Sunday, December 18, 2011

My first lightsaber build

So, I began a couple side projects.

I'm starting on my first personal lightsaber.  I originally planned on doing this build about 5 years ago and put it off for my droid build.  My build will be a Sith blade and I have the hilt on hand as well as the Petit Crouton 1.6 board.  Not sure yet if I am going to go with a Deep Red LEDEngin 5W and overclock it to 1.5 amps, or with a Seoul P4 overclocked.  My understanding is the main difference between both is the hue of the red - the LEDEngin Deep Red is much closer to the crimson Sith blade, while the P4 has a slight orange tint.   I would love to up the saber to 10W, but not sure that I really want to deal with the headache of cross wiring pads on a 10W star.

I should be able to get a start on this sometime between Christmas and New Years.

Meanwhile, here are some pics of my first lightsaber build. I couldn't post these as this was a gift for a friend and I didn't want to tip my hand too early. I delivered the saber yesterday.

This was my first attempt at scratch building a saber. This one was made from some PVC tubing that I had on hand, an extra blade and a Seoul P4 Red electronics kit from TCSS. No sound in this saber, just a simple on/off LED circuit.

The saber appears to have an orange-ish/yellow appearance in the photos. I assure you, it is a very bright red.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Some news and a couple side projects

It's been quite a while since I had a moment to update this post.  This month marks 4 years as a member of the R2Builder Group and I've made a lot of progress over the recent years.

October/November provided quite a bit of action for Artoo with events - Buffalo's 2nd Annual comic convention at the Buffalo Library, among trick or treat events (Safe and Seen Halloween at Erie Community College, appearances at my church for our annual Trunk or Treat event, Halloween day in my neighborhood, and even an appearance at my children's elementary school for a Star Wars movie night). 

Needless to say, we both are getting some much needed downtime before two planned January events.

Ok, well, he is.  I've been working like mad with my job as of late and my planned maintenance period has quickly been disappearing.  I had planned on disassembling and inspecting the shoulder area and thanks to the generosity of a member of my church, replacing the shoulder panel on the frame with a machined aluminum part that will lock my legs in a three legged position.  I have been having difficulty navigating Artoo over bumps as the front casters will catch and stop his forward motion, while the outer legs, driven by the motors, continue moving forward.  This brings him to a standing position, with the potential of him tipping forward.  Thankfully, he hasn't fallen yet while controlling him and I would like to prevent that from happening at all.

I also plan on upgrading the caster set up in the center foot to better navigate cracks in the pavement or small bumps along the way.

The rear door still isn't installed.  I have vacation time coming up at the end of the month, so hopefully I'll have some time to do some building.

I have a couple side projects going on.  Based on my E11 blaster project from a couple years back (I posted my progress in this blog - check July-August 2009), I started a Fleet Trooper blaster.  I haven't gotten far with it as I put it aside temporarily, but its something that I do plan on completing over the winter.  Maybe.

I have also created my first LED based lightsaber.  I just completed a fully scratch built saber made from scrap PVC, a sink pipe, spare blade that I had kicking around and about $20 worth of electronics from The Custom Saber Shop.  I can't post pics of it at the moment, but I will get some to post soon.

I have also started another more advanced saber.  This is a project that I put aside to take on the Artoo build, so it's a good 5 years in the making.  One major benefit of holding off is the advancement of technology.  TCSS introduced the the Ultrasound saber sound and while I was setting aside money for a build, went out of stock for a long time, until the US 2.0 was released.  Both boards had mixed reviews, although were generally accepted as a good board.  Advancements over the years brought about revisions in the coveted Crystal Focus board from Plector Labs, and more recently, the Petit Crouton as designed by Plector Labs.  I commissioned a saber over the summer with a Petit Crouton (PC) 1.5 board and am happy with the board, however, due to some error (or poor judgement...) on the sabersmith's part, I cannot custom tailor the saber is it's designed (I won't mention the sabersmith, however, I will say that he will no longer see my business as there seems to be a lack of communication on his part to resolve this issue).  I am, however, pleased with the board and the construction of the saber overall is nice.  Short and long - it's usuable.

I've just decided to take it a bit further.  I now have a hilt put together and have purchased a Petit Crouton Rev 1.6.  I have some more components to acquire, but will soon start on this build.  I'll post pics as I go along.

That's all for the moment, more news and some pictures to post soon.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Recent events

It's been a while since I updated this site.  Summer is going by so quickly and I have been busy with lots of non Artoo stuff.  Since the last post, he has attended two events - the Buffalo Bison's (AAA baseball) Star Wars night and a Weird Al concert in Buffalo.
Both events went well and Artoo was well received by the crowd, posing for pictures and mingling.

I haven't received pics yet from the Weird Al show, but I did get to meet fellow R2 Builder, Jon Stokes, and had some time to compare builds and ideas following the event.  Jon S. was in town with his droid and had the opportunity to join Al on stage for the event.

More to follow as I have more parts in progress, and thanks to Jon S, some ideas on how to finally mount Artoo's rear door.

WIVB Channel 4 contest winner and characters.  June 11th 2011

Jon Stokes droid on the left, mine on the right.  This was taken after the Weird Al concert at University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, July 14th 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dirty Li'l Droid

I had a filming engagement a couple weeks back in preparation for an upcoming event.  Time to make Artoo look like.... well, Artoo. 

Since Astromechs are mechanics, hanging around the oiliest, dirtiest, grungiest parts of starships, it's only natural for these droids to stay clean for an average of 2-5 mintutes...tops.  I had planned on weathering my droid from the very beginning of the project and any little mistake that was made in building has somehow been incorporated into the weathered look.

Nothing like a bit of "dirt under the fingernails" to complete the look.

I used Testors model paints (water based acrylics) and lots of water to create the "oil".  Just slop it on and wipe it off.  I had to do this quickly, hence no pictures of the process, but the results turned out really well. 

More updates to follow, battery boxes are in process and I have two foot hoses completed.  Still working on the back door, but I think for this event, I'm going to run with the door off (Artoo will be in a roped off area for safety).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Race Is On...

It's been quiet on my post, but I've been working like mad trying to replace parts and get things ready for events this year.  I have new parts that I'm working on as well as some older parts that have been sitting a while that I finally installed. 

I have been working on construction on the foot shells.  The front (center) shell is done and waiting installation, which I will need to modify the center leg to do so.  I'm still trying to figure out the best course for that...  The outer shells are almost complete.  These pics are a couple weeks old and I have made some more progress on them since.

I have my second pic flasher board completed and ready to test.  While I was doing that, I also started working on the wiring for the 108 LEDs that will be installed.  I have 42 wired and installed at the moment.

Of course, while I'm working, I gotta have some inspiration....

Back in November, I ordered skins from Chani to replace the ones that I made a couple years back.  I had never worked with styrene before that time and it really showed in the over cuts and scratches.  When I taped the skins together (3M VHB tape), I never got them seated properly and had some buckles.  I actually broke an area when I tried to correct it, so I left them and had since intended on replacing them. 

These are the new front skins.  I glued this set together rather than use the 3M tape again.  I was able to seat them where I wanted and make minor adjustments before the glue cured.  These are also pre-sanded and have a better feel to them. I painted them with Rustoleum Satin White to match the color and texture of the legs.  I never bothered painting my older skin set as I had decided on replacing them almost immediately after I installed them.

Don't get too used to this new clean paint job....  It's not gonna last long, if you know what I mean...  ;-D

I added some resin pieces that I have had sitting around....again, I wasn't going to waste time installing them on the old skin set, so I was pretty excited to get the opportunity to install these parts.  Just a couple more details closer to completion.

Hope to have more to show in the near future.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Field Trip

Took the family to Rochester, NY this weekend to celebrate my oldest daughter's 8th birthday.  While there we stopped by the Strong Museum of Play.  Had a great time just having fun "being kids", and playing with our girls.  Of course, walking through a toy museum, they have some of the coolest stuff.  I've been through the museum before, but this time, I got some decent pics of the displays.

I'll have some more updates on Artoo soon.  Working on footshells, battery boxes and skins.  I need to complete this work prior to May as I have a major event scheduled in June.