Saturday, February 28, 2009

Evercoat and Primer for Center Ankle

Now that the glue has dried on the curved part of the ankles, it was time to fill the seams, sand and apply primer.

There is one particularly noticeable gap on one of the seams where the Tape-Ease cylinder section meets the leg. It is glued down properly on the inside portion, but the exterior area doesn't quite meet up flat.

Evercoat fixes all.

Sanding fixes Evercoat.

Primer fixes sanding.

And one day, paint will fix primer.

The primer helped reveal a small gap on the other side of the leg.

Same exercise with the Evercoat and sanding.

Things are looking better with another spot of primer.

The legs will get more coats of primer, followed by sanding and more primer, to hide the grain. Not sure exactly when, but sooner or later. Again, 90% of the ankle work will never be seen anyway, because most of it leads up into the body, and a lot of what shows is obstructed by the ankle cylinders.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Finished Gluing Tape-Ease Cylinder to Center Ankle

With the Tape-Ease curved ankle glued down on one side of the center leg, it was time to glue down the other side.

Apply glue, smear, and prepare to affix to leg.

The part is in the proper position as it dries overnight. My R2 Builder's Notebook acts as a counterbalance, provided we don't suffer a strong earthquake while the part is drying.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Started Gluing Tape-Ease Cylinder to Center Ankle

Time to break out the blueprints and start gluing down the curved part of the center ankles, using the Tape-Ease cylinder I've been working with lately.

As you may have noticed, things have been going slowly with droid #2 lately, so I'll do what I do best, and make something that any 4-year old could do look like rocket science.

First, I measured and marked where the top of the curved part of the ankle should go on the center leg. My center leg is cut long, so I don't have a natural alignment boundary.

Time to apply my trusty Elmer's wood glue and glue the part down. Moist paper towels are at the ready to clean up oozing glue.

The curved part is a tiny fraction of an inch narrower than the leg beneath it, but once everything is the same color, it will not be noticeable. It's not noticeable anyway, because almost all of this area of the center leg goes up into the droid's body, plus the ankle cylinders cover a portion of it. Still, I may apply a very tiny amount of Evercoat to fill in any gaps.

This will dry overnight, and I should be able to glue down the other side tomorrow.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Curved Ankle Work

Today I spent a few minutes working on the Tape-Ease curved part of the ankles, in preparation for mounting them to the legs.

First, I needed to cut the length to size. The outer curved ankles are 4.1", the curved part of the center leg is 4.0". I measured and marked.

And then I cut each of them to size. I cut a large amount off at first, and then shaved off material iteratively, until I hit the mark.

While cutting one of them, I had a small part chip out in the corner. This will be unnoticeable due to the ankle bracelet that sits on top, but I figured I'd fill it anyway with a small blob of Evercoat.

I gave all the ankles another sanding. I will coat with primer one more time (hopefully), before gluing them to the legs.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Upgraded Main Power Switch

On Mike's recommendation, I upgraded the main power switch on my droid that he kindly provided, to handle more current. The original main power switch is rated for 1.5 Amps at 250 volts when the switch is toggled. The new power switch can handle 15 amps when the switch is toggled. While I don't plan to flip the switch when the motors are running, it's not a bad idea to plan for a worst-case scenario.

The first thing I needed to do was dig down into the droid an unscrew the wood screws that hold down the piece of PVC to which the main power switch and receiver power switch are anchored.

Next, I disconnected the main power switch from the PVC holder, and unsoldered the original main power switch.

I soldered the new main power switch to the negative connection of the main power bus. When the switch is off, it breaks the circuit, when it's on, it completes it.

Finally, I put everything back together and screwed the PVC holder back onto the base plate of the frame. I tested, and everything works as it should.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Evercoat Work on Center Leg

Today I put some work in on droid #2 for the first time in quite a while. This time, I returned to the Evercoat I had applied to one side of the center leg.

First, I cleaned up the one side that I had covered.

Next, I prepared to apply some Evercoat to the other side.

Nice and messy.

After a little bit of sanding, everything seems smooth. Soon I will hit all the legs with primer to see where I might need to do some minor fill-in work.

Also, the new battery I ordered for my transmitter arrived today. This should offer over triple the amp-hours of the original battery that came with the transmitter. I got this on Mike's recommendation, he recently ordered one and it seems to last forever on one charge. I usually get about 3 hours before I need to swap my old batteries.

Friday, February 13, 2009

JEDI Displays Arrive

Today Scott Gray's most excellent J.E.D.I. display controller and displays arrived. I ordered the DC/DC converter, display controller, front logics and rear logics, along with four 3-wire extender cables, all pre-assembled. Sorry, but I just couldn't see myself soldering that many parts successfully. (See here for an example why.)

I followed the clear instructions that Scott provided, and in almost no time I had power and signals wired up and I was ready to test everything out.

The problem with taking pictures of LEDs that are lit up is that without the camera flash, the colors are distorted and over-bright, and with the camera flash, the LEDs appear dimmer in the picture than in actuality. Nevertheless, here we go.

Without camera flash:

And with camera flash:

It will be a while until I'll need these in the dome, as I still have a lot of dome work to do down the road, but it's great knowing I have these ready to go. Thanks Scott, great job!!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Pictures from the Fanboys Set

At long last, I can finally post my pictures from the set of Fanboys that I took way back on December 1, 2007. We had agreed with Kim the set decorator that we wouldn't post pics that showed the set until the movie was out. Little did anyone know just how long that would take.

Mike Senna and I met up with Chris Romines in Pasadena, where a Red Cross building stood in for some interior shots of The LucasFilm Ranch. When we arrived that day, Vince Sanchez' R5-D4 had already been dropped off, and Chris and Mike took their droids inside.

Unfortunately, the production crew decided that because R2-D2 is shown in another portion of The Ranch, he wasn't going to be in this office scene, so Mike's droid did not stay on set. Chris' and Vince's droids did, and made the final cut of the movie. Fortunately for Mike, he also brought the Ewok costumes that he made for his kids, and one of them was used in a key scene.

After R2-A1 and the Ewoks were positioned, we looked around the set and took pictures.

Pretty fun day.

All pics can be seen here.

We saw the movie tonight, and really enjoyed it. It was neat seeing the contributions up on the big screen.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Fanboys Premiere

Tonight R2 and I attended the premiere of the movie Fanboys, in Beverly Hills, CA. Chris Romines brought R2-A1, Mike Senna joined as wrangler, and Vince Sanchez was invited to bring R5-D4, but his droid was experiencing mechanical difficulties and couldn't make it. Both Chris' and Vince's droids are in the film.

Along with some of the 501st and Rebel Legion, the droids entertained the crowd and provided atmosphere during the many TV interviews with the cast and crew.

The screening took place after the press interviews. Because the seating was very limited, we weren't able to see the movie, so we grabbed dinner during the show and returned for the after-party. We took pictures with various cast and crew as the opportunity arose. The flash tends to wash out my PSIs, but they looked okay in reality.

Kristen Bell. After the picture, she shook my hand and said, "I'm Kristen, by the way." It was hard not to laugh at the thought of not knowing who she was, as I thanked her and introduced myself.

Senna with Selma Blair.

And Selma with R2. This was completely unprompted.

Director Kyle Newman with me, Chris Romines and Mike Senna. I think by this point Kyle had had a long day.

Kyle Newman's wife, actress Jamie King. I don't know how I ended up in all these, usually I stay out of the pics.

More pics here.

Fun stuff!