May 24, 2024

Treadwell WED-15-77: Part 27 - Testing

Well…… A few hiccups before the finale.
  • The tracks need shortening (both).
  • The mast base support needed a slot in it (think i did this as a second version on the model but didn’t reprint it.
May 9th
Connected up the battery and plugged in the fuses and plugs into the receiver, and powered up.
After dipping the Sabertooth into tank mode, right transmitter stick in full control.

I added WED-15 to the transmitter, and colour coded the LED’s to match.

Might also have to invest in some blue sticks.

May 10th
Today was the mast and head install.
This was there I realised I hadn’t but a slot in the mast base plate for the servo leads. I decided NOT to bother with the servo block plug, as it would of been difficult to reach once the mast was fitted. I just extended the servo leads.

I first connected up the head pivot servo.
Then the eye/head servo for the up down action.

Once happy with this, I connected up the main claw arm lift servo to a switch on the transmitter. Again, all good.
Next was the claw servo…. It worked but not for long??

Its been a while since testing it so don’t know if I hadn’t done something right, as on closer inspection, the case looked warped.

Took it out of the forward servo casing and, yes, the gears had jammed and one had melted, over heating the motor and melting the servos housing.

I did take a test video, you can watch it in the next post.

May 13
I trimmed the neck servo to increase it’s turning range. I also adjusted the head servo to increase it’s looking up position.

May 15
I got round to pinning the head/eye supports to the pivot bar. I had to fit an additional cross bar back in, for rigidity.
The ‘piston’ and the two ‘clamp’ rings got a respray, to a more brass look.

The eye/head servo lead I decided to modify by adding an additional plug on the outside of the neck. This allows the eye/head unit to be fully removable, found it so much easier to work on this way.

Added a spacer to reduce the clearance between the neck and mounting plate.
This fits under the bearing shim.

May 21st:
Tested out the track on the ground.

It works, but the teeth are still a problem, also the front brackets are flexing under the tension and there’s not enough torque on the axle nuts.
3D printing some beefier versions out of ABS.
I’ll also be printing new motor brackets in ABS too as these were flexing slightly.
Ordered a new nano servo.

May 23, 2024

Instagram - I'm Back!

It's been 4 years since I was last on Instagram!

I gave myself a break from my social media when COVID hit (well nobody was going to be doing anything during lockdown (here is the UK)). And it was actually healthier for my mental state as I would get anxiety about not liking someone's post or missing one that then showed up a few days later in my 'feed'.

With Droid event's starting back up, I gradually came back online with Facebook then Twitter (why it's called X, as everyone still calls it Twitter I'll never know 😁).

Finally I’ve decided to jump back on Insta, search for james_r5d4, to catch-up with everything and also to help promote the upcoming event we'll be hosting here in #Bristol in July..... Have I mentioned it??? 😁😁😁

So I'll be liking a lot, post a little, but generally, re-joining the wider world again.

May 16, 2024

TCD Bracket for 3D Mr Baddeley’s droid by Dave Steinke

Dave Steinke shared a modified version suitable to fit my TCD cartridge version into his new bracket design that will fit behind the utility arms.

picture link to Prusa 3D model

This was designed to be incorporated into a Mr Baddeley 3D printed R2 body.

It replaces the main body I made seen in version 2, for the cartridge loader.
picture link to Prusa 3D model

Both models can me found on Prusa account website.

Clicking on the photos above will take you to the respective models.

May 15, 2024

Battery Packs: salvaged from skip

A storage unit was being renovated, and the skip is right outside my office window, so every morning, lunchtime and evening I check to see what’s gone in lol 😄.

I saw some electrical boxes and picked two out to see what was inside, if anything could be salvaged. To my surprise, one was a home made 12v power pack with rechargeable battery and the other was a charger (home made parts).

Gave the power pack a switch on and they lit up.
Tried the charger and it also worked.

Hooked them up and it charges the power pack!
They will need new connectors to be fitted, so that they can be utilised properly.

These will come in handy at events.

10 Year anniversary of R5’s build completion

As we like to say, no droid build is ever REALLY completed lol. But when all the pieces are there and he’s motorised & moving (and cleared), we call that the completed build stage.

2024 marks 10 years since I finished building R5!

That same year also marked his first event:

And some other milestones.
Two pairs of decorated shoes:

A pair of wedges for everyday wear

I also made some ‘droid callers’, which buzzed when button was pressed.

All the links to these other projects, can be found in the tabs at the top of the page, as they have their own Pages.

May 10, 2024

Treadwell WED-15-77: Part 26 - The last pieces


March into April into May 2024
Final pieces………??? :
The second mix of rubber for the tracks was ordered and arrived in a few days.

I poured the remaining tracks and then it came time to join the first complete track together.

Because of the flex, I had to hold the joining ends in place with two metal ‘V’ blocks, above picture.

Teeth moulding attempt No1:
I printed a larger version of this mould (above picture) with more recesses, so one mix could do loads in one go. I didn’t use it though.

I tested the loctite 480 glue again and although it held, it didn’t last long though.

Then I remembered Sikoflex! This is similar to silicon sealant, but is stronger for bonding. I bought some to test on a sample piece of track.

Before I used the Sikoflex, I attempted to bond the ‘teeth’ onto the track using some of the rubber mix. This time I didn’t press down too hard, just held it gently in place. Two test pieces later and they were on solid….. but again it didn’t last long. Tried to fix in place with a pop rivet, but that didn't work.

NOTE: I think the main problem is that the 85 shore hardness is too hard when poured to the thickness required. It's ok (flexible) when poured at the track thickness. May need to look at using the softer shore hardness that I had a sample mix of previously.

Ordered some 60 shore rubber (sample bottles I had previously purchased and tested) to test in the newer mould. These should be a lot softer but still retain some rigidity due to the height.
As for fixing them onto the track, think this will require a definite mechanical process.

Teeth moulding attempt No2:
Here is the second attempt at moulding the tread teeth. The mould was dimensioned to the unofficial blueprints, they are longer than my mould version 1.
** pic **

These came out great, though some of the mix did leak out of the bottom of the mould. They will flex, but still have rigidity.
After more YouTube research, I noticed that the surface needed to be 'roughed up' before bonding to help give the glue something better to 'key' with. On the first test 'tooth', using loctite 480 glue, this worked to help bond it to the track!

Track Fitting:
Next up, test fit of the assembled track No1, onto the wheels.

Track mouldings No2:
Here are pictures of the last section of track being moulded.
Still managed to have some problems with bonding these together. Patience is definitely a requirement lol.

Saw the completion of the tracks.
I found that the faces of the track and teeth, needed to be really roughed up! So dug out a wire wheel and attached it to a drill.

Once done the teeth bonded much better to the track. Wire wheel on drill.

Track one was complete,[May 7th], time to fit it onto the wheels.


Front Wheels location:
Before I could work out the length for the last section of track. I needed to fix a few things. The exterior plate needed to be modified slightly, to allow locking nuts and washers to be used.

The plate was increased in thickness to locate the nylock nuts in place (along with a recess for a washer).
This worked great and made locking the front wheels in place even easier. This upgrade did through up a slight hole alignment issue, requiring two to be drilled slightly larger and straighter lol.

[April]: The next issue though was that there wasn't enough movement to pull the track tight. So after measuring the possible distance needed, I modified the inner and outer locking and location plates to be able to accommodate.
These were re-printed again and helped with keeping the track 'tight'……but the next issue was…..

Wheel alignment: [April]
When tightening the track on the front wheel, the axil would 'bend' (not actually). I would that the 'washers' I had 3D printed were flexing under the tension of the wheel. I swapped them over so the metal washer was next to the bodywork and then the 'plastic washer' between it and the wheel hub. This improved the alignment.
**pics of new brackets**

Didn’t get this far….

Battery brackets: [April/May]
Was thinking about repositioning the battery and combining the brackets into the mast base bracket. Didn’t get much further done either lol.

Servo leads: [May]
New servo wires were made to connect the Sabertooth speed controller to the RC receiver. Then the servo leads from the mast socket were connected to the receiver.
Not in correct slots yet!

Additional arms:
As I mentioned in Blog post (part no.) I had painted up left over arms that I was thinking about using. I then had a thought about actuating the gripper tool, which led on to actuating the whole arm, like the claw one.
This I completed, and will share the files on my Prusa account, but for actually using it on WED, it wasn’t till I’d made a new bracket that I realised that there wouldn’t be enough room for the servos etc.

After being paid I was able to purchase the (hopefully) last mix for the rubber tracks.
I made tracks to gets these finished as I NEED to get him ready for the South West Droid Builder’s day here in Bristol, Sunday July 7th 2024.

Last few pieces to fit together for WED to be done.

Powering everything up…..
Testing of the motors, servos etc and the transmitter….. in next post!

May 07, 2024

Event: May the 4th be with you! Saturday @ LEGO store Bristol 2024

The invitation to attend LEGO stores promoting May 4th new Star Wars LEGO releases, was offered to most costume and droid groups.

R2 was only droid required so I assisted Mike with his, helping him take a break etc without having to worry about putting R2 away etc.

I drove down to his place first and chatted about the day ahead and also the upcoming Mshed event, what needed doing etc.
More on that soon.

His R2 was already loaded up so a short drive to the car parking, and then a short walk over to the LEGO store, in Cabot Circus.

The looks we got 😂😂😂

Us in the lift 😂

We arrived for 11am and the que was long to enter the store still.

The passing shoppers were excited to see R2, some had a shock when me moved, thinking he was just a static display 😂👍🏽

The store was happy with the day, and it was noted that several people had not intended to come in but had done on seeing R2.

We finished up at 4pm after a very busy, warm sunny day!

Hope you all had a great day #Bristol #LEGO

April 24, 2024

Droids @ Mshed , Bristol : #SWDB24 ……….Sunday July 7th 2024

At the beginning of the year, Mike enquired about the possibility of the M-shed museum’s availability for hosting our South West Droid Builders Day 2024.

Unfortunately they were unable to due to planned work. A few months later he gets a message saying that the work had been postponed till later in the year.

So, Sunday 7th July, we will be hosting a bigger event, due to the shed being cleared so more space inside.

The usual Bristol crew will be in attendance along with loads of Droid Builder’s from all over the country! Who will be bringing their droids from a Galaxy far far away & other SCI-FI universes!

March 16, 2024

Futaba: vintage M - series transmitter

With building WED-15, I often refer back to photos and even videos from the original behind the scenes. One thing that is always in my mind is the transmitter, a Futaba M-series transmitter, which were not only used for WED-15 but also for R5-D4.
John Stears - on the Star Wars set,
controlling the WED droid

I was fortunate enough to get a dual purchase of a 4 channel and a 6 channel, transmitters, a few years back (2016). Neither came with an antenna, but I was again lucky enough to find one, on eBay, for my display setup.
Futaba M-4 transmitter

Link to Blog post(s):
Post - ribbon indicator part 2

I keep a search update on eBay, for similar transmitters as well as antennas, which always seem to be missing. Over the last few years the price of these transmitters has increased significantly!

I’ll be updating my display information to include the WED-15 image of John Stears.

R2-D2 Funko Pop 3D model : Etsy

January 2024
With everything going on I didn’t get round to uploading the file for R2 in his three legged driving mode.

This dome was my own work, free hand design with better, more accurate details than the original Funko modelled R2.

Now you’ll be able to recreate the iconic movie scene with R5 & R2 on the Lars Homestead.

March 2024:
This was the plan, but have decided to close my Etsy shop the end of the month.