Saturday, May 31, 2008


..Now comes the door panel removal using the 1/16" router bit used in etching the body tube to cut out the equipment bay and utility doors. Do the door cutting in two more passes to avoid breaking the router bit. The bit makes perfect cuts, it will look like a 1/16" laser cut it. Set the router with the bit back into the previous etching as the guide to reset the angle track guides onto the body tube, then clamp them down. Do two more runs with the router, increasing the depth with each pass. In my case I have many doors to cut out. so it takes time, but not so difficult.

Any little corner errors or zingers etching with the router can be fixed with a razor-blade, polyester body filler, and 200 grit sandpaper.

After the rear equipment bay door is cut, the body still is very strong, the thin area above the rear access door is much stronger than I expected. Do not worry about it breaking or cracking in this area......It wont.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Kitchen Table is a Mess

I cleaned up all the PVC shards for the third time from the kitchen floor. All vertical grooves are done, and I have started the lower horizontal etchng on the body tube. The cleaning takes almost as much time as the etching. The PVC material is extremely static, and only a vacuume will pick up the mess. I put all the tools and parts on the kitchen table, and dining in my home is relegated to the coffee table after a house cleaning.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Etching the body tube

Tonight I started etching the body tube. This can be done very easily, but a few steps are needed in preparation for each line. A pilot dimple should be drilled at the beginning of each line, then the router bit with a nice depth setting needs to be set into the dimple, then the aluminum angles are snugly set along each side of the router, next the router is slid to the end of the intended line, to double check the straightness. If all looks correct, the angles are snugged down, and they act as rails.
on both edges of the router, a 1/8 strip or shim is adhered to the bottom of each side to keep it from wobbling on the arc of the body tube. Simply place the router bit in the dimple, flip the ON switch, and rout to the end of the intended line, carefully flip the switch OFF, then remove the router from the rails after the bit stops spinning.

For the Horizontal grooves, just use the metal adjustable guide that comes with the router, Its very easy, and faster than the vertical grooves

This pic is not great because my camera batteries died and I had to use my mobile phone camera.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


This weekend I started constructing the utility arm enclosures..They are composite box structures skinned with aluminum and aluminim angle on the corners drilled for servo-motor mounts. this is entirely decided by the individual builder. I cannot really instruct the method in building these, but only minimal skill is required in measuring and fitting the cardboard patterns used to create the metal and composite boxes. It all depends on how many functioning utility devices will be used. I may have gone a little overboard for such simple boxes, but I want this thing to be absolutely indestructible as well as practical enough to be able to mount any motors or devices I could foresee in the future...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Starting R2's Head.....

Today was spent doing the primary layout for R2's Dome. His head will include moving Holo-projector, Working data and logic displays, and the all important radar-eye.
I created a Jig out of a simple strip of auminum, and after I marked the measurments for panel spacing on the dome, I drilled 1/16" corresponding holes in the jig. This allowed a Razor-point pen to be inserted into each hole, and rotated around the dome, creating flawless circles for his dome panels. After the panels are all marked, another jig will be made for a rotary cutter, and the panels will be etched into the dome. The Periscope panel will actually be cut out completely to be added to the top of R2's pop-up periscope.