Sunday, August 31, 2008

Trimmed Skirt Box, Finished Drilling Gas Pipe Holes in Frame, Sanded Down Tape-Ease Ankle Curves, Evercoat for Skirt Base and Horseshoe Pockets

I finally had most of the day to myself today, so I was able to get a decent amount of work on droid #2 accomplished.

I started by trimming a little material from the outer corners of the box that comprises part of the skirt.

The box isn't glued to the base of the skirt yet, but once it is, there will be sufficient room for the curved piece of styrene that will be glued along the edge of the base. There probably would have been enough room anyway, but I wanted to be sure it wouldn't be a problem later.

With that out of the way, I returned to the frame, to fix the goof I made yesterday when drilling the hole for the gas pipe. Recall that I accidentally drilled a 1.00" hole on one side of the frame, when I should have drilled a 1.25" hole. After considering various options for fixing the problem, I decided to use a scrap piece of plywood and drill a 1.25" hole in it. Then, I carefully lined up the center of the 1.25" diameter hole in the scrap wood, with the center of the 1.00" hole in the frame.

Once I had the alignment where I wanted it, I screwed down the scrap wood in place.

Once again I used the 1.25" hole saw to finish the cut. The 1.25" hole in the scrap wood guided the hole saw to the proper location.

And once again I needed to widen the hole slightly with the Dremel drum sander, to accommodate the diameter of the pipe.

The larger pipe now passes through the frame. I will need to trim the pipe to the proper length, but that will have to wait for another day.

Next up, sanding down the sections of Tape-Ease cylinder that were trimmed when Mike and I were working on the foot shells, way back on December 3, 2006. The cylinder sections needed to be flattened and evened out on the ends.

I used the belt sander to remove the majority of material that needed smoothing over, and finished the job by laying some sandpaper flat on a table and sanding everything even.

It took quite a while to do all four ankles (two outer legs, plus two for the center leg), but the fit for each of these is pretty good. There is still much work to be done, such as cutting the 55 degree angle from the base, covering up the resulting hole, and then cutting the height down to size. Lots to look forward to.

As daylight was fading, I decided to apply Evercoat to the edge of the skirt base.

A short time later, the Evercoat had hardened, and I sanded the edge smooth. With this step out of the way, I can work on gluing down all those support pieces and the box this upcoming week.

Finally, I also applied Evercoat to the hydraulic and button pockets of the horseshoes. I only had time to sand down the set of pockets on one of the horseshoes. Hopefully I'll get to the other tomorrow, but time will be tight again.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Started Drilling Frame for Gas Pipe

Today I decided to drill the holes in the frame that accommodate the gas pipe that is used to attach the legs to the droid.

Matthew's frame kit has marks on it to guide where to drill the holes, but part of the location depends on how well the skins are located on the droid, since the shoulder-to-body hub needs to fit centered through the skins. This is centered around the wooden disc to which the gas pipe attaches, so the location of the disc needs to be centered in the leg hole in the skins.

In order to center the disc in with the skins on, I needed to Dremel out a little bit of material from the frame.

After clearing some room toward the top of the frame, and along one of the vertical ribs, the shoulder discs fit into place.

Next, I attached the inner skins, and clamped down the frame nice and level (using a level, of course).

I centered the wooden disc within the corresponding hole in the skins. I used a ruler with a centering mark to help center the disc on both the x and y axes. A drill bit goes through the center of the shoulder discs.

Once the discs were centered, I tapped the drill bit with a hammer to make a mark on the spot on the frame to start drilling.

I used a 1.25" hole saw to cut the hole that accommodates the larger gas pipe.

The gas pipe diameter is slightly larger than 1.25", so I used the Dremel with the drum sander attachment to widen the hole slightly. The second hole is to allow wiring to pass through the body and down to the legs, when the time comes.

At this point I have to admit... I goofed!! On one side of the frame I properly drilled the 1.25" hole. On the other side, I only drilled a 1.00" hole, thinking that only the smaller pipe would need to fit through it. Considering I had done this before, you'd think I would know what to do, but I still managed to forget.

I need to widen the hole slightly. With nothing to help center the hole saw, this is going to be tricky. I could try marking the target diameter and use the Dremel drum sander to widen the hole. Another option is to just cut the hole wider than 1.25", and then place another piece of plywood over the hole with the proper size hole precut into it. Once that piece is lined up properly, I can screw and/or glue it in place.

I haven't decided yet what I'll do. I'll sleep on it, and then probably stall some more.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Finished Gluing Side Support pieces for Skirt

If you thought I barely did anything yesterday, today I managed to do even less.

I finished gluing the side support pieces together. Only the right post remained to be glued for each side.

Here's a loose-fit. The four pieces that form the box have not been glued down yet. I think I will first use Evercoat to smooth over the edges on the base plate. I also want to chop a little more material off of the corners of the box, to allow extra room for the curved styrene pieces to sit snug on the baseplate without running into the box corners.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Started Gluing Skirt Supports

I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately. I've been busy with out-of-town relatives and other stuff.

My workbench gave out, and I had to buy a new one.

I was going to go another day with nothing to show for myself, but I figured I could at least start gluing the internal supports for the skirt.

These supports will stand upright. Wood screws come down from the frame above, and screw the "crossbar" areas into the bottom of the frame, lifting the top of the skirt flush up against the bottom of the frame.

Most of the support pieces have been glued together, just the right supports for the left and right sides remain to be glued.

See More Skirt Gluing for the big picture of how everything will fit together.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Over 20,000 Served

Today we went over the 20,000 visitor mark here at Wow, that's a lot of visitors!

Congratulations to our visitor from Houston, who wins... the satisfaction of being the 20,000th visitor.

It took 1 year, 10 months and 24 days to get to the 10,000 visitor mark. (Oddly enough, that's almost exactly the amount of time it took me to build droid #1.) It only took an additional 1 year and 17 days to reach the 20,000 visitor mark, which translates to an acceleration of around 80%. I'd say that's an indication of how much the R2 Builders Club has grown. Working against the visitor count is the fact that the entire building diary for droid #1 is available for download, so that greatly reduces the need to visit this blog for information on droid #1.

At any rate, I'm very happy and grateful to have so many people visiting, and I hope this blog remains a useful source of information.

Happy Building!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Evercoat Glazing Putty for Center Leg

I'm running out of excuses for not working on droid #2, so tonight I gave in and did a little work on the center leg.

I whipped up a batch of Evercoat Glazing Putty to smooth over the small bumps and grooves in the center leg. Evercoat is similar to Bondo, but it sands to a smoother finish.

Evercoat sets very fast. In 3-4 minutes it starts to harden, and within 15 minutes it's sandable.

I sanded the top and "nose" of the leg, but I stopped after a while, because sanding kicks up a very fine powdered dust, which is not good in a garage environment. I think I'm going to have to wait until I can do this outdoors, and probably while wearing a mask.

I'm happy with the results of the sanded areas, but I need to be careful to apply the Evercoat more evenly.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Clone Wars Make-a-Wish Event

This evening we gave another go at drumming up enthusiasm and fundraising for Make-a-Wish at the Regal theater in Fashion Island, Newport Beach, CA. Lots of costumed characters appeared, including Darth Vader, Boba Fett, many Clone Troopers, a Tusken Raider, and Obi-Wan, among others. Chris Romines brought R2-A1, and Vince Sanchez brought R5-D4, to join my R2-D2.

We spent some time in the lobby, but most of the time was spent outdoors in front of the theater.

The droids paid a visit to the window of this curious kid at the Red Robin restaurant, adjacent to the theater.

Toward the end of the evening, the droid builders posed with their creations.

Best of all, we got to see the movie for free after we were done. R2 enjoyed it, especially when his friend R2-KT made a cameo.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Trimmed Horseshoe Pocket Corners

I crack myself up sometimes. You know those horseshoe pocket templates I was working on? I decided not to use them!

The template for the hydraulic pocket came out fine, but the template for the button pockets did not produce perfectly square shapes. Rather than trying to make another button pocket template, it occurred to me that I could recycle one of the old A&A horseshoe layers that I never did use for droid #1, so I decided to use that as my template.

First, I lined up one large layer from the A&A horseshoes on top of the back side of my partially-glued-together MDF horseshoes. Once the pockets were perfectly aligned, I taped them together.

Next, I drilled some holes through the PVC layer, and just slightly into the MDF.

I nailed four small nails into the layers, locking them together.

Then I used my new 1/4" diameter flush-cut bit to route each corner down to size. Here is the "before" picture, with a 1/4" radius in each corner.

Here is the "after" picture, with the new 1/8" corner radius.

Not an earth-shattering difference, but it is an improvement.

If I weren't so lazy, I would now take a file, and square each corner. Actually, it's not so much that I'm lazy, as it is that I'm concerned that I'll file the corners improperly and end up with trapezoidal pockets. I haven't ruled out giving it a try, but it's not a priority for me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Clone Wars Opening Night

Okay, for all those that were jealous of my recent Hollywood Egyptian Theater Event, I got my comeuppance tonight!

I volunteered, along with a few members of the local 501st, for an appearance at the general opening of The Clone Wars at the Fashion Island Regal theater in Newport Beach, CA.

Virtually no one showed up. We not only outnumbered the audience, we outnumbered the staff at the theater.

One guy showed up, but he made me very nervous for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was his fond memory of how he had gotten out of jail just in time to see Star Wars back in 1977.

I could have left, but I figured I might as well stay and see if maybe some folks would show up around midnight. To stave off boredom, I pretended R2 was WALL-E and had him push cardboard recycle bins around the lobby.

The 501st guys were getting punchy too.

The most action we had was when "Mama Mia" let out, and confused patrons came across our gathering.

In the end, I think about 15-20 paying customers did show up by midnight to see the show, but as I had to work the next day, I headed home.

Well, we're going to try this again Saturday, but this time I actually expect some people to be around, since it will be 5:00pm on a weekend, in a busy outdoor mall environment. Chris Romines will be there with R2-A1, and Vince Sanchez will be there with R5-D4.

Wish us luck...