Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More Work on Droid #2

My replacement U-bolt arrived today, so I attempted to get droid #2 back in working order.

First, I wanted to see the damage to the threads on the old U-bolt, so I hacked the nut in half so I could remove it.

Those would be the stripped threads.

I needed to cut down the legs on the new U-bolt in order for the socket wrench to reach the the span of the legs as I tighten the nuts.

I also cut notches into the inside curve of the U-bolt to help grip the gas pipe around which it fits.

The old, mangled U-bolt on top, and the new replacement on the bottom.

I removed the gas pipe from the right leg in order to more easily continue filing the flat spot on it where the vertical rail gets bolted down.

After I'd finished filing, I did a loose fit of the related parts.

I then bolted the gas pipe and flange back onto the wooden disc on the leg.

And finally, I tightened down the vertical rail with the new U-bolt.

And after all that… he's still leaning too far back.

Also, something's wrong with the right foot motor. Possibly a piece of keystock got loose, I'm not sure.

At this point I definitely need to step away from this and take a breather, lest I fix it with a baseball bat. I'll get back to it in a while, but I have other stuff coming up with droid #1 that will keep me busy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Semi-Repaired Bent Skins on Droid #1, Dismantled Droid #2 for Stuck U-Bolt

Tonight I continued working on post-Wondercon repairs for both droids.

Droid #1 has a recurring injury, like a scab that won't heal. Part of the outer skins near the front pocket vent got bent.

Ideally, I'd just remove the screw where the bend occurred and bent it back. Unfortunately, the nut that backs this screw is pretty much impossible to reach on the assembled droid, so that's not really a viable option. I also considered removing the pocket vent or the side kick plate, but I didn't want to inflict more injury to the droid.

Instead, I used a block of wood, a mallet and some paper towels as a dampener to try to tap out the bend as much as possible.

Well, it's not 100% better, but it's definitely a lot better.

With droid #2, I needed to remove the stuck U-bolt. One of the two nuts securing the U-bolt to the vertical rail in the droid had its threads stripped, so the only way to get it off the gas pipe was to remove the legs and slide it off.

I've ordered a replacement U-bolt, although I'm somewhat concerned that the same problem may occur if I'm not careful. I will work on getting a better flat spot filed on the gas pipe for the vertical rail to rest upon, and then get everything bolted back together.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Minor Foot Shell Repairs for Droid #1

I had a couple minor Wondercon casualties that needed fixing on the foot shells for droid #1.

The outer left foot shell was hit pretty good by a motorized wheelchair.

And the center foot shell got damaged… somehow. I didn't see it happen, but the front face is just slightly separating from the rest.

Fortunately, the outer foot shell didn't require removal. I was able to apply the PVC glue in-situ.

The center foot shell did need to come off, so it also got glued and clamped.

Should be as good as old by tomorrow. Droid #2 awaits much more attention.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wondercon 2014 - Day 3

Today was the third and final day of Wondercon 2014, at the Anaheim Convention Center. Today was to be the debut of droid #2.

I got up early and did the Droidmobile droid swap.

Out with the old...

...and in with the new.

I arrived at the convention center, unloaded the car, and carted the droid to the booth. I did some test driving, and my concern about not having filed enough material from the gas pipe appeared to be well-founded, as I could see that the droid wanted to lean back further than it's supposed to. Anticipating this might happen, I brought my file, to file a deeper flat spot on the gas pipe. Fortunately I still had an hour before the convention opened, so there was time to do this work.

That all went well, until it was time to put everything back together. As I was cranking down on the nuts for the U-bolt that goes through the vertical rail and around the main gas pipe for the legs, the threads on the U-bolt got stripped. None of us (me, Chris Romines, Dan Johnson) were able to get the nut on it to budge. Thus, the droid wouldn't stand up straight enough, or even be very stable for that matter.

With lots of help from Paul Thompson, Gene Arena, Dan Johnson and Chris Romines (and probably others), we used tie-down straps, gaffers tape, and zip ties to at least stabilized the droid in three-legged mode. However, his driving was done for the day. Fail.

About all droid #2 was able to do was turn his dome and play sounds, as controlled by Chris James' Stealth Controller. I can say it was wonderful not carrying a large and heavy remote control, thanks to Chris' Stealth system.

Other fun stuff seen today:

Apparently Tuskens are a natural predator of protocol droids.

Dalek vs. droids. He's outnumbered.

Baby R2, meet big R2.

Million Dollar R2 hat.

Princes Leia, the early years.

I did a brief interview with The Geek Speak Show.

Chris Romines driving R2-A1 around, in a rare moment that he's not blasting someone with the mist.

Getting the band back together.

Characters from a different trilogy/hexogy.

Finally, 5:00pm arrived and we wrapped up and headed out.

Back in the car you go, with pretty much the same distance driven as when you arrived.

I've got some work to do on low-rider droid. I'm gong to have to take the legs off in order to slip the U-bolt off, and I'll have to saw the U-bolt in order to extricate it from the vertical rail. And then I need to try again. Whee!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wondercon 2014 - Day 2

Today was day #2 of Wondercon 2014 at the Anaheim Convention Center, and even more R2 Builders were present to entertain the crowd. This is the same venue at which Star Wars Celebration VII will be held exactly a year from now.

The calm before the storm.

And the storm begins.

Star Wars Rebels! (From the upcoming CG animated show.)

Speaking of which, the Star Wars Rebels folks who make the show possible, Dave Filoni and Kilian Plunkett.

You know the words.

More goings-on.

A Jawa walked up to our booth, asking for help because the LEDs for her eyes were not working right. Gene and David diagnosed and fixed the problem.

Happy Jawa!

Kayla Miyamoto as a baby Predator.

This is the closest we got to a group shot today.

As a reminder, droid #2 makes his debut tomorrow. I expect that due to Easter Sunday, it will be less crowded than these past few days, but I still expect a large crowd.