Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 2007

Tonight was R2's first Halloween, and he helped hand out the candy.

The kids and the parents both enjoyed meeting R2. The kids were torn between interacting with R2, and grabbing more loot in the neighborhood. The prospect of more candy ultimately won out every time.

R2 was even briefly reunited with his old master.

All in all, a good time.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Charity Bowling Event - Strike Against Child Abuse

Today R2 helped out with the Strike Against Child Abuse charity event at the Canoga Park bowling alley.

The Rebel Legion and 501st were well represented.

As always, the kids loved R2, and they were all very well behaved.

The same wasn't true for the Sand People.

Not wanting to feel left out, R2 took a shot at bowling. The alley didn't have his size bowling shoes.

Later the videography crew for the organization decided they wanted to stage things as if R2 were bowling a strike, with a real bowler out of frame and R2 in frame. After the strike was made, R2 would do his victory/cantina dance. The crowd was to go wild. We never did get this to work right, but I did manage to roll a strike and get R2 to celebrate while the crowd went wild in the background. Lower your speaker volume, this one is loud.

Everyone had a good time, but R2 needs to work on his game.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Finished Painting Dome Panels

I went over to Mike's today to finish painting the panels for dome #2 (and to help with some unscheduled wireless network administration).

I started off applying the purple layer to the first set of panels.

It didn't take long for us to see that my technique probably wasn't going to lead to the best looking paint job possible, which is the whole point of painting this second set of panels. So I handed the spray cans over to Mike, and he was able to apply his painting expertise.

The goal is to have nice, shiny panels.

The blue layer is also nice and shiny.

And the clearcoat finishes the job.

Like the last batch, these panels will stay at Mike's to dry. I plan to pick up the panels next weekend, and then I'll need to start prying the current panels off of R2's dome and replace them with these.

Thanks yet again Mike!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Minor Update

No progress to report. Move along, move along.

There is so much constant ash and soot raining down from the sky due to nearby brushfires that I'll need to wait on painting my dome panels.

My home was never in any serious danger from the fire, but the nearby smoke did get my attention on Sunday afternoon, as the fire came within four or five miles of where I live. The fire has since moved on.

I didn't know I live close to a volcano.

I'm not sure when the skies will clear up, but when they do, hopefully I can get those panels painted.

I have an event scheduled on Sunday, so I'll report on that afterward.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wet-Sanded Remaining Dome Panels

Today I wet-sanded the remaining dome panels from dome #2.

Just dunk the sand paper, and occasionally the piece, into a bucket of water and sand evenly. The peaks and valleys become apparent as the sand paper removes primer from the peaks, but leaves primer behind in the valleys. This makes each panel much more smooth, resulting in a nicer paint job.

All done. I'll re-prime these pieces with white primer, in preparation for final painting.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Gray Primer for Remaining Dome Panels

Today I finally got around to applying gray primer for the remaining dome panels, in preparation for wet-sanding.

Before applying primer, however, I needed to remove some paint and primer from a couple of panels. One panel had primer on it as part of the painting demo for R2LA V. This panel is supposed to remain unpainted, so I used acetone to remove the primer.

The other dome panel had a large drip of blue paint on it from when I attempted to paint it a few weekends ago. I used acetone to remove the blue and purple layers of paint.

The white primer didn't want to go without a fight, and I really didn't see any reason to remove it, so I left the white primer in place.

Next, I prepared all the remaining unpainted panels for their primer. I cleaned all the aluminum pieces with acetone.

I applied two heavy coats of Rustoleum Painter's Touch gray primer.

All the panels are collected together on the glass table now. A few pieces don't get painted at all, such as the panel that I stripped at the beginning, the frame piece around the rear PSI, and the small washer-size ring at the top of the dome.

Hopefully I'll have a window of opportunity to wet-sand these tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Victor's R2D2 Building Diary - The Book

I know a lot of folks check in on this blog from time to time, sometimes using it as a guide of sorts. It can be hard to read everything in reverse-chronological order, so I downloaded every month's HTML file for the first 2+ years, saved the files locally, and reordered every entry to be in forward-chronological order. I then saved the results as individual monthly PDF files, as well as a very large PDF file covering April 2005 through May 2007.

Greg Tracy (aka pixelFiend) has gone way above and beyond the call of duty by not only offering to host these files, but also creating a very snazzy web site that allows the user to download the whole blog or any month with one quick click. You can select any given month from a menu and see a list of entries for that month, along with a collage of pictures from that month. The home page even rotates through a different set of pictures every time it's loaded! It is really impressive work, and I'm extremely happy with it.


and check it out. I hope it proves helpful.

Thanks again PF!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Trimmed Shaft Adapters

The new shaft adapters that Vince made for me are indeed to the H&A drivetrain blueprints, but they are a little long for my drivetrain. They are 1.75" long, and I require 1.25" in order to avoid having the shaft adapter bump into one of the wheels.

I should have noticed this before JB Welding the shaft adapter onto the spare motor, but I was able to trim down the shaft adapter with it attached.

Next I trimmed the other two adapters. Boy, does this seem familiar...

All done, I can put away the hacksaw for a while.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Rubber Layer for Wheel, R2-KT Goodies Arrive

R2 got a little carried away dancing at Saturday's event, and the layer of rubber around one of the wheels on the left foot started to work itself loose.

I didn't do a great job of cutting this rubber ring in the first place (there's a large gouge along the edge in one spot), so I decided to cut a new ring.

I sanded the inner perimeter of the rubber ring, and globbed that messy Household Goop along the inside. Note: Do not get this stuff in your arm hair, you won't be happy.

Once again, ready to roll.

Also, the R2-KT t-shirt, patch and action figure that Albin Johnson sent arrived today. I made a financial contribution to the R2-KT project, and Albin is sending out goodies like these to those who contributed to the project. Thank you Albin!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cut out Droidmobile Base

Today, with help from my buddy Kelvin, I cut out a plywood base for the Droidmobile that I can use to help anchor R2 in the car in the future.

I traced the original lift-out floor panel from the Element on some 3/4" plywood, and Kelvin and I fed the plywood through the table saw to make a rectangle. I used a hand-held jigsaw to finish the curvy areas.

The pictures don't show the details too well, but the fit is very good. I plan to add some blocks in front of and behind the outer feet, like I did for the cart, to help keep R2 in place.

Alas, Kelvin needed his table saw back after two and a half years, so one day I'll go shopping for another. The good news is I have more garage space in the meantime.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Placentia Heritage Festival

The city of Placentia, California, held its annual Heritage Festival and Parade today, and R2 was asked to join in the festivities, along with the 501st. It was a gray and drizzly morning, so R2 stayed in the Droidmobile while the 501st marched.

Once the skies cleared a bit, R2 came out to party.

R2 might not be as tall as C-3PO, but he's plenty tall compared to many of the kids who interacted with him.

R2 caught up with some members of the 501st and Rebel Legion to take some pictures.

One kid (a girl around 7 years old) decided to give R2 a karate kick for no apparent reason. Fortunately, it just left a smudge, but I wasn't too wild about that. Her mom took her over to me to apologize.

All in all, R2 had a good time, and he's looking forward to more events.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Prepped Spare Motor

I have an event with R2 tomorrow, so I figured it would behoove me to prepare a spare motor in case of a motor failure. Of course, that means I'll need to bring a soldering iron (I picked up a wireless butane soldering iron today), solder, shrink tubing and everything else too, but that's okay.

In one of the better purchase decisions I've made recently, I bought a few of Vince Sanchez' shaft adapters. They fit fairly well as-is, but there is a small gap between the motor and the adapter that I wanted to close.

A little work with the Dremel, and all was well.

I globbed some JB Weld onto the motor shaft, and screwed on the shaft adapter.

I let the JB Weld set for a few hours, and then drilled the 1/8" hole for the steel pin. Normally I'd let the JB Weld dry for 24 hours, but I wanted this motor done tonight, in case I need it tomorrow.

The goal is to drill as close to the base of the shaft adapter as possible, and right through the center.


Before inserting the pin, I realized that I hadn't hacked off one of the motor tabs that needs to be removed. This is required in order to fit the motor in the battery box.

Last step: Roll a 1/8"-diameter, 3/4" long steel pin in some JB Weld, and insert it in the hole.

Hopefully I won't need this motor for a good long time, but I'm glad it's available if I do need it in a pinch.