Monday, January 31, 2011

Wee Re-start

Took a bit of time off to fully heal my knee, and seem to have turned a corner over the weekend, so...slowly began droid-work again! I repainted that pesky radar eye for the last time (!!!), and started cleaning out my work area for the next bit of work. No pics, and that was all I got around to today, but I feel as if I'm back to it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Curse My Non-Metal Body!

Well my little trip-and-fall at the end of my last building session sidelined me for a couple of days. Just got x-rays, and at least my knee does not appear to be broken (although they are sending the x-rays to a specialist to be sure).

I'm able to hobble about with my shiny new cane, and I hope to be back in action tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All the Way to Eleven!!

Yep, this is the first month since I've started this blog that I've gone over 10 posts! And that was back in May 2010 -- the first month I really started building. Woo!

I'd hoped to get more done today, but we all know how that can go...

Last night when I got home from the hardware store I sorted out my swag -- I had all these little baggies from some old project, so I matched all the bolts with their nuts and washers and grouped them in the bags, labeling them by part to which they belonged.

Today I began work by fixing some things that were bugging me. First off -- the pesky radar eye just wasn't flush enough against the dome. I'd already decided it needed more paint, so I went ahead with the sanding down first.

Then, one of the panels which poked out a bit at the top got some more silicon, and a creative clamp-down.

I decided it still didn't look right (it was bowing out in the middle) so I used a screwdriver to pry it completely off. Yep! As suspected, there was just too much silicon in there!

I scraped it off both the inner dome, and the panel.

I also bent it into proper shape using my super-human strength! A thin layer of silicone, and it's fits like a charm now! You can also see where I've prepped the dome for drilling...

Strangely, I forgot to take a picture of the drilled holes. Oh well, trust me -- they're there!

Next I used a hacksaw to chop off the heads on the machine screws which will be glued into the back of the radar eye.

After placing the radar eye on the dome, marking where to drill on its underbelly, and putting little guidemarks on the side of the eye to keep things level (relatively, anyway), I used my Dremel drill press to get the bolt-holes done. Test fitted the bolts (er- screws)...looks like they'll be easy to get on the dome!

We'd decided to run out to do errands (like replacing my missing hardware) and I was getting up to get ready, when I tripped on the drill cord and went flying across the room. I've messed up my knee -- so no errands, and no more droid work this evening. :-(

Monday, January 17, 2011

This and That Part Deux

Today was almost too pretty to stay inside working on my droid...almost too pretty! ;-)

I began the day by attaching all the small skin parts that I'd needed to paint yesterday:

This went smoothly -- huzzah! One can see in the above pic one area where I failed to file down one of the frame uprights sufficiently, resulting in an unattractive bulge in the skin. Dave E warned us about this! Heed warnings! Don't be like me hahaha...

Below you can see the start of my patching job on the side where the skins don't meet. Some areas needed a small piece of styrene -- others will get some slurry (still not mixed) rubbed over them. After sanding, and a little blast of paint, I'm told it will look right as rain.

Moving all over the place again, I began the dome ring notches needed to fit the dome electronics. After the last Dremel disaster near finished surfaces I taped them off for protection.

I had hubby leave the drawing table and hold the ring down while I chiseled away at this. I made him wear a protective mask too!

After filing, the cuts looked pretty nice!

Next I tested out my Dremel drill press on a piece of scrap styrene. Woooohoooo! It's going to work!

I was planning to start drilling the dome and resin eye (and maybe the Rockler bearing too), but instead decided to jump ahead a bit and run to the hardware store for some of the needed...hardware. Unfortunately when I got home, several critical bits were missing?! How does this happen? Those bolts are hiding out in the land of the missing socks, no doubt.

Oh well...will continue tomorrow!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That

Spent the little building time I had today on a few miscellaneous chores.

First, I peeled back the masking in the radar eye to see how the aluminum paint had survived. Not bad! I had to touch up a spot or two with a silver pen, but it'll do.

After that I primered and painted the small skin bits I'd forgotten about. I'll let them dry thoroughly overnight and affix 'em tomorrow.

I had hubby hold the dome on the top edge of the dome ring so I could mark the spots that need to be cut away to accomodate electronics. I've been following Victor's blog, and I've decided I'm going to copy him, and mount all my dome electronics to the ring. I'm going to copy his "housings" too - except with stryrene instead of PVC. Thanks, Victor -- super ideas!!

Next up was test placement of the radar eye. I traced around it, and marked where I think good holes for bolts might go.

Then I remembered the radar eye lens! Omitting THAT would have been embarrassing...
I marked the inside of the radar eye using a pencil.

Then I Dremeled out a groove for the rim of the eye.

I attemped to attach the lens using CA glue, but somehow this did not work out. I've since decided to get all the mounting holes drilled first, then come back to this part. Knowing me, I'll somehow damage that lens if it's installed too early!

I got out my Dremel drill press (not yet used) and will do some tests using it tomorrow. Hopefully it will be sufficient for my needs. If not, I'll just buy a drill press! I'm off to read the manual...Happy Droiding!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Skinny-Skin Skins

Well now, THAT was a looooong day! Pretty much the whole time was spent working on my droid! I guess I really mean business now...

I began the day by sanding down one of the drips on the resin radar eye -- excuse me: the pesky resin radar eye! Here you can see a bit of what I've been trying to resolve:

I took it outside for the first of several coats of paint -- it seems to be on the installment plan, getting a few light coats every day!

Next I tackled some of the silicon that had oozed out from under the dome panels. Using a tiny screwdriver, I drove the silicon out of each tiny groove.

After that I tidied up my workstation (which had gotten crazy!) in preparation for the rest of the work I planned for today:

It's been a while since it looked that good!

I readied the ingredients for my styrene/acetone slurry -- didn't get to mixing it today though:

The last bit of dome work for a while consisted of running a thin line of silicone around the bottom of the two domes, hopefully sealing them together. I also glued in the dome bumps. I'm leaving the rest until it's time to work on electronics in the dome.

For the rest of the day I had working on the skins in mind!!

I decided I'd try to fix that yellow styrene skin bit that had crackled ages ago. First some sanding, then outside to paint (truth to tell this didn't help much -- I may just go ahead and weather it as hubby had suggested)!

In case I needed any support pieces I went ahead and cut a few small scraps of 3mm styrene. Whew, it's been a while since I did that!!!

I'd looked at several ways of affixing the skins, and decided to "paint" weld-on in sections.
I got out some cheap brushes I'd bought for this purpose, and an old can to sacrifice for the weld-on. I also tore zillions of short lengths of tape, to secure each skin section as it got glued. I had to rip tape for each section (about 7 sections in all...)!!

Before getting going with the gluing, I ran out to save my radar eye from the merciless California winter sun before it melted! I think I'm done with it. I'll pull the masking tomorrow and see how that came out.

Gluing. I pulled off a section at a time, frantically painted the weld-on on its back, pressed it back on, and taped it down solid with those little bits of tape I'd prepared earlier. This was a MESSY, frantic endeavor. The glue globs flew everywhere! Some landed on the outside of the skin. I had paper towels at the ready, but some, uh..., weathering happened yet again!

As with the inner skins, the outer skins did not quite fit, coming up a little short. I'll fill this in tomorrow. I figured I must have made my big round frame cuts a little big, but when I tried on the dome ring later IT seemed a little big! This whole thing is mysterious...

The front view:

Gluing on some of the window frames on the skin:

As it happens, I apparently forgot to paint the small skin bits -- will do that tomorrow. Right now the skin application is mostly done, and drying overnight.

Final thoughts: my aluminum "striping" seems to be holding up well, but all the little grooves will need cleaning tomorrow, as some oozing happened here and there; if I had my druthers, I'd have used the VHB tape instead of the weld-on -- I think it would have been much neater. *shrugs* Ah well -- it's a done deal now!

Aaaaand Almost Done With Dome Work For Now!

Had a busy few days, but did some R2 errands along the way (among other things, I picked up some CA glue and more clamps). Jumped back in full force today!

I started by rejoining the cycle of sand, paint, and dry on that pesky resin eye that's giving me so much grief with its drips and stuff. Still no love, as the day ended with me discovering more (new) drips -- so that cycle will begin, AGAIN, tomorrow. No pics, as I can hardly bear to look at it anymore!

During that whole cycle I worked on the dome proper. As promised, I tweaked some of the cutouts for the various resin pieces. For the most part this went swimmingly -- cutting aluminum is no longer daunting to me!

I decided, after several more test-fittings, to completely do away with the little cross-bar that separates the two front logics -- made getting everything aligned behind it much easier.

UNFORTUNATELY, I'd made a decision to leave on the outer dome for this trimming process -- it was just such a bear to align that I didn't want to ever remove it again. Earlier, I'd planned to tape off the areas around where I'd be cutting to protect the outer dome. Well, I FORGOT! And boy did I pay the price. The Dremel took one of its rare jumps, and skittled right over the pretty metal, leaving a couple of really nasty prominent gashes. I don't think anything can be done about this -- and it doesn't really look like natural weathering. Oh well!! :-(

After I'd finished trimming and fitting, and whimpering a bit about the "accident," it was finally time to glue on those yellow panels! I'd researched the many approaches, and chose silicon so I'd have a little wiggle-room when adjusting. I started with the top panels, and taped each one in place to cure. Or dry. Or whatever it's doing under there!

Then it was time for the bottom panels. I'd noticed when test-fitting that the many months of time the panels had been off the curve of the dome had allowed them to flatten a bit. This is why I needed clamps on the bottom ones -- to press them back into shape.

It mostly worked!

I finished the day's droid-work by gluing the little felt pads into my HP enclosures and making sure their bottoms were smooth.

As of right now most of the resin parts are taped in place. I may glue some of them in tomorrow, as well as run a bead of silicon around the bottom of the two domes. But first I'll have to deal with that pesky resin eye!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More Dome Work

More work accomplished today -- I decided to just cut away the dome bumps area on the inner dome for better bump fit:

That was the last thing to do before placing the outer dome over the inner, and fussing with it until it was back in position. I'm only going to run silicon around the bottom to fix the two together. The radar eye screws should hold the domes together, according to some experts!

Finally, I'm at the point of test-fitting the panels and resin parts!

I'm going to have to fine-tune some of the cuts -- will do that tomorrow. Then, hopefully glue on all those panels!! :-D

Monday, January 10, 2011

You Must Undo What You Have Done!

Yes, that's a mangled Yoda-ism. :-)

What did I have to undo? Well, a bit of painting. You see, one should not paint where one intends to apply glue, because then the bond will only be as strong as the paint's bond to whatever it's on. I guess I forgot that I'd be gluing my dome bits on, because I should have masked off the glue areas. Since I didn't, I got to sand off those areas! Extra work, just for meeee!

Once I'd finished the sanding job I decided to install the cabochons in my holoprojectors. We are warned in the instructions that this is a tricky job -- but the first one went in easily! Lulled and overconfident I became, yeessss.

The second and third cabochons took forever to get done -- and I had to invent a way! After using the retaining clip tool to get the clip in partway the tools would then fail, leaving me with a clip that couldn't be gripped! I ended up using a small hammer on a screwdriver to drive the clip down. It really tore up the inside of the HP, but I think it'll pass muster.

I'd planned to glue in the little felt bits, but the recommended CA glue was nowhere to be found amongst my rapidly-growing glue collection! Will have to go buy some later... grrrr!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dome Bits Continued...

More painting yesterday! I started by masking off the radar eye to preserve the aluminum grooves. Hopefully this will work.

First few coats of yellow, then a dry overnight before sanding. Rinse, repeat!

An example of what goes wrong when Bith uses spray paint. Luckily these drips will be hidden by the cowling. Still, really annoying!

I've just sanded and put more yellow on the radar eye...and see drips like those above. Going to let dry, sand, and try again tomorrow maybe.

Luckily there's always something else to do!