Friday, December 4, 2009

Davis Holiday Parade

R2 got a place in the Davis Holiday parade this year. Lots of kids and floats and characters walk down through downtown to a tree lighting ceremony. I was foolish enough to just drive R2D2 in it instead of getting a ride on a trailer or float or something. That turned out to be a bad idea because for one thing it was dark and I couldn't see the street surface very well. So any potholes or cracks were real hazards. He hit one at full speed and really jammed the center leg wheels into it. The force was enough to torque the center foot shell and pop some paint off of it, but otherwise no real damage. It sounded awful when it happened. I was PAINFULLY aware that R2 has no shock absorbers or suspension system of any kind. So all that weight resting on the center leg creates an enormous blow to the frame when that front wheel jams. He made it, but I'm going to devise some kind of shock absorber for the front. Maybe a layer of some synthetic material between where the center leg mounts to the frame or something. But the parade was fun and a lot of kids were totally psyched to see R2D2 up close and personal:

The rest are too blurry to use. I guess the night street lighting screwed the camera up. One of the most entertaining things is the reaction from the adults. The first question everyone asks me is where or how I got the droid. I tell them that I built it (mostly) from scratch and they just won't believe me. Some of the just reject that as obviously impossible. I guess it would look that way from the outside. I have to say that there's no way I could have done it if it hadn't been for all of the other builders who figured this out before me in the club and created the plans and all. And I have to say that building something this complicated is really just a matter of breaking it all down into tiny digestible pieces and working on each of them one at a time. This time a year ago, I was completely absorbed in thinking about the cutting order for the angles on the booster covers I was building, or something like that. Little pieces start adding up to bigger pieces over time. If you think in the really long term, some really complicated projects are possible. That's just one of the valuable lessons that this project has taught me. Another one is: put the tools down, go away, and think about it for a while.

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