Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hello from Ireland!!

Hey guys. I am in Ireland this week. Hanging out with family and having a good time.
I will be back in the states sometime next week. Keep building and have fun folks.!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SPDT idea

Jerry Chevalier asked:
Has anyone ever come up with a board or a way to handle an auto switching source of power?

For example: I am plugged into a AC outlet. If I unplug the AC and the master switch is on then it reverts to battery power?

If I am on battery and I connect back up to AC then it shuts off the battery source. A UPS board sounded like it would work but I haven’t had too much success with that

I decided to take on this challenge and came up with the following wiring design.

I am not sure this will work, and I am looking for validation. There are a few versions of this on the message board, but this is the final version.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Southern Builders Meeting

Dan, Steele, and I got on the road around 6am on Saturday morning 10/13. We made it to Jacksonville, FL just a few minutes after noon. It was a long drive but worth the effort.

My droid is still having some issues with my center foot casters. They are binding up pretty bad.

Still have lots of things going on, so build time has been reduced drastically. I hope to get back to working on things in November.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Feet work

Needed to work on my feet a bit. Started with the center foot. I was not happy with the omni ball casters that I was using so I modified my JAG center foot to hold 2 3" casters.

These casters have the Brake.. which I really didn't want but I found them pretty cheap at Lowes...will see how they do.

hope to paint my outer feet today and then get my droid standing again within the next few days.

Friday, September 21, 2007

OFF topic -- Videos

Just wanted to post this. I like Ben Folds. Enjoy.

This is a cover of The Postal Service "Such Great Heights". Look it up on youtube to see the original version.

This next one is sort of on topic.. but not really.

Monday, September 3, 2007

DragonCon 2007

Just posting pics at the moment. I'll come back and give some context after I get some sleep.

I also have this short video from my phone... Not the greatest, but will give you an idea of how busy the con was.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tools down

No more building until after Dragon Con.
This is what R3-T2 will look like. The wife and I have figured out how to get him in and out of our Ford Escape. Its a very tight fit, but when the dome is off, the posts that stick up from the Rockler bearing are just a bit over 32" off the ground... and the clearance for getting him into the Ford is 33".

These were some of the last minute things I got done. Ankle Details, cylinder and wedge, battery boxes, and khf + brass hoses.
Another shot of the feet. I am still missing battery harnesses, but those will eventually turn up.

Side shot to show the leg.
And the dome is still looking OK. There is no clear coat on this dome, so it has taken a bit of damage over the past 6 months, but it will be functional until I can complete my other dome.
I have been having some issues with the shoulders not staying in the position that I want. This is causing some clearance issues with the feet. I will probably spend some time on that the next 2 days to have that all figured out before the convention.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Crunch Time!

Getting down to the wire now for DragonCon!

A few weeks ago my Outer Feet and Skirt Showed up. Amazing work on these parts!

I came across similar problems with the skirt that have been described by others in the past. The bottom ring of the A&A frame does not fit into the JAG skirt. My solution was to cut up the A&A bottom ring and then modify the frame to accept the bolts that are in the Skirt.

I managed to get the skirt mounted, but there is still a ton of work to do to make this complete.
Last weekend, my brother came over to help me out with the feet. I have the A&A motor mounts, and I also have Darryls mounts. I decided to use Darryls mounts, but had to do some minor modifications.
One of the things that has become difficult is getting this dude upside down... My brother helped me get him into this position so we could work on the feet.
I made a few cuts to the outer feet to accommodate the motor mount.
I also modified the battery boxes to match the openings from the feet.
I found some brass hoses at Lowes... I had keith's knurled fittings and put this together to work until I get the khf from the current run.
Here I have the foot mounted. Notice I am missing my cylinders, ankle detail and a few other things.. I hope to get those all finished up this week.
Paint pen tests.. This picture is terrible, but I wanted to have a few paint pens available for any touchup work that needed to be done to the paint. The winners are:
Blue: Elmers
Red: Elmers again
White: Crafts Etc.
Black: Sharpie
Sharpie does sell paint pens and the black used here is not just a regular sharpie marker.

The Wife and I plan to work on logistics this week and early next week. We need to figure out things like:
How do we get R3-T2 out of the house?
How do we get him into the Car?
How do we get him out of the Car?
How well does he drive on industrial carpet?
How well does he drive on shag carpet?
Does he handle bumps well?
Whats exactly is the battery lifespan?
Can I drive him without putting others or himself in danger?
Can my wife drive him without putting others in danger?
and so on and so forth....

Saturday, August 4, 2007

3 legs again

Got the center ankle into an acceptable status and we are now back on 3 legs.

worked on some vex programming tonight, and plan to spend another day or so working on the code.

If you missed my post on the r2builders... below is a copy of the instructions to correct the turning problem.

Most vex users probably know about this, but since it wasn't completely obvious I thought I would post.

If your using Arcade2 mode for driving you should have this line of code:


This makes forward and reverse work with the right stick.
The only problem with this is that turning left and right is reversed.
stick left he goes right and stick right he goes left.

To fix this:
press mode+select till you get into the config mode on the remote.
Hit the mode button again to get into the reverse menu.
Press select channel to change to channel 2
press the Data Input button down to reverse the second channel.


right stick forward, reverse, left, and right all respond correctly.

Happy driving!

Will probably spend some time fixing up the Aspects dome. Getting some lights to work and other stuff.

Skirt, and Feet still not here, but I am still very happy with my progress.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

waiting for parts

not much to report.
waiting on skirt, feet, and other minor things.

did some work on the alu dome but not enough progress to show.
working on center ankle at the moment.

Going to be cutting a few corners to get my droid in shape for DragonCon. So any major noticeable flaws will be fixed as I have time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Another shot ... This picture provides a view of the area that I have been using to build. Its my Dinning room.

So what is left:
Dome electronics
Battery Boxes
Hoses & Knurled fittings
minor Tweaks to back door
Center Ankle
Paint Cylinders and Wedges

Its been raining for a few days so no Painting. I don't have feet, or skirt... and so moving on to 300mm Dome.

I marked the inside of the panels and dome, then used a hacksaw blade to remove the panels. I got about half of the tabs filed down, and need to scrape the slag off still.

All the panels cut out. Need to file the tabs and scrape the slag.

This dome shouldn't take too long to get it looking right. Just need to spend a few more days cleaning up the parts, and hope to get some painting done within the next week. After that, cut a few holes and assemble.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I didn't want to be one of those people that stopped posting regularly when I started getting close to the end.. but finding time to post, or work on my droid has been difficult.

So, this past week I spent plenty of time working on the Ankles and legs. This is the results. Some things are not perfect, and others are pretty darn close.

Tom's cylinders and wedges came in today. These are just dry fit in place. I will paint them when it stops raining.

I managed to get the back door mounted. It is not right. I will spend some more time on this after I finish the other leg.

Shoulder to leg hub. I am using the A&A leg kit so I had to skin the shoulder hub with some aluminum. I found a sheet metal pipe at the hardware store... and after a few hours of cutting/test fitting, I came up with these. It will work till my ALU hubs come in.

Got a little over a month left to go for Dragon Con. I hope to get a skirt and feet shells before then, but am considering alternatives at the moment.

Things completed:
mounted rear door
mount under shoulder details
designed shoulder hub cover
attached shoulder hub cover
assembled leg

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Magnum or William Shatner

My r3t2 decided to strike a pose. Not sure if this is his magnum face, or his impersonation of William Shatner. Its hard to tell.

Stuff done:
mounted front coin return
mounted second side vent
mounted side plates
mounted second octagon port
mounted skins
painted power coupler
partially mounted power coupler
adjusted dome ring and Rockler bearing to fix alignment issues

Some ALU frames are now available. I want one, but they are fairly expensive, and switching out frames is not a simple overnight job. At this point if I purchased the frame, I would be setting myself up to build a second droid.
In other words, I have not decided if I want to purchase the frame.

This next statement is not meant to offend the r2builders. Building an R2D2 is not only about owning a custom build robot that shares the likeness of a childhood hero of mine... for me it has been a learning experience, a bridge to mechanical engineering, and a chance for me to use some of my artistic skills which have been neglected for several years.

It has never been my intention to just build an R2D2. I hope to build/modify/invent new things with the skills and knowledge I have gained.

not sure where all that came from... I'm not even close to being done with this project so I better stay focused... back to building!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Octagons, Doors, and Vents... Oh my!

Got a few things done.
mounted coin slots
mounted 2 of 3 coin returns
mounted center vents
designed Side vent attachment scheme
mounted side vents
cut out Side panels
mounted Side panels
mounted 1 of 2 octagon ports
put body filer on legs/ankles
some sanding done

Not all items listed above are pictured.

Rear Octagon Port installed. I also got both of the rear side doors installed. I used a method which I will describe later in this post.

This picture is from inside. I just decided to drill through the entire octagon port and use some longer screws to mount. I had been trying to figure out what size screws to use, and ended up just using 8/32 after a fair amount of drilling.

Side vent mounted. Some people are probably looking at this and saying... um... why is only half the skin mounted?. And how is it staying on?

Here is the first part of the answer to the mounting question. I am using a cabinet door magnet. I used a few nylon spacers to get it positioned correctly... and oh don't you like my zip ties holding my battery in place =D

This is the back of the vent. I know it looks messy but nobody should see this. The plate that attaches to the magnet is on the left and on the right I used some scrap from the skins to add a lip to the bottom inside of the vent.

I then used some styrene to fill the gap so that it was a nice tight fit. You can see the styrene sticking out on the left.

OK... got to get the other side vent fixed up and the other octagon. I hope to get those done tomorrow.
Running out of time. Setting a goal of 6 weeks. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

electrical work & Task List

No pictures today. I have reached a stopping point on the electronics in the body of R2. His charging system, is completed.

I also got the dome drive wired, and speakers connected.

Things I need to finish up the body:
mount coin slots
complete the construction of Coin returns
mount coin returns
paint Power couplers
mount power couplers
drill holes in Center vents
mount center vents
design Side vent attachment scheme
mount side vents
cut out Side panels
mount Side panels
mount octagon ports
get Skirt (on order at the moment)
do all work regarding skirt and mount

Leg work needed:
put body filer on legs/ankles
prime and paint
mount under shoulder details
mount ankle details
mount cylinder holders
mount cylinder with wedges (on order)
glue parts for shoulder hub
Assemble leg and attach to body

Feet work needed:
get feet.. and do all the work needed (on order)
get battery boxes.. and do all the work needed (on order)
get knurled fittings and hoses.. and do all the work needed (on order)
paint resin battery harnesses and mount
assemble motor mount and attach to foot.

Aspects dome work needed:
fix pic flashers
swap out leds on psi flasher
mount psi housing and electronics
mount pic flashers
re-drill holes to align dome ring with rocklear bearing
put felt pads in holo projectors

300mm dome work needed:

That's the short list of things I want to get done asap. I need this droid project to be completed within the next 6 weeks or he will be missing parts at DragonCon.

I doubt that I will get much of the 300mm dome work done, but if some of the parts I need are not available, then there will be time.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Two Legs! -- steps back and forward

This past week, I tried to stay busy but was still a bit distracted. You will notice a few new links in the "Other" category. I have started looking at the possibility of converting a car from gas to electric. Research has begun.

OK, 2 Legs this time. This was actually around last Tuesday night, but it didn't last long. I had planned to build the ankles separate but the more I worked with them, the less confident I was in being able to attach everything securely. Will get into more of this later...

Acetone bath for my power couplers. If you followed the message boards this week you will see a nice thread about painting power couplers. Anyway, these are almost back to the start. Some of the primer is still on and I will need to sand them just a touch before starting to repaint.

Stepping back. After making decisions about the ankle, I jammed it all together with a ton of screws... glued on the styrene pieces.. and then picked super glue off my fingers for a few hours.

As I was saying earlier, I just didn't trust the strength of the ankle as a completely separate component. I also had to deal with Keith's resin "beefy part." I didn't want that thing flying off... so its held in place by 4 screws. 6 Bolts, and 6 screws hold the ankle parts to the leg. This had better work.

Not sure if I mentioned my distaste for Bondo. I was never able to get consistency that I liked, which would last more than about a minute. So after some research, I found this stuff. Its pretty much the same stuff, but its already pre-mixed and in a squeeze tube! I'll use this to fill the gaps in the ankle and a few other places on the legs.
...and on another note, because I made the ankle decision after I painted my legs white, I will be doing a fair amount of sanding. The entire legs will probably get a fresh coat of paint.

I have JAG's outer feet on order so I picked up a few of Darryl's mounts. These are drive wheel only mounts, so no stem casters. 3 legged only motor mounts.

Last, I did some more electrical work.
Its getting a bit messy, but on the right side you can see my battery chargers are mounted. These chargers are plugged into the power strip, and connected the batteries. I held off on these for a long time, because I was concerned about space issues.

more soon!