Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Dremel Router Experiment

Okay, so Dave E. advised against trying to use the Dremel as a router (he'd said he burned one out). Still, I had a router attachment, plus an extra Dremel, so I thought I'd give it a shot. You see, cutting out the round parts requires non-straight scoring, and using a pivot-point is key. Here's the first pass (not bad!):

Unfortunately I wasn't seeing how badly the Dremel was chewing up the styrene! When I was finished, the cut just looked...REALLY CHEWED! Chewie, I daresay. Sorry, it had to be said. Romngowhawaggghayy!

Oh well! I'm going to need to reprint that pattern, and dig out hubby's proper router and go ahead with plan B -- the building of a router table as suggested by Dave E.!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Shoulder grease required

After several days of frustration attempting to cut the 3 mm styrene (thicker and utterly recalcitrant IMHO) I turned to the experienced builders at for help. I got lots of support and advice (thanks guys) and today really got on my first roll with the stuff.

Apparently one must really lean over thick styrene to get it to break. Score it and score it and score it and (ya...about 6-10 times) and then lean over the score like you mean it!!

All my upright frame supports are cut! Tomorrow I'm going to hit the miscellaneous frame pieces, then, with luck, start setting up my router system to get the curved cuts done. Could frame assembly be starting next week? Woo! Am I a dreamer? Yes!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Looking Droid-Like!

Needing to get a sense of progress, I began cutting the skins today. I got the inner ones done! The top photo is the back inner skin, and the bottom pic shows the front inner skin. Cutting styrene is really a lot more like carving: one pares down each edge using multiple gentle passes with the blade, and when it's looking like it's got a nice little styrene canyon forming it's time to put down the knife, pick up the styrene, and start bending until...SNAP! Takes a while, but it's getting to feel fun! Styrene-cutting goodness indeed!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bith, meet mathematics!

I've confirmed what I started suspecting part-way through pattern cutting: I did not buy nearly enough styrene! Yeah, those 4X8' 3mm sheets look massive, but it appears one needs five, not one! I think. And I need two more of the 1mm thickness, and 1 2X4' of the 2mm (which I'll have to drive to Anaheim to get). Oh well -- I still have plenty to get started on for now. I think.

I successfully ordered the remaining needed bits for my JEDI Control System, and I have a strong lead on an aluminum dome! I'm feeling like I can almost relax now, as the rest of what I'll need seems to be readily available. Yes, this droid-building business is soooo stressful: perhaps I deserve a luxury day. ;-)

Thursday should see some hearty styrene-cutting goodness. I think.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Hurrah! The patterns are done being cut! Tomorrow they get stuck on styrene and the REAL cutting begins...

Another small step forward! :)

It's a tiny boon, but I'll take it.

Enthusiasm Wall

No, I haven't hit the enthusiasm wall yet, but a recent post on the forums got me thinking.

It happens in every project: one starts off gung-ho, then it gets...boring? frustrating? tedious? Of course it does.

While I haven't hit a major wall yet, I'm in the doldrums, certainly, of styrene-droid building. I'm cutting...cutting...cutting. And nothing looks remotely droid-like yet.

Luckily, I know this sensation well from sewing. I really despise the pattern-cutting process in sewing! is boring defined! But it must be done. Then...the fun begins: construction!

So, I keep my eyes on the prize (actual building) and I know this boring cutting part will be over as soon as I've applied myself fully to it.

Okay! Onward and upward (and glad I keep parts-ordering dangling as a prize for each step!)...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Inching forward! And I mean inching.

Parts are arriving -- forgot to mention my utility arms and Jedi Control system arrived. Whoo! Thanks Keith and Chris! And I've started plotting the budget for the rest of the parts. I've paid for a Jedi Display system to complete the Control system -- just waiting on the build for that -- and I've set aside the money in my PP account for the most important part: the aluminum dome! It will add a bit of weight, but I've observed the "patting" R2's dome gets in public, and I just want the most solid part there I can get. Actually the poor droid should get a force-field, as some of those kids can get eeeeevil!

I'm still cutting out the pattern for my future little buddy! Oy!

Well, to be honest I've also been a tad distracted by my sudden desire to whip out a Hoth Snowspeeder jacket for CV (to add to my X-wing Pilot costume, and because I'm nothing if not easily distractible). It won't take long to actually sew, but the research (haha) took a day or so out of droid-building. Anyway, some fabric samples are ordered (along with the gloves and some other stuff), so I can get back to the business of this blog! *cough* Unless some other new shiny comes along...eep!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Progress Continues...Slowly!

Maybe I'm being fussy, and spending too much time on this part, but just taping together and carefully cutting out the styrene patterns (they're not even on the styrene yet!) is taking an age. I'm carefully marking each pattern with the width of styrene required (using a color-coding system), and then filing it by type. Crazy? I hope I'm just being organized.

Well, that's okay -- no need to rush this. There are many parts I cannot make that I need to obtain when the runs happen, so I knew going into this that it would take a great deal of time. Interestingly, I'm finding this very similar to sewing (something I'm rather good at); taking 2-D patterns and constructing something 3-D from them has been intuitive so far. /earnest fervent posting

Anyway, a pic from today's pattern cutting (and yes, our new AC was installed just in time for warm temps to hit):

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Did What I Could!

As I said, we're having new AC installed Monday -- but perhaps due to that I got one more goal accomplished: I cut down my styrene sheets even more, so now they are each 2 X 4'. Much more manageable! I also fixed up this blog a wee bit...which means those reading now can't imagine the hideous blog that I'd made before. But you MUST! Because only by comparison does this new bloggy SHINE!

New AC Incoming

Okay... had a hydrospanner (just had to use that) tossed in the works: our AC is getting replaced (hooray!) and that means my work area is cleared out for that installation. So, I just spent time doing re-reading (always healthy) of posts and blogs. Plus, have re-watched both ANH and ESB. Yes, that's research now. Remember my Very Important Research Notebook? I need to fill it with...notes. Yes.

I must admit that this droid project has revived my SW fandom. Yes, it had started lagging a bit in the last few years...perhaps I'll blog about why later, but: now it's returning! This gives me much happiness!