Thursday, November 22, 2007

Progress Delay

Bad news for my schedule. My painter backed out half way through my build and several parts I was hoping to have by now have not materialized. This has added several complications to getting my droids ready for the donation process to the Dallas Children's Hospital for 2007. So it looks like it will be delayed to 2008. That was a real bummer!
Anyway, here are some photos of my Progress. The painters did an awesome job with fine line detail which is why I was so disappointed when they said they just want to do cars now half way through my painting process. Take a look at a closer picture of the ankles and cylinders. Aren't they just beautiful? The blue color is 2003 Pt Cruiser Metallic Blue. The White is BASF 1054a is is perfect. These are beautiful in person and outside in sunshine. Now to try and find someone that can do as good a job as the previous guy. I know it wont be easy or cheap!!! In the mean time Robby the Robot looks over my precious cargo!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chrome Domes

I had my other dome "shined on" by Hands off Polishing of Garland, Tx. These guys are great and not too expensive either. These guys have been written up in motorcycle magazines for their chrome and aluminum machine work. They have done such good work in the past that they even held the NASA contract for the Mars Lunar Rover project for some of the drive parts and assemblies. This is the dome for the Dallas Children Hospital Project. If you guys are looking to find someone to buff out your domes then I would recommend these guys. 1 more week and my aluminum parts should be back from the painters! I feel like a child waiting for Christmas morning!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

T minus 80 days and counting.......

Plano Comic Con is Oct 20th. Maybe My droids will be ready by then to run up and down the halls of the Plano convention center in a finished state. I am waiting for Stuarts Paint and Body to finish my R2 and R5 painting.
My astromechs will be R/C'd with the Dx7 Spread Spectrum RC system. Inside Electronics consist of the following items: Vantec RDFR23 for the Drive Motors, RET411P for the dome controller, Robotic servos for the doors and dome panels, CF3 sound system, 12ch RF remote from Cold Fusion, Footdrive motors are NPC 2212's. My Goal is for both of them to eventually look something like below

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Waiting for the paint to dry

Right now I have sent my Aluminum parts to be painted professionally to get a beautiful lasting finish. The auto body shop is rather backed up so it will take a little while to get them back. In the mean time, I just got my 2nd 300mm dome from Daren Murrer. If you have the means I highly recommend them. So I guess my next step is to start cutting out the doors, polishing the domes and attaching hinges...Robart Hinges that is!! This dome I took to Hands off Polishing in Garland, Tx. They are the ones who have the contract to polish the parts for the Mars Rover from NASA! Here is what one of the domes looks like after polishing the lines out. The picture does not do it justice.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It's Alive!!!!.......well kind of.........

C4 was the first Star Wars convention I had ever attended. It was a trip. So much to see and do. Coming to the droid room was amazing. So many droids and different levels of craftsmanship. It was a great learning experience. I assembled my basic droid in the builders room and boy was I intimidated! This droid was assembled and did its first RC move at C4. Such a good Feeling!! At the time I thought I was way behind but after talking with my new friends I found out that this went very fast .....I was a proud poppa.....
Darren Murrer donated 1 of his domes for the Dallas Children's Droid. Cole cut the panels out and he also used my dome in making the tutorial for the new 300mm domes.
When I started wiring my Vantec RDFR23 controller it didt work originally. Tom Jozwiak help me correct a slight wiring transposition. Once that was done he started moving around. One of the things I learned very quickly was that the powered wheel needs to be to the front of the droid where as the omni balls needed to be toward the rear. I had it reversed. So while he was on the carpet it was very difficult for him. But move he did!!! That was all I had hoped for out of this trip.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

And so it begins..........

What you see here is the beginning of my first Astromech. This is a wood frame from Mike Hendricks and Fiberglass skins from Brett Landon. This picture is the unveiling of it at Mike Senna's home in prep for the C4 builders room in Los Angeles, California in March of 2007.
This was the culmination of several months of travel from coast to coast while I was doing consulting works for various hospitals to determine how I would first start this process. My goal here is to make a fully RC'd droid. An R2D2 and a R5D4.
In order to make him suitable we have to add legs.....sounds easy..... but how to go about it and what needed to occur was very interesting. Mike Senna was very gracious to assist me in making this mount and hubs to attack my legs.
What I did was go to Home Depot and get 2 pieces of black pipe and floor flanges. The pipe diameter was (1) 1/2" and (1) 3/4" with their corrosponding floor flanges. I also got 2 electrical grounding clamps (those help to control lateral or sway movement of the pipes).
There is a weld beed the length of the 1/2" pipe, You will need a grinder to grind down that beed so the 1/2" pipe can fit inside the 3/4" pipe. I would also suggest you "key" that pipe to minimize the internal rotation or slippage of a telescoping pipe.
You then take 2 wood disks that are 6 1/4" in diameter and attach those disks to the floor flanges. That wood disk is then attached to the legs you will be using. When this is done, lay the legs down on an level/flat surface and drill 2 holes at the far end of each pipe to insert bolts through both pipes to keep them from slipping internally.
Once that is done, you will need to add JB Weld to the pipe threads to keep the pipes from unscrewing from the pipe flanges.
An important note here. Make sure you clean the pipe flange and the pipe threads of all grease, dirt etc with Varsol or lighter fluid or some other non-residue cleaner BEFORE adding the JB Weld. Let it sit all night, depending on the temperature of where you are doing this, it might help to put a blow torch to the JB Weld areas to aid in setup as you do not want this stuff coming loose when your droid is moving about. Heat helps JB Weld cure faster and more thoroughly.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

In The Beginning..........

I accidentally discovered the Astromech builders group when I was getting started with the B9 builders group. There are several members that belong to both groups and some of them suggested I look into "crossing over" to the other side. Haha. I have to say the way these 2 groups conduct themselves is like day and night. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was so much sharing of information it was more of an expectation rather than just a courtesy. I really liked that and will try to bring that to the B9 group.
Aside form the thrill and challenge of building a droid, I wanted to make one for the kids at Dallas Children's Hospital (DCH). The reason is personal but I will say this ... I know what it is like to be them. Having the droids in the hospital is a treat for all but most importantly it gives the kids a break from what they are going through. That makes it all worth it!!! It would take a while for my droid to be made so I needed someone elses to start my quest. So, I met Wayne Orr and a few friendly troopers from the local 501st garrison and off we went on Dec 16 2006. The picture below is of 3 troopers getting dressed in my motorcycle trailer. These guys were great and a bunch of cut ups!! To the right are pictures in the hallway before we entered the ICU areas . I had plenty of toys for the kids to get. Since I didn't have an R2 does this still count for my first event?? :)