Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cut Inner Dome for Front Logics

Tonight I got to work cutting the holes on the inner dome for the front logic surrounds. I had waited to cut these until I received my surrounds from David Shaw. I've actually had them for a little while now, but I'm just now getting around to the cuts.

Time to break out the Dremel and cut on the dotted (well, solid) line.

A few minutes later, and the top hole is done.

Moving on to the bottom hole, I used a new cutoff disc for the longer edges, and switched back to the smaller disc for the short edges.

That completes the last of the major cuts to the inner dome. At least, I think it does.

Since I cut right along the line, and the line represented a tracing around the outer dome panel for the front logics, the holes are slightly small. The cutoff wheel can be abused as a grinder/sander, to widen the holes and smooth out the edges.

After a little grinding, the bottom surround fits, but the top doesn't yet.

A little more grinding along the top hole solves that problem.

For some reason, I felt the need to square corners that will never be seen.

All done for tonight.

I think I still need to do a small amount of grinding on the crossbar between the two cutouts (it needs to be thinner). I may need to do some slight widening to make sure the outer panel both covers up the holes, and aligns with the rest of the outer dome properly, so some minor adjustments may be in order. I also need to drill the holes on the inner dome for the screws that will be used to secure the front logic surrounds.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Finished Resin Eye Evercoat Work, Filed Dome Logic Panels

Today I had time to finish working on the resin radar eye, and I was also able to work on the dome panels that surround the front and rear logics.

First, I sanded smooth yesterday's Evercoat work on the eye.

With that out of the way, I turned my attention to getting the panels that go around the front and rear logic surrounds to fit properly around these parts. This was a challenge for droid #1, and it proved to be for droid #2 as well. The problem isn't that the parts are deficient in some way; rather, the geometry of curved, three-dimensional objects of varying radii that need to fit together cause real-world problems.

Fortunately, on the front logic panel, the top surround fitted in as-is. The bottom surround did not, however.

The first thing to try is filing the paint from the inner perimeter of the cut-out that goes around the lower front logic surround. The paint is thicker than one might guess, with five coats in all (primer, purple, blue and two clear coats). Care was taken to be sure I was always filing from front-to-back, never from back-to-front. This helps avoid paint chips on the front.

After a few minutes filing away the paint on the inner perimeter, the lower front logic surround fit inside. It's snug, but it fits.

Next, it was time to get the rear logic surround to fit inside its corresponding dome panel. The rear logic wasn't that close to fitting, so I brought in the heavy artillery and started filing. The larger file is more prone to causing paint chips, but I was careful as I got to the end to go slowly, and I finished the work with my tiny files.

After a few iterations of filing and testing the fit, I finally succeeded in getting everything to fit together.

Glad that's done.

I still need to cut the inner dome to accommodate the front logic surrounds. I hope to get to that soon. Actually, there is a lot of work to do on the dome, not the least of which is hooking up the electronics, and prepping the dome ring to house them.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Evercoat Work for Radar Eye

Tonight I had a little filling work to do on the radar eye.

There were three small areas that needed filling. Two were toward the top of the eye, and one was toward the bottom of the right edge. (The eye is upside-down in this picture.)

Of course, now I notice another tiny bubble void that needs filling. I'll get to that tomorrow.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Continued Resin Eye Work

Today I was able to pick up a couple of packages of sand paper, 180 grit and 320 grit, which are much better suited to the task at hand, namely sanding the back of the resin eye to the dome profile.

Before doing any sanding, I scrubbed the back of the eye with the Dremel drum sander, keeping away from the edges as I went.

Next, I returned to sanding the back of the eye against the dome. Once I was done, I removed the protective blue tape and checked the fit.

The left side looks good...

...as does the right.

Some small bubbles broke away toward the right on the top. I'll fill that area with a small amount of Evercoat.

The bottom edge looks good, even though no one ever sees it.

I wrapped things up by using a utility knife to start cutting the slot in the eye.

A razor blade finished the job.

I still have a small amount of filling work to do on the eye, but it is close to being done, prior to painting, that is.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Resin Eye Sanding

Well, it's time to stop being lazy and get back to work on droid #2. The good news is, the to-do list is getting shorter and shorter. The bad news is, I've put off the stuff I don't like doing toward the end. This evening, it was sanding the resin eye.

You may recall that almost exactly one year ago I started this task. Well, I am starting over with a different resin eye for a couple of reasons. First, I made a pretty good mess of the back of the other resin eye with the Dremel, and second, this new eye is about 1/8" taller and wider, which I like.

I poured the resin on this one myself, and the mold had holes for the resin to go in and the air to go out. Thus, there are a few small stalagmites remaining.

A file and some sand paper make quick work of them.

Next, the part I love, sanding the back of the eye to match the dome profile. I blindfolded my dome for this exercise.

In the absence of 300-grit sand paper, I used 400 grit. This does not make for quick work at all. (By the way, taking pictures of yourself sanding an eye against a dome is trickier than it looks.)

The left side is pretty close.

The right side still has miles to go. I may use the Dremel drum sander on the back of the eye, away from the edges of course.

The top and bottom are in decent shape.

That's all the patience I had for tonight. I may wait until I either get better sand paper, or have time to use the Dremel before proceeding.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Droid Unload Day

Yea! Damien Metz, Mike Johnson, and their wives arrived back in Orange County, CA with our droids, in the ultimate droidmobile.

The trailer was packed with both droids and other goodies that returned from Orlando, such as Max' set piece.

Here's what's left of the rim and tire that blew out when the guys were driving out to Orlando.

We had to unpack lots of stuff to get to the droids.

And get to the droids we did. My modest droidmobile is humbled by the trailer.

We reloaded what was left, namely Mike Johnson's droid that is going back to Nevada, and Chris Romines' droid, which will be dropped off nearby.

One last lock-up of the trailer, as it prepares to depart for final drop-offs.

Meanwhile, after two weeks away, my droid is back home, safe and sound.

Muchas, muchas gracias to Damien and Jamie Metz, and Mike and Regina Johnson for getting our droids to Orlando and back in perfect condition. I am deeply grateful for the challenges you took on and sacrifices you made to endure two non-stop drives across the country. Without you guys, my droid would have missed CV, and it would have been a lot less fun for me. Thank you!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

CV Day 4

Today was the fourth and final day of Star Wars Celebration V.

I had to make it a near complete-sweep, and come in a little late again. My droid was stationed at one of the photo op areas of the room all day today.

I caught just a few seconds of the Extreme Droid Challenge.

Next, Mike Senna and I went down to one of the larger theaters to watch a replay of the George Lucas interview that Jon Stewart conducted yesterday. As an added bonus, Carrie Fisher came on stage and spoke to us for a while.

Next, it was time to prepare for the Droid Parade. I lent a hand to Ian Martin, as he suited up as C-3PO. Ian was getting set to ride in the Troop Transporter that Darren Murrer and Cole Horton built.

The droid builders lined up at 2:00pm, and we were off on our parade around the 2nd floor of the convention center. Throngs of people lined the route.

Our stopping point was near the large AT-AT in one of the main lobbies, where a large Celebration V banner hung.

While there, we gathered for a group picture.

Back in the R2 Builders room, Rob Meyer demonstrated what must be the world's smallest R/C R2-D2. The dome turns, the wheels spin, and the lights blink. Amazing.

A couple of hours after we returned to the R2 Builders room, CV offcially came to a close, and we closed our doors to the public for the last time.

Wayne Orr spoke to the group, and thanked everyone that worked so hard to make the room the huge success that it was, and we in turn thanked Wayne.

And then, it was time to start dismantling the displays and preparing the droids for their journeys back home.

Mary Franklin from Lucasfilm dropped by the room to express her thanks, and took a picture with those of us that happened to be in the room at the time.

It was time for us to start loading up Damien's trailer. This was a lot more comfortable in Southern California, where the humidity is at least 60% lower.

R2, R2, R2.

The truck was packed, the droids were tied down, and CV was over.

As I wrote a little over three years ago, I can't recall as many consecutive days where I got so little sleep, but had such a good time making new friends.

I was much newer to the club then, and my droid had only been finished for less than a week. Now, it's over three years later, and it was so cool seeing many of the same people again, and getting to meet other builders that I had looked forward to seeing in person for many months. I was not disappointed. New friendships were established, and it was a great week. Here's hoping we'll all do it again in three more years.

Today's photoset is here.