Monday, January 26, 2009

Gifts from Above

Tonight so far I have added the panels to R2's dome and they are being left to dry.

I was also able to get the back electronics panel laid out with everything mounted to it.

My Mom recently saw R2 and got really excited about it. She has offered to help me purchase parts from time to time and she started telling her friends about the project. The R2 bug is contagious so her friends got excited which lead up to a call I got this afternoon.

Hailani called me and told me she had a garage full of recycles to donate since I have funded about a third of R2 from recycling. She also said that her garage was full of screws and electronics stuff that she was never able to sell after a good friend of hers was gone. She said that she figured it was sitting there just for such a day as this and it was God's blessing for my project.

She wasn't kidding! There were tool boxes full of machine screws all organized like I was at Ace Hardware. She also had electrical connectors and spools of wire just right for the job.

Below is the stuff that I took away with me, but there is more at her house if I ever need it.

New Lessons Learned and a little progress.

Saturday Chris came over with the plans to get my R2 wired and under the control of the Vex system.

We began by laying out my rear panel which did get the AX 3500 mounted on it by evening, but we ran in to quite a few snags along the way.

When the day was over, the only moving part completed was the dome drive system. Why didn't we get everything done? Because I had a lot of lessons to learn.

1st Lesson Learned - When you buy screws, don't just buy the amount required you will need extras eventually so get them in sets of 5 and 10 rather than 2 and 4.

When we got started Chris asked me for some screws, but I had only been buying the exact number needed, so we had to start a shopping list rather than starting work.

2nd Lesson Learned - Make sure you have all the required parts before you plan to get something done.

As it stands, I still need a Bus Bar for grounding everything and a fuse box to protect some of my electronics. So the shopping list got longer.

3rd Lesson Learned - When tapping a hole be gentle and don't push the tool, even if its just that last little bit.

"Its only a little bit further," I thought as I tapped a hole in my base plate. I was so close to being done with my battery holder and I rushed it. The result was that my cheap tap broke off in the hole, and I have NO IDEA how to get it out. I tried needle nose pliers but they just took more material off the tap.

Tonight I kept it simple and got a few extra things done. I was able to finish painting my ankles and got them mounted back onto the legs.

It should be interesting to see how things progress as we continue to count down to WonderCon.


- Steve

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dome Top and Upper HP Mounting

Tonight I set out to tackle two problems. First was mounting my upper HP and second was looking for an alternative way to finish top exterior of my dome.

My 300mm dome originally came with a brass ring and a Volvo upholstery fastener to complete the top of the dome exterior. The brass clashed with the aluminum color of the other dome parts and the upholstery plug seemed to be a tough part to get painted and in place.

The solution was found in a trip to Ace Hardware with my dome in hand. I tried various bolts in the top of the dome to plug the hole and came away with the pin pictured below (it now has the top painted to match my panels).

By adding the appropriate pin to go with it, I also became the top fastener for my HP bracket made from ABS plastic.

Once I had the bracket placed with the pin, I drilled out a hole in the dome and used Chris James' "shoulder puller" to create a countersink dimple the same as on my other panels.

With the screw JB welded in place the bracket was tested out and seemed to work well. In the picture below there is a bit of a gap between the bracket and the HP due to there not being enough relief in one of the holes. Once I expanded the hole to allow a little play it fell into place.

Having completed that I just had to find a replacement for the brass ring. Ace didnt have any washers that fit the description, so I used the center tab that was on the outer dome when I got it. Originally, the tab was meant to be thrown away. It was scarred up from the lathe and was not punched exactly in the center.

My solution was to hold it with channel locks and drill it out with my largest bit and then expand the rest by hand with my Dremel tool.
Here is a pic of the final product with the HP, small ring and center plug (pin) in place. (Its not a bad shot of my color change paint either).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dave Shaw's HP's

As the work on my dome nears completion, I wanted to take time to show off the HP's that I got from Dave Shaw in the fall.

It was interesting to get a pretty package with each part in its own little box with a silver Builders Logo on it, but the parts inside were definitely a work of art deserving of such a presentation.

The parts looked great and came with the clear cabochons already installed.

When broken down, the outer rings revealed that they had been lined with felt tabs for smoother rotation.

There was also an optional spacer ring added to help set the movement to "hand tight" or loose for servo movement.

The back plate was well put together and has the center punched with a dimple for later servo placement.

The best part was that when opened there was a lining tube that helped add reflection of the lights. The tube was needed because the entire inside of the HP was hollowed out. I dont have an exact weight comparison, but these HP's definitely qualify for the "Diet" Label.

I'm really pleased with the craftsmanship on these and I cant wait to be sporting them on my completed dome soon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cutting Casters

Today I paid a visit to Chris. We used his band saw and cut my casters down so that they will be ready to install once I have my center foot plates.

First I taped the space over the bearings. It kept them clean and kept the wheel locked in place so that it didn't get in the way.

Once they were marked with a straight edge and sharpie it was time to get to work.

When I finished that, we talked about electronics and the wiring that I will soon be doing.

Thanks to some Christmas gifts from my in-laws I was able to get my NPC motors ordered and my Robteq Speed Controller.

My list of things to do before WonderCon is getting much shorter. I'm almost done mounting the Logic Surrounds and PSI's on my dome plates. I have a few items left to paint and then I have the feet and electronics to conquer.

I think I'm going to make it on time!