Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Process So Far

I took some pictures during the process. This should help visualise the chaos of droid building in a confined space.

First some of the tools on the cutting table and mat.

The first circle being cut:

Notice the amount of styrene granules AFTER I swept the tabletop to make the disc visible. I have to sweep the table after each cut to ensure the sheet stays flat on the surface.

Look closer. The flashing on the edges is NOT plastic, it's the paper templates mauled into a mess. Plastic underneath is just fine, perfect flush 90 degree cuts all around.

I stupided this next one, but as described in the earlier post, solved the problem with crossbracing.

Yes the entire area is covered in 2mil plastic sheeting.

The circular pieces I have so far. This is as far as I got before my wife's anger meter hit the "Let The Eagle Soar" level.

The skins so far:

They're incomplete, and I'm going to redo the front inner skin. It turns out I don't really want opening arm doors. I don't really know how I would get the curve on them. Dave suggested this on the Astromech forum:

"Although I have not written up a tutorial for this I have tried out several methods and found a good one.

You will find amongst the drawings a heet with little profile pieces (chords) which would go at the top and bottom of each 3mm door piece. You then need a strip to glue into the midline of this door piece that will be just as high as the highest point of the chord.

Now the skin piece is first tack glued at the high points of the chord pieces. DO NOT PUT GLUE ON THE MIDLINE STRIP. If you do it will cause a fold line in the skin piece that will look ****house.

Finish up by gluing along the edges that touch the 3mm door piece and use masking tape to pull it down tight all the way along. Then after it's set you can put a little glue into the chords to finish them up." - Dave Everett, 05-26-2009

I'm not willing to try that just yet, maybe on the next droid.

Tonight I'm going to recut the front inner skin. One thing I'd like to mention is I bought the R5D4 Dome Detail resin parts from Vince (corellianexports). This link will take you to the details. I paid $37 with shipping included. He shipped on a friday and I got it saturday. Great shipping speed, parts look great! I have been reading up on the painting of resin parts, on how to make them look metallic, and came across this great info from Muttley. I might go that route for my resin details. He shows the test results of several types of paint being applied to plastic cups. I liked the Valspar and Rustoleum the best, however there are no Lowe's around here, so I'll probably get Rustoleum from Home Depot.

Another note on painting. I got this from Dave Everett regarding painting styrene:

Here what I know up to this point.

1. Lacquer based paints embed into the plastic so they are not going anywhere. For example, Tamiya [spray] paint is brilliant on styrene, but mega expensive.

2. Find a proper plastic primer, like is used to paint vehicle bumpers. I used this on my K9 and it's not going anywhere. It comes in grey and clear so using the clear for a white droid will mean less coats of white than a grey primer. These primers will shrink and crack if you spray too much, so I did lots of light coats, I think 9 in the end to build up the primer safely.

3. Krylon makes a paint called Fusion for plastics, it's good but as it's Krylon the quality is variable. For example, after only 2 months, the paint can no longer be sprayed from the can without itleaving chunks all over your work. If you can get it super fresh, you should be alright, but it is definitely second to Tamiya or other lacquer-based paints.

It will be a long time before I paint anything. I have access to the roof of my building, so any painting I do will be going on up there, far from my wife's beautiful perfect nose.

I also know there is a parts run for aluminium R5-D4 dome parts. I think aluminium would add a lot to the weight, but if it's just the dome details, it might not be that bad. I might get those for a future droid even though I have Vince's resin parts for this one. I lost the link to that parts run. Maybe my wife deleted the bookmark when I wasn't looking, metal parts are not cheap.

I did order inexpensive aluminium shoulder buttons from commandoeight (James Vansomethingorothereen) ;-) Thanks mate! Not in yet, but will probably get here this week. It will be my first aluminium part.

Oh yeah, KEITH HENRY sent me a message saying "Tell the world I have returned!" Well, he has returned. Find him at . I just ordered some resin booster covers from him.


  1. Hey,

    don't give up on those door panels yet! I'm going to try building mine next week when I skin my droid and let you know how it went. What Dave describes is nothing other than the process you use to put the skins on the whole droid, shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    BTW, I've updated my blog with pics of my minimalist router setup.


  2. Very nice job on the skins, by the way... and I love those goggles :-)