Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dome Drive Work with Mike, Meet up with Chris and Revisited the Lego R2

Today I dropped by Mike's house, ostensibly to help him with some dome drive work.

I brought my dome drive from droid #1, along with a motor and a piece of steel bar. The idea was to trace the holes and sections I cut out from the bar on droid #1, onto the new bar for droid #2, so we could cut the bar in the same way.

Mike started drilling and hacksawing his way through the 3/16" steel.

Only to find out... that the Entstort motor of mine that Mike planned to use will only rotate at 36 RPM when powered by 12 volts! Way too slow. Looks like this was all for naught, although I might be able to use this in droid #2, depending on if I run 24 volts in that droid.

In the late afternoon, we cruised on back to Downtown Disney, where we met up with Chris James to chit-chat some more.

Finally, we stopped by the Lego store, where the 8-foot Lego R2 was finished, complete with some dome lights!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

8-Foot Lego R2

This is related to droid building, really!!

The Lego store at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, CA is building an 8-foot tall R2-D2 made of Lego blocks this weekend.

Visitors can contribute to the build by assembling a megablock made of smaller blocks. These megablocks are then added to the R2-D2 build. I made my contribution to the effort.

Best of all, by shear coincidence, Chris James from the San Francisco Bay Area is in town, visiting Disneyland this very weekend, so we were able to meet up and get a picture together, along with Lego Master Builder Steve. The "little" Lego R2 is used as a model and guide for the big one.

I may go back tomorrow to see the finished result, if I get a chance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Swapped Out LDP

For about the eighth time, I accidentally broke my four-piece large data port as I was unloading my droid for R2LA. The top piece came loose from the two side pieces, as they are all held together with JB Quik.

Enough of that. I have the LDP for droid #2 painted and ready to go. This is a one-piece aluminum LDP, so no worries about it falling apart anymore.

Like with the other LDP, I used a few layers of double-stick foam tape on the bottom of the LDP to stick it to the rib that the LDP sits upon.

All better.

Now I need another LDP for droid #2, but there's no big rush for that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Trimmed Curved Ankle Covers

Working on very little sleep, I decided to give a shot at trimming the MDF covers that I glued down to the curved portion of the ankle the other day.

The plan was to use the router to trim all the overhang. I attached a piece of flat board upon which to rest the piece to trim, and I adjusted the height of the router bit to be just high enough to trim any overhanging MDF.

The flat part of the overhang trimmed fairly well. Now the ankle can sit flush up against the leg. Here it is partially on the board, lying flat now.

The curved part was much trickier, and it didn't go quite as well.

I promise to show the good, bad and ugly, and we got all three (and then some) with these pieces.

There are some gouges here and there, but nothing a little filler and sanding can't take care of, as I've come to learn over the years.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


As expected, R2LA VI was as fun as ever. We had a large crowd, probably about 35 builders and family members dropped by throughout the day.

We had at least fourteen droids in attendance too, and some of those had to come and go during the day as well.

Adding to the festivities, we had dozens of viewers tune into our 3-camera webcast, a first ever for an R2 Builder gathering.

The all-seeing eye provided by Chris Ellerby.

Mike had a projector to let us tune into the webcast as well, so we could participate in the chat and see how everything was working out.

Max Cervantes, Chris Romines and Vince Sanchez.

Michael McMaster, Matthew Henricks and Brian Mix.

We did have a surprise for Mike though,... "Who's Mike Senna???"

Even Mike's wife Amy is starting to wonder.

Brian Mix assembled his automated C-3PO. No, this C-3PO doesn't walk, but he moves his head, arms, torso, and he talks. Very impressive!

Pachinko! R2/Star Wars-style.

As last year's R2LA Builder of the Year award winner, Matthew Henricks was responsible for creating this year's award, and he really outdid himself. Much nicer than the bland trophy I made up for him last year!

And the winner is.... Jerry Chevalier! Congratulations, and well-deserved, Jerry!!

One of two R2 cakes, this one by Tina Lehr.

We wrapped up the merriment with our shoot for the DVD Easter Egg. William and Nikki Miyamoto's baby Zoe is one of the stars, and the proud parents get a good laugh at their daughter's performance. It promises to be another strange one on the DVD...

The whole photostream is here:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pre-R2LA VI Dinner

Tonight unofficially kicked off R2LA VI weekend, at the Lamppost Pizza in Yorba Linda, CA. We had somewhere around 30 people in attendance, and this isn't even the main event.

Michael McMaster and family drove down from Central California, and others drove in from out of state!

William, Nikki and little Zoe

R2 Builder badges are coming!! Damien Metz reports that he will be doing these, similar to the 501st badges he makes. Very cool!


A few of us headed back to Senna's, to chit-chat and experiment with tomorrow's webcast.

Mike showed off a slick new electronics mounting board, that can be pulled right out of the droid.

He also showed the new Senna drivetrain prototype, finished and installed on a droid.

Chris Ellerby and I set up the webcams and got a test run of the R2LA webcast going.

Tomorrow promises to be a fun and tiring day. Can't wait!

Cut and Glued Curved Ankle Covers

Today I had some time to cut the covers that go toward the bottom of the Tape-Ease cylinder sections that were cut yesterday.

Droid #1 used 1/4" MDF, I'm going with 1/8" MDF this time around. I traced the lines and made the cuts with a jigsaw.

I used my handy-dandy wood glue to affix the pieces.

I managed to avoid repeating the fatal flaw that I committed on droid #1, and made sure this time to let enough material overhang the edge of the cylinder so that it will completely meet up with the leg when the MDF is trimmed down.

Some boxes of Saran Wrap and aluminum foil, plus a couple of bags of sunflower seeds, and the sections are propped up and ready to dry overnight. Another high-tech solution.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tape-Ease Cylinder Cuts, Groove Cuts Started on Outer Legs

Today I was able to get a little work done on droid #2. I wanted to work on the Tape-Ease cylinder sections of the ankles.

I started by squaring the bottom end of each cylinder segment. Two trims for the outer legs, and two for both sides of the center leg.

Then, it was off to my friend Kelvin's house, where his table saw now resides.

I dug up pictures from the build of droid #1, so that we could replicate what we did many moons ago, to cut the 55 degree section out of the bottom of the cylinder.

It looks just as cool now as it did then.

With video too!

We wrapped up by cutting the grooves in the leg. We only cut the grooves for the long dimension of the leg, I will use a hand saw to cut the shorter sections.

A reasonable amount of progress for a weekday.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Glued In Skirt Side Supports

Tonight I glued in place the four support pieces that support the sides of the skirt.

Small clamps help hold the supports in place while the glue dries.

I still need to glue down the curved styrene part, followed by the ribs.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Finished Gluing Right Horseshoe

Just like I did the other night with the left horseshoe, tonight I glued up the right horseshoe.

After smearing the glue around, I clamped the layers together. Glue oozes from the seams and also into the pockets for the buttons and hydraulics, so all that needs to be cleaned up.

I also discovered that I needed to upgrade the firmware in my CFSound III system. There was a bug that occasionally caused the system to not recognize when a sound was done playing under BASIC program control, so the next sound wouldn't play. I went to ACS' web site and found the fix, applied it, and now the CFSound III system appears to be running correctly.

Pottery Barn Kids South Coast Plaza Event

Today, R2-D2 joined Star Wars Characters for another event at The Pottery Barn Kids, in conjunction with their $15,600 donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Like last week, R2 was accompanied by Darth Vader, a Stormtrooper, a Jedi Knight and a Rebel Pilot.

While we were anticipating as many as 1,200 visitors, I'd say between 500-600 people came through the store between the event running time of 10:00am-12:00pm. The line went down the mall and around the corner.

The folks just kept on coming.

Fellow R2 Builders Matthew Henricks and David Annetta dropped by to visit.

The most interesting part? After the event, we grabbed some lunch next door at The Corner Bakery restaurant. A couple of kids asked us for our autographs! I signed for R2-D2. "Beep Boop! R2-D2"

Another enjoyable event.