While waiting for some extra wiring on order for the RC electronics I decided to work on the body lighting. Its not as straight forward as a thought but coming along nicely. 2 down and four panels to go. I’m using 3mm LEDs that are just small enough to squeeze between the very thin shell and at the same time not get in the way of the rotating wheels, spinning weights and gyro.
I’m just going to put up a few before and after pictures so you can get an idea of the process. Its not a “just” to do process. Its equally important to all the preparation work to make it look as perfect as possible before even attempting the weathered look. I took me 2 days full days to weather the dome and about the same to do the body. It as all a building up process. I just acrylic paints as it takes a few passes to make it look naturally weathered than just painting it on in just one go. I have to admit I’m finally relieved seeing the results that I’m been working towards after almost a year of figuring it all out. Anyway, here are the results. The weathering is about 90% done but I will go back and touch up a few minor areas before I cover it in layers upon layers of 2K clear flat paint:
Once the covering is all done. I can put back the internal workings and do some test driving and tweaking. I’ll also do a short video to show that it actually does work…stay tuned😉
Its been a few weeks since my last post. As usual with this kind of challenging project its 2 steps forward and 1 step back. In my case it was 3 steps forward and 2 steps backwards. Long story short, the cheapo motor to drive the forward and reverse couldn’t handle the sheer weight of my BB-8 and the (plastic) gears, well you can guess. My BB-8 weights a whopping 32kg!! Which is great for stability but hell for cheapo motors. I’d didn’t know they were plastic. So I invested in a proper robust motor with solid metal gears. It runs at 100 rpms on 12 volts. I can post more specs if wished. After changing out that I noticed my original designed control box fitted but gave limited room for anything/everything else. I redesigned it from the ground up making it 2/3s smaller than the original. Its now using three Pololu Simple Motor Controllers. One for each of the main motors. I’m using two 24v12s and one 18v7. I got three because its cheaper and easier to change out one instead of a more expensive all-in-one solution. Also this new solution is much quieter as well as being programmable.
After all the changes and minor tweaks I could finally do a test run and it works. I forgot to record a video but trust me it works. I’ve finally now have been able/comfortable with closing up the entire BB-8 body while leaving 2 detachable access panels for future “thumbs-up” animatronics and so forth. Also these access panels are just big enough to remove every internal component if need be. This past week I’ve been covering, sanding, covering and sanding to get a nice smooth finish before I started the layers and layers of white glossy. BB-8 isn’t suppose to be glossy but I’ll flatten the gloss after all the detailing is done. So enough said and here are the pictures.
Things will be publish a bit more often the coming weeks as I’m nearing the end (hopefully) of this build. Today’s video just shows the now almost completely painted vacuum formed dome with lights installed. I’ll be weathering a little later to bring out the details even more but I’m happy with my results so far.
Sorry, no pictures this time. However, I did a test of all the BB-8 rolling and head movement systems and it worked better than I could have imagined. It was one of those milestone moments when you realize that its going to work. I have a new main motor on order because I want a certain speed and that should arrive any day now. Once I got that installed I can finish the body painting and coverings. So I’m guessing you’ll be seeing a video of my BB-8 a week or 2 after that. An AWESOME feeling🙂