Wednesday, April 27, 2011

R2-AZ Dome Arrives

Today I got my tinted dome in the mail I'm experimenting for a droid I call R2-AZ. Its an 18 inch dome that's a couple of inches shorter than a 300 MM dome.

So its time for a test fit.
I have 3 blacklights inside it so I can later paint or light up some of them for the 'brains' or PSI lights.

Most people who do a clear dome have the clear part where you see the white above. The opposite way which I have seen yet is above. Where your panels are clear so you can see inside but the main dome area is painted some color. Hmm. I never thought of this method before. If I had another outer styrene dome I could cut the inner tinted dome in half and make the height perfect.

My black droid will have several different domes that I can swap out to make the droid change day to day.
So far I like what I see. I like the idea of transparent panels since it seems nobody's done it yet.The entire time I wanted to do the white section as transparent and paint the panels some color that the blacklight enhances. But this seems pretty cool now that I look at it.
 I would probably paint this white section black. But before I did, I'd photoshop it black to get an idea of what that would look like before I do it.
 I might need to wait until the next styrene run to finish this dome but its looking cool from the get go.

Droid Transport System

I finally got my droid transport system figured out. Last week I put the droid on the truck I bought but wasn't able to lift him into the pickup. Its like trying to load a washer/dryer by yourself. Back breaking work to say the least. So I bought this ramp and as you can see I have the 100 pd droid loaded into the truck. Now I can take him to events!
Its about the size of a washer/dryer and just as heavy. From this point I need to center the droid, and then use a bunch of straps to keep him from flipping over during transportation. I'll also throw some moving blankets over him cause sometimes you get hit with rocks on the freeway. I need some practice loading and unloading the droid and driving him around. I don't want my first experience to be the morning of PCC and learning things at the last minute.

Friday, April 22, 2011

AL CPU Arm = Awesomeness!

I wish I could say I made this part. Its so beautiful. I don't have the know how or the shop to make something so complex like this. All aluminum and made by James V. I think he made a few of these over the past 5 months or longer and I'm a proud owner of it this one pictured above. I didn't plan on having this for Phoenix Comicon so I'll try to figure out how to install this and the gripper into a static position.
The detail level is spectacular! Its just like the David Shaw CPU arm but lighter I'm told. I have a very detailed photo of this as my wallpaper. I'll try to paint this exactly like you see in a New Hope.
Here is a test fit.Its supposed to mounted at the top most believe but I don't have time to do that in 3 weeks. So I might be able to install the CPU arm and the gripper into the bottom breadpans and open the doors to show them. This freaking droid is getting cooler and cooler everyday. I still can't believe I own this robot, let alone spent nearly everyday for the past year assembling it, making parts, studying astromechs and making new friends. Its been a crazy expensive ride that I'll never regret.

None of these photos do this robot justice it appears much, much smaller in the photos than in real life. When you personally seen a droid for the first time. You stop and go Woah! That thing is huge! I'm not driving the droid everyday practicing steering and control.
I'm also working a lot on my skins. I'm JB welding the gap and closing that down to nothing. I'm also repainting the back door again and fixing some screw ups. So its down to just painting a few parts here and there to get the droid ready for the event next month. That will be this droids major public showing. 

The inner and outer rear skins and now glued back together. I sanded down all the paint and excess superglue and will JB weld on the rear panels next.
I'm also back to working on R2-Q5 now that R5 is winding down. I have most of 1 leg assembled and painted. Not pictured is the body which I'm JB welding the skin gaps over the next few days and getting that ready for these legs to attach to.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Leveling the Droid

Doing more test today I decided to see how level my droid is. Oh my the back ball casters aren't even touching the floor. They probably do on carpet but not on tile. The photo don't show it very well but its about 1/4 of an inch off the ground. The other side is about 1/8 of an inch off the ground. So basically the droid is driving on the 2 large wheels in the feet and 1 of the casters in the center foot.

So the more I suck up the center foot into the droid to level it out the more it tilts the rear feet off balance. So I have a dilemma and I'm not sure what to do. For now I'm going to do nothing. I have a Comicon coming up in 30 days and I'm going to start ripping the droid apart over a 1/4 of an inch on 1 foot that only I'll maybe notice.

These feet will eventually be painted black and put on R2-Q5 so I'll mess with it more then.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

R5 is basically done!

What the title says. R5-D4 is basically done. I have a few things left to do. Like repaint the rear skins and fix the skin gaps before I do.

Now I have the motors installed, battery boxes all fixed up and he drives just fine over tile to carpet and I'm quite happy with the progress.
I had some issues with the center foot sticking out too far. So I added a bunch of washers and longer bolts. Still its not evenly distributed on both wheels but pretty close. I'll try to mess with that more down the road.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Assemblying Feet

Now that I have some of my last parts painted its time to try and put them together without scratching the paint. First I need to learn which order it goes together because the battery box is very tight.
Then I installed the JAG foot drive in just one foot. I want to accomplish complete  foot before I do the next one. I've basically done this before but today we're putting all the parts together, which I haven't done until now.
I mount the NP motor bracket centered like this. That gave me the most traction last time I tested the droid out. The other right foot which had less traction was mounted with the brackect  all the way down.
So I mounted my battery box straps by tapping them in a few updates back and making holes in the battery box to hold them. I also attached the NP motor and need to attach the hoses to the feet now.
Well I learned to do that I had to remove the NP motor and the main wheel, or atleast that made it easier to do this.
I cut end of the hoses off so that don't even come close to the drive wheel. I cut about 3/8 off using one of my saws.
I have one set of battery box straps painted from last week on the right. Then I get even better two piece set with removable piece to paint blue 3 days later. That's how it seems go to working on droids.
Now I finally made it work with one foot. I have learned you must put the battery box over the NP motor before you attach the ankle, or it wont' work. I've learned from trial and error now putting one together that I can start on the other foot and put it together faster.
After I test out these feet and the drive trains are calibrated right I'll mount the side plate and finish out the feet.
The other foot is half way done and should be finished on Sunday so I can mount the droid on 3 feet.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Paint Day

Today I finally got around to putting all these parts on the outer feet details on the side panel plate. Then it was painting all day long.
First a coat of primer and then this nice purple color.
After that a coast of anodized blue and they'll sit outside drying for two days until its ready to install.
A bunch of wedges, and feet related parts now painted.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

R5-D4 First Steps!

Yesterday R5 took his first steps. I have it temp wired up and testing out the steering, belts and tweeking it as I go. There is lots of fun ahead.

Here's a couple of videos I shot.


Today the ankle cylinders arrived in the mail. Pictured here is enough parts for two droids. A major paint day is going down on Sunday to paint them all.
Today I tapped holes into my battery box straps so I can mount them onto the battery boxes.
Its time to have another major paint day. Its raining outside today so I think on Sunday I can paint a number of parts and next weekend assemble the droid and see where we're at. I now am finished collecting or making parts on R5. I have everything I need to finish him for the upcoming Comicon.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Foot Drive Control

Scott, who I think is a genius fixed the issues with my JEDI control yesterday. So today I removed the 2-12 volt power distribution boards from Dan. I replaced with with just 1 of his boards that I made a 6 volt channel with for the JEDI servo channels. That worked out quite well. I plugged in 3 servos and they all fired right up. It turns out I didn't blow out the board, it was a software script issue, not hardware issue.

Anyway in the photo above I have wired up the Sabertooth2x25 motor controller from the JEDI board and I can now run both NP motors via the VEX joystick. So my next task is to run all these wires thru the legs, ankles, and feet hidden from view.