Sunday, January 30, 2011

Painting the Center Foot

I'm getting the center foot ready for paint. I covered the screw holes with 2 small coats of JB Weld and sanded that. Then put glazing putty over it and sanded it until I was happy with it. The foot will be painted white and used on R5 until I can locate some steel feet. Then these feet will eventually be painted black and put on R2-Q5.
I was going to start in on the outer feet by attaching the U channel to the feet using the same method I did with the center foot. I think I'll wait until I have the JAG ankles to make sure everything fits together and is wide enough. My center foot isn't JAG and I needed to file some areas so the JAG ankle would fit in nice and tight. That will be my next major project on R5. When that's done he'll stand on 3 feet. I can't wait!
The center foot had its first coat of primer and I'm using the Sun to check for flaws you can't see under indoor and other lighting circumstances. While this foot dries I'll cut some foot strips with a jigsaw out of .125 x 1 inch flatbar. You can buy 5 foot of that from Ace Hardware and have enough for 2 droids worth of foot strips.
I'm also working on making the back door fit better. On the right side of the back door you can see I added a strip of aluminum along the side of the back door. I have a painted strip on the cement that I'll glue on the left side next. The reason for adding this is so the backdoor can't fall thru. There is a tiny lip on the back door that this will rest upon.
Here is a closeup of the small back plate I glued to make sure the backdoor don't fall in. I got the idea for making this from the image below from Astromech. Its of the ROTJ with a droid with a full back door open. You can see a silver lip that goes around the back door.
So there is about a 3mm lip that will rest on that guide. Here is a pic below showing what will rest against it.
A top down view of my backdoor. That 3 MM of the skin will rest against the silver bracket on both parts of the back door preventing it from going thru the skins. I can file down the back door skins or add to them using filler to adjust the final gap you'll see on the backdoor.
My first coat of white is drying. I'll wet sand it with 600 grit and take out anything that needs to make it look better next. I'll give it a second coat on Monday and let it dry for a couple of days. Then I can assemble the side plates and half moons, then the wheels and this part is ready to mount.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Putting Wheels in Center Foot

I ordered some 3M Dual Lock tape and taking off that velcro on the rear skins to see how I can make them suck to the frame better.

Until then I continued to work on the center foot.
I ended up going with (for now) 2.5 inch caster wheels. These wheels were the best I could find after going to Ace Hardware, Lowes and Home Depot. At this point in my build I can't afford to just order random wheels online and see if that works. This will get me by until I get the droid on 3 feet and see what needs upgrading.
With these 2.5 inch casters there is still barely any room but the wheel clear after grinding away some AL. I got a bad feeling about this tho. It seems like sure, this could drive around on smooth surfaces like tile floors. I can't see these small wheels ever clearing elevator doors, going on asphalt and sidewalks without a face plant. That's scary looking to me.^^^
 Here on my first foot build I'm sitting at 5/8 of an inch off the tile. Is that what its supposed to be? I have no idea. I'd like to put 3 inch casters in this foot but how? It ran out of room in 2.5 inch casters. Hmm much thinking this will take.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Test Fitting Back Door and Center Foot

Today I was doing some test fitting of the back door. I'm not sure how to mount this yet. Magnets or velcro or something else? So far the fit is tight and loose. The gap on the left skin skins is too large. The skins need to suck up more to the frame. I even have velcro on that section and its not good enuff. Huge gap anyway. That is something I'll need to fix. I think I'm going with velcro to attach this back door.
Here the door is held in place by nothing yet. The gap on the lower left is something I have to fix somehow. Over all I'm happy to even be this far in my droid project. 
Its time to get back to work on the feet. The feet are now my main project that the skins are 90% done. Except for the center vents and putting velcro or what have you mounting the back door. I'm moving on to the feet. Here is squeaks sniffing all the work. A JAG center ankle with a budget aluminum foot I got from another builder.
So far a test fit of the center ankle to center foot is working fine. I'm going to blog how my center foot is put together in upcoming updates. Here I have test fitted that inner piece of aluminum to the outer foot shell. I have found out in order to be able to get your fingers in to reach the center ankle pilot bolt. You'll need to dremel down some sections for your fingers to fit.
The blue tape is gone and now this inner plate is JB welded on. Before I did that I cut out a few MM of the top part if you look closely in the photo you can see it. It has a smaller back section then the rest of the plate does. This is to allow your fingers to get in there and screw in the bolt for the center ankle. I hope! I dunno what the hell I'm doing I never done this before and basing what I'm doing by other peoples pics.
This is the bottom part of the foot where I JB welded those inner plates or whatever they're called. I'll do another test footing with all the parts after this drys and figure out what to do next.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back Door Construction Done

Finally after what seems like and what was months messing around with the back door its done! It took so long because of several things. Waiting on JB weld to dry. Breaking alot of 4-40 taps. Screwing up things and redoing them over a couple of times, countless times redoing coin returns and so on.
I ended up with a few spots that had a lake of super glue in those creases. Thus removing them via a file scratched the paint.I plan to repaint the skins where needed right before Droidcon and Comicon. I think on my second droid I'll build the entire thing and then paint it black after I have all the parts or built all the parts needed. So for the time being its sporting the 'weathered look'.

My next step is figuring out how to attach this door to the droid. I'm going to experiment with velcro and maybe magnets later this weekend.

Life form Scanner. One of our awesome R2 builders did a run of life form scanners so I bought one for R2-D2 and one for R5-D4. It just arrived today!:)
Here are both of them. When its all put together it should look like this.
One of my main questions I had is will this even fit into R5's head? Because the panels on the dome are smaller than the panels on an R2 head. 
The answer is yes it will fit into an R5 head just barely if you turn it sideways when it stores inside the dome.
Here I have the screen taped to my antenna to get some idea of height it should be when I figure out how this is gonna work. 

I think next I need to order a used power radio antenna off ebay. Then mount my JAG dome plate into the R5 head. Then I need to somehow mount it on the dome plate with L channel. 

I'm split on if I should use my 15 channel RF remote to open the 8 panels on R5 and activate gadgets. Or if I should program the JEDI system to do that with JAWASCRIPT. Or another possibility is using that prescripted micro controller boards that you connect to your computer and program it with code to run or trigger a routine. Hmmm. What's the cheapest?

I only have 7 hinges left and that's all I need for this R5's dome because 1 is used on the periscope. So I'm tempted to rip the head back up and start hinging panels. But I only have 3 months until Droid con and Comicon. I dunno if I'll have it done in time. Plus I need to complete my feet and start work on the next droid. I can't do everything. So I think I'll leave the R5 head intact under after those events and then put all the gear inside that I can.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rear door and foot work

R5 is coming along fine, but slowly. I'm happy with taking my time on some things so I can think about many different ways to proceed and then go with what I think is the best idea at the time. The front skins are pretty much done except for the center vent. I should have that part soon to complete the front skins. I still have to tweek the utility arms.

As Tiny suggested I added some type of velcro to the support the lower skins so they suck to the frame better. If you don't then they are flabby or sloppy. So here is what I did.

As you can see here I cut a small piece of aluminum L bracket and JB welded it to the bottom of the frame. I did the same thing to the end of the door support rod, except thats held in by a screw. I then super glued heavy duty velcro. You don't have much room to work with. The Octoport needs to fit in next to this.

Then centered the inner back door to the Comm8 fullsized door and drilled and tapped holes until I had it fastened on. I busted a couple of 4-40 bits while tapping. I always do every dozen holes in this small size!
Next up. I temp taped the outer skin over the inner skin to see whats I need to do next.
The outer skin is laser cut. But the inner skin is hand cut by me. Notice how there is a slight uneven left over aluminum there. I have this on both sides, but not on the top and bottom of the door. This inner left over aluminum need to be filed down and removed until both layers are even.
Now I have the outer skin VBH taped and super glued to the inner door which is screwed onto the back door frame. All I have to do now is add the other panels back on.

I stated gluing and JB welding the inner panels and then noticed I forgot to paint that little blue ring in the power coupler blue. So work stopped while I did the Krider blue on this and then I can proceed my routine. Typically I run 1 mile on my treadmill, stop and do droid work for 15 minutes. In this case its gluing parts on. Then run another mile, and glue more parts until I hit 5 miles a day.
Okay now that the skin job on my first droid is winding down and I have more stuff incoming. I need to being some other projects as I finish some milestones. So its time to start on the feet. I have a con less than 4 months from now and I hope to drive this droid there. So what you see are virgin center feet parts. Above are budget aluminum center foot shell, 2 inch wheel casters and JAG steel feet plates. 

I have the instructions and went to ACE for the hardware with the entire R2 center foot. Half way thru ordering all the hardware the salesman said: "can I ask what is this thing for?"

I said:  "Were getting the hardware for R2-D2 center foot".

ACE guy: "Really? How big is this thing?"

Me: "Well look its full size, these are custom parts".

ACE guy: "OMG this is amazing"

Me: "I know".

So here I have mounted the left bracket onto the center foot shell via drill and counter sink with 10/32 screws and nylon lock nuts. I know there is a lot of weight on this section and if this fails I'll have it welded or upgrade to steel. So far I haven't heard of any builders having issues like that. So I drilled 3 holes per side and counter sunk so I can cover that up later with filler.
Here is another angle of about an hours work of drilling so that U bracket is fastened to the foot.
The thing on the left is 2 inch caster wheels from Lowes mounted to the JAG center foot mounting brackets. I'm test fitting everything many times before I drill anything. My wife askes isn't there an instruction manual?

I had to laugh. I said ya there is. Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Study the freeze frames. There is no real manual to making droids yet. Just blogs and websites tutorials.
I'm test fitting how that JAG plate will mount to the center feet. Then blue taped on this inner skin foot plate that came with it. So I can try to figure out where exactly I need to mark the center punch holes for this JAG foot frame. Also I'm trying to figure out where half moons will mount into all of this.

Here is the foot shell with the JAG plates test fitting in. The problem here is the wheels are 1 inch too short. So something is wrong.

The fix?

Add 1 inch spacers under each caster?
Getting bigger footer casters?
I'm going to have to ask the R2 builders on how to proceed here.