Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mystery Shoot with R2 & Droidmobile

Today R2 and I headed up in the Droidmobile to the West Los Angeles area for a mystery video shoot.

This shoot wasn't all about R2 though, as I ended up on camera quite a bit more than usual. R2 was probably jealous, and I'm sure he'll take it out on me sooner or later. The Droidmobile also got a fair amount of camera time, but R2 won't be mad at his only form of transportation.

I should have more to share about this one sometime in the Fall.

Friday, July 04, 2014

City of La Verne's 2014 4th of July Parade

Today my droid participated in the city of La Verne, CA's 4th of July Parade. I got to use the flag waving feature that I added to R2 these past several days.

Manuel Cruz brought a pickup truck and trailer so that we could haul droids, Jawas, Tuskens and whatever other denizens needed a ride. I backed the Element up for an easy transfer, at the tender hour of 7:22am, as some 70(!) characters got into costume.

We lined up behind a cool, old-time fire truck, which hosted bottled water and more characters.

The troopers took one last breath before their march.

Around 10:00am the parade started, and we were under way. Vader and the Stormtroopers lead the Star Wars group, followed by the firetruck, then us, then the Tuskens and Rebels. I was riding in the passenger seat of the pickup, so I could only take pictures in our immediate vicinity. I'd never been in a parade before outside of being cramped in the back of a Humvee, so I didn't know whether to wave or not. I did end up waving a little bit, but I mainly left the waving to R2 and his flag.

I was told last year there were 10,000 people along the 2.5 mile route, and that this year far surpassed that. I must have heard, "It's R2-D2!" hundreds of times.

A video clip amongst the pics.

And finally, video at the finish line.

The full photoset is here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Utility Arm Mystery Project Revealed - Patriotic Droid

The time has come to take the covers off the utility arm mystery project. All of this is to get R2 to wave the American flag!

My R2 will be riding on a Star Wars float for the the city of La Verne, CA's 4th of July parade, and I wanted him to do more than just turn his head and make beeping noises, so I figured it would be nice if he could automatically wave a flag. Here's some video:

To summarize, I cut out and glued together a styrene cover for the end of the top utility arm, and I glued a segment of a plastic drinking straw to the back of the arm. The segment of straw has a styrene "floor" as well. I painted that all blue. I then whipped up a quick program on the Arduino Uno to cycle the arm at two different slow speeds.

I plan to use the same museum putty that I use to hold the red R5-D4 panels on the droid, as it sticks very well. I'll use the putty to secure the styrene glove, and to secure the flag in the straw. I'll be sure to post pics from the parade.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Installed Arduino Uno Inside Droid for Utility Arm Mystery Project

Tonight I worked on installing the Arduino Uno board into the droid for the utility arm mystery project.

First, I cut a mounting backer from MDF.

Next, I used the holes in the board as a template for where to drill 7/64" holes through the MDF to accommodate some #4 screws. I only drilled 3 of the 4 mounting holes.

I then used 3/8" #4 screws to secure the Arduino Uno to the backer board, and applied some Velcro to the back of the backer board.

Finally, I secured the board to some Velcro on the frame, and wired everything up.

Testing was successful! I plan to reveal the mystery project on Wednesday.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meet the Makers Weekend at the Discovery Science Center - Day 2

Today was Day 2 of Meet the Makers weekend at Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, CA.

I brought droid #2 out again, but this time he was configured as R2-D2, rather than R5-D4, since I was the only builder that brought a full droid today. Maddy joined me with her R2 dome.

At 12:45pm I did the first of two presentations that were well-attended (thanks to Maddy for help with the pics).

In between presentations, I took R2 into the Mythbusters exhibit.

I also talked to folks, answered questions, and R2 did the usual picture posing.

At 2:45pm R2 took the stage for the second presentation. I took the back door off ahead of time to show the insides of the droid.

After I was done for the day, some of the staff took pictures.

And that was a wrap! Another good weekend at Discovery Science Center.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Meet the Makers Weekend at the Discovery Science Center - Day 1

Today the R2 Builders came out to the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, CA, for their Meet the Makers weekend. The center was also hosting an entertaining Mythbusters exhibit.

I brought droid #2 out for this one. Today he was dressed as R5-D4, although tomorrow I plan to have him change back to R2-D2. We were joined by Todd Gottfried, Roy Powers, Matthew Henricks and Maddy Lazerson, and their droids. We got set up and started doing our thing at noon.

At 12:45 I gave the first of our two presentations (no pictures for that). At 2:45 Matthew gave our second talk. For both talks all the R2 Builders took questions.

I also visited the Mythbusters exhibit, which featured props from the show as well as interactive stations, including one exploring the chemical contents of human flatulence (now there's and idea for an 8th grade science project).

We wrapped up with a group picture, and then called it a day.

Matthew's droidmobile is a bit more open-air than mine.

I do it all again tomorrow.

The full photoset is here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Painted Styrene, Tested Arduino Uno in Droid for Utility Arm Mystery Project

Lots of progress this evening on the utility arm mystery project.

I finally was able to prime and paint the styrene glove.

First I used Rustoleum white primer.

That was followed by some of my dwindling supply of Rustoleum Metallic Purple.

Then, Duplicolor Anodized Blue.

I followed that with a clearcoat, that looks pretty darn similar. As I let that dry for a day or two, I returned to the Arduino effort.

I soldered the wire I cut from the power adapter the other night to a monophonic audio plug. This way I can connect the Arduino power to the plug I usually used for the solenoid for the mist effect, and turn off and on the Arduino board with switch #14 on my Keycoder on my transmitter.

I then loosely hooked things up to test on the droid.

I iteratively adjusted the speed, start and stop positions of the arm.

I pretty much got it working the way I want, where the arm waves back and forth slowly, and it alternates at two different slow speeds. I may make some minor tweaks, but so far so good.

I will post some video of this in action soon. Either way, the mystery will be revealed shortly. As if anyone is reading this and cares.