Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dome Drive Gear

I was unhappy with the performance of the BaneBots wheel that moved the lazy susan for my dome, so I designed and 3D-printed a dome gear for R2 on the Dremel IdeaBuilder printer at work.

I had some initial quality issues withe the 3D-printed pieces, but that was my fault due to the fact that I did not properly level the build plate. Doh!

The gear was made from one piece that I printed four times. The four pieces tabbed together to make the whole ring. I then sandwiched it between two rings of Sintra to make it more sturdy.

I 3D-printed a motor gear so that it would fit over the 1/2" Banebots shaft on my Jaycar YG2738 dome motor. 

I have to say that I am very happy with the results, and the dome stops on a dime!

You can see a video of the dome drive in action also on YouTube:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sci-fi Day Discovery World

I has taken me a while to update the blog, but here are some pics from the great time I had at Sci-Fi-Day at Discovery World in Milwaukee.

The R2 Builders Group had a dedicated space and there was an amazing array of Droids and other robots,  including Wall-E and a Dalek! The space was very nice as it had the droids roped off from the public, which cut down on selfie photo ops, but limited the amount of abuse the droids took at the hands of the curious and excited.

Also, it was my first time trooping as a Jedi with the Rebel Legion, and it was a blast! The kids were great, the other super fans were awesome and there were so many great cosplay costumes as well!

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Well, I have finally jumped in and started weathering R2 to give him some more authenticity. I am going for a patina of grime that is somewhere between grimy Tatooine R2 and throne room clean R2. I am using watercolor paint so it is easy to remove if I overdo it, and I plan on adding several coats to vary the color and detail.

After my first initial trepidation I am really start to enjoy it!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Milwaukee MakerFaire

Finally getting around to updating the blog!

MakerFaire was two weeks ago and it was fun, frantic and just a wee bit frustrating. 

The organizers combined my booth with my friend Bob Trocke's booth and that of another builder, Craig Smith. We three builders got a 20x20 corner booth and it was a great setup. Craig had a lot of cool droids he had built over the past 20 years or so - scratch built R2 (with awesome Weber grill dome), naked C-3PO from Episode I, the spider droid from Return of the Jedi - to name a few. He has some mad building skills and was an excellent booth mate!

Things got off to a rocky start. During setup on Friday, a freak accident short-circuited my Sabertooth 2x25 motor board in an impressive cloud of grey smoke. Fortunately,  I had a spare at home that I swapped out that night and got him operational. Then unfortunately the next day I soon discovered that I was getting crazy amounts interference on my Vex 72Mhz controller. R2 had a tendency to dart off at full speed in random directions. Very scary. Could the interference be from, say, the robotics competition that was across the aisle from my booth? I wonder!

That was disappointing since I did not really get the chance to try out the new scooter motor drive at the show.  I have since upgraded to a 2.4Ghz controller an hopefully this will avoid any future interference problems.

Regardless of R2's performance, the show was amazing! My brother, Pat came up for the day from Chicago to help out at the booth along with my son, Austin. I was glad they were there since there were over 30,000 visitors on Saturday and at times the crowd was 4 or 5 people deep around the booth. Despite the crowd, people had fun taking pictures with R2, and I enjoyed talking to people about the Builder's Group and showing them the Dremel 3D printer. It was especially nice to see friends and coworkers who came to the show.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Scooter Drives are GO!

The feet need some reinforcement so they don't snowplow when going in reverse, but I could not be more pleased with their performance! And this is at 12V of power - half the rated voltage for these motors!

A higher rez video can be found on YouTube:

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Scooter Motor Foot Build

I finally threw in the towel on my Jaycar motor foot drives. I just cannot make the drive hubs stay securely on the motor shafts. So, on to bigger and better feet!

After browsing the forums I came across the plans for the Razor scooter foot drive setup. I ordered the 130W 24V motors, the scooter wheels and belts from

I cut out the plans from Sintra and tried to figure out its assembly. After some noodling around with the plans I decided to modify it to make the frame beefier, and to provide more support for the motor.

Three rounds of prototypes later, I have created a simplified scooter mount frame that I am making out of 1/2" plywood. The motor will be secured with the three bolts on the face, and I will eventually have extra support and brackets on the back end to keep the motor from torquing during operation.

I will use the adjustable threaded eyebolt assemblies that came with the scooter wheels to pull back on them to keep the belt taut. Tests with a 12V battery on the final prototype seemed very speedy and I am quite excited!

I am going to order some omnitrack casters for the rear of the feet, but until they come I will get some temporary ones from Home Depot.

I plan on building new foot shells that will drop over the frames and secure to the wood frame with screws that will be hidden behind the battery boxes.

Excitement levels are high I tell you! High!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Kenosha Public Museum Maker Fair

I had a great time Saturday, May 2nd at the Maker Fair at the Kenosha Public Museum. There were about 8 or so other maker organizations there, including the Lance Middle School Robotics Club to the Milwaukee Makerspace group. About 350 to 400 showed up and everyone seemed glad to see R2!