Light sabers, painting and power couplers

It’s been a while since my last post, but I’ve been quite busy researching various parts of my R2-D2 build. Ofcourse I got a bit distracted by my new BigBox printer, and ended up printing a light saber, which is going to be my airbrushing test object.

Speaking of airbrushing, I’ve been trying various possibilities for the metal / aluminium parts of the build. I’ve painted some sample pieces with Vallejo metal paints (aluminium, duraluminium and chrome), but have not yet been really impressed.


I do think I want to go for the not-so-shiny look of the dome from A New Hope, but won’t know for sure until I’ve also tried the solvent based Alcad II paints. I have 3 colors (aluminium, polished aluminium and chrome) to try before I can decide, but given that I need to paint that stuff outside, the gloss black primer is going to have to sit there till the weekend:


I did manage to get a bit of work done on the power coupler model, which was needed as the parts didn’t really fit together the way I had imagined they would. The fit is still a bit too tight, and I’m a bit worried that applying XTC-3D will make that even worse, so I might add a little bit more spacing.


All in all a lot of research, but all slowly taking me closer to actually building R2-D2.

Learning onshape

Appearantly creating a more complex shape consisting of multiple separate parts in OpenSCAD is testing the limits. After adding a couple of connectors between parts, the preview slowed to a crawl and exporting parts took ages. So I set out to test various CAD tools to find one that was affordable and easy to work with. For the moment I’ve settled on OnShape while I attempt to make the models for the rear door.


My biggest problem with OnShape so far is that you can only have a couple of private documents, and more importantly they cannot be more than 100Mb. Now you would figure that would be enough for some basic stuff, but with the whole version history even a simple frame as the one above takes up about 30Mb of space. I might end up having to make the design public just to get around the 100Mb limit.

Time-Lapse Contest

I’ve been busy over the last 2 weeks creating a DIY camera dolly to make a short video for the ColorFabb Time-Lapse Contest 2015. There were some issues with the dolly though, most of which are related to the resolution for the pan and tilt movements. I had the components directly on the stepper motor shafts, but even with microsteps it just wasn’t enough to do several frames per layer. Should I attempt this again, I will need to look into gearing.

LCD mounted

I already tried printing a casing for my LCD screen on the Prusa, but back then I had some issues with the piece warping and it being slightly bend, which caused the LCD to not fit. Today, I tried again, this time with this thingiverse case, which has a slight recess to access the SD card. This time it came out perfect and the LCD fit right in. I modeled in some holes in the back side and created some wedge like shaped to fit into the mount I created some time ago, and they fit perfectly. Now it’s just a matter of wiring things properly, including the SD card, but I’ll do that once I’ve got the hotend replaced by the dual head Chimera.



R2D2 & BB-8

With the new movie coming out, there is no way to miss the star wars hype. I was quite interested in BB-8, the newest droid in the Star Wars collection. During some googling, I ended up finding the BB-8 Builders Club, that offered STL files to 3D print a version. While that’s of course very nice, the real star droid of the Star Wars universe is of course R2-D2. Through the BB-8 builders club, I ended up on the Astromech forum where enthusiasts have collected almost every piece of information available about R2-D2 and his siblings. As I always wanted to create a robot, I decided to use this available information and start planning my own real size R2-D2 droid. One of the first parts has already come in (the bearing for the dome to rotate on), but I plan to 3D print most of the other structural pieces.