Wednesday, March 6, 2013


The last time I had a chance to work on Arfour seems like a lifetime ago.  The last post on here was from July 2011.  Since that time a lot has changed, while Arfour stayed in the same basic look as she does in the photo shoot:  I've gotten a new job, moved myself and the family 600 miles from our old home, gotten into road cycling, lost 50 lbs.  Through all of that I've had the want to get back to work on Arfour, but I've made excuses.  The biggest deal is that I had to take her back apart, and work on detail work and electronics, both of which are daunting to me. 

Last weekend I took the plunge and got her back to a state where I can work on the main body putting the outter shell on.  I am going to need to do some repair work on the frame from the move, and there are still some design questions I have to figure out before I can accurately bond the shell onto the frame.  The big difference for me personally is that I think I'm more willing at this point to be patient with the project and look at what is needed versus trying to get her up and mobile as quickly as possible.  My current goal is to have her to a displayable level, hopefully with basic motor control, by the end of the summer.  Right now my goal is to work on it for an hour or so a couple times a week cutting out parts that I still need to finish, and basic prep work on the frame.  Then once the weather improves a bit I can work on the actual build portions.  I also need to spend time learning to solder, as well as learning how to program the Arduino.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Photo Shoot

I had a chance to take R4 for a walk today under human power (hopefully there will be a post soon with her doing a walk on her own power!), mostly because I wanted to get some better shots of her in natural sunlight instead of always inside the house.   I'm happy with her progress, and how she looks.  After taking a few shots I noticed that the center ankle isn't straight, but it should be easy enough to fix.  You can see all of the shots on the photo stream on the top right of the blog, but I'm posting up a few of my favorite shots on the post as well.


Center Foot

 It was going to be another hot day, so I got an early start working on the center foot.  My goal was to get the rest of the parts cut out, and maybe get the bottom, front and back glued on.  That said, I managed to get most of the main pieces cut out and glue onto her, and play around with how I'm mounting the foot to the ankle (which isn't going to be how I deal with it going forward, mind you.

As it stands, it looks really nice.  I'm pleased with the progress, and I just need to get the tops put on before I start skinning it.
I did make another variation from Dave's plans (which for the most part I do not do, as they are so well planned out), but I drilled out a hole to put the bolt in.  Originally I was going to keep with my plan to have just a single bolt and a nut on the opposite side, but so far this has been increasingly impracticable.   Just bolting the foot on was a challenge without the top on it, I cannot imagine what it'll be like when I cannot use the top to hold the bolt in place.

What I'll do is either is have the center of the ankle be threaded, or mount a nut into one side of the foot.  And I still need to determine how I'm going to conceal that access hole.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Foot Work

Right now I'm spending more time on doing minor parts, as I save up the cash to get the last few parts I need for the R/C work to be done.

Center Ankle Lock -
I completed the work on the center ankle locks, and they are definitely holding the foot in the proper position.  I'm going to have to modify them slightly to get the foot shell in place as I finish building that, but I don't expect that to be a major issue.

Center Foot Shell -

I started cutting out the center foot shell.  I'm still trying to figure out if I want to make it a removable shell or just glue it to the wheel support structure.  I think I'm going to work from the "make it removeable" aspect, as I can change my mind easily enough afterwards.

Main Foot shells -

I've also been working on fleshing out the rest of the outside of the main foot shells.  They are coming along nicely, and I've done some preliminary sanding on them to clean up some of the edges.  As you can see, I've gone with a similar idea to Calvin's door approach, although I'm guessing I'm going to modify it to be more like the DaveE center foot plans than the door that Calvin currently has in place.
On Calvin's design the wheel cavity is larger, and thus the 1mm detail area that makes the door is stronger from the 3mm around it.   I'm still having to play with this area, though.  I've also been working on the top of the shell, and getting it fleshed in an attached.  I'm learning more camphoring techniques that are working really well, so overall the process is going well, although getting all the parts just the right size is very tricky.
The Battery box side is being tricky because of the curve.  Because I have plenty of 1mm sitting at the house, I think I'm going to try warming up a section in hot water before looking to get .5mm to work on the curve.  That said, I'll work with what makes sense.  I did add an access hole to the top of the shell on the battery box side, as I really like how the bolt is working for me there.
 It should be covered by the battery box, and if not it should be close enough to not have to stress on it.  I can reach the other side of the bolt with a wrench through the access door, so removing the foot from the ankle shouldn't be an issue.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


As a quick timeline of important steps on this project -

August 12, 2010 - We attended Celebration V in Orlando, FL.  I was introduced at this point to the "Droid Builder's Room" and got to talk to a bunch of really neat folks that were all in various stages of building a droid.  At this point, I was thinking "wow, this would be cool"

August 13, 2010 - I take to plunge and join the builder's group.  I start figuring out which droid I want to build.

August 16, 2010 - The first official blog post (before I started posting to this blog)

November 2, 2010 - I start a new blog dedicated to the build of the droid.

March 24, 2011 - Megacon 2011.  The spark that got me moving on my droid again!

July 7, 2011 - The first time I get Arfour standing on all 3 legs!

I'm really pleased that she's standing, but it looks like I'm going to have some fixing to do on the legs to get the a little more straight.  All in all I have to say this is probably the best feeling I've had since starting the project. I may need to find a better center caster, and I'll definitely need to get the lock built for the center foot.. but.. ARFOUR IS STANDING!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Christmas in July!

One of the things in this build that you have to be conscious about going into it is that things take time.  If you are getting in on build runs, or just ordering parts, it takes a while for everything to show up.  The last few weeks have felt like Christmas for me, because I've had a lot of parts start showing up for the next few phases of the build.  

Just in the last week I've had the wheels, motors and J.E.D.I. control show up.  By the end of next week I'm expecting that I'll have the power distribution board in.  I'm hoping that by the end of July I'll have the money together to have the motor controller and radio transmitter/receiver in.  Now I just need these stinky feet done!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Working on the "curve"

I have to say, most of the curved parts that I've had to work on so far I've found really awesome ways to work through.  Be it using the trim router per Dave E's plans, measuring and getting the right hole saws of various sizes, or using a dremel with a hole cutter on it, they've all come out looking really nice.  That said, the curves where the battery boxes sit are probably going to end up being the most challenging parts that I've worked on:

The trick is that the curves here do not make an exact circle, so it becomes challenging.  Given that I took trigonometry in 1990-1991, I'm going be really challenging myself to find a smooth solution to cut these particular parts.

Should be interesting to see how it turns out!