Maker Faire Upgrades

Maker Faire is just a day away, and I’ve had a busy time getting ready. This is probably my favorite event of the year, and we will have a good showing, with 4 droids and 6 builders in attendance. Bonnie Burton from SW.com will also be there running a kids workshop on Star Wars Puppet Craft.

Over the long Memorial Day weekend I stripped Artoo down for some long needed repairs and upgrades I’d been putting off.

I’ve replaced the center foot with the a new one from JAG with the taller skirt. Here’s a comparison shot with the new foot on the right

Sadly, with extra tapper of the foot skirt, the “Special” 3 inch Ace casters are too big and had to be re-worked. To be honest, they were a bit of a squeeze in the old foot, so I was on the hunt for some nice 2.5″ casters! I searched and searched locally, but couldn’t find anything suitable, I had three options, order something online, hack what I had, or just install one caster.

Long story short, I tried the last option, and even went as far as creating a new mounting bracket for one 3″ caster, but when I was done I then had to redo my ankle locks as there was now a backward tipping as well as the forward tipping. Hard to explain, but bottom inline I needed to redo my locks, which meant drilling more holes in the ankle that I wasn’t prepared to do….. back to the drawing board.

Because of time, and on Gerard’s suggestion, I resorted to trimming down the 3″ casters I already had. I mounted them in my drill press and filled them down.  It took forever, there was rubber dust everywhere, and it’s not something I want to do again.

What I’ve also realized is that never trust a label, the original casters were labeled 3 inches, but they were closer to 2 7/8th. Here’s a before and after comparison

After some finegaling, and making a new mounting plate,  I got them installed in the new foot – nice and level, unlike when I had the 3″ wheels.

Getting the right caster for the center foot can be tricky, it’s a balancing acts. You want the biggest wheel you can get fit, but because space is tight, the deeper you recess them to get things level the less space you have for a bigger wheel.

oh! and just as I was done with trimming the wheels, I went back and looked at one of the online stores I’d found earlier in the weekend, and what do I find – they’re LOCAL, or almost. They’re called California Caster and based in San Francisco, and had 100’s if not 1000’s of caster products in stock. I just had to make a trip up there. This was just a small selection of casters they had on display

Even though my new center foot was running again, I picked up these replacement 2.5″ wheel for the next round of maintenance.

I also replaced the radar eye with one I picked up from Dave Shaw many moons ago, luckily the old hole placement didn’t screw anything up. It doesn’t look too much different, and the wife thinks I’m crazy for swapping it out. I had the hardest time matching the Kryder blue, and it’s way to clean, but none of my panels match anyway 🙂

I can’t remember exactly what else I worked on, this was my droid on Sunday morning, all stripped down.

There’s been a long list of things I wanted to re-work, like shortening and re-routing some wires that were bugging me, to tweaking the front vents. I almost added servos to the utility arms, but that would require me filling them down and repaint – which I didn’t have time for.

But I did hinge manage to hing some doors in the body. I made some little aluminum brackets to help mount the servos to the frame

I know I worked on more stuff for Makers, but I can’t remember exactly what 🙂

oh! I remember, I’ve also been working on a small wireless controller based on a iPAQ Mobile phone, but more on that later.

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Posted by Chris on May 28th, 2009 in Dome, Electronics, Feet | No Comments

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Stacks of Magnets

I’d ordered a bunch of super strong ‘earth’ magnets last week and they arrived today. I’m hoping to use them in quite a few spots, hence the tall stacks.

The larger 3/4″ discs will be used to secure the battery boxes to the feet, the rods will be used on the removable back door, and the small 3/8″ discs in various spots, like securing the shoulder hubs to the legs for easy removal, and holding the front blue panel around the vents. I’m also going to experiment with using them to hold panels and doors closed, but they maybe too strong.


Posted by Chris on December 20th, 2007 in General | 3 Comments

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Finishing Battery Boxes and Feet

I’ve been busy the last few days and not had much time for building. I did get to work on the ankles and legs a little bit more and I think I’m pretty much done, minus one small piece that I need to buy something for to fix.

I’ve mentioned this before, but now that the ankles are back attached the to the feet it was hard to slip the battery boxes over the motors.

The right box went on no problem but I had to make a small adjustment to the left one one and open up the hole a tad. I also had to shave a little bit more off the top of one of the motors, to get the box to sit flush with the foot.

The boxes are really springy with the hoses attached and and there is no way the two screws that are supposed to push fit into the slots will hold the boxes flush to the feet. At least I couldn’t get it to work satisfactorily.

I think I’m going to have to come up with another method of securing the boxes, and will probably use some super strong magnets. That way I don’t need to fiddle with setting screws in tight spaces.

I ended the evening with attaching the legs to the ankles. I used pan head bolts, lock washers and fender washers instead of the countersink Phillips. This will hopefully give them more substance and grip on the legs. The 10-24 Phillips work their way loose way to easy even with thread lock glue, and I’ve had a few wiggle loose during a single outing and sheer off. If this fix doesn’t work I’ll knock out the 10-24 threaded inserts in the legs and use 1/4-20’s bolts instead.

I’m going to try and paint the bolts and washers white to hopefully hide them a bit.

That just leave the battery harnesses and back foot strips to silicon in place, and of course the magnets to hold the boxes.

Posted by Chris on December 10th, 2007 in Feet | No Comments

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Re-assembling the Bits

I was going to add a few more coats of paint to the skins today, but on close inspection in the daylight they looked fine. A lot of the dust spots I was seeing yesterday just rubbed off with my finger now that the paint has had time to dry. I’m going to leave it a few more days before I attempt to remove the masking tape, as it’s been pretty cold and I’m not sure how the paint cures in this sort of weather.

I’ve decided to re-assembling R2. Started off with something easy – the center ankle as it’s relatively simple and self contained. I need to get him back on 3 legs to start laying out the electronics again. I’m probably going to move things around a bit, for example I know the speed controller can’t stay where I had it on the back mounting plate as it now hits the skins. It may end up on the back side of the plate or somewhere else internally. I also want to build in some sort of switch and circuit to allow me to charge the batteries in place rather than having to remove the cables each time to clip the charger on.

I’ve been paranoid all week that I’m going to ding or mark the paint, and tonight I had to moved passed that. Right off the bat there was no avoiding dirty fingerprint from the grease when handling the new white paint, plus I scratched a some paint off trying to get the ankle to fit back in the foot shell slot. I really should have filed down the metal parts a long time ago to compensate for the added paint – but I didn’t. I’m sure it going to wear off in this spot anyway, but don’t ya hate it when something like this happens?

I’m glad now that I didn’t get things powder-coated and at least I can touch it things up myself if I need to.

I’m going to have to keep an eye on the foot shells as they’re steel and prone to rust, especially where I live on the coast. It’s ironic that one of the reasons I went with an aluminum droid was because wood warps so easily here, even when sealed, and now here I am worrying about rust from the salt air. I may just grease up this area when I get around to weathering him.

I also noticed that nearly all of my ankle cylinders are scratched up and should really be repainted, but I’m not going to do it this time around.

I used silicon to attach the foot strips to the foot shell. I should probably tap and screw them on, but I’m feeling lazy and really want to see this done. I roughed up the two surfaces and taped on the strip. I’ll probably know tomorrow if it works.

I think it looks pretty cool all put together don’t you think?

One last thing while I remember, don’t forget to use screw Loctite or something similar. I missed a few screws in the feet before C4 and lost nearly all of them by the end of the week.

Posted by Chris on November 30th, 2007 in Feet, Finish/Paint, General, Legs | No Comments

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