My B9 Experience /b9 Lost in Space Robot Building Blog Sat, 02 May 2015 17:54:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lost in Space Robot Building Blog My B9 Experience no Lost in Space Robot Building Blog My B9 Experience /b9/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg /b9 New, updated Drive system /b9/?p=603 /b9/?p=603#comments Sun, 01 May 2011 23:52:55 +0000 /b9/?p=603 Here is the new updated drive system for the tread section of your B9. We now have casters for the front rotation where the omniball use to be. This makes the B9 quiet on asphalt or concrete surfaces b-9 drives 001 b-9 drives 002 b-9 drives 006 b-9 drives 007 b-9 drives 008

Original article: New, updated Drive system

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Robocon 2011 was awesome!! /b9/?p=536 /b9/?p=536#comments Sat, 16 Apr 2011 19:24:14 +0000 /b9/?p=536 Continue reading ]]> Attending this years Robocon put on by Charlie Garcia sponsored by Starfest in Denver, Colorado was excellent. We had much more robot participation and this year had special appearances of the Lunar Lander from the Google team Giant Leap which is sponsored by our very own Mike Joyce. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am proud to be associated with the Lander. Getting our robot up to the moon will be a challenge but it will be great if it gets there! Craig Reinbrecht’s robot costume was awesome. When Tony got inside it was an immediate flashback to the days of Bob May donning “the bucket” for the Lost in Space Show. It brought that cackling cacophony of moronic notions to life! I loved it and so did sooo many other people!!! But getting Tony in and out of the bucket was not so simple (oh, the pain)! I essentially was dead-lifting Tony out of the suit. There was also some excellent work from Bill Hedges on his Tauron Space Crab. I really liked that thing. The only thing I would change would be the spikes. I would make them soft rubber so they wont hurt any one if they get snagged and they wont get broken off (which happened a couple of times at the show).  We had 3 B-9’s at this show plus a Tauron Space Crab, A Lunar lander, 1 mouse droids, 4 R2 units, 2 Gonk droids and 2 scrubber droids. Not bad but it was crowded.We will need a bigger room next time.  Bob Griener and I promised we would get our robots up there next year together…….I hope we can find the time to do it but if we do, they are going to need an entire wing if I can get Wayne Orr’s 30′ trailer. I have 15 robots I can bring….and some of “them” have “friends”. :)

For those of you who maybe considering a B-9 costume, here is what Craig’s robot looks like inside. The optimal size occupant is approximately 5’7 to 5’8″ and a slender to medium build. Lew tried first but he couldnt get his shoulders through the  base opening in the torso. The 2nd hurdle was getting your arms through the torso holes. The 3rd hurdle in this case was not to break the soil sampler when stepping into the leg section.The final hurdle is not being claustrophobic! It gets warm in there and there is very little room inside that bucket. Heat and darkness tends to make some people panic and difficult to breathe. 

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Original article: Robocon 2011 was awesome!!

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The 2010 B9 Build Off DVD is Out!! /b9/?p=530 /b9/?p=530#comments Sun, 05 Sep 2010 18:50:38 +0000 /b9/?p=530 Continue reading ]]> The 2010 California edition of the Texas B9 Build off is now available for sale. Go to to order that DVD and past B9 build offs as well as other robot build days and celebration events.  Each DVD is $20.00 separately, $35.00 for two, or $45.00 for all three and includes shipping anywhere in the world.

Original article: The 2010 B9 Build Off DVD is Out!!

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2010 B9 Buildoff /b9/?p=475 /b9/?p=475#comments Mon, 31 May 2010 15:03:02 +0000 /b9/?p=475 Continue reading ]]> 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!    


Original article: 2010 B9 Buildoff

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New Projects in the works… /b9/?p=467 /b9/?p=467#comments Sat, 30 Jan 2010 22:39:30 +0000 /b9/?p=467 Continue reading ]]> I have a couple of new projects in the works with  fellow B9er’s that I hope will benefit club members a great deal. I will be refitting my B9 with new servos to make my arms fully articulated to add that final touch of realism that I have always wanted to add. Basically I will be using T. Sekio servos for the shoulder and elbow functions with gear motors for the wrists and claw functions all controlled with Arduino and Rododuino cards for a combination of Macro and RC controlled arm movements. More to come in the coming months. I will also be listing out the club drawings pretty soon for the club members. Both generic build and assembly view to aid builders on what goes where and who’s stuff will work with what.  There are a couple of other neatr things also being looked into like spun aluminum donuts, wrists and special light weight claws. This will make a super strong parts that are very light for a mobile B9.

Original article: New Projects in the works…

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Bob K models the build off T shirts /b9/?p=466 /b9/?p=466#comments Fri, 30 Oct 2009 21:58:11 +0000 /b9/?p=466 Continue reading ]]> Bob liked my B-9 T-shirt so much that I sent him and Mike a few shirts. It took a little while but they finally showed up after a few weeks after the dinner I had with him and Mike.  Mike was kind enough to send me these pictures. Thanx Mike!!

Original article: Bob K models the build off T shirts

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The 2009 Buildoff DVD is Out!!! /b9/?p=463 /b9/?p=463#comments Sun, 18 Oct 2009 17:13:26 +0000 /b9/?p=463 Continue reading ]]> DSC04101Thats right. For those unlucky people who werent able to attent this years B9 Buildoff the DVD is out and it is full of  helpful tips, tricks and tutorials! Just like last year you can get your DVD direct from the maker himself, the same guy that does the R2LA videos, Michael McMaster. You can click at the bottom of the Texas Buildoff website at or you can go to his website at They both take you to the same place. You will pay him directly for the DVD. This disk is full with over 6 hrs of tutorials, PDF’s and lots of photos. The DVD features the use of various body fillers like Bondo, Evercoat, Kitty Hair, etc for repairs and construction, How to properly prep the donut for a mobile B9, How to use acryllic to make B9 vents and ribs,  Wiring 12/24v power systems for failsafe operation and internal charging capability, proper event protocol and insurance coverage plus alot more…..

Original article: The 2009 Buildoff DVD is Out!!!

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An evening with Bob Kinoshita /b9/?p=430 /b9/?p=430#comments Mon, 07 Sep 2009 16:36:38 +0000 /b9/?p=430 Continue reading ]]>

023Being in California definitely has its advantages. One of those rare opportunities occurred yesterday (Sunday evening 9/6/09) that I would not have been able to take advantage of had I not been in the area. I was asked (with little warning) to have dinner with Bob Kinoshita (The designer of both Robby the Robot and the Lost in Space Robot). A rare opportunity indeed for not just a few weeks ago Bob suffered a mild stroke affecting his left leg. He is doing better now and for someone 95;  amazingly sharp and articulate.  He says his trick to living this long was to drink 2 ounces of apple vinegar everyday.  We talked about the construction of the B9 Robot and of Robby the Robot.  He wanted to know if I had a name for my B9. Of course, keeping with the same irony style of the show, Neanderthal Ninny came to mind but so did so many others like Cackling Cacophony (my favorite) but I said no, just Robot! :) He laughed. Bob told me how he hand made the bubbles and how he was able to replicate the same shape and size even though they were done by hand. He said “…they weren’t hard to do at all if you knew what you were doing and had a lot of practice at it”. I didnt know he actually made any part of the robots. I just thought he designed them. Bob then went on to ask how many people were in the B9 group. When I told him over 500 and that some were as young as 7 he was very happy!!  He said he also wished there was a Robby group as well and that its a shame there wasn’t one.

He really liked the art work on my T shirt and wanted a copy so I will send him and Mike Clark a shirt. I’ll also send him a copy of the build off artwork that had both Robby and the B9 on it. Bob then started talking about Robby the Robot. Bob said when he designed Robby, in regards to his mouth,  “The neon rows were to come from the outer edge toward the center as he was talking, not on and off like the Lost in Space Robot neon”…..”but they didn’t listen to me when they were making Robby”. Also “they didn’t do a very good job putting him together. They were sloppy and I had to check their work allot”.  Bob then then asked me something….. “Do me a favor, when you work on your Robby please make your neon work the way I intended it to”. I told him I would and I would make him better than what he is currently. He said “great”. Later on he went on to say “There was 1 scene I wished they had extended [in Forbidden Planet]……the scene where the cook (Earl Holliman) was getting drunk with the Robot). I really liked that part…..oh well”  and we then went into a number of design issues that weren’t done correctly in the Krell laboratory. Like the spinning tubes that measured the IQ – the inner tube spacing was suppose to be 1″ apart not 2″ which was how they were actually built. The intended effect was a moire’ pattern however that was not seen on the screen because of the error in construction….things of that nature…then we turned back to the B9 robot again……and those pesky rubber legs…oh boy …that was a tale. Bob was glade we (the club) had fixed those pesky legs. He hated them. “It made the robot look cheap”. Originally the robot was never intended to have a human occupant inside because they knew it was dangerous. A sudden stop or turn could result in disaster if anyone was inside so they tried to get the robot to respond and move the way they wanted to without anyone in it but it just wasn’t good enough. That’s where Bob May came in. They needed an operator who could bring that robot to life.” I was truly amazed at Bob’s attention to detail and recall. Truly an enjoyable evening, one I will never forget. Many thanks to Mike Clark for making this happen. Oh, bytheway… on the Lookout for Robot Memories on DVD coming soon. Mike was delayed getting that out because of previous commitments but that is all in order now (per Mike Clark)!! :)


Original article: An evening with Bob Kinoshita

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A visit with Dick Tufeld /b9/?p=422 /b9/?p=422#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2009 01:48:44 +0000 /b9/?p=422 Continue reading ]]> Dick and JerryLast night I had the honor of visiting Dick at his home in California to thank him in person for his time, effort and support of the B9 build off. I know everybody absolutely loved the interview that Dick did at the build off. It was one of the main highlights! The experience was humbling and amazing.  Guy Vardaman was with me and Dick proceeded to tell us about his experiences with the show as well as another sci-fi show he did work on called Space Patrol. If you want to see pictures of a very young Dick Tufeld, look on page 256 of that book. I barely recognized the man!! He then showed us around his home, we saw some very interesting Lost in Space memorabilia just lying around, and then we got to see his pride and joy…his grandchildren. Awesome! What a visit!!! One I will not soon forget!! I think it would be neat if Dick had a full sized robot in his house!!! He seemed to like that idea as well! :)


Original article: A visit with Dick Tufeld

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Interior of Hero Robot /b9/?p=417 /b9/?p=417#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2009 21:15:15 +0000 /b9/?p=417 Continue reading ]]> real_robot_011If you look closely you will see the back side of the original switches in this torso. This doesnt really help much in that these could of been protective covers to protect Bob May while he was inside the the suit. Also note how the switches were set into a plastic backplate of sorts. Very interesting how it was installed. I wish there was a greater detailed shot for us to examine.

Original article: Interior of Hero Robot

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Original type of teeth light switches used on the Hero Robot? /b9/?p=398 /b9/?p=398#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2009 14:25:43 +0000 /b9/?p=398 Continue reading ]]> DSC03818While attending a local building event in Yorba Linda California, a friend of mind (Max Cervantes) brought by a selection of switches that look like they may have been of the type used in the original robot in the series of Lost in Space in the 60’s. Of the 2 sets presented the larger of the 2 sets seems to fit the bill.  Brian Nix thought the larger set looked very close  (if not the same as) the originals. The set with the brass colored barrels is the smaller set. Take a look at them and let me know if you think either one is the set. If they are then these are in deed a rare find as the switches used in the hero robot havent been made for some time. To date I havent seen any documented pictures or specs of what the orignal switches actually looked like (other than the front facing). So, if anyone can provide additional information it would be appreciated.


Original article: Original type of teeth light switches used on the Hero Robot?

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B9 doing the Twist /b9/?p=386 /b9/?p=386#comments Sat, 23 May 2009 18:25:13 +0000 /b9/?p=386 Continue reading ]]>

Here is a short video of my B9 twisting and bowing up and down to some Weird Al music in the background which you may not hear. The other Droids pictured are Monty & Jeff’s Astromechs.  Monty’s droid was playing the music!

Original article: B9 doing the Twist

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2009 Build Off /b9/?p=371 /b9/?p=371#comments Mon, 18 May 2009 21:16:51 +0000 /b9/?p=371 Continue reading ]]> dsc03555Wow. 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 actualdsc03556ly 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!!!!


Original article: 2009 Build Off

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Getting Ready for the Build Off /b9/?p=361 /b9/?p=361#comments Fri, 15 May 2009 04:02:50 +0000 /b9/?p=361 Continue reading ]]> dsc03463

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.




Original article: Getting Ready for the Build Off

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Torso Hooks /b9/?p=352 /b9/?p=352#comments Tue, 12 May 2009 16:14:01 +0000 /b9/?p=352 Continue reading ]]> torso-hooksHere are the Torso Hooks I had made for the build off. These are free for those that are attending and are building a B9. These are made from 2024 Aluminum and are welded so they are sturdy. The underside of the hooks are drilled and tapped for 10-32 so you can secured them to the torso in a clean fashion. However; if you are a purist, you can drill the outside of the hooks and place slotted screws for attachment to the torso; or you could do both. Its the builders choice. These will sell for 50.00 on the B9 board.


Original article: Torso Hooks

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Charging Setup of my B9 **Updated** /b9/?p=325 /b9/?p=325#comments Mon, 11 May 2009 03:08:24 +0000 /b9/?p=325 Continue reading ]]> Bob Griener has done an excellent PowerPoint presentation for the build off of the Charging circuity of my B9 system as well as an excellent tutorial on how to properly set it up using the listed relays and wiring scheme depending on the battery layout your robot may have. I strongly recommend you follow and use this guide. Bob will go over this design in detail at the build off in a webinar (web seminar).

Original article: Charging Setup of my B9 **Updated**

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New Bubble Lifter Design /b9/?p=314 /b9/?p=314#comments Sun, 10 May 2009 11:42:53 +0000 /b9/?p=314 Continue reading ]]> dsc03408aPart of the redesign efforts of the arms will require me to redesign the CSS and thus will force me to redesign the bubble lifter. If you will recall, my bubble lifter required a central (rear) placement using a fork design and a high torque servo with a power booster. This design worked fine but the servo motor did get warm as it had to maintain a neutral position holding 8 lbs. I used springs to create a servo saver of sorts so it didn’t have to work so hard maintaining a neutral position and that solved that problem. However, the redesign will require an offset approach because of space considerations so that design will not work. This design is a nice retrofit to an existing application and will also work for the new CSS  design when the arms are ready.I decided to use a Dewert motor since I had plenty in stock  but any geared motor capable of generating enough power to lift 10 lbs would suffice. I will make a kit available for the club as this is a nice, affordable and easy to make bubble lifter kit.


Original article: New Bubble Lifter Design

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New Buildoff Art Work /b9/?p=309 /b9/?p=309#comments Tue, 05 May 2009 13:59:38 +0000 /b9/?p=309 2009-build_off-small-flat-on-black

Original article: New Buildoff Art Work

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Items for Sale at the Build Off /b9/?p=291 /b9/?p=291#comments Sun, 03 May 2009 16:54:59 +0000 /b9/?p=291 Continue reading ]]> dsc03125

I will have the following B9 parts for sale at the build off. If you need any of these items let me know so I can ensure I have enough stock on hand. If you need something not listed let me know before the build off so I can have it ready before you show up or make arrangements for delivery after the build off. I will also have R2 and C-3PO parts for sale as well.


Original article: Items for Sale at the Build Off

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Getting Ready for the 2nd annual B9 Build off /b9/?p=244 /b9/?p=244#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2009 14:38:47 +0000 /b9/?p=244 Continue reading ]]> new-picture


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:

  1. Torso prep
  2. Bottom ring support to prevent stress fractures
  3. Donut prep including truing the donut for the rockler bearing and trimming it for twist locks.
  4. Selection & Proper use of Fiberglass Resin/Epoxy, Bondo, Dynaglass, Evercoat, Kittyhair and glazing putty
  5. 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.
  6. Use of the CF3 sound system and the 12 channel RF
  7. Roboduino programming and use in your robot
  8. 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
  9. Making Collar Ribs and Vents with Acrylic stock & Jigs
  10. How to prep and use the Replica neon back plate
  11. How to assemble the Brain cup and Finger Light assembly
  12. 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.
  13. Live Web Chat with Dick Tufeld on Saturday.
  14. Droid races – for those that dare!!!
  15. The entire event will be be viewable on web camera and live chat at
  16. Plus tours at the machine shop, paint and body shop and polish shop (for those that need their domes nice and shiny)

Original article: Getting Ready for the 2nd annual B9 Build off

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Updated Neon Wiring Diagram /b9/?p=249 /b9/?p=249#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2009 16:28:38 +0000 /b9/?p=249 Continue reading ]]> Craig Reinbrecht has been working on enhancing his neon hookup diagrams and has done an outstanding job. He has incorporated my infamous “Photo-Op” circuit and has made the setup as simple as possible. On the 2008 Build off DVD Craig goes over setting up the neon circuit correctly. This diagram is an enhancement to that process and makes it even simpler. 1 word of advice. For those who have or are considering a 16 row neon you will need 2 neon transformers. If you have a 12 row neon you will need only 1 transformer. Also, if your batteries fall below 30% power your neon will not function properly. It is a built in safety mechanism in the Tech 22 transformer. It is not in the product manual. It is also recommended that you have a separate amplifier for the neon apart from the speakers to guarantee a bright response whenever your robot talks. With that in mind; Craig has provided a recommended amplifier wiring diagram. It isn’t required but it is strongly recommended because if you use just 1 amp, if you turn the volume down the neon may not respond correctly. That’s why you want 2 amps. The amp you use just for the neon can be from a pair of old powered computer speakers so it doesnt have to be a new or expensive purchase.


Original article: Updated Neon Wiring Diagram

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Beefing up the Hip Suspension /b9/?p=189 /b9/?p=189#comments Sat, 11 Apr 2009 01:21:52 +0000 /b9/?p=189 Continue reading ]]> dsc03363

dsc03364Once I started to traverse over obstacles with a fully loaded torso and the robot was being shaken I noticed that the gas shocks were not keeping the torso/hip level. At first I thought I had sheared the cross bolt to the hip motor cam on the Dewert motor but upon careful examination that was not the case. The gas shocks were not strong enough so I  replaced the 4420 gas shocks (which were only giving approximately 25lbs of lift support each) with the Mightly lift model numbers E 95859 (4048)  which yielded approximately 60 lbs of lift for each shock. (remember there are 2 shocks used for the hip)However this was too much for the dewert motor to move but it did flex the aluminum sub waist plate! So I tried 40 lbs shocks. Those work good but they are not the best. I need to review the physics books to figure out the optimal strut strength for a 100 lb load.  There has to be a math equation to figure this out. In the mean time I lengthened the long arm of the hip rotation assembly and shortened the cam to decrease the fulcrum effect on the motor so the downward weight of the torso would not have as great of an affect on the motor (so the motor would be more effective as a brake when not in use). It still may be necessary to find a motor that has a brake but time will tell……


Original article: Beefing up the Hip Suspension

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Soil Sampler remote control /b9/?p=169 /b9/?p=169#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2009 13:58:30 +0000 /b9/?p=169 Continue reading ]]> I got a nrce2001ice little remote relay from Team Delta (RCE200A) that activates the soil sampler by using one of the channels on my RC transmitter. This helps add to the realism that my bubble headed booby is actually in control of his own actions to the general public . No one has to push his buttons to activate it or to get the status report of his findings. It hooks up very simply to any open channel on the RC receiver. However, you don’t have to use a channel on your receiver, you can also use any RF transmitter to initiate the action. I used the “A” model I used chip PVN012  and left the dip switch setting at the -33% setting. The left side of the board is connected to the receiver. Please note that the board requires you to switch how the servo wires are oriented before soldering them to the board.  The wires from the right side of the board is connected to the 2 wires that are used to initiate the soil sampler limit switch. I used the landing gear channel on my receiver so whenever I want to initiate the sampler, I just flip the landing gear switch on for a second and then turn it off . It completes the cycle and spells out the report automatically.


Original article: Soil Sampler remote control

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Brain Surgery /b9/?p=157 /b9/?p=157#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2009 12:18:03 +0000 /b9/?p=157 Continue reading ]]> dsc03147dsc03144The lighting of the brain is accomplished from the electronic wizardry of Tom  Wisnionski or Tom Wiz as most of us know him in the club. His brain uses LED’s throughout. It does a wonderful job. However, when it is in brain mode where the eyes are on constantly, you can see hot spots of the LED focal point. So you need to diffuse the light so it will disperse evenly. What works for incandescent bulbs doesn’t work as well for LED’s because of the intensity and focal point of the light.

Usually spraying a frosting material to the inside of a clear plastic strip is sufficient to diffuse the light but that wasn’t working very well with LED’s so I had to come up with a better way of doing things. Bob Griener remembered a technique he had heard from Nick “Elvis”  Mulpango where he used hot glue globs to make fake rivets on his robot so we thought we might try that on the LED tips to see what happened. Boy it worked beautifully! It actually made the eyes look brighter!!! Bytheway, the Brain light LED’s are normally clear in color, I colored them using different colored sharpie pens for a little variety. The nice thing about that is if you don’t like the color, you can wipe it off, change it to something else or just leave it clear.

This is the technique we used for those who may want to do what I did. Get your standard glue gun and express out a dime size of hot glue and let it cool onto some wax paper or other surface that will be easy to lift off. Try to be as careful as possible to make a perfect a circle as possible. Then once you are ready express another small amount of hot glue and glue the dime size glob to the tip of the LED. Hold it for about 30 seconds. Make sure you keep it absolutely perpendicular to the brain eye plate. That’s It! Insert it centered into each eye cavity and the light should look evenly distributed.



Original article: Brain Surgery

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/b9/?feed=rss2&p=157 0 The lighting of the brain is accomplished from the electronic wizardry of Tom  Wisnionski or Tom Wiz as most of us know him in the club. His brain uses LED's throughout. It does a wonderful job. However, when it is in brain mode where the eyes are on c... <a href="/b9/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/dsc03147.jpg"></a><a href="/b9/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/dsc03144.jpg"></a>The lighting of the brain is accomplished from the electronic wizardry of Tom  Wisnionski or Tom Wiz as most of us know him in the club. His brain uses LED's throughout. It does a wonderful job. However, when it is in brain mode where the eyes are on constantly, you can see hot spots of the LED focal point. So you need to diffuse the light so it will disperse evenly. What works for incandescent bulbs doesn't work as well for LED's because of the intensity and focal point of the light. Usually spraying a frosting material to the inside of a clear plastic strip is sufficient to diffuse the light but that wasn't working very well with LED's so I had to come up with a better way of doing things. Bob Griener remembered a technique he had heard from Nick "Elvis"  Mulpango where he used hot glue globs to make fake rivets on his robot so we thought we might try that on the LED tips to see what happened. Boy it worked beautifully! It actually made the eyes look brighter!!! Bytheway, the Brain light LED's are normally clear in color, I colored them using different colored sharpie pens for a little variety. The nice thing about that is if you don't like the color, you can wipe it off, change it to something else or just leave it clear. This is the technique we used for those who may want to do what I did. Get your standard glue gun and express out a dime size of hot glue and let it cool onto some wax paper or other surface that will be easy to lift off. Try to be as careful as possible to make a perfect a circle as possible. Then once you are ready express another small amount of hot glue and glue the dime size glob to the tip of the LED. Hold it for about 30 seconds. Make sure you keep it absolutely perpendicular to the brain eye plate. That's It! Insert it centered into each eye cavity and the light should look evenly distributed. <a href="/b9/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/dsc03149.jpg"></a> <a href="/b9/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/mov03150.mpg">mov03150</a> My B9 Experience no
Collar & Radar Assembly /b9/?p=52 /b9/?p=52#comments Sat, 14 Mar 2009 20:19:23 +0000 /b9/?p=52 Continue reading ]]> Greg Logue makes an outstanding collar for the club. If you have a club torso I highly recommend you get his collar unless you just want to make your own. It is truly a work of art. However, I have a replica torso so my club collar is slightly taller and wider than the replica’s collar. The replica torso with the replica collar is to the left. My replica torso with the club collar is to the right. Most people probably wouldn’t notice the difference unless you had the replica collar side by side.
Specifically, the original collar from the series (I would assume the replica collar is the same) had ribs that were only 3.625″ tall as compared to the club collar which is 4″ tall. It would be nice if the 8 people who got in on the tremendous deal from Mike Joyce months ago for the replica torso & donut could combine forces (I mean resources) to make our own version of the replica collar. If anyone knows of any extra replica collars made then please feel free to let me know. I would most definitely buy one!!
I obtained my radar from Norm Sockwell as well. He did an excellent job of making it. He even assembled it for me since I had surgery on my hand for tendon repair and reconstruction. In preparing to mount the radar for movement I needed to drill mounting holes to mount the 9″ rockler bearing. The club collar holes were designed for the 12″ rockler bearing. I then cut (4) 1.5″ diameter acrylic tubes to the proper height for a smooth rotation of the radar assembly. I would suggest you plastic weld the tube to the radar section and then drill and tap the rods for attachment to the rockler bearing. The collar will also need to be modified to hold the servo motor that actually rotates the radar assembly. The gearing I used was the 9″ internal gear with the new small cog put out by Andrew Schwartz. You will need to use this one if you are using my bubble lifter so the neck shaft will fit and function freely. Below is the gear and the servo used (a JR DS8711 Robotic Servo).

Original article: Collar & Radar Assembly

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Brain Cup Finger Light Assembly /b9/?p=105 /b9/?p=105#comments Sat, 14 Feb 2009 20:56:08 +0000 /b9/?p=105 Continue reading ]]> Brain Cup/Finger Light Assembly
As ydsc02741ou can see from the left most picture the motor is attached to the motor plate using the rubber bushing to decrease the motor noise. The rubber bushings are trimmed away from the crown shaft opening so as not to interfere with shaft rotation. Once you have assembled thdsc031261e motor to the motor plate and then to the neck support piece.; the next step is to assemble the finger light rods into the brain cup. This really isn’t that hard to do. It is really all about coordination and finesse. The key to assembling the finger lights is bending the music wire on one end so you can push the wire with 1 finger. Bend the other end of the wire slightly so as the wire advances straight through the drilled holes in the finger light tubes (that means you need to put a slight curve in the tip of the wire). It might help to sharpen or debur the wire on one end that is piercing the metal finger light rod to ease entry.Lubricating the wire channel in the brain cup also helps. I would recommend you place a small amount of paper or blue tape between the opening of the brain cup and the finger light tube because it is easy to scratch the tubes while threading the music wire through the finger light tubes. Once you have complete this task I would suggest that you emove the tape barrier from the finger light tubes, but cover the area that the push rods and cam would sit in and prime the assembly with a metal etching primer (2 coats). Then apply your base coat and then your clear coat if you want to use one. Once that is done, I would handle the assembly with gloves to keep it clean and free from fingerprints. The next step in the assembly process is to insert the lamp holders. This depends greatly on what you intend on using for lighting. LED or incandescent bulbs. I used flasher bulbs for the finger lights for a totally random effect. If you want to go that way I strongly recommend you use bulb receptacles from Mouser P/N 35LH010. They are T3-1/4 SCRW LMP SOCK Xicon Lamp Holders. They are the best and fit perfectly in the fingerlight tips with a zero residual presence. The Radio Shack lamp receptacles leave a slight lip that is visible and trimming that lip off prevents the bulb from staying secure in the housing!
Once you have secured the brain cup to the neck piece you can place the brain cam into the brain cup, adjusting its position to the desired finger light elevation desired. Lock down the set screw to the crown shaft and you are finished.

Original article: Brain Cup Finger Light Assembly

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Replica Neon Back Plate /b9/?p=103 /b9/?p=103#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2009 20:55:24 +0000 /b9/?p=103 Continue reading ]]> dsc03099

This is the Replica back Plate. It is made out of heavy duty fiberglass. As you can see it has the additional mounting holes where the dial lights are mounted to give it additional stability. It also has the “Ears” to keep the black out effect in the torso from coming through. This is a high quality part. It is used on the replicas that Mike Joyce sells. This is perhaps the best part I have ever seen for a neon back plate and I have a collection of all of the neon back plates that have been made for the club spanning multiple years from as many members. This is a high quality part but it does require some fitting and there are some limitation.

This back plate is for a 12 row neon. As is, it WILL NOT fit a 16 row neon. There will need to be some serious modifications to the side wings and lower shelf to make it fit a 16 row but it can be done. Also, when you get your 12 row Neon from Craig or whomever, the first thing you should do is scrape off all of the black paint from the neon tubes. If you have a Replica torso, the neon barely fits and if the black paint is left on the tubes you will see it in the mouth area and that will be very distracting. The black paint comes off very easily. You can take a razor blade or small strips of 1000 or higher grit sand paper and gently rub the paint off.

Adhering the neon to the back plate is very easy. Just get the back silicon from Home depot or Lowes Home improvement center and glue it to the back plate. Again, make sure you glue just the loops of the neon to the wings of the back plate. If you put too much in there you will see the silicon through the neon mouth opening and will get a suboptimal result.

Craig’s neondsc03255 was the prototype for the plate so it should fit Perfectly. Also this backplate will fit the Timk and Fred Barton torsos as well. The TimK torso requires a little stand off of about .50-75″ away from the frontdsc03264 of the torso so the neon will “clear” the torso edges. This will be shown at the 2009 build off.  As for the transformer wires, I drilled 2 holes through the outer wings of the back plate and passed the wires through the plate so I could keep the wire run as short as possible.  I then applied Velcro to the back of the plate to adhere the transformer and the music interface. It makes it easier to make adjustments if necessary or replace components over time than if they are permanently glued.  When installed correctly it is an awesome component to the B9. When the neon lights up, it just makes me want to yell out “ITS ALIVE”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Original article: Replica Neon Back Plate

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Torso Vents /b9/?p=101 /b9/?p=101#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2009 20:54:11 +0000 /b9/?p=101 Continue reading ]]> Torso vents on the Hero robot were non movable except for the programming bay. Some even postulate that the ribs for the vents were screwed to the outside of the torso with wood screws. The Replica uses a static representation as demonstrated in the left picture below. In order to make my ribs movable but look like the setup on the hero robot I molded the screen vents to the inner radius of the vent. Then I used Velcro to attach the screen to the top of the upper rail. That way the screen doesn’t interfere with the vents. I used weed block material (for ventilation) from home depot as the black out material and attached that with 3M spray adhesive. I used a small amount of adhesive so it wouldn’t leave a residue on the aluminum screen.
When installed, it looks just like the hero robot and just like the replica installation with 1 important difference. The vents are functional and allow full access into the torso. All you have to do is slide back the vent and then push or peel the metal vent off to gain access as necessary. When finished just push your vent back into place, close your vent and you are good to go.

I had tried bending acrylic to create a stand off for the metal screen but it always seemed to interfere with the upper vent rails. This solution was a very simple and quick solution. This is what it looks when it is fully installed. It took 20 minutes to complete all 3 vents.

Original article: Torso Vents

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Bob May Has left /b9/?p=91 /b9/?p=91#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2009 20:43:47 +0000 /b9/?p=91 Continue reading ]]> bob-may

It was a very sad day for me and many B9’ers and LIS fans across the globe to hear that Bobby May passed away. List servers lighted up that had been dormant for many weeks or in some cases months with the tragic news. I couldn’t believe it myself. I had hoped to have Bobby up here at the B9 build off but now that wont happen but in spirit.

The last time I met Bob was on the second half of my honeymoon. My wife(Kip) and I were in Vegas attending a Star Trek convention. I saw Bob sitting at a table with his LIS banner but didn’t have a robot with him. I asked him what he was doing there at a Star Trek convention to which he replied” “I had to add an air of respectability”. LOL . Now, I ask you……Who could argue with that!!!! So I proceeded to help him crash the party and get a robot to the convention. I called Thomas (A fellow B9’er) up and he drove from California to Vegas and we got it set up for him so he could “bask” (ROFL) in his glory. Talk about club spirit and team work!!! And how about my wife Kip!!! She let me do all of that on our honeymoon too!!!! It was fun. We all had a great time and a lot of laughs. I will always remember him that way. Lost in Space has a lot of special memories for me, especially the Robot!!

The following is an except from Bill Mumy’s web site. I believe it portrays how we all felt about Bob May.

“Bobby May passed away this morning at the age of 69. He was my friend and my coworker and he was one of the hardest working guys in show business that I ever knew. He managed to create a classic TV personality out of a claustrophobic fiberglass prop that he was crammed inside of for over three years. He memorized 40-50 pages of dialogue each week for 84 episodes and delivered it with passion and rhythm while all the time knowing that it would eventually be re-recorded by DickTufeld.

I never heard Bobby say a bad word about anybody. He had a laugh that was loud and infectious. He called people “Buddy.” He knew hard times and he knew easy times. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Bobby was a one of a kind who truly brought soul to the Robot on Lost in Space. He loved playing the Robot, and he loved all the fans of Lost in Space. He traveled all over the world meeting fans and attending conventions. When the series was originally on the air, Irwin Allen, the creator and executive producer, wanted people to think the robot was real, so Bobby received no billing or credit for his hard work. It wasn’t until many years after that Bobby started to get recognized for his amazing contributions to the show. I was happy to see him get the credit he deserved.

I enjoyed working with Bobby when I was a boy, and I enjoyed working with him and seeing him and his loving wife Judy as a man. Bob and I spoke several times in the last month, and although I I knew that he was going through some serious health issues as well as having lost his home and all his possessions in a recent fire, Bobby was positive about the future. I wish him well and send him positive energy and love on his new journey. I’m sure Jonathan Harris is insulting him right now! “Silence, you ninny! Cease your prattling you cluttering clump! Oh, the pain! The pain!” — BillMumy

Original article: Bob May Has left

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Radar /b9/?p=89 /b9/?p=89#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2008 20:42:12 +0000 /b9/?p=89 Continue reading ]]> This Radar is the latest version and is what is going on my replica torso. It is correctly sized to fit the replica collar and Torso. (the club collar is 4″ thick the new size is 3.625″ thick (and a little narrower). As you can see with this picture, the clutch pack has a tapered top. A top view shows a milled out key area for the bubble lifter (never mind the slight dent off to the right of the key – it was a mistake but it will be covered up with the bubble lifter boot cover so it doesn’t matter. Also note the 2nd half of the radar has upper and lower base plates where the ears are inserted.

Underneath the radar unit I have places for the motor drive unit so the radar can be turned remotely or automatically as well as places for the electronics for the ear sensor motors.

And of course here is the Bubble lifter tube with the key inserted. I have included the drawing
so you can assemble your own.

Original article: Radar

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Arm & Elbow Design /b9/?p=87 /b9/?p=87#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2008 20:41:34 +0000 /b9/?p=87 Continue reading ]]> dsc01922

Here is a brief overview of what I am trying to do with my B9

Basically the arms will move in or out and then the arms will articulate up and down as they did when the robot was warning the Robinsons of impending danger.

That is more difficult than it sounds. What you see in the picture to the left is the elbow motor. That was the easiest to do. It is a Dewert motor with a cam that moves the forearm 40-60 degrees continuously. It wont hit the bubble or any other part of the robot so long as the arm is fully extended, so you can imagine one needs to ensure that the arm is fully extended before turning the elbow “on”.

The arms will be able to move independently of each other by using a Vantec motor controller RDFR22. Then the Dewert motors will be activated to move the arms up and down (approx a 40-60 degree sweep) by a RC switch. Using the arm with 12v power is too slow when compared to how Bob May moved his arms in the show therefore a 24v power source will be used.


Original article: Arm & Elbow Design

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The Great Texas B9 Build Off 0f 2008 /b9/?p=85 /b9/?p=85#comments Tue, 20 May 2008 20:40:22 +0000 /b9/?p=85 Continue reading ]]> 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……

Original article: The Great Texas B9 Build Off 0f 2008

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B9 Build Off May 16, 17 and 18th 2008 /b9/?p=82 /b9/?p=82#comments Fri, 14 Mar 2008 20:38:14 +0000 /b9/?p=82 Continue reading ]]> The weekend of May 16th I am hosting a B9 build off at my home in Rowlett, TX. I hope to get a decent amount of participation from the B9 builders club with local involvement from the Dallas R2 builders and the Dallas Robotics group for those interested in the B9 as well.
Here we will be building, assembling and painting B9 robots. I have a machinist reserved for the weekend exclusively for the build off as well as 2 painting houses. So if you come prepared you could walk away with a completed robot. What an opportunity!!!! Bring out those B9’s from the garage and get them functional!!
We will also be filming interviews of fellow builders with their stories as well as instructional “how to” videos on topics like basic construction techniques and materials, electronics, prep and paint, weathering, puppeteering, safety and other topics as requested. We have a lot of big names in the B9 and R2 word scheduled to attend. So please mark your calendars and come on by. Go to the B9 builders website on yahoo at for further details, agenda and location. I also included an area map for those needing hotel rooms. It is all FREE. Saturday evening will be a dinner (Texas Style of course) so I will need you to RSVP for that,
Here are but a few of the tentative speakers/guests: Mike Joyce, Charlie Garcia, Craig Reinbrecht, Phillip Hamilton, Bob Griener, Ken Pringle, Wayne Orr and Guy Vardaman from the R2D2 Builders group. The list keeps growing. So do yourself a favor and come on down! You won’t want to miss this!!!!

Original article: B9 Build Off May 16, 17 and 18th 2008

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Machining Parts – What’s it all about & Why is it so expensive? /b9/?p=80 /b9/?p=80#comments Sun, 02 Mar 2008 20:35:24 +0000 /b9/?p=80 Continue reading ]]> I thought it would be a good idea to enlighten those uninitiated into all of what happens in the making of a machined part. I found it a fascinating and an illuminating process. Not realizing or appreciating what looked so simple, even automated, could generate so much work and such an expensive price tag. So many times we get sticker shock from what we thought was an easy or automated process and wonder what is going on. Are we being taken to the cleaners? It can certainly feel that way at times but the reality is making “1 off” parts is a very expensive endeavor. You need to understand and accept this to be prepared if you are going to take my plans (or anyone else’s) to your local machinist to do some work. So lets start off with an FAQ of sorts about getting parts machined and then we will work out a concrete example from this build so you will understand what I mean.
***Disclaimer***: I am not a machinist nor do I play one on TV (or work for one). The experiences described below are from my personal experiences/lessons learned from dealing with several machine shops both local and distant (out of state) to the DFW area. This discussion is designed to help you understand what you are getting into and is not to be considered the only or definitive authority on the subject. Your experiences/mileage may vary. Lets start off with what you will be faced with when dealing with most machine shops.
Machinist Expenses
Setup Fees – The cost of entering measurements or dimensions into machines, etc. There is usually a minimum charge that shops assess. For example, TAP Plastics charges a 250.00 minimum fee for anything cut on its CNC machine.
Material Fees – The cost of the material used in its raw state
Machine & Labor time – Time charge for machine operation & operator monitoring/adjustment
Sub Contractor fees – Using other shops for completion like anodizing or welding parts together.
Shipping & handling charges – self explanatory.
Taxes – self explanatory.
Machine Shop Expectations from the Customer
Clear, complete communication. He will only do what you tell him to do. He doesn’t read minds!
When you come into a machine shop you should know “what” and “how many” of a given item you want made. You also should know what you want it made out of like aluminum, plastic, steel, brass, etc). Not having or knowing this information puts the machinist in a consultant capacity. His time is Money. Don’t think for a minute that he wont charge you to discuss how to do something if you do not already know what needs to be done. A good machinist SHOULD discuss what you are wanting done but don’t go in there with the expectation that he is going to figure this stuff out for you for free and then only bill time and materials to make it. This is why a lot of machine shops will not deal with hobbyist for “1 off” projects or why requests of this nature are routinely done when there is no other work available.
You need to have clear, accurate drawings with exact measurements clearly identified. They do not have to be CAD drawings but those are the best to eliminate confusion and mistakes.
It usually does not matter if you have CAD drawings in a computer file or not. Good machinists can take a pdf or print outs of some type and work with that as well. However, no matter what you have as a reference, there will be a degree of human involvement required to get that information from the source into his machines and this is where the setup fee is based. In some cases the setup fee can be more than the cost of the material and labor combined to produce your part. The “key” to keeping your costs down is by dealing with a machinist that has already done the setup for this part if at all possible.
What is a “1 off” part or project? Quiet simply it is the making or the machining of any part or assembly where there is only a quantity of 1 involved. For example, A left and right hand version of something is still considered 1 item. There could be 40 different components to be made in the assembly of 1 item. That is still considered 1 item. This is the most expensive cost per item there is. Often, if you inquire, you could get multiples of that item you are making for only a fraction of what you had to pay for just 1. This is the basis for doing “runs” of parts so that others can benefit from the lower cost and availability.
Also, some shops will require you to put down 50% of the expected charge before they will begin to schedule or perform any work.
Customer expectations from a Machine shop
Clear, complete communication – Don’t assume anything! Ask a lot of questions!!
Clear explanation of rates/fees – Make sure you ask for a detailed billing/charge list of services.
Authorization before action – No Shop should just go blindly ahead unless you authorize them.
Detailed billing – A complete, clear and accurate listing of item, cost, time and quantity.
Approval before payment – You need to make sure you are happy with it before payment. The
shop should work with you if there are any issues with quality or quantity of work performed.
Delivery Promises – Discuss at the very beginning any time lines you need to hold the shop to and make an agreement with them what will be done if they fail to meet that promise (like a discounted rate). Get it in writing. Shops have been known to do what is in their own best interests but if what you are contracting them for is time based they need to know that up front and that what they have or have not done maybe at risk if not delivered as promised. Recognize that some shops will not do business with an individual this way. That may be your clue to take your business elsewhere. You need to be reasonable when negotiating on this point.
A Practical Example:
Lets take the original aluminum waist plate I made for my B9. It started out as a block of solid 25 lb sheet of aluminum. The outside configuration/drawing was a copy of the PVC version of the waist plate that Andy Schwartz currently sells. The plate of raw aluminum currently runs at approx 4.20 per pound for 6061. It took (with a CAD drawing as a reference) 1hr to input those figures into the CNC machine. Most shops charge between 60-75/hr to do that. While the CNC machine is cutting the aluminum the CNC operator must monitor the process to watch out for broken bits, misalignment or other errors. Then he has to take that device out and flip it around and restart the process all over again to complete the project. That cost me 225 for time and 125 for materials equaling $400.00 dollars.
Now take that 1 step further and lighten that same waist plate. Instead of having dozens of data points to enter into the CNC machine, you now have hundreds of data points to enter into the system. All having to do with length, height, width and depth. The additional programming to do the diet version required 3 additional hrs of programming. To do all of this 1 time would of cost you $825.00 for 1 waist plate.
As you can see, the amount of time expended for that 1 waist plate makes it very costly. Now if you made more than just 1 of those waist plates the setup would only need to be done once. The other copies would only incur material and time charges, in this case it drove subsequent diet waist plates prices all the way down to 425.00 each; which is the price you would pay now.
I hope this makes sense to you and allows you to further appreciate what I have done for the club (for these parts) and the beauty of mass production.

Original article: Machining Parts – What’s it all about & Why is it so expensive?

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B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 6 – the Finger Lights, Brain & Crown Animation /b9/?p=77 /b9/?p=77#comments Sun, 02 Mar 2008 20:33:56 +0000 /b9/?p=77 Continue reading ]]> As I was using the light controller from Tom for the belly and chest lights, so to am I using another board from Tom for the finger and brain lights. It’s basically the same board as the chest and belly lights controller card used in the Torso. The reason I used another one was so that I could get a different blinking and pattern rate than the torso. I wanted an asynchronous blinking pattern between the 2 sections. To me this gives a more realistic appearance of a real, functioning robot. Just as a side note, you could hook up everything to 1 controller card but I wanted that certain, special, something that only 2 cards can provide.
The crown and finger light movement is handled by the Hankscraft 12v 7rpm motor. You can obtain this motor from a number of sources and is readily available. The average price for this motor is 25.00. What I had a problem with was the wires coming out of the brain and finger lights passing through the brain cup into the neck. As you can see from the picture on the left from the B9 website, there isn’t much room and I had to remove the wire sheaths and drill out additional wire routes to go around the Hankscraft motor. It is a VERY tight fit. Take care not to kink the thin wires coming out of the finger lights.

Original article: B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 6 – the Finger Lights, Brain & Crown Animation

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B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 5 – Radar Section /b9/?p=75 /b9/?p=75#comments Sat, 01 Mar 2008 20:32:15 +0000 /b9/?p=75 Continue reading ]]> My radar section uses the B9 creations’ 2.5v regulated power supply and the Namiki Ear Motors for the ear sensors. Both of which were obtained from Eric Johnson from the club website. The Namiki motors are very sensitive to voltage and you can burn them out easily. The radar is moved by a digital robotic high power JR servo (JR DS8711). The range of movement is 180 degrees. 90 to the left and 90 to the right. I can fit a 360 degree servo in there or I could use a sailing wench servo for continuous rotation but most shots from the series do not show the radar moving greater than 90 degrees because the rotation of the radar section was controlled by Bob Mays head movement, so I decided to stick with that. I would suggest that you use a geared motor to rotate the radar section if you want to have 360 degree movement. However, in order to do that you would need to have a motor controller to be able to direct the degree and direction of rotation. That just means more money and more stuff to cram into the collar/radar area.
I also experimented with IR (infrared) sensors in the collar to direct movement of the radar when the robot is in animatronic mode to further simulate AI (artificial intelligence). The device I used was from Jim Shima’s website called Hyperdyne and These are the same controller cards that the R2D2 group uses for automatic dome rotation in relation to sound and IR movement detection. It works most of the time so long as you are not in a very loud or hot room. That is not always possible at a convention. Also, since the detectors are in the collar you have to be at least 48″ tall for it to detect you. So what I decided to do was put in a IR detector in the rear vent bay to detect those pesky little carbon based replacements we call children. When it detects someone close it triggers a voice message saying to please stand clear and to step away from the rear vent and power pack.

Original article: B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 5 – Radar Section

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B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 4 – The Torso /b9/?p=72 /b9/?p=72#comments Sat, 01 Mar 2008 20:30:07 +0000 /b9/?p=72 Continue reading ]]> There is a lot of stuff that goes in the torso so lets start with the most basic question. Where is the power coming from and how will you split up or handle different voltage requirements for all of the electronic gadgets inside the torso? The answer is this: A 12v 12ah gel cell battery in the torso & a few 12v distribution boards. Now before we go any further let me say that I thought of using a slip ring to bring power from the tread section to the torso but I had to rule it out because of the way I am doing the hip rotation. The drive is off center and has an over sized gear cog which obscures the center of the CSS. I did look at the figure 8 procedure to accommodate such situations but However I still want to be able to do a 360 rotation. This defeats the reason for a slip ring. I also though of running wires up from the base and then have enough slack to be able to handle several 360 degree rotations but I just didn’t feel the need for that. Most of the time I will not be doing a 360 degree rotation of the torso.
The distribution boards were originally created for the R2D2 builders group by Dan Stuettgen. I convinced Dan to change his board to include a few 3.3v connections for both rows of teeth lights making them more suitable for our club. Those boards should be showing up very soon. The additional change will also help the R2 group for those wanting the USB powered devices so this change helps everybody out (don’t you just love inter-club cooperation)!!
The Torso Lights
Lets start with the belly lights. I have the lighting kit by Tom Wisnionski for the belly and chest lights. This kit is not for the faint at heart! There is something to be said for just doing basic wiring of the lights with flashing bulbs (but I have never been known for doing what’s easy! ) This kit allows you to vary the blinking pattern and speed of the lights. This kit uses 6v bulbs. I put 6 volt bulbs in the brain, chest, finger and belly lights. It requires a degree of intense wiring but the instructions are (for the most part) clear and easy to follow.
The Dial Lights (chest lights) and the programing bay light hook up to Tom’s board as well.
The teeth lights use the NKK lighted switches part number 633-215kkw016b1jb-r0 at Those are the ones used in the replica robots. The lighted portion of the switch requires a 3.5v power source so be careful you DO NOT go above that. If the LED blows in this switch you need to get another switch because the LED’s can not be replaced; and at 22.95 each that can get very expensive, very quickly.
The Neon
The neon that I use is the 16 row neon that was sold by Craig Reinbrecht. Craig only sells the 12 row neon now. Another vendor (Dennis Wilbur) sells a 12 row neon as well. Mine is connected to a Tech 22 model 8000 neon power supply (which needs 12v to operate correctly). While we are on the subject, let me show you the correct way to connect the 2 neon halves.If you look on the B9 website Craig has a diagram on what to do but his example shows a 1 piece neon. As you can see the wiring of the neon is like 1 continuous loop for the 2 halves. However describing it just isn’t enough. It helped me to actually see what it looked like. So here it is.
I also discovered that soldering the high voltage wires to the neon is not a very good idea because the heat from soldering can damage the neon. It is best if you just use wire nuts.
Also, when testing the unit if you get a strobing effect or a flash of light then it is most probably because the wire leads you are using are too long. Neon is very sensitive to voltage and resistance. I have found consistently that if use VERY short test leads you will get a successful test. But in any event you should test each section of the neon first to make sure it lights up well. Then when you connect the 2 together the length of the test wire leads will make a tremendous difference in a successful test or not. It would be best if you would use the special high voltage wiring because your 12v power source is generating 8,000 volts. If you see a “beading” of neon then you will need to use the supplied diodes to correct that. Make sure you only apply the diodes to the upper section of the neon. Please note that there is a solid black line that denotes the orientation or flow of electricity through out the neon. Please make sure you have the correct orientation of the diodes or the beading may still continue.
The Bubble Lifter
The bubble lifter uses a GWS777 6BB Robotic servo. This servo can lift over 20 lbs but only if the servo is externally powered with a 6v battery or some other power source. This amount of power is necessary to lift everything above the radar section and be able to move it up or down quickly. A fast bubble movement is imperative if you are to replicate the synchronous of bubble “attitude” when the robot when asking or saying certain phrases. The auxiliary power device that the GWS servo would plug into is shown in the picture to the right.
The Sound System
I decided to use the CF3 sound system by ACS Control Systems Inc. It is the sound system I use in my Astromechs. These typically run around 179.00 plus any additional IO input cards, sand cards and external power supplies if your robot uses AC power only. It is a beauty and easy to use. It can handle as many as 48 contacts (which is what mine has) that can trigger various sounds and contact closures remotely, automatically or in response to other contact closures, IR devices (active and passive), etc.. It has an interchangable SAN card that can hold any amount of sounds files wether they are WAV or MP3. It even has a scripting routine along with background files that can be played (the robot sound).
To trigger sounds without the need of a computer I included a couple of 12 channel RF remotes from Cold Fusion to activate those sounds while he is mobile. These can be found on eBay for as low as 24.95. This is a great little remote that has a teriffic range (500 feet unobstructed). So my robot could be way ahead of me and he could respond to the crowd and no one would see who is controlling him.
Arms and Claws
Now you may have noticed that I conspicuously left out the motorized arms and claws. This will be a surprise that you will only see at the build off. I will show you the customized controller board that I had made but that is it for now…. muhahahahahaha ..oh sorry…that was my Dr. Evil laugh coming out…. :)

Original article: B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 4 – The Torso

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B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 3 – Leg, Hip & Waist /b9/?p=69 /b9/?p=69#comments Sat, 01 Mar 2008 20:28:53 +0000 /b9/?p=69 Continue reading ]]> OK, fair warning now… the further we go up, the more complicated the electronics become… sort of…Again, this is what I did. There are several ways to “skin a cat” and this is one of them……
My hip section moves up and down to simulate a power failure from a power pack pull out as well as to bow to pick things up, address royalty, etc. The motor to rotate the torso is also located in the hip section. This is a departure from Mike Joyce’s replica robot where the waist rotation motor is actualy inside the torso. The motors used for both the hip and waist rotation is the Dewert 24v motors. Each one is controlled by a Vantec RET 411P single motor controller. These plug in to the RC receiver. I fused each RET 411p to protect it from any overload or spike from the batteries, etc. The manual for the RET 411P is located on the Vantec web site at It is a very straight forward wiring procedure where the positive and negative leads of the motor are connected to the white and gray wires of the vantec controller. The black and orange wires go to the positive and negative leads of the battery. Note where the switch goes. I will use one of the switches inside of the programming bay to control hip and waist rotation. By switching them off I could save on battery power consumption and also serve as a safety control mechanism if I wanted to limit movement of my robot.

Original article: B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 3 – Leg, Hip & Waist

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B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 2 – Soil Sampler /b9/?p=66 /b9/?p=66#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2008 20:28:08 +0000 /b9/?p=66 Continue reading ]]> For those using my version 1 drive section (for robots 300 lbs and under) and you have the B9 Creations soil sampler and are using Eric’s tread sections, this is the only way to install it. There are some modifications that you will need to make to the face plates of the sampler so it will mate correctly with the drive section. Once this simple and easy modification is done it will fit perfectly. If your robot will be over 300 lbs then you will have to go with a more powerful drive section. Since the version 2 drive section has bigger and more powerful motors the existing soil sampler by Mike Joyce will not fit. I could hack up Mike’s existing frame and still use his internals but I decided to design a new soil sampler because Mike no longer offers a soil sampler. I will also add some new capabilities to the soil sampler. Like actually being able to obtain a soil sampler (what a concept). This one will have 2 settings. 1 for indoor “show” use. That setting will allow the sampler tube to come out to the floor, spin and retract like the original. The 2nd setting will actually extend the sampler tube to go below the level of the floor and drill down into the ground. I thought it would be nice for the environmental robot to be capable of actually doing his real/stated job. In order to accomplish this I will be using a 24v power drill motor with clutch. The 2nd setting just extends the sampler an additional 6″. There is also a small suction tube/vent in the drill tube assembly to aerosolize the dirt for analysis.

Original article: B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 2 – Soil Sampler

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B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 1 – Tread Section /b9/?p=64 /b9/?p=64#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2008 20:25:33 +0000 /b9/?p=64 Continue reading ]]> The electronics of a B9 can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. To assist me I visitied (several times) to boost my electronic knowledge and skills. There are a lot of sites like this one but I wouldnt let my fear or lack of knowledge hinder me in getting my robot to do what I want him to do. After all, WHO is the master here? Me or him??
Well, anyway, to facilitate this blog discussion I will be going over various systems in am or will be using in my robot. Because this is usually a touchy and potentially complicated subject I will be dividing it up into several parts. As a single point of reference the RC transmitter and receiver I am using is the Spektrum Dx7 with the AR7000 receiver with fail safes set (at binding) to zero forward velocity, forward hip set to “slump” and contact closure set to announce “Warning, Warning, remote control connection lost”.
What makes a B9 go? Money….I mean Motors. BIG Motors! See the heading called “New Drive Section” below. Two (2) NPC Br81 and Br82 24v wheel chair motors with Two (2) 6″ 65 durometer rubber wheels for traction and shock absorption. Two (2) Gel Cell 12v 33ah (“Marine” or “Deep Cycle”) batteries, plenty of 10 gauge stranded wire and a Vantec motor controller RDFR23 along with a 24v DC power supply (yes, you can plug him in and drive him around with a really long extension cord if you had to).
I started by wiring the two (2) 12v batteries in series to achieve 24v. You do that by taking the positive of 1 battery and connect it to the negative pole of the OTHER battery. Once that was done, you attach wires to the unused poles of the 2 batteries and connect them to a central, resettable fuse block and distribution panel in the left tread section. [I originally had this area in the hip section but then realized how much of a PIA it would be just to reset a blown fuse (pulling the torso off and resetting the fuse would require at least 2 people probably 3, etc)].
The Vantec controller connects to the RC receiver with 2 servo like connections; 1 marked with a “T” for throttle and another with a “S” for steering. Plug those into the corresponding slots on the receiver and you are ready to learn how to drive your “bucket of bolts”. [As a side note make sure you do not adjust your power curve for forward or reverse throttle. Try it out at its default setting first. You don’t want your “bubble headed booby” popping wheelies or doing somersaults!] The website for the Vantec Manual is this: Take a look at that as it gives you detailed information on how to setup your controller for proper operation. I will also wire in and use one of the switches in the programing bay to turn off the motors for safety reasons and to concerse battery power.
Because the soil sampler will be in the right tread section, you want to take into account that a power feed will need to go to that tread section. Do not forget to put a fuse in line for the soil sampler. Also, the soil sampler is powered by a 12v 3 rpm motor. Since my power system is 24v I have to either draw off of 1 12v battery (which isn’t recommended because it will cause an uneven drain on your primary batteries) or have some load balancer in place. The other obvious option would be to have a separate 12v battery that could be used for the bulb lights, neon and sound amplifier. I will option for a separate 12v 12ah battery. This should give me a full days capacity at shows and special events (I am only looking for 8 hrs of use). There was another consideration. I could change the motor of the soil sampler to a 24v geared Tsukasa electronics company motor. I seriously thought of that but then considered the issues with the lights in the torso and a further breakdown from 12v to various other voltages. I found a power distribution board that starts with a 12v source. It breaks down voltages for your RC receiver and other components like the 3.3v for the teeth lights, 6 volts for the belly, finger and brain lights and 5 volts for the RC receiver. Therefore I opted to stay with a separate 12v battery that I will keep in the CSS by one of the vents (so I can R&R quickly or just charge it easily).

Original article: B9 Electronics: The Inside Story Part 1 – Tread Section

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CAD Drawings of my B9 /b9/?p=62 /b9/?p=62#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2008 20:24:24 +0000 /b9/?p=62 Continue reading ]]> The CAD drawings that so many of you have asked me about are rolling in now. This should allow you to have them made at your local machine shop or allow you to make them yourself. There are over 100 drawings and at $25.00 a page you can figure out how much it costs me to have them drawn up.
As soon as I have all of them I will send out an alert to the group. I think this is the first step in getting standardized drawings that fit with established club produced parts. As I have mentioned in previous club posts, these plans are for club use only. If you use them then you are agreeing that you are using them for yourself and will not take these plans to form anycommerical or financial venture without my expressed written permission. I own these designs. They are copyrighted. I am spending a lot of money having these professionally drawn for the benefit of club members. Please do not abuse this gift! I will accept donations for them but I will not demand a charge unless you require them to be physically sent out or mailed.  Let me know what you think about them and if you require something that I may not have.

Original article: CAD Drawings of my B9

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The Bubble /b9/?p=60 /b9/?p=60#comments Sun, 24 Feb 2008 20:22:43 +0000 /b9/?p=60 Continue reading ]]> Without a doubt the best production bubble I have seen has been Fred Barton’s. It is nice and clear but thin and easy to damage. In addition, Paul Felski’s bubble from “across the pond” is also very nice! It’s good to have quality vendors that allows you a choice for parts. I got to meet Paul last year at ROBOCON 2007 and had the opportunity to look at his bubble from his B9 pictures. I chose Fred’s since I am state side. Someday I hope to meet Fred as I hear he is an interesting character!
Anyhow, back to lessons learned….don’t bring the bubble out until you are ready to install it. If you leave it out, curious hands, house keepers and other family members will make their way to it where they find out just how light and fragile it is so take it from me …put it away in a safe, hidden place till you are ready to install it.
When you are ready to start drilling holes in the bubble make sure you “key” the bubble. Mark the front of the bubble with some blue painters tape. Make sure you tape/mark the front of the top and bottom part of the bubble.
Another thing I learned is that it helps to use a special drill bit when making the holes for the lower lid and brain cup holes. The drill bit needs to be made for plastic drilling (yes there is such a drill bit). Drill bit #40 and #50. You can get them at When I received mine from Fred, I had to open up the center hole for the neck bracket (just a little bit). Take your time with this. Mike Joyce was kind enough to offer this procedure for fitting the bubble:
Carefully mark the location where you want the 4 holes on the bottom plate (I say four because the original had four.) Drill the 4 holes in the bottom plate slowly using a standard #50 drill bit.Tape the the bottom plate to the bubble using masking tape, etc. in the exact position you want it (centered). Be sure to mark both the bubble and the bottom plate “Front”. Put tape on each, etc. Match drill the 4 holes in the bubble using the bottom plate as a guide and again use the #50 bit. Remove the bottom plate and enlarge the 4 holes with a #40 drill bit. Use a counter sink bit on the bottom plate as required for #2 flat head screw to set flush. Attach the bubble using four #2 x 1/4″ screws. These are McMaster Carr part number 90006A077. The original used these small screws as well.
Stay tuned for our next episode: “Electronics of the B9. The inside story”

Original article: The Bubble

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B9 Brain, Lights and Crown /b9/?p=57 /b9/?p=57#comments Sun, 24 Feb 2008 20:21:43 +0000 /b9/?p=57 Continue reading ]]> The B9 Brain was from Scott Sanderson. The basic body was copper coated to hold paint better when I received it. I got some white transparency material and sprayer the frost mist from any crafts store to serve as a diffuser for the brain lights. I also sprayed the frost in the brain eyes to give it that same look from the show. Inside I have Tom’s brain light kit. His kit has clear LED’s. I took some magic markers and colored the LED’s for a special, different effect. The beauty of this is if I don’t like it I can wipe them off and I am back to the standard B9 white lights.
I also like the LEDs because they only require 6 volts and do not produce any noticeable heat. That is very important so over time my bubble wont glaze. In addition, something not every B9’er seems to know is that the top of the brain is mirrored. So I had my lid polished to a mirror finish. I thought about chroming it but I think I got a good enough reflection to get a good effect when the crown is moving and when the upper lights are blinking. You be the judge.
The crown was from Bill Kendzierski. It is a highly polished stainless steel work of art.

Original article: B9 Brain, Lights and Crown

©2018 My B9 Experience. All Rights Reserved.

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Brain Cup and Finger Lights /b9/?p=55 /b9/?p=55#comments Sun, 24 Feb 2008 20:20:41 +0000 /b9/?p=55 Continue reading ]]>
The neck support, brain cup, finger light end caps and finger light cam are from Norm Sockwell. They are very well made. The finger light shafts are 1/4″ brass tubing (see Craig’s finger light drawing on the club website for exact details, length, etc.). I decided to use Tom Wisnionski’s brain light kit so I have to have 2 wires coming out of each finger light rod. They can not have a common ground. The sockets I used were from Mouser. They are the best ones! If you get the Radio Shack ones they will be too long and will stick out beyond the end pieces even after you grind them down. What I did was use liquid tape to insulate the hot wire from the ground wire. I found that trying to use electrical tape or heat shrink tubing did not allow me to seat the sockets correctly and added too much weight to the end of the finger lights. I also used a silicon type glue from Home Depot to keep the sockets in place.
I know there is a simpler way to do this but I wanted the option to be able to change the blinking pattern and rate. If that isnt a concern for you you can use the finger light rod as the common ground and just have the hot wire coming out of each socket to a central power source. Make sure you use a conductive, electronic glue so the barrel will have a good, solid, non-insulating contact for the ground. Then the only thing you would need to do is get yourself some auto flashing bulbs and your done.

In the neck support I drilled out additional space for the wires that Tom’s unit requires. Remember there is a 7RPM motor that sits in the neck support so I had to make additional room even after shaving the outer sheath off. I am not a fan of drilling through the Hankscraft Motors but even after doing that with my first motor there simply wasnt enough room to pass all of the wires from the brain and the finger lights through the motor. The brain cup drawing is by Craig Reinbrecht while the upper assembly drawing is by Mike Joyce.

Original article: Brain Cup and Finger Lights

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Neon & Back Plate /b9/?p=50 /b9/?p=50#comments Sat, 23 Feb 2008 20:18:27 +0000 /b9/?p=50 Continue reading ]]> One of the most sensitive area on the b9 robot is the neon and the backplate it rests upon. Until recently there hasnt been very many choices for a builder to select. There have been some from Fred Barton (See black backplate. This was patterned after the stunt robot). There have been a few that have been of a custom design like Doug Hines (See the grey backplate. He still makes them upon request but is not an approved vendor at this time) and then there were those made by Dewey. Dewey doesnt make them or sell them anymore (see the white back plate). Your only other alternative has been to make your own or modify those identified above.
Not until recently has a new back plate been made available to the group. It is the one made by David Huber. When it first came out it would only fit Dennis Wilbur’s neon. So if you had a neon from Craig you were out of luck. Recently I had the oppourtunity to work with David and Richie to remedy that. The result was a neon plate that could hold a 16 or 12 row neon from Craig that was outstanding and had a new twist to it. David’s neon has more prominent extrusion at the top plate that just happens to fit the TX2000’s neon music synchronizer.

Below is Dave’s backplate for Craig’s 16 row neon before and after. This plate fits the club standard torso as well as the replica torso. I used a black silicon to adhere the neon to the back plate. One additional note – make sure you trim the backplate as high as possible for the dial lights to pass through. If you dont the excess flashing will prevent the teeth light buttons from being depressed.

And here you can see how it looks with and without the neon installed.

Original article: Neon & Back Plate

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Central Support System /b9/?p=47 /b9/?p=47#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2008 20:17:15 +0000 /b9/?p=47 Continue reading ]]> The Central Support System (CSS) of my robot is a fairly straight forward design. It has several circular plates spaced as necessary to accomodate various electronic boards, speakers, etc. This CSS design compresses the torso from bottom to top. A CSS of this design is absolutely essential if you are to have a bubble lifter and are mounting a 4 DOF arm or greater. What you see before you is the prototype for a more sophiscticated CSS that will handle 2 5DOF arms, bubble lifter, 3 BPSSolutions RC Macro boards, multiple brain & chest light boards from Tom Wisnionski. Later on I will get into the electronics of the B9.The black plate of this CSS has the matching waist gear ring on the bottom side of the plate.

Original article: Central Support System

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Waist Plate, Donut and support rings /b9/?p=45 /b9/?p=45#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2008 20:16:14 +0000 /b9/?p=45 Continue reading ]]> Building a fully mobile robot has some challenges that static robot builders do not usually have to deal with. For example, the donut (a fiberglass ring that sits between the torso and the waist plate) has to be able to withstand the impact of bumps and jolts of a greater magnitude and for longer periods of time than a stationary robot or it will split or crack. In addition, my donut is connected to the torso and will disconect at the waist plate. I have designed my robot to disconnect from the lower portion of the donut to the waist plate by a twist lock method. I have seen other builders make the donut secured on the waist plate and the torso seperates from the upper part of the donut via screws from the inside of the torso via the side vents. What I have below are a few pictures of the underside of the donut. Look carefully at the grooved “twist lock slots” on the donut.

To handle this situation, James (my machinist) came up with a way to insert a large delrin ring inside the donut that would mate with the delrin twist lock plates to provide compression support to prevent the donut from being crushed. Standard aluminum spacers would not provide adequate/contiguous support for the donut. I would of made a titanium donut If weight and cost wasn’t an issue.

Original article: Waist Plate, Donut and support rings

©2018 My B9 Experience. All Rights Reserved.

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Hip Rotation Drive unit /b9/?p=43 /b9/?p=43#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2008 20:15:16 +0000 /b9/?p=43 Continue reading ]]> I have had a few inquiries on how I was able to make my torso “whip” around as Bob May did in the Lost in Space series. What I did was first ask Andy Schwartz (an approved B9 vendor) to make a supersized waist gear so I could get an increase in RPM from the 24v Dewert motor to accomplish this. Thinking of the consequences of such a design I had to ensure safety for the visitors as well as for my robot. So I had James build in a spring loaded retaining mechanism to allow the gear to “skip” or “break away” if the robot were to meet any resistance (presumably from striking any object in the robots rotational path). It is tricky getting the right tension for the “break away” mechanism to function reliably because you also have to overcome the force to actually whip the torso around while “stalling” when hitting a stationary object. Added to that; the tension relief needed to install the torso gear to the leg section can be a challenge. One way I thought of overcoming the install issue is to have a special tool made to pull the gear out of position. I will work more on that later on in the build .

Original article: Hip Rotation Drive unit

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New Drive Section Design /b9/?p=40 /b9/?p=40#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2008 20:13:35 +0000 /b9/?p=40 Continue reading ]]> Because of the weight of my robot I had to change my power system from 12v to 24v. In doing so I had to make room for larger motors and an additional car battery. This has caused a redesign of my robot leg section which has some new engineering challenges. The soil sampler will no longer fit as designed by Mike Joyce. The AC power supplies will no longer fit in the upper leg section becasue the additional battery will need to go in the same location and So my machinist and I will have to redesign it. We will probably use a variation of the screw driver approach, but more on that later.
I changed my motors to the NPC BR81 and Br82 motors with the same rubber wheels I had on my original drive unit. The are 24V 182 RPM and can easily move 550 lbs (so long as your robot is less than 300 lbs the original drive section will work just fine).
These motors can be obtained direct from NPC or you can get them from the However, modifications to these motors are necessary! Brake removed, length shortened and gear plate replaced with drive section bottom plate. It was dissapointing that I couldnt find any motors strong enough that could be installed in a plug and play fashion. Below is a picture of the batteries I use.

Don’t let the tape worry you. It was just a temporary modification to ensure fitment.
Here is the final version of the new drive section & battery compartment:

This is a VERY POWERFUL drive section! High torque AND Speed!!!

Original article: New Drive Section Design

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Have Bubble Lifter will travel /b9/?p=37 /b9/?p=37#comments Thu, 21 Feb 2008 20:12:23 +0000 /b9/?p=37 Continue reading ]]> One of the hardest things for my mind to wrap around was the bubble lifter. I can remember trying for hours how to figure out how I could get it to move the way I wanted it to. But no matter what what I tried it just didnt seem to work right. Using the eliptical wheel with the center mounted machined post that Mike made interferred with the internal workings of the finger lights, crown and brain light mechanism and wires.
Then one day I saw an A frame upper control arm hinge in a hobby shop for a RC car and the idea popped into my head on how to control the upper and lower movement without allowing it to sway or rotate the bubble while also allowing me to use the existing motor and electronics for the upper assembly.
This is the result:
Also note the robot servo. It is a strong one! It is a GWS 777 capable of lifting 20 lbs easily. This will allow me to more accurately control the speed, height and control of the bubble and will also allow me to do pre programmed combination actions involving the bubble, radar turning and voice sync to movement for a better presentation.

Original article: Have Bubble Lifter will travel

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Buttons, Lights and Knobs /b9/?p=33 /b9/?p=33#comments Thu, 21 Feb 2008 20:10:44 +0000 /b9/?p=33 Continue reading ]]> Ok, we all know that “Blinky” has a few buttons, lights and knobs. We all have our buttons, lights and knobs to deal with…….their blinking …. and their flashing all the time at me……THIER FLASHING AND BEEPING AT ME…..I CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE…(ok, think cool thoughts…….the flashing and beeping are going away now………..ohmmmmmmmmm…) OK so much for my reenactment of Bill Shatner on the bridge of Apha Beta Moon base in Airplane II playing a commander of a moon base that has gone slightly askew (who played the captain of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek). I guess irony can be pretty ironic….
Anyhow; back at the farm, Craig Reinbrecht was kind enough to change his design and manufacture ring process for his bezel and buttons to produce a very nice, laser cut product with the correct font for the buttons that match the font used on the Hero robot in the series. It is awesome!
Well, I thought that since he was so kind to make that change that I should reciprocate so I created a functional button backer plate and pressure bar that works on any torso and is designed to use the buttons that were used on the replica robot that Mike sells.
If you attend the May 2008 B9 Build Off in Texas, this is what each B9 builder will get for free. This mounts behind Craig’s bezel. You will use the 2 screws that came with Craig’s Bezel and screw them through the torso into the backer plate and then you will place the pressure plates inside the torso ansd screw the supplied screws to create a sandwich effect. Be careful not to over tighten the plate as you could crack your torso. Make sure you trim the bottom of the neon backplate that is nearest to the Dial Lights. If it is not trimmed closely it will interfere with the button backer plate and prevent pushing the buttons. The switches can be obtained from Mouser. The part number is 633-215kkw016b1jb-r0.
When you insert the switches and the bezel this is what it looks like when finished:

Original article: Buttons, Lights and Knobs

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B9 going on a diet! /b9/?p=31 /b9/?p=31#comments Thu, 21 Feb 2008 20:09:49 +0000 /b9/?p=31 Continue reading ]]> After I had the realization that my B9 was becoming a porker I decided to put him on a diet. A drastic diet!! I had James (my machinist) lighten the entire endoskeleton. Every rail, plate and bar was lightened. Every nut that could be removed was removed and threaded into the structure that could support it. Below are the before and after pictures of my “aluminum liposuction procedures”. It is beautiful isnt it?! Too bad it will be covered up with silicon rubber.

Original article: B9 going on a diet!

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Weighing In /b9/?p=28 /b9/?p=28#comments Wed, 20 Feb 2008 20:08:21 +0000 /b9/?p=28 Continue reading ]]> OK, what you see before you is the complete lower assembly (well I have my side plates off currently) of my B9. I am very proud of this. It was a lot of work (and money) to get to this point. But like the man said, a B9 is never truly finished until I say it is (ahem…or maybe the wife has a say in it???) Anyhow, I decided to put him on a scale. WOW … what a surprise! From the waist down he was 300 lbs. For comparison, Mike Joyce’s entire replica robot weighs in at approximately 275. That presents a huge problem for me.
With a projected weight of my robot now at over 400 lbs the current motors will not perform very well so that means I need to redesign the drive section with more powerful motors and that means just 1 thing ……. you guessed it, bigger; more powerful motors need bigger or more batteries. So I am changing the electrical system from a 12V system to a 24V system.
I will also have to redo the drive section and try to lighten all metal surfaces as much as possible. This will not be cheap….

Original article: Weighing In

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Torso, Sound card and 12 CH RF relay remote /b9/?p=26 /b9/?p=26#comments Thu, 22 Nov 2007 20:07:22 +0000 /b9/?p=26 Continue reading ]]> Here are a few additional shots of the Torso.
I am in the midst of making the teeth lights bezel and sub plate using the NKK switches (633-215kkw016b1jb-r0) from that rest behind the faux buttons. I will be using Craig’s buttons and new laser cut bezel.. They are the best looking.
I took advantage of the down time this holiday(Thanksgiving) and wired up the CF3 sound card and Cold Fusion 12 relay Channel remote for remote control of sound and other functions. The beauty of this sound board is that I can change the SAN card for different situations or functions, have over 2000 sound files/phrases, etc per card and can execute macros and remote functions based on the push of 1 button or a series of buttons. This adds to the puppeteering necessary to simulate the on screen persona of our bubble headed booby!
What you see below is the Spektrum DX7 transmitter with the CF3 Sound card and (on top of it) is the Cold Fusion 12 Channel relay remote board. You can configure it and/or the CF3 to use NO or NC contacts switches . Latched or momentary.
The CF Sound card can take upto 49 contacts (which I updated mine to take). It is a very good system.

Original article: Torso, Sound card and 12 CH RF relay remote

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Torso, Vents and Microphone /b9/?p=24 /b9/?p=24#comments Wed, 14 Nov 2007 20:06:02 +0000 /b9/?p=24 Continue reading ]]> Here is how the Replica torso is turning out so far. Note the Microphone in the Robot’s claw. That Microphone is fully operational. I got it from Mike Joyce as he was cleaning out his old stuff. Apparently it was machined and made specifically for the B9 by a club member who is no longer active. It is beautiful and works great too!

Also ote the vents inside the torso. I used a combination of superglue on the bottom of the rail and plummers liquid steel epoxy putty on the top rail . The rails and vents are from Craig Reinbrecht. The vents move like glass!!!

What I need to figure out now is how to attach the metal vents and black cloth that goes behind the vents that will still allow me to open the vents fully for access to the various electronic boards and the torso attachments to the donut.
On a side note, please note the keying of the radar section below for the bubble lifter. This is essential for proper bubble lifter operation but more on that later…… (I have to keep you coming back for more) :)

Original article: Torso, Vents and Microphone

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Progress – Update Drive Section and Bubble Lifter /b9/?p=21 /b9/?p=21#comments Wed, 14 Nov 2007 20:01:28 +0000 /b9/?p=21 Well, its been a little while since I had some time to update this blog. So I thought I would start off with a few home movies. Enjoy…..
Look on You Tube for all of my videos for this build.

Original article: Progress – Update Drive Section and Bubble Lifter

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Mods R US /b9/?p=16 /b9/?p=16#comments Sun, 19 Aug 2007 19:59:01 +0000 /b9/?p=16 Continue reading ]]> I did some additional changes to the articulating hip and leg assembly. I made the back area narrower as well and I did a re-orientation of the base plate for better wire feeding throughout the endoskeleton. In addition, standoffs were drilled and tapped for controller placements and wire feeding. I used patterns for an insulated standoff for the Vantec Controllers I will be using. I also made some changes to the torso rotation motor and mount. I will be using the RDFR23 for the foot drives and 1 RET411P for the hip motor and 1 RET411H for the Torso rotation motor. Instead of the friction wheel rotation method used by Mike, I will be re-orienting the motor and installing a hub and extra large gear for a very fast rotation direct drive so I can more precisely control the speed and whip around as seen in the series when Bob May would spin the torso around quickly. Speaking of Torso’s……. I also received the Replica Torso from Mike Joyce. I had purchased the club standard torso and had it professionally prepared by Richie. It was awesome but when I took it to be professionally painted the shop that did it used the wrong paint and solvent. The Torso started to melt. In their haste they tried to fix it but made it even worse so it was a total loss. A 2500 loss. Ouch!
So I am starting over again with a new torso and donut. As you can see to the left there is a side by side comparison of the club vs. the replica torso. This will present some new and additional challenges in that the replica torso is smaller so other items like the collar, vents, donut and neon base plate may require additional fitment. Only time will tell if I will need to make new components or if the smaller torso size will even be noticeable with existing parts. The Replica torso is the black one. The club standard is the gray one.
Also, here is the drive section that I created. This baby hauls a lot of weight (over 330 lbs) at parade speed with ease. It is smooth on acceleration and deceleration. For those who don’t know what that blue thing is on top of it, that is the infamous Mike Joyce Replica Soil Sampler (no longer available). All of this stuff fits inside of the tread sections. I will be redesigning the soil sampler so members will have an option later on.

Original article: Mods R US

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It’s in the Details /b9/?p=12 /b9/?p=12#comments Wed, 01 Aug 2007 19:57:01 +0000 /b9/?p=12 Continue reading ]]> I dont know what people usually think about how much work should be done for items that are not usually seen by most people but I just had to do what I could to make my “Tin Platted Booby” as spiffy as possible. They say the suit makes the man but the shoes tell you were you have been and were your going!
With that thought, I got a nice set of aluminum wheels from Norm Sockwell (a previous vendor). They already had the lightening holes in them but they did not have any bearings in the wheels, nor were they even drilled for them. These were designed to use a Delrin rod and a 1/4 machine screw to hold the wheel on. For those who do not know, a Delrin rod is a nylon rod that serves as a self lubricating PTFE material (feels like a slippery plastic) axle for which the wheels would rotate. This works great if you are just manually pulling or pushing your robot short distances but is not good if you plan on motorizing your’e treadsection. So I chose a wheel bearing that had an inner diameter as close as I could get to the 1/4″ machine screw. Then I drilled out the wheels on both sides to insert the bearings. I press fitted them in. I also had an inner sleeve (made from Delrin) that was press fitted into the tread section so I could keep the spacing correct inside the wheel wells.
Wow, what a difference in the resistance. It made the treadsection glide along like it was on a cloud. I did notice there was a little slippage on the inner bearing when it would go faster than 2 miles per hour because the machine screw wasn’t the exact diameter needed to get a good grip on the inner sleeve of the bearing; so I made my own axles. Bytheway, the degree of polish/reflection of this wheel is demonstrated by viewing the ceiling’s reflection and my picture photographing the wheel. The polishing was done by Hands off Polishing in Garland,TX. They did a great job!. They also just happened to get the NASA contract job for the Mars Lunar Rover. They did an outsatanding job!!!
The picture to the left is of a custom washer made out of delrin. This works perfectly with the sealed bearings in the wheels above. You have to drill out the opening in the tread section and press them in. This keeps the wheels in the correct position and ensures smooth rotation of the wheels. The delrin bushings press into the existing 5/16 holes in the tread sections. The axles are .249 precision ground stainless shafts. The bearings where 5/8 diameter and the holes where .624 diameter for a press fit.
Stay tuned for pictures and comments on my motor mount design that fits inside the tread section, the modification to the soil sampler as well as a bubble lifter that is servo controlled and more….

Original article: It’s in the Details

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In the beginning…….. /b9/?p=1 /b9/?p=1#comments Wed, 01 Aug 2007 03:05:00 +0000 http:/?p=1 Continue reading ]]> Back in the 1960’s I watched a lot of science fiction. It intriqued me. It fascinated me. How did they do that? Why did they do that? How can I do that?!
The wonderment of a child’s eye is the birthplace of endless possibilities.
Remember. We humans have [with but a few exceptions] (relatively speaking) have taken the Science Fiction of yesterday and made it Science Fact today. Isn’t that wonderful? This showed me that anything is possible.

Science Fiction was a lot of things for me. As a child it opened up my imagination to what might be. How to approach something new. It was instructional; a door way to looking out of the box. This was a technique that has served me well. And in tribute to that gift I am making my favorite robots now. Kind of like a lasting rememberence to my youth and what might be if we work hard enough after it.

All you have to do is try and never give up if it is something you want to do! My father taught me that. I do so terribly miss him.

Do not ever give up and you can make it so! And so it begins…..

Original article: In the beginning……..

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The Hip Bone is connected to the Tread Bone /b9/?p=10 /b9/?p=10#comments Tue, 31 Jul 2007 19:55:10 +0000 /b9/?p=10 Continue reading ]]> Well, this is my first version of my moveable hip design. It is based on the design that is on the B9 website by Mike Joyce. The plans on the site did not have a lot of detail needed for a machinist to take it and run, so I had to modify it. My machinist did an outstanding job. His name is James VanReenen and he is the owner of the North Dallas CNC machine shop. He does outstanding work and he is a fan as well (which really helps in doing this stuff).
Most of the drill hole sizes were not listed so he had to figure them out. In addition, the existing plans do not work with the current tread section offered by Eric Johnson so I made the following modifications: Foot mounting side supports that fit inside the tread section to hold the legs had to be made shorter and the holes for the wheels were in different locations. The leg stance width had to be made narrower, and the original plans had wood as the top and bottom plates for the hip. I changed those to aluminum to make it a bit stronger to withstand impact of a mobile robot for RC use.
With these modifications, Mike’s design now works with Eric Johnsons tread section and Will Huff’s rubber pants, legs and knees. For specific details and new drawings just send me an email and I will forward them to you.
One additional safety note, my tread section is all Steel. I have a soil sampler, motor drive units and batteries and power supplies in and just above the tread section so my CG is kept very low.
If you have aluminum tread sections I would seriously look at getting steel ones. If you want to stick with aluminum then I would rethink my design and probably use reinforced or extruded pvc and wood for the hip plates and legs. Remember, you want to keep the CG low and that means keeping the weight down the higher you go.

Original article: The Hip Bone is connected to the Tread Bone

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My Progress – First decisions and First runs /b9/?p=8 /b9/?p=8#comments Tue, 31 Jul 2007 19:51:23 +0000 /b9/?p=8 Continue reading ]]> Fade in to Jerry sitting at his table reading RC and sci-fi magazines with his robot parts in the background….with the Lost in Space narrator voice overhead saying…” Last time as you recall, Jerry was remarking about what he had learned while acquiring parts and why he was doing this blog to help his fellow members out…little did he know that a discovery of a disease he would soon make would have dramatic consequences to his robot build……..a disease that has plagued more robot builders than people killed by Cecil B. Demille (in his movies)……… It was the aluminum sickness :)

I was wondering how I wanted to proceed. Did I want to do it in wood, plastic/fiberglass, metal or a combination? I wanted my robot to be able to roll around on his own, talk, wave his arms like a blithering idiot whenever danger reared its ugly head and he had to be able to move around quickly. I had a similar decision I had to make with the R2 Builders group when I was deciding how I was going to build my R2D2 and my R5D4 and then it hit me. A robot just doesn’t seem like a robot unless he is made out of some kind of space age material like Titanium or some new endopolymer. Since both are out of my price range the next best thing is Aluminum. Also, my robot must have lots of motors, electronics and power! Arhh Arhh Arhh (the Tim Allen from Tool Time grunt). I can’t wait to re-wire this baby!!!

Well I finally decided on a aluminum endoskeleton with a fiberglass, acrylic and rubber external covering. When I made my decision I saw a logo from the B9 builders site (I kid you not) it said…..”To Out Build, Out Buy and Out do” as the club cry!!!!! I thought that was funny but I found out how true that statement was…I got the Aluminum bug!!!!! In the background Dr. Smith can be heard yelling in fear ” Oh Noooo!!!!!” …oh wait a minute…that was my wife yelling!!

Jump to the 3rd season theme with the countdown sequence with the Jupiter 2 flashing on the screen in the opening credits…..and then dollar signs flying all over with little wings Ok, well it may not be THAT dramatic but the aluminum bug has hit me hard. But I also wanted my robot to be fully mobile and to perform as if Bob May & Richard Tufeld were actually inside my Robot. So where do you start?

**Disclaimer** I do want to make 1 thing very clear here…you do NOT need to make your robot out of metal of any kind. It is just a preference. The end result is what you want him to look like and what you are happy with. This is what I have learned with the R2 and the B9 groups. You can look at 2 droids/robots side by side. Both are RC’d, both look real, both do exactly the same thing. The only difference is what they look like INSIDE (and the cost and the weight). You are the only person that will know this. So with that in mind, here are the chronicles of my build (along with all of my mistakes, lessons learned and improvements. Comments and observations are welcomed so this will benefit all that are reading this.

The first thing I did was to pick a starting point. That is usually a point where you are the most knowledgeable or can get the most parts for first. I started from the ground and moved my way up. I remember reading in the archives that the center of gravity was a concern especially in dealing with a tall robot. Tread Sections. Steel tread Sections. You need weight down low to keep the CG (center of gravity) low so it won’t topple over easily. Also I needed a strong platform for a drive section, battery storage, power supplies and the soil sampler.

In addition, steel can withstand impact better than aluminum. Aluminum may be lighter than steel for strength (pound for pound) but Aluminum will crack and break easier than steel. It is also easier to make repairs to steel than aluminum. Anyway, here is a picture of my tread section. I got these from Eric Johnson and then modified them to accept a special motor mount for the motors that will power my robot (NPC custom Motors (12 or 24v Heavy Motors). I then modified them to work with my leg/hip actuator for the B9. The outstanding paint job was done by B9 club vendor Richie Schiavello (that is his B9 in the background with my Treads on each side).

Original article: My Progress – First decisions and First runs

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Parts Aquisition & Learn while you Burn /b9/?p=6 /b9/?p=6#comments Tue, 31 Jul 2007 19:49:01 +0000 /b9/?p=6 Continue reading ]]> Whoever said “Patience is a virtue” and “All things come to he who waits” never tried to make a B9 Robot!
OMG, when they said this was a builders club they never said I had to become a designer too! In the process of building my “Tin Plated Booby” I had to learn how to weld, use Bondo, learn electronics and how to solder, paint, bend plastic without breaking it while retaining its new shape and how to essentially draw in a CAD program.
What a trip!! I should get a degree for this!! Hey wait….some places actually DO grant degrees for making Robots (MIT)!! LOL
However, don’t get the wrong idea, I didn’t create my Robot from total scratch. I did take advantage of the skills of fellow club members but no matter what I purchased, assembled or designed from scratch, you had to learn about it to understand it and figure out what needed to be done or what to expect to make sure what you are getting is correct and of good quality.

There are a few sellers in the group who make parts available for club members but there is no builders council or standard among them to ensure that what you get from 1 seller will fit with another vendors parts. So most of the time you are having to make your own stuff, either from scratch or modifying someone Else’s work.
This is something you learn very fast when plunking down your hard earned money for parts that you have never really seen in person. Pictures can be deceiving. BE VERY CAREFUL and ask lots of questions. Follow up every phone call with your vendor to ensure no misunderstanding. There are a lot of excellent people on the builders list but all it takes is 1 misunderstood communication or 1 “bad apple” and it can ruin your total experience. That happened to me!
The enthusiasm about building your favorite robot can be over powering and lead you to make rash choices. Be cautious who you send your money to and to make firm agreements up front on delivery times if the part is not ready to be shipped. Don’t assume anything!! Make sure you deal with people who are in the approved vendor list. I (along with others) got burned by a few builders who never delivered what was paid for. For some, they haven’t received their items in years. Those people have been banned yet there are some that still try to make a deal with them and they are paying for that mistake today! Don’t be one of them!

Also remember when money changes hands it becomes a business transaction legally. A lot of people do not understand that; thinking that because it is hobby that the rules don’t apply. They are wrong, they do. I have proven that time and time again.

On a lighter side, let me just say this for those who are new to this hobby. Remember that this IS a hobby, so do not expect a vendor to have something on the shelf just waiting for you to purchase it. Most of these items are made when the demand is created or requested. Enjoy yourself. Take your time on him. Do your research! Have parties discussing him with like minded friends. In this process you will have to learn a lot of things that you may not have ever had any experience with. It is a great way to bring the family together for a common goal and for all to share in. I mean Really, how many people can actually say they made a full sized, animated (and possibly) fully mobile robot??!!! He is great at parties, conventions and especially around Halloween!!

Oh, 1 more thing, its OK to also make other things from the Lost in Space genre. I plan on making the evil blue female robot and some of the hand lasers once I finish my B9! I have already drawn her up and have the big bubble she calls “a head” in my garage….

Original article: Parts Aquisition & Learn while you Burn

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