Monday, August 22, 2011

Tear down time...

This evening I got right to work on my plans to start tearing down R2-D2 for some maintenance work.

I have this down to a fine art so within a few minutes I had the legs off.

Legs are off!  Foot drives will be getting worked on in a few days!
With the legs off and the body on the dolly, I can now transport it to another room for further dismantling.

Next up is disconnecting the servo linkages from the doors that are actuated.

Since most of my servos are mounted to the frame, to remove the skins, I just have to disconnect the hinge from the linkage.
With that done, I can remove the front body skins, exposing R2's guts.

With the skins off, I got right to work labeling the tall doors so I would know which is which for the re-assemble.

 I've never been happy with how the front skins came out.  Over the years I have had several ideas on how to fix it but kept putting it on the back burner, tackling more pressing needs.  Now that I have a break in the action I can take them completely apart and make them look like the set R2 #2 has.  

I want the inner skin to be completely unpainted so that when the outer skin is on, the exposed inner skin adds to the depth of the skins.  This time I can use a better adhesive and also patch a few holes from my first attempts mounting them to the frame.  Last, the vent surround piece has been bent and mangled repeatedly.  I friend with a CNC machine cut me a new one out of aluminum so I just need to curve it slightly and paint.

With the skins out, it was time to start removing the doors from their hinges.  It was also time to slowly peel away the silicone used to mount the octagon port, coin return and power coupler.


I used some blue painters tape to label the outer skin detail pieces that will eventually pop loose.  With the skins ready to be separated, it was time to put the method I have come up with to the test.

The method I came up with wasn't to use a butter knife, nor a thin screw screwdriver.  I opted to start with very thin aluminum, so I dug into my pile of aluminum flashing (used around chimneys) and used that.  I also used a scrap piece of aluminum from the inner skins, the utility arm cut out.  

I used the thin aluminum flashing and quickly worked my way through the areas where the adhesion wasn't good at all.  Here's a few pictures showing how it worked...

Find a spot where the skins have come apart and work the aluminum flashing into it.

Slowly, and carefully,  work the piece up, down and around.  Be very careful, that flashing material is thin and very sharp.

After an hour of slow, diligent work, the skins are separated.  Better yet, no warping, dings or distortions from the removal process.

Tomorrow I'll work on sanding the skins , namely the surfaces where they will need to have VHB adhesive tape attached.  The pieces already white can stay as they are, so they match the rest of the droid.