working on the prototype of the Force Friday BB-8 Droid display while still working for our previous employer. These display droids were exclusive to Target stores--and to our knowledge--displayed in every Target store in the USA to promote Force Friday. Force Friday was on September 4th, 2015, the day all of the new "Star Wars:The Force Awakens" merchandise and store exclusives were released in anticipation for the new movie release in December. This was the debut appearance of the movie franchise's brand new droid, BB-8.
The Target store BB-8 droids were amazing! They had motion sensors inside, and whenever someone came over to admire the new droid (or squeal in delight!), BB-8 would immediately light up and excitedly start communicating with droid sounds while BB-8's head turned from side to side. You made a friend!
After the promotion ended and the movie was released, it was time for Target to make room for new displays. Rumor has it, all of the BB-8 droids were ordered to be destroyed. A few Target stores were selected, and were allowed to auction their BB-8 to the highest bidder. We found another connection, and were able to get one of our own--brand new, in the box, never even displayed!
After working on the prototype while still at our previous employer, we were allowed to make a copy of the prototype, (fully painted and battle-damaged) to be entered into a finishing contest. It was entered in AMUG's (Additive Manufacturing Users Group) Technical Competition. We parted ways with our employer before the international competition, and were on our way to forming NYXperimental, but BB-8 won 1st Runnerup! (1st Place winner was an unbelievable 3D printed & painted portrait of Van Gogh's Starry Night, and it definitely deserved First Place!) We were thrilled that BB-8 won 2nd Place for 2016!
Incidentally, we had our first taste of AMUG's finishing competition the year before through the same employer. We 3D printed a file that a coworker and I found on a free-file share site. It was a glorious fantasy-world Orc (Warhammer, anyone?). Well, the head of one anyway, mounted to a stone plinth. We named the head "Klarg" after a Dungeons & Dragons Bugbear encounter from The Mines Of Phandelver, and the piece itself "Hunting Trophy". After weeks of sanding, modifications and painting, it won 1st PLACE in AMUG's Technical Competition for Finishing in 2015!
We've built loads of models since, but for Makerfaires, gaming competitions or commissions. There's really nothing more satisfying than seeing an amazing model and knowing you did it! This little droid has seen some adventures with us, and now BB-8 has officially become part of the crew!