Well, this year the buildoff was held in sunny Burbank, California at my apartment complex! I have been doing some HIS work for the Providence Health Care system so I decided to take the buildoff on the road as it were instead of holding it in Texas as I usually do. Anyway, this year we focused on the Wrist and Claw buildup and animation of the club standard parts. We had a terriffic turnout and devised several approaches we could use in accomplishing our task. We had several other members show off what they had done in those areas as well. Jeff Gordon and Will Huff showed us what they had done and that was very useful in educating all of us the problems to overcome in claw and wrist articulating. As part of my usual style I never restrict my gatherings to any one type of robot venue. If any robot owner wants to attend they are always welcome because I feel there is alot of cross interest and application between the various groups and we all learn from one another. So in keeping with that, some of the members of the R2 buildersgroup attended the buildoff as well. Pretty soon the apartment complex was swarming with activity with robots of all types and the residents were loving every minute of it! Some of them more than others…….Oh….lovely Southern California ……..anyway….We also had a very special guest drop by to say Hi and make sure we were keeping our bubble headed booby in tip top shape. It was Bob Kinoshita! WOW!! What an honor and at 96 years old, truly amazing that he wanted to come out and say Hi to the group; and we got it all on DVD for those that could not attend!
Wow. What a whirlwind! The 2nd annual Build off has come and gone. We had a few astromechs here and there, a few domes to build, a few B9’s sprinkled here and there and over 35 people showed up with a lot of knowledge to share for both camps. Wayne Orr had worked for 3 long days in my garage before the build off to get his droid ready. By the build off everything was fully functional. Monty’s droid suffered a center foot problem and then a side foot drive lock up so his was out of commission by the time the rain stopped for the droid races but we all managed to have a great time. Watching my B9 robot dance and do the & Twist with the astromechs to a tune from Weird Al was very funny!!! Craig Reinbrecht showed us all how he makes ribs for his vents. Then Bob Greiner shows us how he makes ribs for the collar. Very interesting. You will see this in detail on the DVD.
Charlie Garcia described the state of the build off best by saying there were robot “….Heads, Bubbles, feet, drive motors, tread sections and all sorts of bits and pieces were found scattered all around. In fact the entire house looked like a Robot assembly plant all weekend! It was so cool! There was R2D2 Foot assembly work being done on the dining room table, (complete with hammers, and drive chain assembly) the breakfast bar was where the B9 neck and finger light assembly was discussed, Jerry’s office was where all the wiring and soldering was being done, the garage there was some grinding, filming stage, solvent welding shop, torso hook installation, the kitchen was where the collar and vent rib forming was taking place and the street was blocked off for the Droid Races….there was something going on everywhere. What a riot!” The build off was suppose to end at noon on Sunday but it didn’t actually end until 10:30pm. We continued with additional web chats and tutorials for the B9 and R2 viewers that were still watching and participating. It was a non stop blast!!!!
Getting ready for the build off. The day before the build off is to start I already have people dropping off robots, supplies and doing repairs on their robots just to get ready to do upgrades, refits and additional repairs…..of course some came a little earlier for additional assistance.
WOW, its been a year since the first build off! Where has the time gone! This year I think I will feature the resurrection of a dead torso and the problems that can and do occur with fiberglass. My original TimK torso that was damaged by a local paint shop here in Dallas. It was a beautifully prepared torso when it went in for a show room finish. We had added the SEM bumper coating material for the orange peel texture effect. Apparently that had a reaction with the solvents in the paint that was used. It caused a cascading reaction which melted portions of the torso. In an attempt to fix the problem, the paint shop dug into the gel coat into several areas further damaging the torso. Months of work and Bondo sculpting were ruined. In addition to that it looked like the torso had been dropped because the bottom of the torso had an impact fracture and raw fiberglass exposed (which they denied). We are going to show you how to fix that!
Most of us have used Bondo or similar products but most do not use it correctly and get suboptimal results. Unless you are a paint and body expert most simply do not have the exposure to master the use of this product and technique so this build off should help to select the correct product and how to use it. As we start to make our B9’s mobile we will start to see stress cracks pop up if they are not prepared correctly so we need to prevent this before they start to show up.
We will cover:
- Torso prep
- Bottom ring support to prevent stress fractures
- Donut prep including truing the donut for the rockler bearing and trimming it for twist locks.
- Selection & Proper use of Fiberglass Resin/Epoxy, Bondo, Dynaglass, Evercoat, Kittyhair and glazing putty
- Electrical setup of the B9 to allow for simultaneous AC and DC usage safely.
- This includes a detailed parts list and schematic to disengage your motor controller when your robot is charging so he wont take off on you unexpectedly while still being able to entertain the public safely.
- Use of the CF3 sound system and the 12 channel RF
- Roboduino programming and use in your robot
- Using RC relays for remote activation of robotic functions
- Remote control of the Soil sampler
- Remote control of the claws and arms
- Remote control of the bubble lifter
- Making Collar Ribs and Vents with Acrylic stock & Jigs
- How to prep and use the Replica neon back plate
- How to assemble the Brain cup and Finger Light assembly
- Copyright & Licensing issues. Fact vs. Fiction. An open discussion on what you need to know when you take your bubble headed booby to conventions and organized events.
- Live Web Chat with Dick Tufeld on Saturday.
- Droid races – for those that dare!!!
- The entire event will be be viewable on web camera and live chat at www.texasbuildoff.com
- Plus tours at the machine shop, paint and body shop and polish shop (for those that need their domes nice and shiny)
Well, The Great Texas B9 Build Off of 2008 (May 16-18) seems to have been a success! I loved it. I learned so much and it was so refreshing to see so many different types of robots in 1 place and to see how they were constructed. It was mind blowing. There were members from the B9 Club, the R2 Builders Club and the Dallas Personal Robotics Club as well as visitors young and old. Some of them stopped buy as we were setting up on Saturday morning wondering if they could buy any of them. I think they thought we were having a garage sale……
There were B9’s, R2’s, R5, Battle Droid, Pit Droid, Mouse Droids, Insectoids, a C-3PO needing plating and a Fred Barton Robby the Robot all in 1 place. And let’s not forget the Laser rifles, a working MP41A Pulse Rifle, Light Sabers, Phasers, Tricorders, Communicators and life size mannequins of Dr. Smith & Will Robinson, not the least to mention a full size, working, Jupiter 2 center flight console with a Burroughs B205 console on top! And if that wasn’t enough we got to see a 1966 Batmobile in construction. MAN is that thing BIG!!!!! You need a Batcave to house that thing!
We had a few participants take advantage of the Machinist and Painter I had reserved for this weekend. We had B9 torsos painted and R2 & B9 parts made just for this event. Lots of goodies for everybody and there was parts everywhere! Lovely…..machined……anodized…aluminum parts….Did I mention they were machined and anodized….???
Since this was a build off I had to go ahead and announce “Build your Robots”. It was like Christmas. I saw people tearing into boxes and sanding and making frames for the Astromechs. When you have multiple palm sanders going it kind of sounds like model airplanes flying around and that definitely drew attention from my neighbors. They loved it. (Not to worry, I had informed my entire block that this was occurring). They had their kids out and about looking and poking at everything. I still have a smile on my face!
My machinist even helped out a fellow builder because he wanted to make one of his own and this was “good practice”. Wayne Orr replaced his Omni Balls with Casters. My R5 did his debut at the build off. Wayne’s R2 and my R5 had a little race in the back alley…… Three aluminum R2 Frames were built. Travis Jeter finally got those holes drilled by the master himself, Mike Joyce; and finally got his bubble attached! Bob Greiner and I also fixed his waist motor mount and drive.
All in all everybody had an excellent time. The food was great! Anybody and everybody that wanted or needed help got it. We even had a little strategy meeting on how we were going to help who and when so everybody could get taken care of.
There was also 3 very important lessons that I took away from the build off. Never drive your B9 when you are tired, 2) never stack your robot with parts that are not secured and 3) always remember to turn off your receiver before you turnoff your transmitter.
What happened was on Sunday morning I had my collar and radar unit placed on my replica torso. While I was talking to a friend, I was switching my transmitter to operate another robot I had (my R5D4). When I did that, and because I didn’t turn off my receiver before switching robots and my B9 leaned over and dumped my collar and radar section onto the hard concrete, shattering all of it into little pieces. The act of the collar coming off also scratched the neon mouth opening on the replica torso. Oh, well; as Mike Joyce said, you cant make a few robots without breaking a few parts……