Monday, May 31, 2010

Installing the electronics door and shelf

While I was down in New Hampshire, I was able to pick up some parts from my friend Jerry Greene.  Jerry had some spare electronics tray/doors for the frames he designed.  He also had a shelf piece that he had made that he wasn't going to use.  

The electronics tray is identical to what I installed in my first R2-D2.  It required a bit of tweaking to make fit but I has worked out great.  For the second R2, with the newer frame, its just a matter of bolting it in!

The shelf piece required a bit more modification since the door bread pans in each tall door interfere.

After some diligent cutting with a reinforced cutting disc on the Dremel, I was able to trim them down to fit.

Here's the finished product installed....

Originally this piece was going to be used for a 2-3-2 center ankle mechanism using a NPC 2212 motor, the same motors that propel the foot drives.  As such, each side is trimmed away for a swing arm and pre-cut holes to attach the NPC motor.  However it never went beyond the experimentation stage.  

For my uses, first and foremost, its a place for R2's netbook to sit!  As for anything beyond that, its too early to tell.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Time to cut up the R&J dome for Droid # 2

After spending years cleaning up, sanding, re-sanding and polishing my R&J dome, today was the day to finally cut it up.

Today I was at the New England R2 Builder's get together in Candia, New Hampshire.  I was able to take advantage of Kevin's Helmig's shop and all the great power tools.

The first issue was separating the dome from the inner dome.  After all those years of wet sanding, dry sanding, polishing and such, a lot of debris had accumulated between the domes.

With some help from Tom and Ethan, we were able to pry them apart and see what a marvelous, gooey mess awaited me....

Using 80 grit sandpaper and an mouse sander, I cleaned up the inside of the outer dome.  It was a little tricky due to the curvature but I just went very slow and methodical.  

Next was the inner dome.  This has very, very deep spin lines.

Before I went to work on that, it was time to label the dome panels and use the air-powered reciprocating saw with a very fine blade.  

I labeled everything and have a dome schematic printout I also labeled as well.  Why?  Because you can't see the underside of the dome to check panel numbers during assembly!

Back to the inner it was, the outer dome would not fit all the way over it.

With about a 1/4 inch of gap, I either had to cut into the inner dome or see if sanding it aggressively would improve the fit.

After close to an hour of sanding on an orbital sander with 80 grit paper, the outer dome fits perfectly now.  The outside of the outer dome makes contact with the bottom.

(Nice reflection, eh?)  

The last thing I did was to trace out where the panels are located onto the inner dome.  I used a pencil for this.  This will give me a baseline reference when removing and re-fitting the domes together.  

Next will be time to cut up the inner dome so that the panels can be hinged.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Breadpans are installed...but a slight catch!

Today I thought installing the trimmed doors would be a cinch!


First, I forgot the holes in the frame are not tapped.  I decided to simply use a 3/4 inch 4-40 bolt and nut to secure the breadpan in place.

I then placed the front skin back onto the frame to see how the hinges fit into the openings I made for them.

I thought how well that went...then tried to open the other panels, only to realize the breadpans block THOSE hinges!

So...tomorrow I'll have to mark off the cut out spots for those hinges to fit.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Trimming the front door bread pans

Today it hit 91 degrees up here in Bangor, Maine...not quite the warm weather we are used to!

Not being a big fan of such heat, I took refuge in the nice, cool basement (along with the cats).  I decided this would be a good day to trim the breadpans so that they fit inside the front doors.

I'm not using these in my other R2 since they will soon have gadgets in those areas.  However for this R2, I'm going to install them for now.  With the doors installed, I have to remove some material for the hinges to pass thru...

Once I had the door in position from behind the hinge, I marked off where i would need to dremel away slats for the hinges to pass thru.

Here's the results...

I have a little bit of filing to do but other than that, they are done.

Before these are installed I will have to remove the front skin and tap the holes that these bolt into.  Short work!

Here's how R2 looks now....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Front skins mounted to frame

Next up was mounting the skin to the frame.

The frame already has skin mounting blocks installed with pre-drilled holes.  The next step is to carefully drill holes into the skin that line up with them.

So how do you do that?

Well, last year at our New England R2-D2 Builders Club BBQ, Ethan Aho showed me a very clever tool for doing just that.  Its called a threaded-hole transfer punch.  You thread it into the hole with the provided tool.  The end has a sharp tip to it, so when you line up the skin and tap it with a rubber mallet, it leaves a mark....

With the skin sporting the marking "dimples", I used a 1/8 inch drill bit and drilled the holes.  And, as I have done with the other R2, I used hex-head 4-40 screws to mount it in place.

And here's how it looks with the doors/panels open and closed...


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Front coin return installed

Today it was time to install the front coin return to the front skin.

What I did on the first R2-D2 has worked very well...use silicone adhesive.  The silicone sticks well, dampens vibration and is easy to peel off and remove should you need to.

First I had to carefully line up, clamp and tape the vent into place...

Next up was applying the silicone....I ran a thick blob all around the edge of the where the panel meets the skin, then used a popsickle stick to flatten and spread it smooth.

After letting the silicone dry in the sun for 8 hours, here's the finished result...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Front door panels installed

This morning I did some more work to R2's skins...gluing the hinges onto the two tall doors.

I'll let the pictures do most of the talking since this is largely a repeat of how the other panels are put on.  Trim/sand door edges for a smooth fit, trace a pencil line around where the hinges will mount, sand smooth, tape door into position and use the Goop!

And 8 hours later....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Installing hinges to the front skin panels

Tonight I began work on the front panels.

First I had to line up and secure the panels into position on the skin...

For hinges I am using the JAG hinges.

Next up was to carefully place where the hinges would be placed.  I clamped them into place and used a pencil to trace the outline on the skins.  I will use the dremel and a sanding bit to remove paint and buff clean the aluminum for a good bond with the epoxy.

The hinges also need to be sanded to assure a good bond...

I am using GOOP to adhere the hinges to the skins.  It worked really well on my first R2. 

After applying some of the adhesive to the hinges and skins/panels, I waited 5 minutes, gently placed them into position and clamped them carefully.

This will have to dry for 24 hours.

Next up is to clean up the door panels a bit and get them ready to mount next!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Skin touch up

I was inspecting the skin tonight and found there is only one small area that didn't quite bond well.  A small spot on the bottom of one of the tall doors.

As I have done with my other R2, I used a dab of Super Glue to bond this area...

In comparison to the amount of touch up my last set of skins required, this is outstanding!

However, with the skins only bonded for a week, I'll hold my applause and see how they fare after a year!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Front skin work done

Alas, the front skins are done.

I really like the end result.  Not painting the inner skin, as my friend Victor Franco did, really brings out the skin details.

Next up, getting the doors and panels hinged and mounted!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Front skins panels are installed

Tonight I finished up on bonding the outer and inner front skins.

As I have gone along in this process, I've made tweaks along the way.  The latest being to cut up a popsickle stick and use those with the clamps.  This adds more pressure and also prevents the metal clips from chipping the paint.

The clamps will stay in place for the next 24 hours.  Then...on to mounting the panels and hinges!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More skin work; Bonding the detail pieces

One thing I have learned with the VHB (Very High Bond) tape is that it responds best to pressure.  

With that lesson in mind, I used the VHB tape on the detail pieces.  Today I did a few of the panels that are on the bottom of the skin and working my way along.

The steps, as I learned bonding the skins, is simple...

1.) Rough up the surface (sand!)
2.) Wipe clean
3.) Apply tape
4.) Use fingers or roller to promote adhesion
5.) Gently remove paper backing
6.) Apply to roughed up/sanded/clean surface
7.) Apply pressure (clamps)

Here's my progress this afternoon...


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Front skins bonded together with VHB tape

The second time around seems to have worked.

After letting the VHB tape set for four days, it was time to get the inner skin ready.

I wanted to make sure I got a good bond, so I roughed up the skin with some 120 grit sandpaper on the mouse sander...

I then went up to some 220 grit sandpaper...

Then I used the buffing pad (looks like a brillo pad) to clean up and give the skin a smooth look.  Remember, parts of the skin will be visible once the outer piece is glued out, so we don't want and sander lines.

And then it was time to remove all the paper backing from the tape on the outer skin.  This is very slow, delicate if the furry pets are around, lock them up.  This is a BAD time to be jittery so make sure you have gone easy on the coffee!

Here's the back of the outer skin with all the paper backing removed, ready to bond...

Here's the end result...using the coin slot holes to line the skins up, I started clamping there and working my way outwards.

I actually started to run out of clamps so I had to spread them out a bit.  

The clamps will stay in place for the next day or two so the adhesive can reach full strength.