A brief summary of an ordinary day (for the very specially interested).

All right, because I just want to write something before I got to bed (don’t you just love two posts a day?), I thought I’d give a brief summary of what I’ve done today. I think this summary is a good representation of what I do 92,5% of my time when I am not building the droid. So after reading this post, I hope you’ll see that I’m quite like the random person you might stumble across on at the street.

08:45 – Woke up, breakfast. No lectures today.

09:49 – A 15 min bus ride to Tyholt (Marin Teknisk Senter).

10:15 – Door into my office is opened.

10:20 – Turned on laptop, chit chatted with the rest of my office.

10:30 – Start working on Matlab exercise 2 in Marine Dynamic Analysis.

11:15 – Stuck on the exercise 2. Went to another office to consult with two other students. Got some valuable insight into the exercise problem.

11:22 – Started to talk about Star Wars with the two same students, agreed to use the auditorium at school to watch Star Wars (the theatrical release) on friday night. Watched the following youtube clip, and disturbed the other people in the office with our mocking of Vader being a cry-baby in the new BluRay release.

11:30 – Back to own office. Starting to write the Matlab script for the exercise 2.

14:30 – Lunch break.

15:00 – Back to own office. Continued the work.

16:26 – Got a SMS from Geir Sire (Astromech builder from Oslo) that he was in town for two days working with the theatre light system in Trondheim.

16:51 – Catched the bus to Trondheim Torg, stopped by the local post office to pick up the following book. Started to rain.

17:05 – Walked into the wrong hotel and knocked on the wrong door (“Typical”).

17:15 – Found Geir and his co-worker in the correct hotel. Recieved a super exclusive “Norwegian Astromech Builder’s group” patch from Geir.

17:45 – Realized that I have too little time to make a proper dinner. Bought a frozen pizza.

17:54 – Entering the apartment, eating a quick dinner together with room mates.

18:39 – Bicycling to break training.

19:00 – Break training starts.

21:50 – Break training ends, streched out a bit after all the dancing. Dead tired. Wanted to go home and go to bed.

22:00 – Walking back home in the rain, getting soaking wet.

22:30 – Back home. Checking oat meal for insects. Eating oat meal with milk. Check the milk again for floating/hidden insects while eating.

00:26 – Writing last blog entry.

00:30 – Bed time. Lecture from 08:15 tomorrow!

That concludes my day.

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Milliput + Rotocasting resin = Bad idea

It’s been quiet lately on this blog, this is not because I’ve not done anything on the build, but different stuff tend to pop up (“typical”, as Threepio would say). I can tell that I am still awaiting the LAST fiberglass parts I’ve ordered from TK409. Last time it took exactly 8 weeks from I ordered (and paid for the parts) until I got them. Now, almost 9 weeks have passed. I guess I just have to be more patient. TK409 have never lost any parts during shipping before, so I am confident that these will show up soon.

The only parts that really take time to work on is actually the helmet, which I did some work on yesterday. I’ve tried to sharpen the details on both of the front and back with Milliput. But this job is painstaking and time consuming as the milliput needs at least 6-12 hours curing time, and then I have to sand everything in between, and not to forget to prime everything. Then this process is repeated until the parts are all smoothed out, and all trace of modifications on the surface have become non-visible.

I also realized that Milliput gets soft when being exposed to rotocasting resin residue. (Milliput is a two-part sculpting (putty) epoxy which is for sculpting and repairing of for instance model kits or porcelain. It’s really versatile, and once cured, it’s stone hard and can be drilled in. It’s great for filling up gaps and smoothing out surfaces.) After using some of the resin to build up thickness the behind of the front plate, some of the resin residue (clear liquid stuff from the non-hardened resin) got in contact with the Milliput details I sculpted. And a little disaster struck; All the milliput have softened, and it doesn’t seem they want to cure again, so now I have to peel these off, clean it and sculpt some details again. No hard feelings…one learn by making mistakes. I will take pictures when I’ve got to work a bit on the helmet, because now, it looks like a big mess. It looks like somebody took Threepio’s head and dipped him in sour cream.

So folks, Milliput and rotocasting resin hate eachother, so please make sure to keep them separated at any cost!

Walk of pain

I realized that the kungfu shoes I originally planned to wear, had soles which were a bit too wide for the shoe shells. But luckily (it’s funny how I keep finding stuff which magically seem to appear from nowhere, and which I can use for this project), I got a pair of 4$ sneakers laying around which I bought in Beijing a decade ago (no kidding). They were originally a bit too small for casual wear, but they fit the Threepio shoe shell pretty well. Its low profile, and dark green rubber sole is really comfortable to walk in. Otherwise it’s in this plain white cotton which I plan to spray paint gold later. The shoes are pretty similar to these: And when I tried to google more about these shoes, I found this page. Seems like Kristen Stewart wear these types of shoes…anyways, that was a slight digression.

Today I tested the sneakers together with the shoe shells. Last time I tried the shoe shell on, I only covered one foot. Today I realized that the other (opposite) shoe shell is a tad smaller than the other, it’s also a bit deformed. People over at c3pobuilders club talked about this as well, but it’s not actually a major problem, it’s incredible how much space you can compress by just squeezing body parts :). I don’t have access to a digital camera at the moment, so pictures have to wait.

Now you might think it’s just sliding these shoe shells on and then you’re ready to walk? Hm..I wish it was that easy :S. Firstly, the shoe shells need trimming, especially around the ankle area. One is supposed to leave some of the plastic there as to let the calves slip over the shoe shells, but the way it is now, I literally had tears in my eyes when I was ‘trying’ to run walk swipe my feet across the floor, and mind you, that was not (only) happy tears, that was also painful sharp plastic digging-into-the-angle-tears. Now I just have to find ways to make elastics/shoe laces to fasten the actual shell to the sneakers, that might be a bit more complicated than anticipated, but hey…that’s part of the fun as well!

Another thing I should mention is that the small hinges for the arm, together with the rare earth magnets for the back cover AND the mini bungee cords have arrived! Thank you eBay, you rock.

Hello sir, I am See-Threepio, plastic kitchen utensil relations.

“Hello sir, I am See-Threepio, plastic kitchen utensil relations.” Friction and unwanted sounds.

I came to realize that the 3PO suit will make a lot of weird sounds when wearing it. Fiberglass parts WILL scrub into eachother making more sound than the Stormtrooper armor will ever do. Joints around the knees, and the scrubbing between the thighs and the fiberglass shorts is going make some really silly sounds.

The sound of the fiberglass suit is not noticable in the movie because the on-set audio is replaced with a studio sound mix in post-production, in addition to this, sound effects of mechanical motors are added to Threepio in the movie which help to bring more life to the character. So, how DO actually Threepio sound like on the set? Now, thanks to the Donny Marie show from 1977/1978, we know…and the truth might be hard to accept, yes. IMO, Threepio sounds like a guy with a box of plastic kitchen utensils running around.

Here’s the clip. Please notice that the sound in the video switches from the on-set (raw) audio to the dubbed Anthony Daniel lines. So whenever Threepio’s not talking, that’s when they use the on-set recordings.

@1:48 The real walking sounds of Threepio.

@2:24 Eeeee, there you have it, you see what I meant with kitchen utensils?

Also please note that the clip features the original ANH Darth Vader costume (NOT the voice of James Earl Jones!), an original ANH R2-D2, an original Chewbacca costume (played by Peter Mayhew), (most likely Anthony Daniels) in an ANH Threepio AND four original Stormtrooper costumes (a combination of hero and stunt helmets). I bet those suits are still to be found in the LFL Archives.

To help reducing these unwanted sounds one should apply some kind of oil to the joints, this is what they did with the original suit to avoid too much friction between parts, as this will damage the VM’d golden chrome finish. It do also helps to pad certain parts of the suit which will experience a lot of friction. I guess I’ll find out when I get the last parts!

Currys & PC World Megastore

Currys & PC World Megastore, El-giganten, Elkjøp…my godness! It’s so confusing.

Anyways, in these days, Elkjøp (Nordic Electronics retailer) has a commercial with R2D2 and 3PO airing quite frequently. I did see this commercial some time ago when it was released (this was almost 1 year ago), but it was originally created for “Currys & PC World Megastore”. Somehow, it seems like Elkjøp is trying to use this for their advantage for the BluRay release these days. The funny thing is the norwegian subtitles, which I find very amusing and enjoyable to watch.

It’s good to see these two characters on the screen again. There are only 4 excisting C-3PO costumes left from filming of the Star Wars Saga (ref: http://www.therpf.com/f24/my-trip-lucasfilm-c-3po-10920/) . A few suits are displayed in various museums around the world, and sometimes they are taken out and used for commercials. 3PO is actually played by Anthony Daniels in this commercial, quite special if one takes into account that he no longer do frequent performances in the suit.

After looking through this commercial a few times, I thought I’d share a couple of things I noticed when watching this (mostly regarding the props and costumes used in these clips). Now, this suit doesn’t have the silver right leg, present in most suits used in OT. This may lead me to think that it is a ROTS suit (which was one of the original suits rechromed for filming the prequels). From the chroming work on the shorts, and from the way AD walks, it looks like he’s sporting the fiberglass shorts. Also, some shots feature a CGI (Computer generated) R2, rather than the actual (real life) prop.

With time reference to the original commercial:

@0:20: (Part CGI, part real prop?) R2-D2 (No real prop could do this move, except for a specially modified one used for the Dagobah scenes in ESB, but I suspect KB was inside R2-D2 and using his own legs to push it up).

@0:30: Close up on the 3PO rubber shoes.

@0:32: If you look closely on the left (lower) screen, at the height of 3PO’s shin you can actually see a stage hand controlling the small..droid, ehrm…robot on the floor.

@0:44: Part CGI, part real prop R2-D2 falling over.

@0:52: It still puzzles me how it is possible to do those movements in the suit. I guess I’ll find out when my parts arrive..

Here is the Norwegian (Elkjøp)-version:

While the original commercial is found here (Hi-Def quality):

The bullet proof See-Threepio hypothesis.

Here’s a very informative step by step tutorial clip to demonstrate the process of molding fiberglass composites. A similar method was used to produce all fiberglass parts of the costume, including the helmet. The same method will be used to for instance reinforce the inside of the ABS helmet.

The concept behind resin and fiberglass (composite materials) is that fibers (either glass fiber, nylon, kevlar etc.) are soaked with a form of resin over a mold. When the resin fully hardens (by use of a catalysator) we have a composite material! The advantage with composite materials is that the resin provides a very hard, stiff and scratch-resistance surface, while the fibers (which are sandwiched and soaked “between” resin) improve the flexability of the composite. Resin and aramid/kevlar fibers are used to produce bullet proof helmets. When the woven fibers are sewn together in layers, it provide protection for shrapnel, blunt weapons or projectiles, which is the basis behind commercial bullet proof/flak vests. So now you know that.

Hypothetically speaking, if aramid/kevlar fibers were used instead of the regular cheap fiberglass to produce the Threepio parts, it would be “bullet-proof”. Well, this of course depends on fiber orientation, thickness of the parts, geometry and other factors, but how cool wouldn’t that be?

How awesome wouldn’t it be to for instance stop an armed robbery as See-Threepio? Ironman, go to bed..

We’re doomed..

Panic time!

I suddendly realized that the fiberglass putty I used yesterday doesn’t stick properly to the ABS helmet surface. When I bend the helmet slightly, the fiberglass (the green stuff on the picture on the previous post) just peels off. If you can imagine separating chocolate on silver foil, that’s how it went off the helmet surface! I don’t know who to blame or what to do now, so;

R2-D2 it’s all your fault!

I will not give up that easily, so with some rational thinking, I’ve come up with a set of realistic solutions:

1) Buy some fiberglass mats and polyester resin, and then glass the whole front of the helmet together with a small portion of the side as well. If I somehow align the fiberglass mat in the correct position, it will flex with the ABS and not remain sturdy and just break off. The fiberglass putty does not have the same flex as fiberglass-polyester-resin mix. I have to wait for LE to return back so I can do this in his workshop.

2) Sand the whole helmet with sandpaper as to give the resin a better surface to adhere to.

3) Give up the whole 3PO project and donate all my parts to a flea market.

4) Plastic operation on my face so I can return back to using the fiberglass helmet.

Sorry for the unseriousness of this post, I needed a bit of sarcasm/humor to comfort myself. Move along, move along. Ah, I wish I was building a Stormtrooper, it’s a bit easier.