Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fixing a cracked GW aluminum leg

Here's a sight you don't see everyday. A droid leg full of holes. What a mess the welding on both sides are cracked. As of yesterday I only saw 1 side cracked, now I see both are. I wasn't looking forward to performing surgery on this droid. So I put some aluminum L bracket in there, put 5 screws per side and counter sunk the heads. The main problem is going to be how do I fasten the nylon nuts that far in the leg? My hand isn't going to fit in there so I'm going to have to McGyver something together.
So with a torque wrench I can reach deep inside the leg and bot together the screws. But that only works for this angle. I have to make something up to do the other side.
Inside the leg I staggered the bolts. I learned from building 30 foot walls with aluminum and drywall you stagger your sheets and screws to add more power to the bonding all of it together. Fun, fun, fun.
Here's the two tools I used to reach inside and hold the nylon nuts while I fastened the 10-24 counter sunk screws. I used a 10 mm wrench hammered inside a cheater bar. Then I blue taped the nuts to the wrench so I had something reliable to secure the nut while I ran a screw driver. I was kinda of surprised it worked! Here is one side all bolted together and ready to hold the leg from falling apart.

I have to do the exact same thing to the other side tomorrow. All this because I looked at the paint and wasn't happy with the grinder marks you could see under the paint. Now all this work is involved over cosmetics. Being picky can be very costly on how accurate you want your droid to be.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Battery Box Fixed and primered

The cracks in the battery box are fixed and the footshells and this box are ready for primer.
Progress! I can see a few minor spot that need more sanding or filler. Next up is to install the footdrives and tweak the motor so the battery box fits the best. Then drill a couple of holes and fasten them together. I'll hold off on painting until I have the hoses installed

In a couple of weeks this droid should be done, but didn't I say that two weeks ago? I keep forgetting I still have to mount the side plate and its details.

Monday, March 28, 2011

R2-Q5 Dome Haz Arrived!

The styrene dome for R2-Q5 has arrived by UPS. A few panels shook lose but its in good condition. Tomorrow I'll olanto take the dome panels and remove them. This dome will be painted black and some parts copper. I'm really looking forward to doing this. I have something like 6 weeks before Phoenix Comicon 2011 to get BOTH droids ready. R2-D5 is nearly done, aside from finishing the ankles and feet. Hopefully I'll be able to drive R5 around, if not then oh well there's always next year!

By the 2012 Phoenix Comicon we should have 6-8 finished droids in the Phoenix region.
The bottom part of the dome fits good. The top don't fit at all. I'll need to cut the inner dome in half so each side fits as tightly as possible. So far in my droid adventures I haven't done much work on the domes and soon I'll be doing atleast 3 domes almost one after another.
The feet and battery box are in hurry up and wait mode. The 2 layers of JB weld and sand are going on. Then I'll use glazing puddy and sand that more. Sometime this weekend the ankles feet and battery boxes should be ready for paint. Then R5 should be on 3 feet for a while.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fixing Broken Welds and Breaking New Ones

I fixed up the broken welds on the battery box by putting steel flat bar behind where you see the screws. Then put filler over the top to hide the screws.
Then I make some ankle locks for my U channel. First I made a test piece out of cardboard, then copied that to the aluminum flat bar.
The little triangles are installed. One of them is a bit crooked so I'll need to play around with that until its straight. This is only temporary until I have feet to replace that U channel.
Now the bad. You're looking at one of the aluminum legs on R2-Q5. I was sanding out the grinder marks and the leg cracked. At first it wasn't too bad but as I was mounting the ankle on it it broke apart more. Time to stop. Either this has to be rewelded or I need new legs. Poor Q5 and its setbacks. This won't deter me very much. I'm very determined and will keep on going. The dome for this droid will arrive next week and I can work on that instead while I ponder over this. This droid probably won't make it to 2011 Phoenix Comicon now.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Center Vents Installed

The last body piece on R5 is now installed finishing the look of the droid. Now I only have the feet and battery boxes to work on. Then he's basically complete except for future electronic work that upcoming.
Today I mounted the JAG ankles to Q5's leg. I had to drill my own custom holes in the leg and get 2.5 inch 1/4 bolts to go through both sides of the leg. I got the idea from Paul's R2-D2.

I didn't like how the painted legs turned out on this set. I didn't sand them and the result is tons of marks you can see through the paint where the grinder was used. So I used a sander and removed the paint and sanded all the grinder marks off 1 leg and got half of the other leg done. My hands go tired of the sanding so I called it a day. I think I"ll get around to sanding and priming these ankles soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Center Vent, Battery Boxes and Hoses

Today I finished my upper center vent. I did what Tiny P suggested as always. I super glued and then JB welded the vents into place. Then filed them carefully and slowly with a hand file until the tightly fit into place. 
While I was cutting out my other battery box the welds that hold it together cracked. I didn't have a choice and had to cut out of the side that was welded. Check which side is welded before you cut yours. I suggest using a dremel with an easy lock cutting bit. I messed up and used a jigsaw and it vibrated it apart as you can see. So I'll have to now fix this weld with some steel plates.
Next I need to either grind the hell out of these nuts to fit inside the battery box or tape the or do both.
I'll first try to tap it. If that don't work I'll grind down my nuts.
Tom is working on a wiring diagram for this 15 channel RF remote. This is good for things like turning on and off LED lights. I don't see how you can hook this up to run servos.
I whipped up the formula from Valcheck which ages your braided hoses from a nice shiny copper to a more darker look that's more accurate.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Battery Box cutting

Tiny P. said this wouldn't be much fun cutting out the holes and trying to get them to fit around the NP motors. He was right. You have to do this alittle bit at a time. Very mundane work.
I marked a line with the motor off showing the area you can't cut above. I was able to get 1 of the battery boxes to fit today. Take my advice and don't cut too close to that line. Mines right at the area where it might show where I cut it and need JB weld or some filler. I got really, really close. 
 Notice, you have to grind down both sides of the NP motor, plus it helps go grind down the lower part of the NP motor too.
This is how much material I had to remove to just barely get it to fit. It don't go on sloppy either. You have to push, pull and tug a few areas to get it to go on. I don't have time to make a perfect square hole right now I have comicon right around the corner.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

JEDI Control and Battery Boxes

I decided to put R5 together and install the JEDI controller and see if I could get it working again. But first I needed to mark both battery boxes and start cutting out the section needed to clear the NP motors.
'Squeaks' came by to inspect the work and sniff each part for something.
 I cut out the hole I marked. With a test fit its too small to fit. Also the lower part of the frame is in the way. So, I'll need to take all the legs off and keep trying with the foot only to get this to clear the NP motor. I'll work on this more next week. Its a small job to take the batteries out of the droid, unscrew the middle foot and outer legs.
I spent most of the day on the JEDI control installing it. I hooked up the JEDI and it don't work anymore. It does the sounds, but the entire servo channel don't respond to anything. Plugging in a servo has no result. The dome motor no longer spins and a long shot on getting the Sabertooth 2x25 was dead in the water. I'm so close to driving him but so far away.

Friday, March 18, 2011

R5-D4 Now on 3 Feet!

I can't even describe how happy I am. I hit a new milestone in my build. A droid on 3 feet I can push around. This weekend I'll try to install the JEDI control and start working on driving him around. Also since I polished the Rockler ring the head certainly spins more freely. That's also some good news.

This thing is big! He takes over the living room, which is pretty cool.
It took about an hour to repeat what took me 90 minutes yesterday. I was able to mount the JAG drive to my other foot and only have to cut once and then mount. Everything was flowing smoothly so I kept on going.
Next I attached the JAG ankle to Ryan's feet. This spacer rests on this side of the foot. The 2 black bolts are attached to some nylon nuts.
Now its put together I don't see how this is re-enforcing anything since it only attached the leg to the leg. LOL. I think maybe I should make a steel plate with 6 holes or something and have them screw into that. I dunno yet.
You'll need to use a round file inside the ankle so the copper bushing will fit in. You don't want to file too much so it slides in by hand. Just enuff that it starts to nest in each hole. Then push them together for the good solid fit.
So the 4 bolts are going through the spacer and then screwing into those other 4 inserts. I think if I add a steel plate to connect all 6 bolts. That will do a decent job to re-enforce the ankle to foot. R5 is top heavy so I don't mind some over kill in some areas.
I'm not used to having him stand so tall now that he's on all 3 feet. Now the real fun begins. I'm almost done with the basic assembly and construction phase.Soon work on the R2-D2 head that will sometimes  a go on this droid. Lots of electronics work ahead. I also have Q5 legs and ankles that need to be put together and attached to that foot drive I put together last week. Soon that droid will be on 2 feet, since I don't have a center foot for it yet.
This took a lot of work, a bunch of money and a few drops of blood. But its worth every penny.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Foot Drive Attachment

I mounted the JAG foot drive to the foot shell. I stripped all the main parts out of it. Then I marked where I'll need to cut a tiny hole for the NP motor.
I disassembled the JAG drive and then finished marking the hold I need to cut. In some photos I've seen holes that are quite large. I'm going to take out small sections at a time.
Then I drilled 4 holes at each corner so I could fit in a jigsaw blade and cut out the hole.
Now with the rough hole cut I remounted it. Thankfully it don't quite fit and I have to trim more. I marked the area where I need to trim. It seems like I'm quite close. I'd rather have this too small than too big.

I like my laser guided jigsaw but this curved area won't work with it anymore. Time to break out the dremel and the new easy lock cut off wheel and trim this off in no time.
Wow! I can't believe it. After 2 cut it fits! That almost never happens. Usually I screw something up. The real test will be to see if the NP motor fits.
The NP motor fits! I'm on a roll now. I'll file this hole into a nice clean square later when I work on the battery boxes.
A closeup. I'll need to file the bottom part some incase I need to do later tweeking to adjust the motor into proper position and the make sure the drive belt is tight.
Here is a look at the other side. I don't know how many months I dreamed of getting this far in my build. I'm almost there to the point I can get R5 to drive!

This entire process took 90 minutes. 1 done and 1 to go. On Friday I'll do the other foot and have both feet ready for the first test.
Then I got to work on my back door, which of course never ends. Today I mounted the super 1.5 inch magnet on the back Power Coupler. I don't dare put the same size magnet on the droid frame. It would rip off that Power Coupler if I did that wrong.

The other side this attaches too I decided to use two .750 rare Earth magnets. But later learned 1 magnet is pushing the main magnet away and I need to order another set of these. Thus, this project won't end any time soon. Someday my grandkids will take over this blog and update with their progress.
I also did some painting. I took the new bars that arrived the other day and masked then, primed and painted them black.
Then they got 2 coats of copper on them. After 2 days of cooking in the hot AZ sun they'll be ready to touch and install without fear of leaving finger prints on them.

If everything goes right on track sometime around Sunday I might be seeing R5s first steps. If this droid don't fall apart he'll be driving around the next Phoenix Comicon.