Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Great Texas Build Off

Well, The Great Texas B9 Build Off of 2008 (May 16-18) seems to have been a success! I loved it. I learned so much and it was so refreshing to see so many different types of robots in 1 place and to see how they were constructed. It was mind blowing. There were members from the B9 Club, the R2 Builders Club and the Dallas Personal Robotics Club as well as visitors young and old. Some of them stopped buy as we were setting up on Saturday morning wondering if they could buy any of them. I think they thought we were having a garage sale……
There were B9’s, R2's, R5, Battle Droid, Pit Droid, Mouse Droids, Insectoids, a C-3PO needing plating and a Fred Barton Robby the Robot all in 1 place. And let’s not forget the Laser rifles, a working MP41A Pulse Rifle, Light Sabers, Phasers, Tricorders, Communicators and life size mannequins of Dr. Smith & Will Robinson, not the least to mention a full size, working, Jupiter 2 center flight console with a Burroughs B205 console on top! And if that wasn’t enough we got to see a 1966 Batmobile in construction. MAN is that thing BIG!!!!! You need a Batcave to house that thing!
We had a few participants take advantage of the Machinist and Painter I had reserved for this weekend. We had B9 torsos painted and R2 & B9 parts made just for this event. Lots of goodies for everybody and there was parts everywhere! Lovely…..machined……anodized…aluminum parts….Did I mention they were machined and anodized….???
Since this was a build off I had to go ahead and announce “Build your Robots”. It was like Christmas. I saw people tearing into boxes and sanding and making frames for the Astromechs. When you have multiple palm sanders going it kind of sounds like model airplanes flying around and that definitely drew attention from my neighbors. They loved it. (Not to worry, I had informed my entire block that this was occurring). They had their kids out and about looking and poking at everything. I still have a smile on my face!
My machinist even helped out a fellow builder because he wanted to make one of his own and this was “good practice”. Wayne Orr replaced his Omni Balls with Casters. My R5 did his debut at the build off. Wayne’s R2 and my R5 had a little race in the back alley…… Three aluminum R2 Frames were built. Travis Jeter finally got those holes drilled by the master himself, Mike Joyce; and finally got his bubble attached! Bob Greiner and I also fixed his waist motor mount and drive.
All in all everybody had an excellent time. The food was great! Anybody and everybody that wanted or needed help got it. We even had a little strategy meeting on how we were going to help who and when so everybody could get taken care of.
There was also 3 very important lessons that I took away from the build off. Never drive your B9 when you are tired, 2) never stack your robot with parts that are not secured and 3) always remember to turn off your receiver before you turnoff your transmitter.
What happened was on Sunday morning I had my collar and radar unit placed on my replica torso. While I was talking to a friend, I was switching my transmitter to operate another robot I had (my R5D4). When I did that, and because I didn’t turn off my receiver before switching robots and my B9 leaned over and dumped my collar and radar section onto the hard concrete, shattering all of it into little pieces. The act of the collar coming off also scratched the neon mouth opening on the replica torso. Oh, well; as Mike Joyce said, you cant make a few robots without breaking a few parts……
I will have photos shortly..................

Friday, March 7, 2008

JAG Center Foot Caster Modification

The JAG center foot has the base skirt cut out to allow for unobstructed caster rotation. The Wheel used is a 60 durometer 2.5" diameter, 1.25"wide wheel with a 5/16"axle bolt hole with a sealed bearing. You can get these from McCarr Master. Part number 2829T15. They are 6.94 each. I then got (2) 2" SS. 5/16" bolts with lock washers and nuts or you could use the nylon aircraft nuts. The frame for the caster is easily obtained from Home Depot. The part number is 3900309393. Take care to not just get any 2.5" wheel. The others will not work. I found that only the item number listed above will fit. You will have to cut the plastic wheels off but that is not too difficult to do.

Dallas Childrens Hospital Droid

Well, Here we go. This is the beginning of the DCH droid (Dallas Children's Hospital). It will be a R2D2 even though I have a R5 head on him right now. I just didn't want him headless right now. This one was made with a Wood Frame design with a Fiberglass Skin.
In this droid I have a Vantec RDFR23, RET411P and have the CF3, RF12ChRF bundle with the standard R2 Sound file. It was very satisfying to see him move around the house like it was on air. This droid has my caster setup to fit the JAG center foot. Very smooth movement on carpet, especially when making turns from a dead stop! The same setup with the omniballs actually stalled the droid on carpet when turning.

Back in the saddle again........

Thank the Maker!! I found a decent painter willing to do droids!! It's Chris at Detroit Customs in Sasche, Tx. They have been written up in several hot rod, motorcycle and custom paint magazines. They do excellent work. When I was there they were about to start the 1966 version of the Batmobile. It was really cool seeing that body lifted onto the rolling Lincoln Chassis.
I had a lot of parts to paint for 3 droids!! Hopefully I will have enough stuff ready to go to keep people keep busy at the build off in May. I know JAG is sending my Frames so with the B9 frames and R2 frames we will be doing a mass assembly. It will be cool!!
I am also having the Dallas Robotic group and the local R2D2 builders there as well as it is the start of the monthly meetings.