Monday, April 28, 2008

Frame Complete

Today I received and assembled my v4 JAG frame.

This weekend it will be on display at Maker Faire in the San Mateo Fair Grounds. The Bay Area R2 Builders will be exhibiting 2 (Chris James' and Gerard's) R2-D2's. My frame will be there to show the early steps to getting started.

I am currently waiting on my 300mm Dome, Steel Center Foot, PSI's and Rockler Bearing.

Complete part layout (below)

Assembled Frame (below)

Monday, April 7, 2008

First Paint Tests

Today I started testing the paint that I picked up over the weekend. It comes in three cans. A base coat, a color coat and a clear top coat.

To test these out, I cut apart an aluminum can and started spraying. After adding the minimum number of secondary coats and no clear coat, this is what my torn up can looks like:

Single overhead light and flash (above)

Light from all sides and flash. Shows the full range of color shift.(above)

Light from all sides, no flash and extreme angle (above)

The pics with the multiple light sources resemble what the paint looks like outside. I still need to test it a little more in areas with a lot of overhead florescent lights to be sure that it will look good on a convention floor.

Note: I did the base coat in my garage last night and the limited lighting was tricky on the eyes. The large piece of aluminum was not well covered with the base paint and it shows (at least to me).

So, for anyone reading this let me know what you think of the color scheme. If you know anything about lighting and this sort of paint, give me feedback on the pitfalls or benefits of going this route.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Road Less Traveled

Its been a while since I started on this process and I have learned a few things. If you don't have access to a machine shop, building a solid droid will be a long and expensive process.

As a result, I have become a parts collector. As people with certain skills pump out a set of parts I need, I have to get in on it or wait a long time until the event occurs again (like waiting for Haley's Comet as far as I'm concerned).

Being a parts collector is not too bad, but keeping the available cash to purchase things when they are available is the tough part. Most people are like me, living on the edge. With a clergy salary that only pays the mortgage (literally) and living off of the second income of my wife/secretary, I have turned to collecting recyclables from everyone I can so that I can redeem them for droid money.

Its a bit ironic I guess, recycling all that aluminum so that I can purchase more aluminum. My friends hear me constantly say, "If you throw that can away, you are stealing from R2! Hes crippled and needs feet you barbarian!"

So on to the actual meaning of my post title...

I have decided that I don't want to make just another R2-D2. There are several of those out there (at least 2 completed here in the SF Bay). I want to do a custom job, providing the paint that I want comes out correctly when applied.

My wife had the idea of using color change auto paint to replace just the blue parts of R2. I wasn't sure what it would take to do that but found that the paint was readily available at Kragen Auto Parts. (Photoshopped concept to the left)

Providing it all works out and he looks good that way, I figured on calling him R2-XS since his colorful bling looks to be a little bit in excess.

It is also worth noting here that I have started using the Droid Cost Summary sheet. I uploaded it to Google Documents so that I can share it with my wife.

I went through and populated it with all of the parts I can name and added URLs or names of people where the parts can be purchased. It helped me create a comprehensive checklist as well as organize all of the URLs to various hobby stores that were beginning to clutter my favorites list.