March 24, 2023

Event 2023 - Megacon Live @ Birmingham

Saturday 25th March
Heading up to Brum to the NEC for Megacon Live.

It's a two day event, but will only be attending on the Saturday myself, with Mike B. There will be other droids there on the Sunday as well.

March 07, 2023

Droid Builders South West - coming this July


Stay tuned for more updates……

#bristol #ukr2d2builders #droidbuildersuk #r2d2 #r5d4 #badmotivator #freeevent #localevents
#southwestdroidbuilders #happydays #2023

March 06, 2023

New R5-D4 stickers and trading cards for Celebration Europe 2023

Ordered some more R5 stickers, via ‘sticker-app’ website and uploaded new images, these will be special ones for:

Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023


And these:

I also had some limited edition Trading Cards printed off, 100 total.
Trading Card

These aren’t very big stickers, but that’s why I like them.
Trading card, stickers,

I also finished gluing the pins onto the back of the R5 , 3D printed badges.

3D printing, pin badges

All ready for Celebration Europe in London next month…… see you there!!

March 05, 2023

Celebration Europe 2023: Droid Builder’s assemble

This year Star Wars Celebration is coming BACK to the UK. Representing Europe, all droid builders will be attending……

Well, that is still what we hope will happen. As many of you will know, the ticket situation was an absolute nightmare for being organised. Myself and others, signed up to purchase four day passes, but the small print, meant that even though you were in a queue, it was still a random selection…….well that’s NOT a queue, and us Brits know how to queue 😂👍🏽

Then on Thursday 5th January I got an email from the Ibis hotel, cancelling my reservation!!
Double checked it wasn’t a hoax 😳, nope!
With no reply to my emails, I phoned them to ask…..there’s been a block booking! And it automatically sends out a cancellation notice! They were no help at all and even gave me the same email direct to the hotel I had already used.

Soooooo…… Saturday was spent searching for hotel rooms for the required dates.

The good news, was I was able to find a room with twin beds (not a double 😂).
The bad news, is that it was further out and more money 😒. I didn’t book it though, as after not hearing back from the hotel, I Tweeted about the situation, and ‘@‘ the hotel directly!
Within a matter of hours I had a response AND a DM saying someone would be in contact. After a few days I received another DM & an email confirming that my cancellation had been an error and that my booking was now reinstated.

This was a relief, but still the ticket issue was still outstanding. This matter was eventually resolved between the organisers and the R2 group organisers.

February 19, 2023

Treadwell WED-15 droid build : Part 13

The mast sections were masked off, primer'd and silver spray painted.

This included silver spray painting the claw arm parts.

I’d ordered some more primer as well as some clear mat spray to coat to seal the paint.

The mast was getting close to being finished. So I thought I’d turn my attention to drawing up the wheels, in case I decide to 3D print them, here they are added to the assembly model.
I looked at the print time for the main drive wheel in ABS, lol that’s definitely a weekend print.

After finding out that there’s a mold function in Cura, I thought I’d have a go at casting the lens. So I ordered some 1-1 ration clear resin to test.
This was a test pour as not to waste. The 3D printed mold, was not as good idea as first thought lol 😂  so on to plan B, using a proper mold material over the top of one of my previous 3D lens. We had some of this two part molding putty that when mixed together sets to a solid but still pliable material. So before it set, I placed it over the top of the polypropylene lens I had printed a while ago. Left it overnight to fully cure.
Then in work the next day, I mixed up the resin and poured it into the rubber mold.

The result isn’t that bad:
It takes about 24hours to fully cure.

Next part to be painted, I masked up the servo neck collar as it required a black band. I used matt black spray I had left over.

And the result:

I had chosen matt finish for the clear coat. I was a bit disappointed at first as it dulled the shiny chrome look of the parts, but after a while it grew on me. It looks like real un-machined Aluminium now. It will look different again once weathering is applied.

I reassembled the claw arm components along with the servo pivot horn to activate the lift mechanism. Really happy with this. 
The main pivot rod needed to be angled and bent into place to better fit the servo position.
This is where the servo will be located.

Next was to mark (see below picture) and cut the PVC pipe to allow the components to fit inside it and the mast.

The list of little things is a long one.
  • The rear lens holders needed to be glued in place.
  • The recess in the front of the second eye needed to be cut to allow clearance for the rear lens holder.
  • I needed to add captive threaded brass inserts to tabs to help secure the two sections of the eye together. This will allow future easier access to the servo inside, see next picture:
  • The claw arm needed some work on the piston rod fixing part of it, see next picture. I cut a cleat end off to keep the threaded tube part, and I filed the sides flat on a nut to go on the rod end. Added a drop of thread lock.
  • The base plate has now had M6 coach bolts and nuts fitted to better hold it and support the mast structure. I feel better about it’s strength and stability now.
Test fitted the mast and head assembly together, along with the arms, into the track base unit.

February 12, 2023

Treadwell WED-15 droid build : Part 12

This update covers the last 3D printed mast pieces, spray painting, part assembly of the mast and the beginning of the tread base section.

The upper section of the mast, required its opening to be enlarged to allow the servo pivot arm to fit through.
The off set upper square section
Friday 3rd February:
I set the works 3D printer off with lots of different pieces, including the last two mast parts.

Monday 6th:
Progress this week was, gluing the sections together using the PVC tube as a guide for centralising and squareness. Some of the inner diameter’s do still need a bit of filing to make things easier to slide over it.

The mast was primer’d in sections for ease, see above picture, then the parts were fitted onto the PVC pipe, to help with alignment, and the sections glued together, but not to the PVC tube though.

The plan is to primer over any joins still not sprayed. The main PVC tube needs to have cut outs made for the claw arms servo horn fitting as well as the claw servo activation, so will be done once the sections are in the correct positions.

I also set up the printer to do the base stand , in ABS. I started it in the day so I could keep an eye on its progress, what with all the issues people have with printing it.

I didn’t need to worry as it printed fine.

Ultimaker S5:
clean glass bed,
thin coating of prit-stick glue.
The open top now has a DIY enclosure made by co-worker Will, which also has a filter and extractor fan.

On completion I realised that I needed to design an adapter to help locate the mast’s PVC internal tube, as the base plate hole was too big for my tube.

Adapter printed in ABS, and fitted to the lower mast section, this has an inner sleeve that fits the PVC tube and an outer sleeve to fit over the base plates raised flange.
I will be fitting an additional location flange inside to the wheel base to help reduce any possible flexing in the mast base to body area.

Next I drew up from the blueprints and printed off the base’s four legs (in ABS).

Base masked off ready for primer. The screws are too secure the legs whilst the glue dried.

I messed up on printing the correct missing mast piece so that’s on my list to do. I had also glued two sets of pieces together by mistake so I had to cut these apart to be ready for when the last mast piece is printed

Spray painting:
Primer and more silver (chrome) painting of the mast sections as well as the base plate.

I cut out the upper part of the base and after marking the centre point, I then drilled location points to secure the base plate in place.

I had cut the bottom base board a while back.
This week I bought a 12mm thick hardwood sheet to be able to cut out the two side plates (for the wheel locations) also the two end face pieces, and the upper section (see above picture of mast base plate fitted to wood panel).
Tape measure on base for size scale comparison.

Next up was to drill and fix end piece’s in place.

I’ll be adding more supports to the internal sides for strength and rigidity. I then drilled out the hole in the upper plate.

And of course……I had to give it a test fit of the mast.
It’s been good getting back to woodworking, really enjoy the creating side.

February 05, 2023

Treadwell WED-15 droid build : Part 11

Last post mentioned the neck servo idea. Designed up a new neck piece that would allow the servo to be centrally positioned. There is a bit now that sticks out the rear, but not by much and its not to obvious.

I used one of the servos that required a new replacement one. It fits into a slot and then it was secured underneath to a bridge section that was incorporated into the design. I was a bit worried that the weight of the head would be to much and/or unevenly balanced. But on testing… held up, literally lol.

Here's a link to my YouTube channel showing the head turning:

Next test was the eye lift servo. I knew it could hold the head without power, and with power it worked great! No issues with the weight of the eyes, not that there is much weight:

Cut out a piece of wood for the bottom of the base. Helped to give me an idea of the size.

After watching Paul6700's YouTube part 2 video, link, I downloaded his file from his Thingiverse page for the 'Mast Base'. I have ABS filament a co-worker purchased for a project, so will attempt to print the base soon.

Think I’ve sorted out the movement/pivot arm needed to lift the main ‘claw arm’. Just need to print off the new part. Tested its movement and it works. I just need to make a pivot servo horn.

I cut out the recess needed for the rear lens holder to be able to fit properly. I hadn’t taken this into account when I drew the unit.

I had taped the rear lens holder in place to mark the position to make the cut, and to then be able to test fit it into the eye unit.

Test fitting.

As part of the details, I drilled and fitted these hammer drive pins into the top and rear of the eyes.

Prepared and primer sprayed the upper parts of the mast. Glued the claw arm together and resanded it, before gluing on the other parts, hose clips etc.

The last mast pieces are being printed off this weekend, along with some other pieces for another project. Then I will fit them onto the PVC tubing and glue the mast parts together.

February 03, 2023

Treadwell Droid - YouTube video shorts

 Here are the video links to the activation testing of the head servo's.


The housing design to fit the servo into the eye unit.

Next up is the servo pivot arm test:

These were created the end of last year.
Here are the now powered test videos.

Neck movement test:

And finally, the head 'nod' test:

These last two video's utilised a servo tester unit to actuate the servo. These will of course be remote controlled via a transmitter.

Am really happy that these have worked out.

January 29, 2023

Treadwell WED-15 droid build : Part 10

Treadwell droid
Progress made includes:
  • Second Arm - 'Clip' type
  • Replacement servo arrived [though probably not needed now]
  • First Arm - Claw arm work
  • Third Arm - Two prongs
  • Fourth Arm - Probe
  • Cables & tubes
  • Painting
  • extras.....
Second Arm: 'Clip' type:
This I call the clip arm as it's end resembles a clip you would fit a pole/broom too to locate/store it. Using previous images, I guessed a suitable size and printed it in a flat orientation. This allows for some flexibility without it (hopefully) breaking.

I used the large 8mm dia carbon fibre tube as the second stage of the arm. The clip fits onto this.
Treadwell droid, utility arm

Treadwell droid, utility arm

Next up was drawing up a new bracket. I'll use this design for the other arm brackets.
Once I'd sanded these pieces and had shaped the pivot location pin, I then drilled and screwed the bracket in place. 

Replacement servo:
The one purchased off eBay, had a piece missing out of the bag. Sourcing this item would not of been cost effective even with the partial refund given. So the seller posted me a whole new servo unit, which included the missing piece. Great!
But I don't think I'll be actually using it now..... so I'll save it for another project..... or will I....... I've just had an idea! So some more development work on this soon.

First Arm: Claw arm:
Finally the main 'Claw' arm. I needed something that could be flexible but still be able to transfer movement. I’d looked at bowden tube designs, bicycle break cables etc. Settled on an electric guitar string. This should work well, next was to locate and rig up the mini servo to it, through the new tubing, and connect to the Claw.

Third Arm: Two prong arm:
After I'd drawn these items up, they were printed off, overnight, plus an extra bracket for the last arm. The holes in them were Dia 6.4mm, this allowed for material expansion of the filament during printing, and allowed a snug fit of the carbon tube into the parts. A Drill bit was the only thing I had to use to help clear out the support material inside the holes.
A lot of sanding and smoothing to remove the print lines on the two tube arm sections; as well as the bracket.
Treadwell droid
Cut the carbon fibre tube down in length to better fit. These will be glued together eventually.

Fourth Arm: Probe arm:
This one I drew up in 3D, basing the design on the one Paul6700 had originally made. It can be seen in my above picture (on the right). I liked the mesh screen too, so had a go at printing one off. The first version, showed up its weak points, the holes were too close together, so the second attempt had larger spacings and worked great.
Treadwell droid

I wanted to replicate Paul’s and the original WED cables, using vintage wires. I dug into my box of old iPhone charging cables lol, as I remembered that these (older versions) had metal wire sleeves under the rubber insulation sleeve.
The plastic tubing I had was the right size, but was still a bit too stiff, I wanted something more flexible that wouldn’t hinder the movement of the claw arms motion. I searched for silicone hose and found translucent tubing. The right size was available and it’s really soft and flexible (eBay).

Painting has begun.
Sunday 22, bit chilly but decided to make a start on spraying up parts. The eye units, the neck and base plate parts, were primed first.
Treadwell droid

Treadwell droid

Treadwell droid

Monday, I found (I hope) a suitable blue spray paint for the eye units, and later, for the base. Picked up two cans.

Tuesday, I took the pieces I wanted to spray up, into work. They have a spray booth and it's inside in the warmth lol. I used the metallic silver (what was left of the tin) to spray up the base plate and the eye brackets. I had added some super glue the night before to areas that the primer didn't fill in. This actually adds to the effect, along with the print lines looking like machine lines. Result!

Treadwell droid

Treadwell droid

I next sprayed up the eye units with the blue spray paint, I think they came out ok. I did make the mistake of spraying the eye that's still in two pieces separately, so these will require a respray together lol.
Treadwell droid

Treadwell droid

Treadwell droid

Treadwell droid

Finished look.
Treadwell droid

Wednesday, I primer sprayed the arms.
Thursday, the arms etc got the silver spray treatment.
Treadwell droid

Lastly, I drew up some extra pieces and test printed them off. These include covers for the bottom of the eyes, where the legs poke through.
Treadwell droid

I have also drawn up and printed off a new upper neck servo mount as a test piece. This would replace the need for the motor to turn the head assembly left and right. I've incorporated the bearings in it again, to help take the weight off the servo. This is still a WIP, as I need to see if the servo is strong enough to move the weight of the head, more soon.