Reassembly of Improved JAG Frames

100_1249Before I had my machinist put the frames on a diet, I weighed them. The JAG frame weighed in at 25lbs. This did not include the shoulder hubs. After studying the frame (with my aircraft building experience¬† along with the aircraft machining experience m100_1248y machinist had) we determined what areas could be removed and what areas could be thinned to create a ribbed reinforcement.¬† The end result was a savings of 6 pounds and a stronger frame. As you can see in the base plate to the left there are depressions milled out for specific parts. Whereas the top frame ring to the right just needed to have material removed because it was unnecessary for the strength of the frame.As you can see my frame uses a rear door that is a 3/4 length door. I favor that style of rear door for several reasons. It doesn’t interfere with the drop down electronics panel and the door can swing open fully while not hitting the legs. A full length door hits the battery boxes and require substantial removal of material from the bottom frame ring. It also will not allow a drop down panel to fully extend out unless you have to remove it.

If you look closely at the hinge of the door you will see how closely it hugs the frame. Care must be maintained when adhereing your skins to ensure they are tight. If they are not your door will bind so be careful. This is where your assembly must be absolutely accurate and perfect!

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Modifying the JAG frame

OK, The build off is over and it was a great success. See my B9 blog for a detailed report. Now it is time to get cracking on my Astromechs. There are a number of things that need to be changed (IMHO) that a lot of members have asked for in their frames so I might as well try them out on my frames to see how I might like them. Who knows…maybe a new frame will come of it!! The most important features right now are lightening the aluminum frame , having a drop down electronics panel and adding a rear door. I also like adding color to my droids so I will go with the usual Blue and Red for R2 and R5. The speaker holes need to be much bigger. I want my Astromechs to be able to belt out their sounds so the crowds at conventions can hear them! Other changes to the frame I had done were impressions into the base plates and vertical support bar for things like the octagon ports. Some people had complained that (depending on what version of octagon port they had had) they didn’t fit correctly. I had both versions so I had my machinist mill out an area that would allow for proper alignment and placement of either one. James does outstanding work! He did the same thing for the power coupler and LDP.

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Building Astromechs

dsc01200I received my JAG frames just before the B9 build off of 2008 so, with the help of Guy Vardaman and my wife Kip, I started assembling them during the build off. The first step was to sand the aluminum to get a nice shine and then  proceed to assemble the frames and sub components I had already assembled earlier. Assembly went fairly fast. Within a 05-maytexasbuild-off171few hours I had 2 droids standing up and ready to run around. I was making an R2 and a R5 unit. After making fairly good progress it dawned on me that they were fairly heavy so I decided to to lighten the frame any way I could. That would require disassembling the droids and starting over. A task for another day.

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