Thursday, August 31, 2006

Attached Left Rear Coin Return, PSI Covers, Primed Power Couplers, Attached Ankle Details

Another eclectic day.

I started by using silicone to attach the left rear coin return. If this looks familiar, it's because I did the same thing earlier, only I had the pocket of the rear coin returns away from the center of the back door, when they should have been toward the center.

Following a tip from Doug Dixon on the board, I obtained a plastic template sheet to use as a cover for the front and rear Processor Status Indicators (PSIs). I won't know how good these work until I have the PSIs with LEDs installed, but for now they are covering up those annoying holes. I cut two layers and used masking tape to attach them to the inside of the dome.

In the afternoon I applied three coats of primer to the coin returns. I'll wait 24 hours and then try painting them blue. Recall that I used the liquid latex to mask all the areas that are not to be painted. I'll have to wait until Saturday to see if that worked, when the paint should be dry enough to peel off the latex.

I finished the day by attaching the ankle details.

First, I traced the outline of one of the resin ankle detail pieces onto a sheet of paper, and cut it out. Then, I taped the template to the legs, and drilled through the template and into each side of each leg, about 1/4" deep. I drilled four holes per ankle detail.

After drilling the legs, I used the same paper template and taped it to the back of the resin ankle detail pieces. I drilled through these one at a time, again about 1/4" deep. Then I used a hacksaw to cut 16 toothpicks to size. (That was fun...)

Then it was time to put it all together.

Believe it or not, this worked out very well. The ankle details fit on very tight, so tight that it will be a struggle to get them off again. Let's hope I won't have a need to take them off for a very long time.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Touched Up Ankle Detail, Trimmed Temp Feet, Widened Power Coupler Area, Masked Power Couplers, Reseated Lower Arm

I tackled a bunch of different stuff today.

First, I touched up a bit of the blue paint on one of my ankle details. I used a fine bristle brush to hand paint the purple, blue and clearcoat layers on, one at a time.

Turning to the feet, the points on the ends of my temporary outer feet had been annoying me for a long time. They kept catching on the carpet, and I occasionally stabbed myself with them, so I trimmed the points off.

I needed to Dremel out a little more material from the frame where the front power coupler sits. I thought I had removed enough material the other day, but a test fit with the skins on proved me wrong. So with my shop vac at the ready, I carefully Dremeled out a bit more material.

Next up, I took a tip from Alan Wolfson, and purchased some liquid latex for masking complicated areas that need to be painted. The power couplers are just such an example, as they have areas that need to be painted blue that are machined deep into them. I used a paint brush to apply the liquid latex. I'll let it dry overnight, and the parts should be ready for painting tomorrow.

Finally, I reseated the lower utility arm in the frame. I had been wanting to do this ever since I originally installed the arm. I pried off the MDF pivot-point holder from the horizontal rib a couple of days ago, and I reglued it down in a better position tonight.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cut Frame for Power Couplers, Pocket Vents, Cleaned Up Skirt Rib Seams

I was able to route out the rear power coupler area in the back of the bottom plate of the frame today. The routed area was left unlevel intentionally, as the round part of the power coupler sits higher than its frame. Even so, I'll probably need to put raise the power coupler a bit, I think I routed a tad too much material off.

I also Dremeled out the areas for the pocket vents. Not having the actual vents, I could only go by the blueprints. I hope I Dremeled out enough material!

While the skirt was off, I decided to go back with white silicone, and fill in some visible seams where the ribs are attached on the skirt.

At long last, it was time to start putting Humpty back together again.

Yesterday I had to pry off the blue panel that surrounds the front vents, so I reapplied silicon and used the clamps to hold the vent surround in place overnight.

I need to Dremel out a tiny bit more material for the front power coupler, and I want to start drilling the legs to attach the ankle details. Hopefully I'll get to all that tomorrow.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Dremeled Skins for Power Couplers

I finally had a chance to get to work on cutting the skins to accommodate the new power couplers.

Before doing anything else, I had to completely obliterate my droid. I was hoping I would never see it like this, but sometimes you have to take a few steps backward in order to move forward.


Why the mess? I needed to remove the front skins for cutting, and to get to all the screws that hold the skins to the frame, the legs must come off. The skirt also had to come off to rest the frame on a flat surface for later, when I needed to cut more space out of the frame itself for the power couplers.

The skins did not come off without a fight. I had used silicone to secure several of the panels, and the silicone had bonded to the wood in the frame. But with some careful work, I was ultimately able to get the front skins off.

Since this may be my last chance to see my droid this skeletal, I decided to pry off the lower utility arm's pivot holder, since I never did like how far back the pivot point sat. I'll work on fixing that after everything is put back together.

Okay, so back to cutting the skins. I marked the outline at which to cut, about 1/8" beyond what is visible on the outside, and used the Dremel cutoff wheel attachment to start cutting.

With care and patience, I got the power coupler area cut from the front inner skin. (The outer skin doesn't get touched for this surgery.)

Next up, the back panel. This is trickier, because unlike the rest of the skins, the inner and outer skins of the back panel are JB Welded together. Thus, I had to cut only the inner skin, leaving the outer skin as untouched as possible. I Dremeled very slowly and carefully, keeping a watchful eye for when I could see that I had cut through the inner skin.

Again, with much patience and care, I managed to remove the inner skin's power coupler area. I also removed my coin returns from the back panel, since I had inadvertently swapped their positions. I will fix this too shortly.

The skins are not the only thing requiring work to accommodate the power couplers. Due to the new power coupler frame, I must Dremel out a larger area in the frame as well. I only had time for the front power coupler area today, I hope to use the router to route out the rear power coupler area tomorrow.

The day would not be complete without a loose test fit of the front and rear power couplers against the skins.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Where's the Progress??

This is another rare occurrence where I'm posting with nothing new to report. I had intended to get more done this week, but I was busy with other stuff around the house. I still plan to get to work on cutting the skins to accommodate the new power couplers this coming week.

Stuff that still needs to be completed on my droid:

- Dome electronics (may be working on this soon)
- Side vents (awaiting Tim's shipment)
- Pocket Vents (will order from when available)
- Internal feet/Drivetrain (I have no idea what I'm going to do here!)

Other stuff needs to be mounted and/or assembled, like the ankle parts, batter boxes, budget feet, etc.

What's that line about the last 10% taking 90% of the time?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Finished Repainting Ankle Parts

I was able to finish repainting the blue areas on the remaining two ankle cylinders, and I also repainted the cylinder wedges. The reason I repainted is that I decided to go back and fill small holes and sand smooth these parts.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ankle Cylinder, Detail & Dome Bump Repainting

I repainted the blue area of two of the ankle cylinders today.

I also touched up an area of an ankle detail and a dome bump switch.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back to Building

Well, after two full weeks of building inactivity, I'm finally back from chasing R2 around the Southwest U.S..

I wrote earlier that I planned to work on the power couplers this week, but I'm going to defer that until next week, as I have other things going on this week and I want to devote my undivided attention to cutting the skins properly. In the meantime I'm working on minor things.

I decided to sand the bottom surface of the ankle details, and the outboard surfaces of the cylinder wedges, to smooth them out. This means... repainting! Hooray!

After sanding I applied primer, and plan to repaint tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Where's R2?

While I'm taking a break from building, try visiting:

Where's R2?

and see if you can figure out where R2 is!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Taking a Break

No joke, I'm going to take a break from building for about two weeks, so I won't have anything new to report here for a little while. When I return to building, I'll probably get started on trimming the inner skins to fit the new power couplers.

Thank you to all my regular visitors, I hope I don't lose you while the blog stays quiet.


Painted Dome Bump Switches

Today I painted the dome bump switches blue.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Dome Bump Switch Primer

I'm going to take a shot at painting my dome bump switches blue. This may not be such a good idea, since they will be touched often for powering on/off the dome electronics. I applied primer today, I hope to paint tomorrow.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Odds & Ends for Legs

I performed several leg-related housekeeping chores today.

First, the shoulder hubs didn't quite fit into their holes after the white paint was applied to the legs, so I lightly sanded the shoulder hub holes, and now the hubs fit again.

Second, I noticed that I needed to countersink the wood screw that was holding the aluminum flashing around the shoulder disc in place, so I took care of that.

Next, I hand-painted the armpits for the under shoulder details with Krylon Aluminum Chrome. I didn't want to chance messing up the white paint job on the legs. Hardly any of the armpit area will show once the details are in place, so this didn't have to be perfect.

I wrapped up by gluing the leg strut supports into the hollow part of the ankle. I also applied foil tape around the groove in the leg, to give it its metallic look.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Painted Ankle Brackets

I was lucky enough to find more of the Krylon Aluminum Chrome paint today at Ace, so I was able to paint the ankle brackets.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Ankle Bracket Primer

Today I sanded the ankle brackets and applied primer to them, in the hope of painting them tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Finished Cutting Ankle Brackets

Today I was able to cut the left ankle bracket and the strips that go around the back. I will glue these in later, but for now I did a loose fit.

The brackets seem to fit around the leg just fine, but my cuts that form the top of the wooden ankles could have been more level. Oh well.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Finished Right Ankle Bracket Cuts

After taking the nephews to Disneyland yesterday (and picking up a small R2 figurine at the Star Tours gift shop), I was able to do a little bit of building today.

I picked up where I left off on the right ankle bracket, using the Dremel cutoff wheel attachment to cut the area out where the booster cover will go.

I used the Dremel drum sander to round out the area where the leg strut shaft will go.

The test fit looks good.

I will need to cut and glue in a piece of PVC to go around the back of the leg later on.