After a break where I’ve focused on other, more important things in life for a few days, I got around to do some more building today!

It felt good actually doing something again. Building is like therapy!

First off, I was given a few aluminum … thingies .. that works extremely well to divert heat from my motor controllers!

I purchased some thermal grease and took apart the motor controllers, added a healthy amount of grease, then added more grease to the aluminum surrounds, and finally screwed these to my new heat sinks!

My first version was to screw these on the insides, in order to have more space for cool air to cool these down, but I quickly realized that I would not be able to see the status LED’s on my motor controllers!

These will do fine, and allow plenty of air to pass through.

This should make the motors to not overheat so easily… hopefully!

A few days ago, I picked up a 0.8 mm thick aluminum plate, and decided to try and do something with my coin returns and vents. I had made one coin return before, and the idea was simply to exchange the from plate, which was styrene with aluminum tape, with proper aluminum.

I started marking out the pieces and started cutting them out. I used the same idea as for styrene. I scored with a sharp break-blade knife and a steel ruler, and this enabled me to bend the aluminum back and forth until it snapped and gave me a very clean edge.

I scored the edges where I needed to cut out, and also masked this off with tape, to (try) to keep the aluminum surface nice and clean. At this state, I drilled holes in the corners and I bent the plates using a scrap piece from the frame as guide, and checked with the placement on the droid.

Thin aluminum was not that hard to work with, and I decided to actually try and make the entire coin return out of aluminum. I printed out some templates, glued it on the aluminum and started cutting.

I used the knife to score the edges where I wanted to bend the aluminum.

The rounded parts, I sanded off with my dremel.

Since the aluminum was scored, bending it was rather simple, but I knew I would only have one chance on bending it. If I needed to bend it back and forth, it would snap. Since this is a small detail, it does not bother me that the coin returns are scored on the back, as it is facing inside the droid, and no one will ever see it.

As you can see, the aluminum is clearly weakened where it is bent, but I plan on filling this with putty anyway, and it is not a piece that will be in any stress anyway.

Testing on the rounded piece… Yep, fits good!

All three coin return innards done. One for the front and two for the back!

The sides will simply be made slightly too large and glued on.

Once the sides are in place, time to glue the entire innards on the front plate and superglue them together.. and then add platy of tamaiya putty in order to really fix them together.

… now I know what you’re thinking….

I did not forget to actually cut out the square from the front plate!

This is the front coin return, all in aluminum. Check out how good it looks on the test fit on the body:

Sure, it has a few minor things that are not perfect, but this is R2 we’re talking about. He should be a bit dented up and not pristine clear. I will do some more sanding and filing later on, but I think it looks good on him =)

Finally, I had to do a comparison shot in-between my old styrene coin return and the new all aluminum one:

A small detail, really, and I have a lot more to fix this week, so why did I focus on redoing something I’ve already done?

Well, why not? =)

I needed to start to learn how to work with the aluminum parts I need to make anyway…