Monday, December 8, 2008

A couple of ideas for R6

I was just dreaming about having R6-C9 completed and having him interact with the public when a cool idea came to me....what if R6 could take your picture and print it for you on the spot? It's possible to do by putting a webcam or something simular and a portable printer into R6 and rigging a small PC inside him too. Some Builders use PC's and Bluetooth tech to control their droids. The only problems are expense, printing quality and would people want a picture printed by an oversized trashcan? What do you think?

That's all I got.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Back to the drawing board

Long time no, post, I guess.....nvm.
Work has increased and so thus has my time there (can you say OT!). I also just recently moved to my very own apartment and have been busy getting my junk out of boxes (I have a lot).

Now on to business:

Last time on "The New Droid Workshop," I was setting up the fiber optics for my droid's PSI displays.

But a problem accured, one I can't resolve with the current prototype. I discovered the plastic tubes I was using to hold the fiber over the LEDs were too small for a few of the groups. I couldn't fit all the fiber cords into the same tube (7 seems to be the limit) and I can't replace the tubes with bigger ones because theirs no more room to fit them. Thus I can't use this for the PSI's. So I have two options: 1 is to use an already tried and true method already being used by other R2 Builders, or 2 I can try to redesign my PSI. I haven't decided yet as I'm not sure how I can fix the problem without making the thing too big to use on my R6 head. So to be continued on the PSI part of the build. In the mean time, seeing as how I can't use the current PSI setup I have, I opened it up to show you what I did inside.

Until next time,

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Plan B

So here's some pictures of the fiber optic cables being glued in place. Each plastic tube will have different amounts of cables put in place (some will have two, some will have as many as six).

But a problem acured. One of the Zip-Tied bundles came out of its plastic tube. I guess the Gorilla Glue isn't going to work very well in this case.
So I decided to try Heat-Shrink tubing. This stuff is very useful for covering exposed wiring and electronic component links. All you do is get a piece only slightly larger in diameter than what you're covering, fit it over the part, and then use a heat gun/hair dryer (either one works) to heat up the tubing and then it will tightly shrink around whatever is inside it. And it worked like a charm.The Zip-Ties are for good measure.
Unfortunitly, I have run out of Fiber Optic cable. I just ordered more today, but it'll take a few days before it arrives. I get my fiber from
These pictures are a long time coming. They are diagrams of how the fibers will be arranged in the Logic Display bezels. Please note that these diagrams came from the R2-D2 Builders Club and where made by one of its members. These diagrams are NOT how the Real R2-D2's Logic Display lights work. ILM is keeping that a trade secret.



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

can't think of a title

Just wanted to show another thing I just did. This picture shows the Gorilla Glue I just put on to keep the tubes in place. WARNING: Gorilla Glue is the strongest glue out there. USE GLOVES! USE OLD CLOTHES. IF YOU GET THIS ON YOU, IT WILL TAKE A CHISEL TO REMOVE. Just FYI.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Front Logic Display nears completion

You are going to love this. I just finished (mostly) the Front Logic Display LED blinking assembly. I've got pictures and a video of the LED's in action. The only thing I did not take pictures of is how I made the circuit the LED's are on and how they are mounted in the black box. But fear not. I have to make another one of these for the Rear Logic Display so I'll take pictures of that. The only difference between the Front and Rear is the colors.

This picture shows the holes I'm starting to drill. I used a 3/8" drill bit.

A closer view. Note the scratch marks. The point where the lines intersect is where I drill. I used a simple hobby knife to make the marks. They line up with the LED arrangement.

Holes drilled. Not as even as I wanted. Better luck next time I guess.

All the holes are drilled, the LED's are mounted inside, and the plastic tubing is in place. The frosted plastic tubes you see are sitting over each LED inside. This is to diffuse the light from each LED so they don't bleed over into another LED and to keep the fiber optic strands positioned over their respective LED. I'll be using Gorilla Glue to glue the fiber in place.

I'm putting plugs on the wiring coming from the PIC Flasher circuit and the LED box. Each plug has 9 pins (the plugs are just like the 4 pin power plugs in a computer), and each pin is soldered to each wire. Since the PIC Flasher has 8 channels, I used premade Heat-Shrink tubes with numbers printed on them to mark each wire. The green (+) wire I left unmarked and put in the 9th position in the plug. The picture above shows the wire crimped in the pin before I added the solder.

The video below shows the lights in action. I now need to take this setup to the R6's head to plan its mounting inside so I know how to cut and arrange the fiber.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Head towards the light

Tada! This video shows the PIC LED Flasher at work. This is just a prototype though. I'll soon have pictures of the final soon as I can buy more wire. Imagine this prototype in a small box. There will be holes drilled above each LED and in these holes the fiber optics will be put. Then the fiber optics will be arranged in a pattern one of the other R2 Builders made and is used by most other builders. The circuit controlling the LEDs is the PIC LED Flasher I've shown in the past (check out the very early postings (note that I haven't copied those postings to this blog from Yahoo 360 yet. Click here to see them there)). It's polarity is backwards from what you'd expect. The green wire is the positive and the red wires are the negative. LEDs are polarity sensitive so they must be connected correctly. If you look at one from the top, you'll see that one side has a flat edge while the rest is round, like a dome. The flat side is the negative.

More coming soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Finaly....something worth posting

First, a real quick update on my lightsaber.
Here it is freshly painted. The black part is what was painted; the blue part is painter's tape to protect the chrome.

Now to what we're all here for. I have recently thought up a brilliant idea on how to design my droid's Logic Displays. Traditionally, most builders use 1 LED for each point of light in the displays. However, this requires 24v of battery power. The batteries typically used for our droids are big and heavy. The more voltage, the bigger and heavier the battery. For this reason, I've been trying to keep my power requirements down to only 12v, but the logic displays have until now been a problem. The front display has 90 points of light or 32 blue, 54 white, and 4 aqua. Using a QK169 PIC Flasher Kit (an assembling required LED blinking circuit), 8 strings of these lights are assembled in patterns so the blinking looks somewhat random. Now here is where my idea differs: instead of using 1 LED per point of light, use 1 LED of each color for each string of lights using fiber optic strands to multiply one LED into however many is needed of that color for that string. Check out this drawing I made for an example of what I'm rambling about:I apologize if I left you feeling a little dizzy from this explanation. So to simplify, I'll be making more drawings demonstrating this new concept of mine and, hopefully soon, I'll have prototypes to make videos of.


Sunday, April 13, 2008 is Back

Good news everyone! The totally redesigned, the official website of the R2-D2 Builders Club, is back online and looks so freakin' AWESOME!!! Be sure to check it out.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Something different, but still Star Wars related

Yesterday I got the body flat layout printed at Kinkos. I will tape this to a sheet of Sintra (a PVC type of plastic) and, using a utility knife, will cutout all the details for my droid's skin. I only need to find the time to purchase and cut the plastic.

In other news....
In 2003, my first venture into the world of prop making was making a Jedi Knight's Lightsaber. I found a few websites (a very few) showcasing home made lightsabers made from odds and ends found around the house and the local hardware store. After studying all the different ways to build one, I drew a simple design and began browsing the hardware store for items that would make a decent looking attempt at making a lightsaber prop. After a short time I put this project on hold to pursue other things (job and video games :P). Just recently I decided to try and finish the lightsaber. I already had most of the parts I needed, I just needed to finish drilling and cutting. And now the pictures of what I have thus far:

Pretty cool huh? I still have to add the emitter piece, the activation switch, and paint it.


Monday, March 24, 2008

I have returned

Hey I just flew in from reality and boy are my android arms tired [ba-da, te]. Ok, REAL lame.

Sorry I didn't post in February. New job is still keeping me busy. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Over the past five months I've been working really hard at getting really good at my job. I still have a little ways to go, but I'm getting there and thus I'm am feeling much more relaxed. So, I am happy to say that in the near future I will be trying to do some odds and ends work on R6-C9. And to prove it, I just bought some more electronic components from Radio Shack to do some LED testing for the PSI's. I still want to use fiber optics for the display and so I'm still trying to find a working LED arrangement to get the desired blinking effect.

I only just recently noticed that is currently down. I did some research on the Club's message board and found out some guys are redesigning it. No time frame for when it will be finished, so just hang in there in the mean time.

One more thing. Is anybody actually reading this blog? I only ask because I have never ever, even on the previous version, gotten a comment posted on any of my post. Not that it really matters, but it would be nice to know if someone is interested in what I'm doing. Maybe I should add a Guestbook. That might be a conventional way for all my fans [crickets chirping] to say "hello."

Anyways, happy droid building,


Thursday, January 10, 2008