Build Day 23

Another short update. I’ve got my bearing all prepped, and it fits and works well. Sorry, I see now I didn’t take a picture of R5 with the bearing in place.


Anyway, I broke R5 down, and started working on some of the pieces I have, but didn’t glue on yet. Mainly, foot pieces. Then today, I cut out a couple of motor mount plates from residual scrap pieces. Some proper drilling, and tapping, and they fit in the foot perfect. Now, I need to make my hub to mount the wheel, and I need my motors to get here. I think the estimated delivery date was within the next 7 days. I’m so excited.

Then, I started cutting some .04″ (1 mm). I did a quick test on some .02″ I had laying around, to see how well the 1/16″ cutter I used would work. It worked well. So I laid it out, and cut some dome pieces. I used a 20″ swath rather than a 24″ one, because this way I will optimize my plastic as I cut the almost 20″ body pieces. But then I ran into a snag. Somehow, the PDF I used for the toolpaths was squashed. Meaning, that the circles I cut out were actually ovals. So the two rings are pretty useless. It was a waste of plastic, and I’ll need to re-cut them. Oh well

Build Day 19

I hit a milestone last night. R5 is now standing on three feet!! Still far from done, but seeing this is very satisfying. Once my bearing gets here, either today or tomorrow, it’d be even better. Now, I can move on to some of the skins. The only problem is that I don’t have the parts to make the arm boxes yet. Meaning, I don’t think I can do the front skins yet.So for now I will be laying out how I will cut the skins. I think I may do the dome first, yet there’s plenty I can do. As for the mechanics, I am waiting on my motors (should be here in a week). But temporarily, I will be using a standard radio control system from one of my dad’s old model planes. I will pair that with a Pololu board I have that converts the PWM signal to DC out. This will at least make R5 mobile, until I design and build his main computer system. I plan on giving him the works; proximity sensors galore, PIR sensors (detect human bodies), dual microphones. Plus he will have speech recognition. In essence, R5 will function and operate like a real droid from the movies. At least that’s the plan.

I’m going back to college in four weeks, so I’m a little pressed for time now. I’ll just keep working, and see how far I can get. But I know that once I’m at college, I’ll at least have time to design the main computer. That’s something I think I can have up and running by next May at the latest. However, programming in responses to mimic an AI isn’t going to be easy. And I’m an Electrical Engineer, not a Computer Scientist.

But that’s all for now. Maybe next I’ll be cutting out some skins, or maybe then I’ll turn some of the eye details or wheel hubs on the lathe.

Build Day 18

Well, three and a half weeks in, and I’m happy with my progress. I’ve now gone through the last of my .125″ plastic. So from two sheets, I have everything except for the battery boxes, the horseshoes, and the booster covers. This is including an R5 head as well, so it’s really not bad. I at least have enough to have a structural skeleton of a droid. I will soon be moving on to the skins.

As for the other parts, I have my drive wheels and bushings. I’ve got my dome bearing from Mouser on its way, as well as my motors off of Ebay.

Build Day 15

Well, I’ve ordered my motors, so R5 might be rolling around in the near future. I went with the recommended Jaycar motors, but I got them off of Ebay. I got them for about 60% list price, with free shipping. Anyway, I’ve got a handful of parts for the dome cut, but now I’m wondering about my styrene consumption. I need to cut 5 or 6 more rings for the dome from a 48″x48″ sheet of styrene. Plus all the parts for the center ankle and the triangles and uprights for the dome. I think I can do it, but it will be close. I know I don’t have enough for the horseshoes or battery boxes though; I won’t even try to fool myself.

We have a family friend coming this weekend who happens to be a big fan of Star Wars. So my plan is to have R5 semi-presentable and standing on two feet by Friday. But with orders now coming in for my business, I’m not sure how much time I can give to R5.

Build Day 12

Another small update here. I’ve now cut into my second sheet of .125″. But I’m thinking, and the next 24″x48″ chunk should be enough to finish both feet, the following one should be good for the center ankle and some of the center foot, and the final one should get me the parts for R5’s dome. Hopefully. I know now that I don’t have enough for the booster covers, horseshoes, and other details like that. But I’m not as worried about that yet. Right now, it’s all about the structural components.

Anyway, here’s a glued up leg framework. I chose to use a channel like this, contrary to the plans, because I’m not sure about how much cabling I’m gonna have to feed to the leg. I also increased the size of the slot and hole in the ankle to possibly accommodate more cabling. One of my ideas is to use proximity sensors in the back, bottoms of the feet. This way, R5 will know if he’s about to drive backwards down the stairs.Just a safety measure.

I cut out a handful more parts, then collected them all. I left it last night with some ankle parts drying,

Build Day 8

I’ve gotten a bit more done. I cut out the rest of the leg pieces and some of the ankle pieces from another 24″x48″ piece of .125″. I’ve got the shoulder hubs done, and half of each leg done. I also started gluing the layers for the ankle pieces. This here is a good representation of what you can get out of one 4’x8′ piece of styrene. Not bad. With the exception of maybe the R5 dome, it looks like two sheets can do the whole thing. I have decided that I’m gonna wait to do the skins. I’d be more than happy with a solid, rolling body, even if he’s naked for a while! So from here, I’m gonna finish the legs, ankles, and main feet, then do the center ankle and foot, then work on the dome.

Build Day 6

Here’s a short update:

I’ve cut out a third 24″x48″ sheet, this time including parts for the skirt and half of one leg. I had a minor hiccup during this cut; our router stopped working. We (my dad and I) had it all apart, and it just looks like the brushes need replacing. The bearings all look good, which was a relief. So, we’ll need to order brushes soon. Anyway, other than that, the cut went well.

And, I’ve worked on the body. Now, one thing I didn’t mention before is that I want 4 doors to open; the two tall ones, the large one next to the vents, and the upper small one on the other side of the vents. I’m not sure if they have specific names. Anyway, I have not made any access slots for the hinges on any of these doors. Partially because I’m not sure how or where to put the hinges. I’m thinking I’ll probably have the 2 smaller doors open down, so as not to interfere with the tall doors, arm boxes, or vents. So that’s something I’ll have to work out.

That’s my progress. And now I’m working on the skirt. Originally, my plan was to worry about the structure first, so I could have a rolling droid. But now I’m considering working on the body skins next. Not quite sure what my next move will be.

Build Day 4

I’ve finally been able to start my build. I’m a sophomore in Penn State’s College of Engineering, planning on becoming an electrical engineer. Even though I’ve been home from school since early May when I joined, I’ve been preoccupied with starting my own business and with raising a German Shepherd puppy. So this project got put on the back burner. But now, I’ve made some time for myself to start working.

I’m building an R5 unit, because R2 units are overdone, and because I don’t wanna rely on anyone else for parts (i.e. Dome). I have a full machine shop at my disposal, so I’m planning on making everything myself from scratch. And of course, I can make my R5 dome myself based on Dave Everett’s plans. Down the line, I’m aiming for total automation with this one. I’ve had much electronic design experience as well as robotics experience, so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Additionally, I’m gonna add voice recognition and response, which should put it over the top.

Anyway, it’s going to be R5-D5, which will have the same paint scheme as R5-D4, but in green instead of red. Part of this is because of the name of this business, D5 DEM. I thought that’d be fun, and it’ll make my droid one of a kind.

But I’m starting small. I have to go back to school by mid-August, so I know not all of this is gonna get done. My goal is to have a rolling body done by then.

Well, after waiting a week or so, I got my plastic. I went with 2 full sheets of .125″, and one of .04″ I’m assuming I may need more, but this is enough to get me started. I cut off a 24″x48″ strip and set it up in our CNC router. I used carpet tape to secure the plastic to the sacrificial pink foam, so it wouldn’t move. It was the only way to secure the plastic since I’m using such a big sheet. I used a straight flute cutter, so it wouldn’t pull up the plastic. I went with a .1875″ for this, to get the detail I needed in places. I’ve cut out two of these sheets now, each with different parts from Dave’s plans.

Afterwards, I used the scrap 8″ off the end to make some of the uprights. Rectangles are simple enough to cut by hand. After that, it was a matter of cleaning the carpet tape off of the plastic, cutting the tabs I built into the tool path, and cleaning the pieces up. I even got my younger brother to help sand and clean the pieces. I then started gluing. I’m not using Weld On, but rather I’m using Model Master cement. This is the more caustic kind that actually welds the plastic. I’ve built model cars and houses from styrene in the past, and this stuff works great. I’ll swear by it.

So as of a half hour ago, I had the base of the body glued up.