Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ewoks Sighted in Northern California

I almost forgot to mention that while we were having our build day at Chris James' house it appears that there were some Ewoks lurking around the house.  But who knew they were so tall?  That makes them kinda scary if you ask me.

R2 Platform

Finally found the camera.  Ok, so some builders had some very cool platforms for displaying their droids at CV and that got some of us talking at Chris James' house a couple of weeks ago.  I have been brainstorming about ideas and mocking up plans to try to get the proportions right.  Here's where I am now.  I have two different plans in mind.  One is inspired, at least in my head, by some of the round Death Star platforms you see especially in Return of the Jedi.  The Freezing Chamber from Empire has some cool lighted steps that have been in my mind.

The top is 1/2" MDF.  I cut the curve with the circle jig on my router, and then I routed out a channel (rabbet) to accept the strip of 1/8" fiberboard that makes the edge piece.  There are some pieces of 3/4" plywood in a cross pattern underneath that hold it up.

This was the result after I made a template from a cardboard box and I thought it was too small.  But now I think it's actually a bit too big.  I think I'll try taking 1" off the outside the trim it down.  And if necessary, I'll lower the whole thing a bit too.  There aren't many pieces and they come apart easily with screws.

My plan is to cut out oblong rounded slots and circles in the side piece, and then put a strip of light diffuser plastic behind the slot (probably from TAP plastics), then I can mount some cheap lights inside and have it illuminated.
I figure it should be painted in a fairly dark battleship grey too.  Black would be too much.  And other colors would be distracting.

 Here's the slots I have in mind:

Next I played around with the dimensions on a wedge shaped platform.  I am picturing something like a section out of a curving platform with a curved front and back and sides that angle in.  This size and shape is pretty good although it needs some tuning up.  The foreshortening in the picture angle seems to rob it of any bevel or trapezoid shape, but the side actually do angle in some:

Here the cutout pattern is on top.  I was thinking that these panels could be cut out and then light diffuser plastic put underneath, maybe red or orange, and then have R2 lit from the bottom.

But this MDF is 1/2" thick, so the vents would be deep.  I haven't thought of a good, economical, and easy way to make the top surface flat for R2's wheels.  And I think this may be too busy to have under him.

I like some of the narrow vent patterns like you see in Deathstar decking seens (think the prison cells where they kept Princess Leia.  Jonathan Burton and Chris James both sent me some cool pictures.  But cutting that many slots in this would create tons of carcinogenic MDF dust in my garage so I'm not into it.  I suspect that using an industrial CNC machine on acrylic or aluminum is the best way to do that, and that boosts the cost of this little project way up.   Maybe I'll mock this deck shape up in the MDF and try putting light vents on the sides like the other plan.  I'll wait to get some feedback from some other builders.

So my idea was that I'd get a few workable plans on this with some different options, and then if the local builders are interested in having a build day, we can get together here sometime soon and bang out some more of these.  Let me know guys.