R2 Progress: Skirt and shoulder mount system

First, as promised here is a photo of my PVC spacer system for mounting the shoulders. These spacers are cut just about 1/32″ shorter than the black PVC shoulder hub, and they offer support for tightening the bolts down while allowing the PVC hub to snug up square against the shoulder mounting plates on the body.

Over the weekend I cut the main pieces of the skirt out, but somehow messed up a couple of the measurements and had to re-cut a few pieces. I’m now officially out of 1/8″ styrene, so I opted to use some masonite I had left over from a previous project. This stuff is TOUGH! I killed 2 router bits cutting the arcs on the top and bottom of the skirt! The worst part though is it takes a LOT longer for the glue to set, but it works ok for this one part.

So on Monday, I started assembling the skirt. Here’s a shot of it partially completed:

I opted to let the glue dry on this piece before adding the curved “cone” front and back to it. So Tuesday, I did that. I had just enough “for sale” sign material left to make the front and back of the skirt. Tonight (Wednesday) I cut the ribs from 1/2″ square dowel. Figuring out the angles was tricky, and I have a little filling to do, but the ribs are now glued to the skirt.

The way this skirt goes together, the front and back curves are a little flimsy. I want this droid to be as solid as possible but still be light-weight (which equals smaller motors and batteries) so I decided to fill in the underside of the weaker areas with expanding foam. I’ve used this technique before to strengthen other props, so I figured it was a good, inexpensive way to add some rigidity to the piece.

Here it is filled with foam (which is expanding). Tomorrow it will be solid, and I’ll be able to cut it even with the bottom of the skirt. The skirt will then be ready for primer and paint:

Tonight I also finalized how the ankles bolt to the feet, and the final technique offers a lot more stability than the previous, temporary method. Pics next time.

I also worked on a temporary mounting technique for the dome ring. Basically, the dome ring will fit tightly inside the dome, and 4 bolts extend from the dome ring into holes drilled into the top of the body. This will keep the dome from sliding off. I’ll soon be ordering the lazy suzan bearing that will mount to the top of the body, then the dome ring will mount to it. Pics of that when it gets here. In the mean time, this will keep the dome on in case I have to take R2 to a couple of events before I can purchase the bearing.

Here’s a fun pic I took tonight. One great thing is that most of this droid screws or bolts together. I could pretty much completely disassemble it if need be. Here you can see the legs, ankles and feet (still bolted together) and battery boxes.I opted to try velcro to attach the battery boxes, which will provide easy access to the bolts holding the ankles to the feet if needed.

After bolting everything back together tonight, I picked R2 up to move him to his temporary spot in the dining room. As I picked him up I realized he’s getting heavier. I decided to find out how much he weighs. Currently, without the skirt, R2 weighs in at 26 pounds.

Next steps: Paint the skirt and work out the attachment system for that, make up the outside of the feet (I’m considering ordering resin-cast half-moon details), then start trying to finish up the dome while waiting for the skins to arrive.

That’s all for tonight. MTFBWY!

-Doug

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