Saturday, March 28, 2009

Afternoon at the Ranch

Yesterday afternoon Gerard and I took his R2 up to the Ranch where the Clone Wars cartoon is created. Dave Filoni was being given honors from his Alma Mater via video conference and wanted to add a little Star Wars magic to his acceptance speech.

Dave Filoni Video Cast

The site was beautiful with a large lake and rolling hills. The interior walls were decorated with George's classic movie poster collection and original art from the star wars universe. It was an amazing place to visit and seemed more of a mountain vacation spot than an office.

While we were there, Dave also decided to use R2 to announce the season finale ratings in the Friday staff meeting. We stashed the droid behind a curtain until Dave went up to make his presentation. R2 drove out and surprised everyone, had some dialogue with Dave which he announced to the group. Clone Wars beat out Battle Star Galactica by a wide margin which means that it also beat everything else on TV that night.

When all of the events were done, we went down to the building entrance and had a photo op with the show's production crew.

Clone Wars Crew

Naturally R2 got lots of love while he was there.

The Ranch

Big thanks to Megan for taking care of us while we were on site and thanks to Dave Filoni and the team for being a very laid back welcoming group.

Dave Filoni

Additional pictures can be found on my flickr page.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Covered on the Make Blog

XS was featured on the Make Blog after they saw Bonnie's post on Star Wars blog.

R2-XS on Make Blog

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rear Logic Soldering

I have begun soldering my own Rear Logics primarily to keep costs down, but its pretty hectic trying to emulate the 8 circuits on a project board.

Here is a pic of the first 5 rows soldered in place.

Here is a pic of whats going on on the reverse side.

The crossing and soldering of these wires to create the circuits has become a nightmare. Every row I complete leaves a greater mass of wires that end up covering leads where other wires need to be soldered.

When I started I was under no illusion about how difficult this could be, but I'm concerned that I will get done or half way done only to find that there was something else/better that I should have been doing. I really don't want to get to the end to find out that they don't work.

If anyone out there has any advice on how to do this better please let me know. I'm very interested in lessons learned by someone else who has been down this road.

*EDIT* Since the posting of this entry several people have given me help on sorting this mess out. I have since removed the wiring and started over. More to come in future posts. */EDIT*

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rear Logics

Now that WonderCon is behind us, its time to set new goals and press forward with new things.

Previously all the goals were set based giving XS basic functionality. Now I'm back to figuring out what I can accomplish that will show the most change with the least amount of money.

I decided to start by wiring my own logics using Leon's layouts on project boards, but not without a few snags.

I started by trying to match a project board up to my logis to see if everything would fit. After looking a this pic on Chris James blog: Rear Logic Electronics it was apparent to me that the board had to be twisted 45deg to fit. So I gave it a shot and my board came up 6mm too wide, leaving 2 LED's off of each row.

Maybe someone out there can help me out with this, but I don't know if the problem is with the hole spacing on my board or if the rear logic surround needs to be filed out 6mm. Do project boards come with different hole spacing? I sure don't want to file down Dave Shaw's fine work on the surrounds. Actually if it comes to that, then I'll just go with rows of 4x25 rather than being screen accurate.

WonderCon 2009

WonderCon this year was a blast! Friday afternoon Chris and I went to get our pro badges for the team and looked around the hall a bit. After we had seen everything we wanted to, we headed over to the 501st/Rebel Legion Dinner.

The dinner was well attended with people from LFL, especially staff of the Clone Wars series. Mary Franklin and Steve Sansweet were among the crew as well as Dave Filoni, Matt Wood and Daniel Logan.

On Saturday we showed up at 8:00 so that we could get the droids unloaded but were turned away at the curb. Chris and I unloaded across the street while Tiny (from AZ) and Gerard went to the parking garage and drove their droids over.

The morning went well entertaining the crowds. We were asked a few times to move further from the entrance because the flow of traffic stopped when they saw our droids.

Our Droid Building Basics panel with Don Bies was at 12:30 and went far better than I had imagined. The room was packed and a lot of people turned away because they couldn't even see in. The whole session was lively and had some great questions as well as some humor to keep us from geeking out too completely.

Bonnie Burton from StarWars Blog and Terri Hodges were around on Friday and Saturday enjoying the con and taking pictures. We spent some time talking and they gave the droids some love.

Of course XS was a hit with kids and adults alike, but I especially love pics like this one below.

More Love for the Droids

Throughout the day there were quite a few interviews for the droids. The pic below was a crew from a Canadian TV station, but we were also featured on G4 TV and had numerous write ups, in the SF Chronicle, and KPBS. There are even a few MySpace and YouTube Videos. Article
Quick Quote in the Chronicle Blog
MySpace Video
Edit: Official Star Wars Blog

R2-XS Getting Interviewd TV

Of course the day wouldn't have been the same without my Padawan (shown in the interview pic) and my Jawa who worked hard the week before the con to get their costumes together.

They added some nice atmosphere to the droids and with the help of XS won the LFL costume award at the masquerade.

Houdini and R2-XS

On a technical note, XS did a 14 hour day on the Optima Battery without a recharge. He took two 20 min breaks to recharge the Zune which gave us an initial 7 hrs and I replaced the RC battery when it started complaining loudly at the 12 hour mark.

Special thanks for a great day go out to Chris James, Tiny, Gerard and Don Bies.

Now get ready for Maker Faire SF!

More Pics can be found on my FLickr Page as well as Chris James' and the Star Wars Blog's.