Monday, June 21, 2010

Cleaning up the inner dome panels

This is all new to up the inner dome pieces I cut out for use on the outer "pie" panels.  Like I did for the skin panels and doors, the material from the inner layer will make hinging the piece easier.  The hinges will attach to the inner material and allow for a flush fit for the finished product. I hope!

As you may recall from a previous posting, cutting the dome pie panels out was a challenge, going through many cutting bits in the process.  That made for a lot of filing work to clean up the not-so-great cuts on the inner dome cut outs. you can see, the pieces removed need a good deal of work too.....

As you can see from above, I pulled out my reference blue print I used to label all the panels.   I do NOT do this while cutting the panels out, so I had to line up each piece and see what went where.  (One of the FEW times spin lines are useful!).  I used a pencil to label the outside of the panels since those will be covered up by the outer dome panels in the future.

And once I had those all labeled, I did the same to the inner dome as a reference.  I made these marks low on the dome where they will not be visible when the outer dome is placed on it.

Then there was the filing.  Lots and lots of filing.  I just kicked on the TV downstairs and took my time.  

The top and bottom have the curved edges which require a little finesse when filing into a smoother curve.  The sides are straight lines so this is pretty easier to take care of.

Here's the finished results...

Next up is to clean up the inner dome with some more filing...then on to cutting out the the panels on the lower part of the dome.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Prepping the dome ring & priming

Next up on the list of dome pieces to get prepped was the dome ring.

Unlike my first R2-D2, which has a 300mm dome, the blue ring does not come off.  With this dome, you need to carefully tape up and paint it.  

The dome ring has the spot to be painted already pre-etched into it.  The tricky part is carefully putting the painter's tape on the lip/edge of each side.  If you go slow and use your fingernail, its not too hard to sufficiently cover up the areas that need to stay unpainted.

Just for good measure, I went around a second time and double-checked.  It sure beats trying to remove paint from a tiny crevice.

With that done, I took advantage of the great weather today and used Duplicolor Etching Primer on the dome ring.

And....I also put the etching primer on the pieces I treated with filler primer and sanded smooth the other night....

The pieces will get some light sanding (400 grit) and be ready for the blue formula anytime.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Filed, sanded and primed dome pieces!

Today I collected up all the dome pieces and started the process of cleaning them up.

First I had to finish filing off all the laser slag residue from the laser cutting process.  Then I had to file down the tabs.  I used a double-cut file to do this, which removes more material than a single cut one.  You just have to be careful not to over do it, since aluminum is a soft metal.

Then, all the pieces were done!

Since the dome has been polished in the past, I had to rough up the surface for better adhesion with the primer.  Using a mouse sander and some 220 grit paper made pretty quick work of this.

After a short break, it was time to take the pieces outside and use some Filler-Primer.  This will fill in those spots that still have some un-even surfaces or spin lines in them.

The filler sander sat outside in the sun for 2 hours to dry completely.

Next up was to sand the pieces with the mouse sander again, this time using 120 grit paper.  120 grit is for medium to light removal, which is all we want.  The goal is a level surface.

After the sanding...

There's a few spots with primer still on the surface, which is fine.

Tomorrow we'll put a coat of etching primer on the pieces, which gives the paint a solid foundation to bite into the surface.  Once that dries, sand smooth with some 400 grit sandpaper....then its on to the Krider Blue formula.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Inner dome work continues....

Today I went thru 7 more Dremel cutting wheels but made some more progress on the inner dome...


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tracing and cutting the inner dome

Today I started tracing and cutting the inner dome.

First was to add a 1/8th inch "lip" for the pie panel to lay on.  The easiest way I found to do this was with 2 pop-sickle sticks.  I just went slow and steady, making many small marks.

Once I had the pie panels done, I checked my Star Wars reference pictures to see which lower panels I wanted to hinge.  I want to be able to duplicate R2-D2 having all of the panels popped open, much like when R2 shorted out when shot in "Return of the Jedi

With that as a reference, I traced out the panels....

With that done, it was time to connect the dots for cut lines.  The vertical lines were pretty easy, just using a flexible ruler.  For the horizontal ones, I used the pie panels that were cut out of the outer dome to trace the curvature correctly.

Then came the nerve-wracking part...cutting.  I had two options....drill a large hole and try cutting with a bulky jigsaw.  Or...use the Dremel with a reinforced cutting disc.  I opted for the Dremel.  

The Dremel could do it but it required the RPMs to be pretty high.  Going slow and steady I managed to stay within my lines.  However, the Dremel was getting very, very hot so it wasn't very fun to handle, even with workgloves on.

Here's the first panel cutout!

One down, about 10 more to go!