Sunday, April 17, 2011

Installing a hinge on the dome pie panels

Today I have been working on installing a hinge on one of the top dome panels, referred to as the "pie panels".  

When I first put R2-D2's dome together, I simply used some clear silicone to adhere the panels to the dome.  I made the cut outs in the inner dome so I could come back to this in the future.
The particular pie panel I am installing a hinge on is the one that R2-D2's Life Form Scanner extends from. 

With R2's dome removed from the body, I examine how much silicone I need to scrape free to release the panel...


 I had to remove the dome power system, which consists of a fuse block and 12 volt battery.  Once those I removed, I am able to slowly, carefully...and very delicately remove enough silicone for the panel to fall out.

 Once out, its slow work removing the dried silicone.

The rest will be removed using a dremel sanding flap (120 grit).  To protect the existing paint, I cover it with Painter's Tape and clean the surface.

Next up was to determine the fit and location for the hinge.  I used some double-sided foam tape to find the best position.

The next step is to add some material to the hinge where it meets the dome panel.  Since I threw away the inner dome panel when I cut them out, I had to make use of a scrap piece from the body skins.  The extra material is required for proper alignment.  I decided to use Super Glue, the Loctite brand that has a control gel formula.

Again, the most difficult part is the location, height and alignment.  When I was happy with the location and moved the hinge around, I used the Super Glue gel, placed it on the hinge and gently laid it into position.   I would have used JB Weld for this part but due to the awkward location, I wanted something that would set faster, allow me to test, then clamp into place.

Once the hinge was in position and had dried (I gave it a few hours to be sure), it was time to position the panel over the panel opening.  With the hinges, you need to position the panel up a bit, so it can open smoothly and not rub the edge of the dome lip.

I used one of the cat beds to cushion, protect and hold the dome in position.

Now for the attachment to the hinge to the dome panel, I opted for JB Weld.  Why?  Because if I should need to remove the panel and re-position, I can do so.  JB Weld is easy to remove, sand and clean up.  

Tomorrow I'll check and see how well the fit is.  If it works well, I can work on the servo installation!