I took R2 out a little while ago, since there was a huge Star Wars fan at work who was leaving the company, and I decided to bring R2 and make his day.

On the way there, my small cart that I pulled R2 on, came to a full stop, and R2 plummeted forward.. was I finally going to have the dreaded face plant? On a gravelly city street none the less? *gasp*

Fortunately my lightning fast reaction managed to save the droid before the front hit the mix of gravel and tarmac, but not without battle damage. The tiny door around the charging bay panel took a hit. The hinge was bent, and the door was broken off in two places. I was lucky I found all three parts of the hatch to begin with!

I got through the day (and a subsequent official Disney / LFL event) by adding a bit of scotch tape… first to hold the panel together, second to hold it in place.


Yesterday was the day to start fixing that, and also to make some time for some small upgrades!

First off, I managed to get the hatch lose from the hinge inside. The hinge was bent beyond repair, as it is totally impossible to remove the hinge and correct it. It is one of those things that needs to be done before it is installed. I had glued the hinge to the inside of the robot using E-6000 glue, which turned out to be holding the hinge insanely hard. In spite of trying to cut it lose, bend it lose or pry it lose, it only resulted in me breaking the hinge even more. I took a sturdy pair of pliers and broke off all parts from the hinge sticking out, leaving only the “flat” part that was still glued to the inside of the skin. I would have to work with this and glue the new hinge on top of the old one…

So, for starters, there’s a gaping hole in the front of my droid. New hinge is not yet mounted.


At least I’ve got a straight, working hinge..

The hatch has been glued together with superglue.


Technically, I could build a new one, but the painting is a bit of a hassle when you live in an apartment, and getting the weathering to match might be even more so. Besides, the visible cracks can still be extra weathering and battle damage. I have even considered adding a darker wash to the crack to make it even more visible.

Next step: I took my front speakers and changed the way they were sitting in my amp. They wer just clipped in my amp, and one of the clips had broken lose, so I soldered the cables inside my already modified and soldered amplifier (see Octagon Volume Control) and added a proper, sturdy connector to be able to remove it easily:


I have also prepped a second amplifier, that is supposed to drive two speakers that will be sitting right inside my side vents.

So, since I was in doing things, I pried lose the back plates from my old side vents… and let some air in.


Next step: cut out and lightly bend new back plates out of perforated aluminium


In place, they are still see through…


But, with an added layer of black felt behind it, it should be invisible. I still need to add a bit of weathering to the back plate though.


At the moment, the idea is to mount speakers from within on metal brackets, and possible cover the white frame parts in black felt, and surround the speaker with black felt as well, creating a totally black trap behind the vent. It will create a little bit of depth, but also not showing anything of the frame behind the perforated plate. The plate needs to be perforated in order to let the sound waves through properly, of course.

These speakers


will be mounted on two brackets like this


on the inside. The brackets were made from aluminium and I broke off two of them before I realized that heating up the aluminium with my blowtorch REALLY helps when you need to bend it! =)

I also soldered the cables in place needed for the new amp and pulled out a power cord for it. Done. I still need to route out the second volume knob like I did on the first droid, but I will require a little help with that this time.

I also took out my Rogue Robotics mp3 shield, which is really old and have no updated libraries for my arduino since 2012, and resoldered the 3,5 mm socket back in place, it had broken lose somewhere. It works now, but it sounds like there is no volume coming from it. Fortunately, it is no problem for my amplifier!

A bit of updating and tweaking the sound code in my arduinos (The new panel with the USB connectors is SO great! Best idea ever!)


… and it is working a lot better. STill lots of things to mount and tweak.

Next step will be to program my new XBee and replace the old one in the transmitter. Not because it is faulty, but rather because of the huge antenna. It’s not like I need 300m+ range on my droid after all. The much smaller one has a more limited range, 100 meters in open terrain, but as long as I have a range of 10 meters, I’m more than fine. I never like to be away from my droid anyway …


That’s it for now… more shortly!