Saturday, March 31, 2012

Finished Installing Octagon Ports

Today I was able to wrap up work on getting the new aluminum octagon ports installed in droid #1.

I started by marking where I needed to drill holes in the MDF holders that hold the octagon ports in their proper locations.

Then, I took the parts to the drill press to drill holes with a 7/64" drill bit for the wood screws I'm using to attach them.

Then, back to the droid to install them with the wood screw.

The rear octagon port looks good!

The front octagon port looks good too.

And this concludes our unexpected excursion into updating droid #1. What other updates may lie ahead? Stay tuned... (Or not. I don't have much planned.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Painted Aluminum Octagon Ports

Today I had time to paint the octagon ports.

After a light sanding with 400 grit sand paper to smooth out the primer, I applied some of the precious Rustoleum Metallic Purple remaining in the can.

So far, so good.

Next up, Duplicolor Anodized Blue, applied about 15 minutes after the purple.

And finally, two clear coats, each applied another 15 minutes after the preceding coat.

About an hour after applying the second clearcoat, I removed the masking tape.

These seem to have turned out well. I'll let them dry a day or two, and then work on getting them installed in the droid.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Painted MDF Holders, Primed Octagon Ports

Today I had a few minutes to start spraying stuff onto other stuff related to the octagon ports.

First up, the 1/8" MDF holders. These need to be painted black in order to conceal them inside the droid.

I boldly went without primer, and hit them with a couple of coats of flat black.

Next, I cleaned up the residue that was left over from my work on the octagon port frame pieces, and masked them. They don't have to be masked, but it makes for a neater paint job to not have stray paint all over the outer perimeter.

I then applied three coats of white primer, about 15 minutes apart.

I'll let these dry overnight, and then lightly sand them smooth. Hopefully I'll have time to paint them blue in the near-future.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Worked on Fitting Front Octagon Port

When we last left our front octagon port, it was a little bit crooked in its position in the skins.

At first I thought this was because the corners where the screws go on the new octagon ports were running into the frame itself, so I chiseled out some material on the frame, in an effort to make room for them.

There's no need to repaint these areas black, as they are covered by the part itself.

Well, that didn't do the trick. After some more study, I found that the cutout on the inner skins was pretty narrow, as my Dust Buster peeks through the hole.

There's no easy way to widen the cuts on the inside of the inner skin, so I took a closer look at the octagon port. Sure enough, I left a bit of a bump where I had Dremeled off one of the corners the other day. Time to file that smooth.

Okay, now things are fitting much better.

The octagon ports are now ready for primer, and after light sanding, paint. I also need to paint the MDF mount pieces black.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cut Octagon Port Holders

Today I spent a little time cutting 1/8" MDF octagon port holders for the new aluminum octagon ports that will be going into droid #1.

Using my state-of-the-art workbench, I traced out where to cut.

I used a combination of a hacksaw and the Dremel with the cutoff wheel attachment to cut out the MDF paddles.

Next, I clamped the back piece of the octagon port to the MDF, so that I could use it as a template for where to drill the holes for the screws that hold the MDF to the aluminum. I used the drill press to drill the four holes for each octagon port.

Fortunately, the screws that come with the parts are long enough that I was able to use them to secure the MDF holders without needing longer screws.

Time for a test fit. The top of the MDF paddle will be screwed onto the wooden rib above once it's ready.

The fit of the rear octagon port is pretty much perfect (although reflections and shiny surfaces may give the impression it's not). The MDF pieces will be painted black to render them invisible.

The front octagon port isn't quite fitting in perfectly, it's forced a degree or two counter-clockwise.

I think I may need to Dremel a little material from the frame to make more room, but first I'll double-check that there's not some work I can do on the octagon port itself to make a better fit. Hopefully I'll have some time to work on this during the week.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Trimmed Octagon Port Corners

Whoa! A building update on Victor's R2-D2 Building Diary? Preposterous.

Michael Wheeler's aluminum octagon ports arrived this week, and I've been wanting to replace the resin ones I have with something beefier on droid #1.

I need to trim the front corners off of these octagon ports, for reasons that you'll soon see. After marking the "cut here" lines, I used the Dremel with the cutoff wheel attachment for this task.

I cut about 1/4" deep into each corner on each octagon port frame piece.

Next, it was time to cut in the perpendicular direction, to finish the cutting of each corner.

A few minutes later, and all eight corners had been trimmed.

The reason I'm trimming the front corners off is that I want the octagon ports to fit flush up against the inner surface of the outer skin. Years ago I had cut the inner skin wider, to allow the octagon port room to fit up against the outer skin. However, I only cut enough material for the octagon shape, and these new parts have additional material for mounting screws that I won't be using.

A loose fit by hand shows that things look good for the rear octagon port. The same was the case for the front octagon port as well.

These will be mounted the same way as the resin ones were. I will use an MDF paddle that will be attached to the back of the port, that will hang down from the horizontal rib above. I still need to cut the paddle, and paint the inner perimeter of the frame pieces.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

WonderCon 2012 - Day 3

Today was the third and final day of WonderCon 2012 in Anaheim, CA.

We started the day by unshackling the droids that were locked down overnight, and setting up the booth for another busy day.

Chris Romines shows his ferocious side.

As a tribute to day 3, here's a bombardment of pictures, interspersed with some of the goings-on.

Chris also did an interview with... someone, I don't know who. At this point he was out of costume.

Back to the bombardment.

It's getting a little cramped for two. I hate to say it, but soon Zoe may be too big for her droid, as Kayla stands by ready to inherit the droid passenger duties.

"Star Wars: The Old Republic" character model Sno E Blac took a group picture with us.

More bombardment.

Our friend Christy, along with The Penguin.

We dropped by artist and fellow R2 Builders Club member Norm Rapmund's table and chatted with/distracted him for a while.

At the end of the day, Ray Park (Darth Maul) kindly came over and took a group picture with us.

A video crew asked if my R2 could join in an impromptu video shoot of an "only-at-WonderCon" game of poker with Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Margaret Kerry (the model for Disney's Tinkerbell), and another gentleman that I probably should know but don't.

After three full days, it was time to pack up the booth and wheel the droids on out.

We had one of our traditional R2LA dinners at Red Robin, where we celebrated William's birthday, even though he didn't know it was his birthday. Nothing beats the stunned look of having a bunch of servers come marching out and singing unexpectedly. It was kind of like the look Kayla is giving.

This was probably the best convention I've attended yet, outside of the Star Wars Celebration gatherings. Parking was a problem and the table was a bit cramped, but we had a constant flow of visitors, Saturday's panel went great, and we all had a great time being together.

I will try to get a link to a full photoset together in the next day or two, so check back here to see more.

Update - 3/20/2012: I've uploaded a bunch of pictures here. Most were taken by me on my camera, but many were also taken by Michael McMaster, Russell Rucker and me on Michael's camera. A presumptive thank you to Michael for his pics.