I have neglected this site for a LOOOONG time….

I have been updating a bit in the member forums, but had gotten away from keeping this site current. So anyways, R5 was indeed complete in time for dragonCon, and shortly thereafter, I finished him 100%
Here is a nice pic of him somebody else took at the con….

and here is a pic showing his fully completed feet and everything…

After dragoncon, I made a series of pretty serious upgrades. I more than doubled his battery capacity, going from 14ah at 12v to 18AH at 24v.
I found that at 12v the scooter drives would get bogged in carpet, so bumping it up to the 24v the motors were really designed for gives me tons more power. On flat ground he was already too darn fast, so i have adjusted my throttle curve and endpoints to keep him in check. He still is twitchy, but controllable. I also inverted the drives, placing the drive wheel forward for better turning.
I redid all the electrics, removing all my fancy relays and just going with simple switches to save power.
His battery life at dragoncon was poor by my estimation, though several other guys though that a 4 hour runtime was fine, I wanted him to run all day with power to spare. I also changed the mounting, adding a hatch on the back so that he can keep his dome on and I can power him up/down by just popping open a little door. I also installed a simple charge socket there, and he charges with a cheap 24v charger meant for electric wheelchairs.
charge station

Since completing that, I had been working on my other droid, designing the leg drop mechanism. I had it down to a setup that would probably cost $700 in parts to construct, including some custom-cut aluminum parts, but the costs of being a parent are catching up with me, and i had to cut my fun budget down to 1/3 of what it had been. so…it would take me like 6 months to put aside that cash. I decided to do cheaper things, that would take more time and keep me busy. I have been doing little cheap things to keep making R5 better, and gotten into model airplanes.

So, on the R5 front now, I decided to use the R2 style dome I had gotten for my second droid on R5 for now. I chose this color scheme partially for the fact there are 2 canon droids with these colors, one is R5-X2, the other is R2-R9. It’s like 2 droids for the price of like, 1.25 🙂

So…. this is R5 doing his very best R2-R9 Impression 😛

This was a little more involved than just removing one head and slapping on the other. The spacing at the neck on the 2 domes is very different, so I had to use longer screws to secure the dome to the rockler than I would with the R5 head. While I had the rockler off, i took it apart, cleaned it out, re-sanded, re-polished, and re-greased it since being out in the garage means it gets more and more dust and gunk in it all the time. Tomorrow night perhaps I’m hoping to give him a good dusting and bring him in from the cold to stand in the office or living room. Maybe take the place of the christmas tree 🙂
I also modified my dome drive to use an A&A gear set I picked up used recently. No slippage, and a little less noise now. I used some tamiya gear lube that came in this tiny tube with some random science kit on the gears, and put a wood screw in my frame as a stop so the gears would not mesh too deep or have pressure on them. The spring just keeps the drive gear in place, and would theoretically allow it to ride out of the track and slip if the rockler jammed. Probably has way too much spring tension for that to work properly right now, I will probably need to use a lighter spring to reflect the swing arm’s new purpose.

Anyways, next for my now R2-R9 I guess will be to get back to the periscope and lifter, and maybe some more interesting programming for the microcontrollers, and maybe even finally get that old embedded PC i have laying about installed 🙂


Glued up center foot shell

So having cut off the skirts, I glued up the center foot shell.

And a few more…

I tacked it together with the steel stik JB putty, and then googled for what sort of glue to use for aluminum, on which subject people had some very complex ideas, so I again ignored all available advice, and out of simplicity and cheapness I used…

yup, E-6000 silicone.

I’ve let it dry for maybe 6 hours then un-taped it just now (I had used masking tape to hold it together for gluing, just as i would do with styrene) and snapped these photos. I’ll let it set up for a few days to let the glue get to its full strength, then begin sanding and bondo work on it.

Outer feet still need the skirts cut off, then I can try to glue those up as well. I may also want to reinforce these with….something. Maybe just random superglued bits of styrene, or perhaps little bent aluminum scraps. Something to enhance the joints here, as it’s just 1/16″ sheet, not a lot of surface to stick to for the glue so far.

Ideally I would of course have these welded, but I am far too impatient to wait till I figure out how/when/how much that would be, and even then doubt I could afford to have it professionally done anyways.

hopefully they will hold up once reinforced, time will tell.


New wave shield sound system

OK! So I have bounced back from the accidental destruction of my rMP3 shield, replaced it with the cheaper, simpler Wave shield, and off we go!

This is pretty much how I had it set up before, but omitting the volume control, as if it is possible in software, I haven’t firgured it out yet with this shield. This is using a new library that will be checked in to the Ardu-D2 repo soon

What it does is you put a bunch of wav files on the SD card, put it int he shield, then it listen on pin 7 for a RC pulse, and if the pulse width changes, it picks a random sound and plays it. Quite simple really, just the basics since that is all I needed for now for R5. Hard to beat the price for this sound solution, the Wav shield is a very affordable $22, and the seeeduino I’m using, which is 100% compatible with the 328-equipped duemilinove is just $22.50
A lot more could be done with it too, I have just kept it simple for now.

I have also begun assembling my center foot shell, having cut off the skirt bits with a borrowed bandsaw 🙂 I have the steel stik putty holding it together for now, I am still undecided how I wish to permanently secure it. It would be strongest welded, but I’m not sure if/when i can get that done. I’ll be at least cutting and assembling the outer feet to this degree with the putty as well, then I’ll figure out how I get them more permanently and securely finished. Maybe its just lots of JB weld, I dunno.


more civilized electronics area

I will be doing a good bit more electronics work soon, and wanted a better work space for doing it. Up till now, I have been simply pushing aside whatever dusty glue covered mess i was in the middle of in the garage, pulling out the soldering station and going to town. This had drawbacks. My soldering station was always covered in metal shaving and sawdust, and paint over-spray, I had very little space for it, and the garage is less than ideal for detail work. So, i present the new electronics space 🙂

electronics zone

Much more civilized! We bought a folding table and an extra task chair at Walmart and the left half is for my electronic crap, and the right half is for Lydia’s sewing 🙂 I also brought up the MacBook to use for veiwing how-tos online and for uploading code to the micro-controllers. I’m very happy to get this all arranged.


radar eye

So I made a lens, and painted and mounted it and my radar eye.

The lens was made with a plastic ball from Micheal’s crafts, which I painted the back of with black primer. This was the item used:

It’s a 2 piece plastic ball, I think meant for christmas decorations. Its only like $2 and thick enough that it should hold up. I got the 100mm one, since I thought the curve looked best behind the eye. To trim it down to the right size I placed the hemisphere in the eye opening, and traced around the rim with a marker, then cut out the lens from the hemisphere with my dremel, then sanded it until it would sit flat against the dome.

I mounted the eye to the dome using the method in the wiki here, it is held on my 4 4-40 screw shaft superglued into small holes in the eye and bolted inside the dome. Seems secure enough.

I think the dome is looking grea tso far, and I hope to recieve several more servos and a pololu serial servo controller in the next day or 2 to continue making my various panels open 🙂


lifter prototype

So I made a quick prototype of a lifter, after much thought and reading about the old droidstuff lifter. I’m using a cheap brushed motor from all electronics, a regular 1/4-20 threaded rod, and a bunch of scrap aluminum from my garage. The only interesting part really is the shaft coupler, which I ordered from servocity. The screw drive uses a square nut, which engages the lifter bracket using a kind of clip i bent from scrap 1.16″ aluminum sheet, and the periscope bracket itself is drilled and bent from 1/8″ aluminum scrap. The rest is angle, the vertical being 1/16″ thick 3/4×3/4 and the base being 1/8″ thick 1.25×1.25

I got these miniature drawer slides at my local ace hardware, the drawback is I only get like 4.5″ of travel out of this, whereas the droidstuff lifter did a little over 6″. I thick it will be just barely enough, at least I hope so. I have diodes and limit switches I have not added yet, which will limit the travel and make sure I don’t stall the motor at each end.

heres a few more pics

in that second one you can see the crappy temporary motor mount I made. since the motor sleeve thingy is only anchored on one side it allows the motor to vibrate a lot.


foot shells!

my foot shell pieces arrived!

THis is the center foot:

And here is one of the outer feet, there are 2 sets like this of course 🙂

and fortunately i have a 2 week vacation now, so I hope to get these put together, and finish up R5 😀
Big thanks go out to JoyMonkey for cutting these for me for a very reasonable cost 🙂 I’m pretty sure I have everything required to wrap up my R5 build now, and I hope to take him out for an extended test drive soon 🙂


Homemade aluminum foot strips

This was something I had been meaning to try for a while, but I needed my belt/disc sander and had lent it to Steele 😉

Here is my results…

I made a full set for my R5, didn’t have quite enough of the right size aluminum stock for another set for R2. These turned out pretty good, but are not 100% perfect. The angle on one end of the outer strips and the center strips is supposed to be 55 degrees, but my sander’s guide plate thingy only goes up to 45, so I just did 45. The other angle is 35, and it did that one just fine. These got HOT when beveling the edges, so next time I’ll wear gloves, cuz I was playing hot potato with these a few times while making them 😛

I’ll still need to drill out the holes for the hose fittings, but that I’ll leave for another day 🙂


Servo pie Panels

so on a lark I decided to try and make a quick linkage for opening my pie panels tonight. So, with no proper tie rods or whatnot I mcguyvered it up with paper clips 😛
Anyways, it works pretty well, so i’ll probably just go with it since the cost is low. I will need a few more servos though, for the other panels. I just had these 2 and a hitec I had no servo horn for lying around.

the pie panel i showed here works pretty much perfectly, despite the ridiculous amount of play in the hinges, but the other tends to twist and doesn’t always close completely, catching on the edges of the cutout. I think I can make some guides for the hinge to keep it in line, so I’ll give that a shot and see if I can correct it.


putting hinges on pie panels, logic displays

More work on my dome, I have been putting hinges on the pie panels at the top, all except the one with the HP and the periscope one will have hinges. I know in the movie the saber launcher one retracts inward, but sorry that’s just too hard 😛 Mine will just hinge up and out like the rest. Also I dunno if this is screen accurate, but the top circle panel I will probably have swing out towards the top HP, just to have the extra mounting space for the hinge and servo on the back of that panel. again I’ll say it, simple engineering is more important to me than screen accuracy 🙂

I recieved my mcmaster hinges today, and have installed 2 tonight. I have to line them up and then put a 1/8″ spacer on the bottom of the pie panel, then I just have superglued the hinges on. I’ll see how well that holds. I hope to avoid a mechanical fastener to avoid screw holes in the dome 😛

Also have soldered in the LEDs on my two FLDs

Up till now the LEDs were just places int he holes, but not soldered in, so I soldered them. Still have to do the RLD. In that pic the right FLD is scrolling the word “HELLO” and the left one “WORLD”. That is the test sketch for the Ardu-D2 teeces logics library 🙂

February 2018
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