Monday, October 18, 2010

R2LA Day!

I'm still grinning!

Yes, I had THAT much fun at my first R2LA! For those not in the know, R2LA is an Artoo Builders Party hosted in Southern California by Senior Builder (I just made up that title) Mike Senna and his gracious family. Some travel great distances to attend these fun shin-digs! Food, drink and droids -- how can you beat that? Yes, folks bring droids -- both finished and "in progress" (like mine), so there's a "show and tell" component. Some years feature tutorials, sometimes funny videos are produced for YouTube, sometimes awards are's different every time. This year we had...chicken races!! When was that last time that happened at a party YOU attended, eh?

I had decided to bring only my partially-completed styrene frame as I didn't want to hog table space with my 4 bins of droid parts. I thought it would be fun to take pics of some of the stuff I'd left at home, so I spent the evening before unpacking some stuff and setting it out on my work table for documenting in all its geeky splendor!

Some styrene (Dave E. plans) leg parts, and wood shoulders:

Some of the resin parts and the battery hoses (which were the 1st parts I obtained!):

Some of the electronics/motor stuff I'm hoarding:

Dome (I ended up bringing it) and panels:

I set my body and dome, display frames with the pics above, my builder's notebook, and cards with this blog address all out on one of the tables provided at the party. I was happy to see new builders checking out the notebook! Please to ignore the adult beverage in the shot...

At several points during the party I took the frame out to hand around, so folks could see how light, yet solid, it is. I was kind of surprised I was the only one doing the styrene build in attendance, but then again -- most of the guys built their droids quite a while ago...

The chicken races were hilarious! And I picked the winning chicken, but not the winning number... hah! My hubby came along too, and was very interested in the various droids; he was struck by the variety of approaches to the project. He did doze a bit -- I'd warned him not to! - and got the "sleeping man" treatment...heeee!

The best part, for me, was getting to spend hours talking droid! I picked up sooo many tips (wrote everything down as soon as I got home), and really studied all the different builds. I think I chatted with almost every person there (a few got away early). I wish I'd written down every person's name, though...that's one of the weak parts of my memory :-( . Hopefully some of them will comment here (hint!).

I took only the one picture above (of my table set-up), but more pics and coverage are available at Victor's blog (see links to the right). Thanks Victor, for allowing me to share this group shot of the gang at R2LA VIII below!

I can't wait until R2LA IX!! Will I have a completed droid ready by then? Here's hoping!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wee Building Day

Got my primered dome panels sanded...aaaand that was all -- I've come down with a bad cold! Droid building, along with most everything else I'm supposed to be doing, is temporarily on hold. :-(

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Moving Right Along

When we last parted, I'd anticipated Dremelling goodness. As usual, things did not go according to plan.

What was my plan? Yes, I actually had one LOL! Well, I'd decided to start by getting all the parts I plan to paint this week primered in the morning, then, while that was drying, start Dremeling away. Well first off, some reading I'd done last night convinced me to do a better job sanding and cleaning everything. Again! This time each piece got wiped down with Isopropyl Alcohol after sanding. But darn if this didn't take HOURS! Not to worry though; as it turns out, mornings right now are a bit too humid to do any I'd have to have waited anyway.

I ran a string around the groove in the dome ring so that inner part would stay nice and metally. A great tip I gleaned from being a regular reader of the forums at!

When the humidity broke, it was hot as blazes out there -- so I had to wait until dusk to get started. In the meantime I broke out the Dremel and some heavy-duty cutting disks. That's when I found out all my little drill-holes were a bit too far from my lines, and Dremelling all this out could take forEVER! Tomorrow, I'm going to drill more holes, I hope.

So, back to getting those parts primed! As soon as the balcony was in shade I went out and taped paper to the temporary painting area I'd set up. Then I carefully took all the parts out there, trying to not get my oily paws all over them. Finally, tossed on a mask, shook the heck out of two cans of primer and went to town!

Shhh -- look! R2 is wearing his skirt on his head!

A slight breeze came up partway through and I ended up painting part of my left arm heh-heh. Somehow forgot to get a picture *whistles innocently*.

Managed to get a few coats on...very lightly each time, and after everything was dry brought the parts back in to spend the night away from any dew.

Tomorrow: pretty much the same schedule as today I imagine, as I sand/wash the primered parts, and then paint at dusk. What's going to be fun is seeing the first of the YELLOW as I paint dome panels!

Any spare time will be spent re-drilling those holes on my inner dome. Wooooo -- living large I tell ya!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Countdown to My First R2LA!

Hello patient readers!

R2LA VIII is next Saturday, and, wanting to bring along a droid a bit further along I've started stepping up my work. ("Finally!" you say)

Today I did the long-avoided drilling on the inner dome. Some of the panels must be removed (for the electronics etc.) and drilling holes around each panel perimeter is the first step.

I'll be honest: this is the part I've been dreading the most in this build. I'm pretty confident around power tools, but I've never used them on metal. Especially metal with a curved surface. Did I say "curved?" -- I meant convex! Aye-yay-yay!

So, I kept hubby home, to have a buddy to hold the dome still, and paced a bit working up my courage. Finally ready, I used a nail to put a little depression to set the tip of the bit into, and squeezed the trigger! And here we have it -- lovely error #1:

Yep, the drill bit went skidding around! Okay -- turns out this is something that only vanishes with practice, and luckily, for all but one of the panels, the outer dome will hide most egregious mistakes! I'll need this practice for the final hole -- the one that IS visible from the outside. I'm going to do that one LAST! As in: later this week.

So, here's how it was done: we started with a 1/8" bit and then widened each hole with a 3/8" bit. There was a break partway through the process as we decided to run out and buy some rubberized shelf liner to sit the dome on so it would resist skidding around while under the pressure of the drill from the side.

My favorite part was using the step drill to completely bore out the holes for the dome "bumps" -- thanks for the tip on that, Victor! Here's where I am today (you can see the area I filed down too):

Tomorrow I finish the cuts and sand them down with the Dremel! Woooo! I looove my Dremel!