Saturday, May 30, 2009

Phoenix R2 Builders Gathering

Today Mike Senna and I joined up with many of the Phoenix area R2 builders for their gathering.

Time to unload the droids from Mike's van, as Tiny lends a hand.

Tiny's dome layout is very neat, and he has an interesting hinge mechanism that he uses to lock the dome ring to the dome.

The Clone Wars R2 that Dave and Tiny worked on was in attendance. Very nice!

And actual building was going on throughout the day!

Our host Bryan works on routing his PVC tube.

Jay works on his skins as well.

Ray and Tiny work on another set of aluminum skins.

Rob demoed his amazing robotic autonomous lawnmower.

I told all the viewers out there in WebcamLand to smile for the picture!

There were a reasonably good number of droids in attendance, with Mike and I each making one contribution toward the cause.

My droid found true love in Arizona, but I'm not sure this long distance romance will work. Plus, she didn't really reciprocate.

We wrapped it up with a group picture before Mike and I had to pull the plug on the webcam and hit the road.

A big thank-you to Bryan for hosting, and for all the Arizona R2 Builders who welcomed us to the gathering. It was a great trip!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Arizona Road Trip

Time to hit the road for a 373 mile road trip from Orange County, CA, to Phoenix, AZ!

Lots of neat looking windmills somewhere along the way.

Starting to get warm...

Some six-plus hours later, we finally made it to dinner! Thanks to all the Phoenix builders who waited for us!!

Saturday is the event, it promises to be fun!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trimmed Booster Cover Tops, Road Trip Prep

This evening I spent a few minutes trimming the replacement booster cover top pieces to size.

Later, it was time to drop my droid off at Mike's, in preparation for the drive to Phoenix tomorrow afternoon. There we will join the Arizona builders on Saturday for their gathering. Mike's son, Kurtis, is coming along too.

The cargo? Just me, the boy, two droids, and no questions asked!

My droid will sit in the middle, with Kurtis. It's tied down to the seat anchors with wire.

Mike's droid goes in its usual spot at the back of the van.

Should be hot!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Recut Booster Cover Tops

Well, I still haven't decided whether I will attempt to salvage my booster-cover-tops-in-progress, so in the meantime, I decided to start cutting some potential replacements.

Then I glued and clamped them, as I decide what to do next. They are cut oversize, I will trim them to size later.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trimmed Top Surface of Booster Cover Top

Tonight I trimmed the 3 degree angle off the top of the booster cover head pieces.

I dialed the miter saw to 3 degrees and got to choppin'.

Time to emote. I am profoundly unhappy with how the curve is coming out. I was hoping that once I chopped this top layer off, things would look better, but they don't.

By comparison, here is how these pieces looked for droid #1 at this stage.

I am seriously considering chucking these head pieces and starting over. I don't think filler will save them. I will probably cut the 37 degree corner angles first and see if they look any better, but I don't expect that they will.

I think a big part of the problem is that I had the drill press table tilted at too steep an angle when I sanded the curves out. I need to do some calculations and see what angle I should be using. Based on old pictures, I think I used a 5 degree tilt for droid #1, versus a 9 or 10 degree tilt this time.

Alan Wolfson has kindly suggested that I look into using a Sears belt/disc sander for detailed word working. I just might do so, although I don't know if I would ever use it again after these pieces are done, and I know that I've done this work successfully at least once with the drill press and drum sander. We shall see.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sanded MDF for Booster Cover Slots, Glued Booster Cover Tops

Tonight I worked on the slots in the booster cover tops.

I needed to sand down about 1/16" from the largest surface of the MDF that fills the back of the slots (the picture shows the MDF standing on end, to display the surface that was sanded). There are four of these little pieces to sand. I used 60 grit sand paper, I didn't feel like messing around with this for hours. I followed up with 400 grit to smooth it out.

I did a test fit, and the MDF fits into the slots nicely.

Time to glue the booster cover top pieces back together. I had chopped off the bottom portion earlier so that Kelvin and I could work on the dado cuts that created the slots.

I decided that I will not glue the MDF pieces in place now, rather I will slide them in later. It's a snug fit, so the pieces won't move. If I recall correctly, I did the same thing for droid #1. The main reason is to ease repainting of the front face of the MDF, if and when it ever becomes necessary.

One of the booster cover tops needed an assist with some clamps, the other is drying fine without them.

I will wait until all the cuts are done before filling any seams, since the front face and top surface will get some more trims. There's no point in doing finishing work on something that's going to get eliminated later.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cut and Glued MDF for Booster Cover Slots

Tonight I had a little time to cut and glue the MDF that fills a portion of the slots in the booster cover top pieces. I'm making these pieces from 1/8" and 1/4" MDF, stacked on top of each other.

First, I cut some strips that were 1.25" wide.

Next, I cut the pieces to 7/8" long.

Too bad MDF doesn't come in 5/16" thickness, at least not at my local Home Depot or Lowe's. Thus, I'll have to sand about 1/16" off the stacks. No big deal.

Time to glue them up!

I'll let these dry overnight, and hopefully tomorrow I can sand them down to size.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

CHLA Trauma Reunion

Today R2, along with several other Star Wars characters, greeted young alumni of the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Trauma Center. These kids were typically emergency-airlifted by helicopter to get them the immediate care they needed.

R2 was deputized.

As usual, pictures, pictures, pictures!

All the characters in appearance were greatly enjoyed and appreciated. Including Ian once again as C-3PO, very nice!

Afterward, R2 visited with some kids that continue to fight the good battle. (Permission was asked for and granted for photos.)

Another good outing for R2. More outings to come in early June, stay tuned...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Finished Drum Sanding Booster Cover Tops

This evening I was able to finish drum sanding the second of the two booster cover top pieces.

Tonight was pretty much a replay of last night on the drill press.

I sanded a little at a time, checking against the lines I measured and drew.

As was the case yesterday, I finished up by hand-sanding with some sand paper wrapped around a pipe.

Right now the curves seem a little bit deeper and steeper than those on droid #1, but that may be because I haven't trimmed the 3 degree angles off the top surface and front face. Time will tell.