Sunday, June 10, 2012

Almost Destroyed Droid

There is a ritual amongst R2 Builders known as "dumping your droid." It is a ritual to be avoided.

It's something I think about in the back of my mind from time to time, almost as if I believe it's just a matter of time before my droid tips over and crashes. I almost did it once while crossing R2 across a street that had a huge crack. It was scary seeing him teeter.

So I was a little surprised today when I finally managed to dump my droid, not at an event or crossing a street, but while driving in my car.

I was driving alone (well, with R2) in the Honda Element, returning from the ICAN bowling event this afternoon on the freeway, when suddenly the cars in front of me started braking. So I braked semi-hard, although nothing approaching a skid or screech. That's when I heard a loud commotion in the back of the car, felt a thud, and the next thing I knew, the droid was upside-down, with its blue utility arms near my right elbow. This is not where they belonged.

Normally the droid is held down with four bungee cords that are anchored in the Element. This has worked great for 5+ years. It would have worked great again today too, had I not forgotten to attach the two bungee cords that keep the droid from continuing to travel forward when the brakes are applied.

Of course, I'm thinking all sorts of horrible thoughts immediately after this happened. I can't survey the damage while I'm driving on the freeway, so I'll just have to wait for about another hour before I get home.

All the while I'm thinking about the four 5 pound batteries that must have gone flying, and the damage they may have done. I also realize the droid probably fell over the dome (covered with a thick towel) that was resting on the floor behind it. And I realize my droid lift crane is back there, to provide another obstacle. At that point I decided I'd better just concentrate on driving as best I could.

I finally got home and parked. Here's the view I saw of the droid the whole drive home.

It would almost be comical if it wasn't my droid. In fact, I can't deny it. This does look comical.

Once I got out of the car I had a better look at how the droid was situated. It was remarkably stable in this position, it didn't budge the rest of the drive.

The dome was covered with the mint green towel on the floor of the Element. Basically, the droid did a backflip and rolled over the dome before coming to rest.

I carefully removed the dome out from under the droid. My heart kind of sank when I saw this.

I managed to get the droid out of the car and back upright, and on into the house. Here is a better look at the back door damage.

I sent Mike Senna a picture and spoke to him on the phone. He feels reasonably confident that this is fixable. I sure hope so.

I surveyed the rest of the droid for damage. The dome has a small paint chip where one of the Rockler bearing screws must have dug in as it rolled. It also knocked out the top holoprojector, but that is easily fixed. As for the paint chip, I'll probably just color that in with marker, because if I repaint it I'm not sure how good of a match I'll have with the other panels. There is also a small indentation in the area of the paint chip that should be easy to pull back into shape.

I checked the rest of the body. It was in surprisingly good shape, all things considered. There is a small indentation on the skins just to the right of the door frame, near one of the mounting screws.

Other than that, the body is pretty much okay, as far as I can tell. The insides seem okay too, although I haven't done an exhaustive review of the electronics yet.

So, that is a major bummer, but it could have been much worse. I'm really unhappy with myself for forgetting to secure two of the four bungee cords that keep the droid anchored. I have a feeling I won't be forgetting to do that again anytime soon.

I hope to get together with Mike in the near future to see if he can use his super-human metal-bending skills to help heal the back door. In the meantime, I'll be alternating between depression and relief.

In lieu of comments and flowers, please send back door panels. :-)


Paul said...

Well, while I offer my condolences on R2's backside getting...umm, could have always been worse! With a rubber mallet and some fine touch, Mike should be able to pound out most of the dent. The trick with me any warbling.

I've had my "crash-thunk!" moment too, in a similar manner. R2 was in the back of the van and I didn't think tie downs were needed, everything seemed extremely snug. But now, the laws of perpetual motion hit me too. I had a driver pull out in front of me, I hit the brakes and barely stopped in time. For a millisecond, I congratulated myself. Then a 200 pound droid slammed into the back of my seat. Both center vents were pushed into the body and the surround piece was mangled. It was already a challenge to mount that into the skins that it resembled poor origami..even more so!

Anonymous said...

I know you can restore that to like new condition. Don't even worry about it. I dropped my dome upside down on the driveway and, after carefully tapping (TAPPING!) it out with a small hammer even I have a hard time finding where the dome was crushed in. It's all painted areas also so you get to use filler and paint. I had bare aluminum.

It will take several hours, but get a soda sit down and pretend you are a doctor and R2 is your patient.


Victor Franco said...

Thanks for the encouragement guys. (But I said to send back door panels!) :)

I think the door will probably be repairable. And if it's not, then droid #2 can be a donor!


Johnathan said...

All will be well. So sorry this happened Victor! I'm amazed how well R2 looks after rolling around in the car. This will be a great example for others too and R2 will be good as new in no time. Of might be the perfect time to weather that droid of yours! ;)

Victor Franco said...

That actually crossed my mind (time to weather). If the damage had been worse, I may have done it. It'll just have to wait until the next time I roll my droid over.