Friday, April 18, 2014

Wondercon 2014 - Day 1

Today was the first day of Wondercon 2014 at the Anaheim Convention Center, in Anaheim CA. The R2 Builders came with 12(!) R2 units, a treadwell droid, and two WALL•Es.

I'd guess at least 30,000 people were in attendance, and the droids proved quite popular, as always.

R2 attire was popular as well.

We entertained and talked to guests throughout the day. At 5:00pm, we had our R2 Builders Panel in room 207 that had a 600 seat capacity!

I moderated the panel, with panelists Chris Romines, Michael McMaster, William Miyamoto and Mike Senna. We got lots of good questions and there were lots of laughs.

Toward the end of the day we took our traditional group picture. The most amazing part it that we were able to close down a main aisle way for this. Left to right we have Mike Senna, Paul Thompson, John Boisvert, Gene Arena, Dan Johnson, Roy Powers, Chris Romines, Victor Franco, William Miyamoto, Russell Rucker, and Michael McMaster. (Maddy and Manny had to leave before the picture was taken.)

Finally, the 7:00pm closing time rolled around, and it was time for our droids to go to sleep.

Assuming they're all still there in the morning, we'll do it all again tomorrow. Note: Since tomorrow will be so packed with droids and attendees, I've decided to put off bringing droid #2 until Sunday, rather than Saturday.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wrapped Up Work on Making Droid #2 Mobile

Time's up! Tools down.

Today was the last day I had to work on getting droid #2 mobile in time for Wondercon, which starts tomorrow and runs through the weekend. I plan to bring droid #1 to the con on Friday, and then droid #2 will join him on Saturday for the day. (I can only transport one droid at a time.) Sunday I just plan to have droid #1 again.

I discovered I did indeed need to file a flat spot on the gas pipe that connects the legs, where the vertical bar that enforces the 36 degree lean is U-bolted. Otherwise, R2 could do the splits while driving backward if the center foot gets bogged down.

I marked where to grind the flat spot.

I used my new Dremel with a grinding attachment to flatten the area.

When I was done, I bolted the vertical rail down tight. I hope I removed enough material for the rail to rest nice and flat.

Next, I found that the front screw that helps secure the right battery box was obscured by the motor. I tried relocating where it resides, but even then the motor obscured it. This is a problem I will need to resolve later.

I also found that the drive chain was too tight on both drivetrains, so I had to remove them and adjust the motor mounts a bit to add some slack. I went through about 20 iterations of this, it took forever.

I also did lots of other miscellaneous stuff I can't even recall now. But the bottom line is, I think droid #2 is ready to drive at Wondercon on Saturday! At least, I hope so.

Concerns I have: I may need to file a deeper flat spot on the gas pipe; I need to fix the right battery box so the frontmost screw securing it down is accessible; and I hope that I can get used to the Stealth Controller transmitters. And my biggest concern: Wondercon shorts us on badges and I have 24 angry people ready to beat me up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cut and Painted Ankle Locks and Screws for Droid #2

Tonight I finally had time to cut and paint (for the center foot, at least) the ankle locks for droid #2, that keep the feet from flopping around when the droid changes directions.

I jammed a piece of paper into the ankle area where the lock will go for the center foot, and traced the outline.

I then cut out that template and traced it onto a piece of 1/8" aluminum bar.

I wisely chose to drill the hole for the mounting screw before cutting the bar, but then foolishly forgot to countersink the hole while the bar was in once piece. Oh well, I went back and did it later.

I rough-cut the ankle lock with a hacksaw.

I mentioned yesterday that my old lightsaber had died, so I picked up a new HAL-9000 model today.

The first job for the new Dremel was to grind the curve on the center ankle locks.

I used a drywall screw to mount the ankle lock for a test fit on the left side. I needed to cut the screw down so that it would not pass completely through the leg. The test fit looked good, and I completed the process for the right side of the center foot.

I them primed and painted the center ankle locks and mounting screws.

Next up, the ankle locks for the outer legs. Again, I used a paper template, and traced the outline. For the outer legs, I'm using the cutting board I used for droid #1, and that has been used for several other droids over the years.

And I drilled the holes for the outer locks as well.

As with the center ankle locks, I used a drywall screw and did a test fit. Looks good.

I wrapped up by priming and painting the mounting screws for the outer legs. The ankle locks don't need paint, they're white enough.

Things are close to be being done to make droid #2 mobile and complete. I mainly just need to reassemble the feet and battery boxes.

I still want to file a flat spot on the gas pipes for the main legs, where the vertical angle-iron that enforces 36 degree lean is U-bolted. I also ordered and received some LM7809 9-volt regulators that I'm interested in trying on the electronics board, to see if they can effectively power the audio amplifier, rather than using a 9-volt battery. I don't think I'll get to either of those tasks in the very near term though.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Glued and Drilled PVC Strips for Battery Box Attachment on Droid #2

Today I glued down the strips of PVC that I'm using to help screw down the battery boxes onto the foot shells for droid #2.

Once again I used Gorilla Glue to glue the PVC segments to the aluminum battery boxes, before I went in to work this morning. I roughed up both surfaces with sandpaper and then cleaned them before gluing.

When I got home, the glue had dried and I drilled pilot holes for the 1/8" drywall screws I'm using to attach the battery boxes to the foot shells.

And then I test-fitted by screwing them down.

A (poor) view from the inside.

Hopefully this all works when the foot shells are on the drivetrains.

Time to start putting the monster together again. He's gained a lot of weight, I was barely able to lift him onto the chairs to reattach the feet.

Still more to do. The main task remaining is to cut and paint ankle locks. My Dremel decided to die tonight, so I need to replace that in order to cut the metal ankle locks I plan to use for the center foot. I'll use the famous cutting board again for the outer feet.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Painted Half Moons for Center Foot for Droid #2

I got less done than I wanted today, but at least I managed to put a fresh coat of paint on the half moons for the center foot shell, and the battery box doors on droid #2.

Time is running out.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Painted Foot Shells, Repainted Battery Boxes and Half Moons for Droid #2

Painting day, at last. Today I painted the aluminum foot shells and doors for droid #2. And although I'd already painted the battery boxes and outer half moons, they'd been beat up a bit, so I touched them up as well.

Starting with the battery boxes. I was too lazy to remove the battery box harnesses, so I masked them.

Next up, the foot shells and doors.

The family portrait, in two parts.

And as if that wasn't enough fun, I folded three hundred club brochures for the upcoming Wondercon.

The doors could use another coat of paint, and I need to repaint the center foot half moons and battery box doors. I also need to glue the PVC strips behind where the battery boxes will attach, and I need to cut and paint ankle locks.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hacked and Primed Foot Shells, Cut Gas Pipe for Droid #2

Today I prepped the aluminum foot shells for painting on droid #2, and cut down the gas pipes to size for the manual droid lift.

The pre-drilled holes for the knurled hose fittings don't match the actual foot strip holes, so I needed to use the Dremel to widen them considerably.

Now the foot strip holes can accommodate the knurled hose fittings when mounted to the foot shell, as seen from the inside.

Next up, cutting the holes at the top of the foot shells to allow for the motor wiring to pass through. I used a combination of the Dremel and a hacksaw blade.

The holes for mounting the battery boxes still needed to be drilled. I used the boxes to mark where to drill the holes.

I'm planning on using 1/8" drywall screws to mount the battery boxes to the foot shells. How do I plan to do that? By gluing pieces of PVC on the backside of the holes I'm drilling, for the drywall screws to screw into.

The holes line up, so the battery boxes should be ready for mounting when the time comes.

And finally (for the foot shells), time to start priming the foot shells and doors. I use gray primer when white paint will go on top, to more easily distinguish primer from paint.

Hmm. This wasn't in the plans.

I had run low on regular primer and switched to a filling primer for the second coat, and perhaps the different mixture was the culprit, I'm not sure. At any rate, I sanded that down and will try again tomorrow.

I wrapped up by cutting the ends off the gas pipe that is used for the manual droid lift on droid #2.

Now the pipes fit into the center leg without bumping into the main gas pipe above them. I also adjusted the manual droid lift so that the gas pipes are level and no longer crooked when screwed into place.