Sunday, June 29, 2008

Painted Power Couplers, Octagon Ports

Today I had a chance to paint the power couplers and octagon ports for droid #2. Recall that I'm using liquid latex to mask the power couplers, and a combination of liquid latex and masking tape for the octagon ports.

As always, first the purple.

Then the blue.

Followed by two clearcoats.

I'll let the paint dry for a day or two, and then unmask and hope for the best!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Painted Vent Backing Plates, LDP, Front Vent Panel

Today I painted blue some of the parts I prepared for painting earlier this week.

First the Rustoleum Metallic Purple.

Followed by the Duplicolor Anodized Blue.

And topped of with couple of coats of Rustoleum Crystal Clear Enamel.

Tomorrow I hope to get to the remaining parts I prepared for painting, we'll see.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Work at Matthew's Shop

Tonight I went back to Matthew's shop to get a little more work done on the legs.

First though, here's a short video of the CNC machine cutting one of the leg layers from yesterday. Normally there is a vacuum bag above the piece being cut, but for this first piece we wanted to see the machine in action and make sure all was well.

For tonight's work, I wanted to open up the inner layers of the legs to accommodate the bolts that encroach into the leg from the shoulder disc, and widen the center channel where the wires that power the feet run down the legs.

Matthew did the cuts for the curved parts of the legs that accommodate the shoulder disc bolts on the band saw.

I did the straight cuts on the band saw, while Matthew worked on a couple of bird houses for his kids to give to grandma.


Now the shoulder disc bolts will be able to fit into the leg without hitting the center layers. NOTE: This isn't how the disc will really fit when completed (it will be on the outside of the leg, not the inside), it just demonstrates that the bolts won't run into the inner layer of the leg.

If you're not sure how all of this goes together, you might want to download and review my Leg Building Tutorial.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CNC'd Legs (& More Horseshoes) with Matthew

Tonight Matthew and I picked up where we left off, this time working on CNC cut legs.

First though, I'd like to dispel any myth that might exist in peoples' minds, that using a CNC machine to cut parts is a simple matter of pushing a button and watching it go. There is a lot of setup involved to get the CNC machine ready to go to work. Calibration of X, Y and Z axes, loading and testing of the programs, loading of the material, baby sitting the machine, holding down material so that it doesn't fly out, cleanup, etc. And all that does not count the many, many hours spent coming up with the CNC programs. These parts are a good value!

Ok, enough of that, on to the fun stuff!

First, Matthew cut some Baltic birch to the correct width, before putting it on the CNC machine.

Leg layers were cut, one at a time.

I forgot to mention, last night I accidentally snapped a horseshoe layer on the sander, so I picked up some 1/8" hardboard from Lowe's, and we cut a couple more horseshoe sets.

The Lowe's hardboard makes a bigger mess than the stuff we used last night. I cleaned these up as best as I could on the sander.

Look, new legs and horseshoes! I don't have much of an excuse for not cranking on this droid now (but I'm sure I'll think of something). Thank you Matthew!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

CNC'd Horseshoes with Matthew

Tonight Matthew Henricks graciously invited me over to his dad's shop, where he CNC'd the horseshoes for me from some 1/8" hardboard that I had purchased earlier this year.

The first thing we needed to do was cut the 4'x4' sections of hardboard into 1'x4' strips.

Matthew loaded up the computer with the programs. I took a lot of time asking plenty of questions about how the CNC machine worked, and how the programs work. There are five programs for the horseshoes: Two for the two different sizes for the layers that don't have the buttons and hydraulics, two more for the different sizes for layers that do have the buttons and hydraulics, and one more for the shim layer.

One of the many things I learned tonight is the importance of the role of the spoil board. This board overlays the vacuum table, and has holes drilled into it to keep the piece in place while the CNC machine cuts it. The board has foam insulation taped to the outline of the piece to be cut, to help keep the vacuum at the desired pressure. Part of the spoil board gets cut, since the router bit goes deeper than the material getting cut.

All systems are go! Let's cut some horseshoes!

Matthew holds the first piece cut.

This machine is capable of cutting two pieces at a time. As usual with hardboard and MDF, the pieces come out somewhat fuzzy from the machine.

If and when I get a chance, I'll upload some video of the machine in action.

A sanding machine with a soft bristle wheel helps take the fuzz off.

Last but not least, here's a preview of what we have planned for tomorrow.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sanding & More Primer

Today I lightly sanded the primer on the LDP. It had a snakeskin texture to it from the machining, so a light sanding of the primer with 400 grit sand paper took that out. I applied another coat of primer on the LDP and some of the other parts, in preparation for painting.

I probably won't paint before the weekend, I have bigger fish to fry. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

American Cancer Society 2008 Relay for Life

This afternoon R2 helped raise funds for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, in Fullerton, CA.

Lots of folks came by to take pictures with R2, and ask me about him.

R2 casts a good shadow. Does it look like it's over 100 degrees out? Because it was.

Lots of good guys and bad guys from the 501st, Rebel Legion, and Orange County Star Wars Society came out to support the cause.

R2 noticed that his former master was nearby.

The troops even did a lap around the track. Again, this was in 100+ degree heat, in full gear. R2 had to stay on the cart for most of the event, since he doesn't like to drive on grass or dirt.

All in all, yet another good day for yet another good cause.

Prepped Parts for Painting

Today I actually made slight progress on droid #2. I started preparing some aluminum parts for blue paint.

As with droid #1, I used liquid latex to mask the power couplers.

I used a combination of masking tape and liquid latex for the octagon ports.

After the liquid latex had dried (which didn't take long in 95 degree heat), I applied primer to the parts, including the backing plates for the side and pocket vents, the LDP, and the front vent skin panel.

I may have to go back and sand the aluminum on the LDP, the surface is still a little rough.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

R2LA Mini-Meet

Today Mike held an R2LA mini-meet, catering especially to newer members of the club that haven't had a chance to see droids up close and personal. Texas R2 Builder Monty McGraw happened to be in town, so he joined us too. Cool!

Newcomer Chris Ellerby showed us his mist can holder, which had a very cool design.

We had lunch outdoors on a day that turned out to be perfect for a BBQ.

Max Cervantes showed his newest WALL-E toy to Guy Vardaman.

Speaking of WALL-E, William Miyamoto brought his WALL-E-in-progress. Very cool.

William and Nikki also brought their recently completed project, Zoe, to the mini-meet.

Brian Mix always wanted to see what his Lotus would look like with an R2 dome on the trunk, so my R2 obliged.

With his dome back on, my droid frolicked in the great outdoors.

To wrap up, I helped Max Cervantes wire up his CF Sound III board. Unfortunately, I also helped him fry his 12-channel receiver board. :( We did manage to get one of the 12 channels working, but the receiver board will need to be replaced.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Another Motor Conversion

One more motor to convert, using Alex Kung's 12->24 volt conversion tutorial.

I still need to hack the extra junk off the motor, and I'm hoping Vince Sanchez will produce some more shaft adapters.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pinned Shaft Adapter on Spare Motor

Today I pinned the shaft adapter onto the spare motor I've been prepping.

Luckily I take tons of pictures, so it's easy for me to look up how I did something in the past that works, and repeat the process. In this case, it's setting up my drill press and drill press vise to drill the shaft adapter that's on the motor.

I'm drilling a 1/8" hole, to accommodate a 1/8" steel pin whose length matches the diameter of the shaft adapter (3/4").

A little closer to the base than I wanted, but it will do.

Next I whipped up a batch of JB Weld for the steel pin. Tastes as good as it looks! (Disclaimer: Do not taste JB Weld.)

Then I wallowed the steel pin around in the mixture.

A few light taps with the hammer, and the pin will be in.

And into the "tool box" it goes, standing by in case of catastrophe during an event.

(Wasn't I supposed to be working on droid #2??)