Thursday, May 31, 2012

Working on R2-Q5's dome

Here is my construction of the R2-Q5 dome in styrene. What seems like an easy project has turned into quite a challenge, read on.

The inner and outer domes didn't quite fit so I had to cut the inner dome in half. I used Weld On 3 first to put the spider looking ring on. Glued the bottom but it didn't hold.
 So I used my trusty magnets to clamp and slowly glued section by section until it was secure. Don't add too much Weld On 3 or it will worp the styrene.
What worpage might look like! If this happens don't panic. Its from using too much Weld On 3. So I used a mouse sander with 120 grit and some glazing putty to remove it. Expect the unexpected or known unknowns as Rumsfeld likes to say.:)
Now that I have the outer dome back to one piece with the inner top dome fasted. I start cutting in the detail pieces like the Holoprojectors and make pencil marks of the panels locations.
Then the next logical step seems to be to paint the the aluminum HPs. Or is it?
Then I installed the HDPE ring and had to custom notch for 1 HP and 1 of the PSI. The PSI install I'm just making this up as I go. There is no instruction manual to this unless you consider this blog posting one.
This is what the other side looks like. After 1 year as a parts collector its fun to finally put this project together. I gotta hurry though since Comic Con is two weeks away from the time I snapped this photo.
Its hard to see but I'm now joining the entire inner and outer domes. I'm starting on this side and will work my way around. I'm using dimes as spacers to keep the gaps just right.
Right after I welded both parts together I get online and check out the rare photos of R2-Q5. Lazy me I should have did that first. This black section of the ring is not supposed to be painted black. If I don't fix this its the kind of thing that will keep me up at night so time for a Qtip and Acetone to remove it.
Okay, this is more like it. I like the offset look it has like this anyway.
Ut Oh! What do you have here? This don't look right at all. Well, what happened as I moved around the dome with Weld On 3 adhesive bonded inner and outer skin. Not only did they not fit well top and bottom wise. They don't fit diameter wise  and off 3/8 of an inch or more. So I ended up cutting the dome hoping to fix the spacing issues. So I was stuck and pondered for a while what are my opinions now?

1. Toss it in the dump and order another dome and recycle some of the parts.
2. Ponder more until I find a solution.

 Should you find yourself in this situation of a dome giving you a hard time like I have. The next step is to get our your chainsaw and start cutting it to make it fit.
Just kidding I used a 'box cutter' not a chain saw and removed the out dome which I'll have to make do with what I have and some how get this to work. It does seem kind of hopeless at this point but I'm not giving up yet.
Then I got out one of my useful tools I ever bought which are rare Earth magnets (clamps in this case) and used it to bond whats left of the outer dome the inner. I didn't think that Weld On 3 was so strong but once you glue something with it its not coming apart unless you bust it up.
So at my last stop I'm going to have one hell of a bend or bump in the dome since I'm forcing this. Inside I have a very large 2 inch rare Earth magnet.
So I got it done. Its all down hill now I can just trim the 2 or 3 outer pieces to fit and just put filler over it and paint. Less than 2 weeks away from Comic Con and I really don't need anymore surprises in this build.
It's all coming together like one massive jig saw puzzle. I like to post all the good stuff about building these droids and some of the harder challenges so if you find yourself in a situation like this don't give up. Usually there is a way to keep going even when it seems like you come up against a wall.
On the inside of the inner dome I also made over a dozen slices before I glued both sides together to help make them fit a little better. 
Here's some of the tools I'm using at this point a mouse sander, drill and a trick I learned from another builder Droidwelder to join styrene or weld it. You add Acetone into a glass jar and then add your scrap styrene (don't throw any way). Then you wait about 1 hour for it to start to melt the styrene. 

Next us a paint bush and dig our that white glue and put it over the seems or cracks you're repairing. Wait 24 hours for the Acetone to evaporate and then use an electric sander to grind down the your sealant.
Even though I cut up the outer skin and forced some sections to fit I ended up with a bump or a choke point where then end point was last seal. It was like a bump in R2's head it was sticking out too far to sand down. So I took our a step bit and drilled the entire bump out and removed it completely.
Looking from the inside of the dome at the hole I used scrap styrene and a magnet to hold some backing on there to patch the hole up. I'm just making this up as I go along now.  Starting to stress out as I have 11 days to Comic Con and this still isn't painted and I keep have surprise issues spring up that take days for things to cure or dry. Sometimes in the construction industry when they are out of time/money to complete the project the term 'rape it' is muttered to fly through the project just to get it down and give them a bumper warranty. Warranty lasts aslong as you can see the bumper of my truck leaving is the saying. I'm not at rape it yet but its in the back of mind looking at this dome.
It took 3 days for the styrene to dry over the hole I made and it still was wet. So I dug that styrene out, used JB Weld instead then glazing putty and were getting closer and closer to painting.

The Comic Con is only 7 days away from the time this photo was taken and do or die I have to put the black coat on by Sunday and I haven't even started on the radar eye yet. So its time to 'semi rape it'. I figured only I'll see the bad stuff and everyone else will look at it for a few seconds take a photo and move on. I can fix the parts I don't like later. Plus when you paint something black it will show every imperfection there is that you can't see until its painted.

I also forgot to mention after I paint it primer, black and then some parts copper. I have to install all of the electronics. So yeah, its rapethirty at this point of the build.

As I installed the Teeces logics I had unexpected bugs and it didn't work of course. So I grabbed the electronics out of the tinted dome and they worked just fine. 
I got the dome done just in the nick of time. The feet and skirt aren't done yet. More on Phoenix Comic Con on my next update.