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Discussion Starter #1
As I mentioned over in post #61 of Frightshow's BB-8 thread, The AD Project is one of the things I'm doing for DragonCon 2016 that has been distracting me from Halloween stuff.

See, when I go to Dragon Con, I'm always seeing various members of the R2-D2 builders club with their droids, life-sized Daleks, and even Bar-2-D2. I can't afford to build any of that, especially with the need to jump straight into Halloween projects right after the con. So I chose a different life-sized droid.

Err, excuse me. "Space Drone".

The AD Project is my attempt to design and build a radio controlled version of the Artie Deco prop from the 70's Star Wars parody film Hardware Wars. The intent is to make him fully animated, with lights, sounds, etc.

I am detailing the project in posts over on my weblog, and so far have made three:

Currently (as in right now) I am designing mounts for my motors and attempting to sort out the drivetrain.

Additional posts are coming. They go up on Saturdays at 00:01 Eastern time.

Feel free to ask questions
 

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Discussion Starter #3


I'm using drill motors for Artie. This is the initial design for the front motor mount. You can also see a template for the rear mount, which I printed to check the sizing. Each motor attaches to the front mount using the washer and screws that originally held it in the drill. The rear mount clamps over the motor.

These motors are really too long to mount wheels directly to them without some sort of complicated offset arrangement. Instead, I've elected to mount them both perpendicular to the drive wheels and will (attempt to) use printed spiral bevel miter gears to transfer the rotation.

I am unlikely to be driving Artie all that fast, so my hope is that the gears will be strong enough to handle the forces, and smooth enough not to bind. This may be completely unrealistic.

There's always fishing line...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Episode VI: Return of the Redeye has been posted.

I go into details on what electronics I'm using, misadventures in speed controller purchasing, painting the robot, and the latest thing I've gotten somewhat working: Driving Artie's eye with his sound effects.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I posted the final installment (for now), Episode VII: The Farce Awakens, wherein I introduce the second half of my project ... my entirely original parody of BB-8.

(I also introduce the last minute third half of my project .... math was never my strong suit. Nor was avoiding stretching myself too thin/allocating enough time.)


As of this moment, the thing that is mostly holding me up is the speed of my printer. I have a backlog of 4 - 8 hour prints to churn through so I can finish assembly. I have one complete motor mount and half of another. I literally just finished printing a wheel as I typed this post. I have the brains of both drones largely wired up and mounted. This is Artie's, in the frame that supports his head motor:




Even the washers for the screws holding the arduino and motor board onto that thing are 3D printed (but not the screws themselves; plastic threads on a #4-40 screw would be far too fragile, if they even printed correctly)



Now back to work...
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Hello, thread. It's been awhile since I posted an update here. That's because I went through a long period where I wasn't getting much done on Artie.

However, I finally made him mobile earlier this year and took him to Dragon Con again, where I spent essentially the entire convention hanging out with my fellow droid builders. In general things went better than expected.



Here is the summary version of how it worked out...

The Good:
* There were a lot more people who recognized who Artie was this time, possibly because he was mobile, so more people noticed he was there in the first place.
* Artie was mobile (mostly) and his eye worked fine.
* He has an internal speaker and amplifier now (it was a simple pair of externally mounted USB speakers in 2016). He is still a bit too quiet, so I may move to testing surface transducers rather than a speaker.
* I have had no issues with battery life, motor strength, or even the strength of the printed gears


The Bad:
* There were a few drive malfunctions (slipping gear) before the con, which almost caused me to leave him at home, but I persevered. It still gave me some grief for the first few days, but liberal application of CA glue and threadlocker made it less and less of an issue until it was permanently solved by saturday morning.
* The steel canister severely cripples Artie's range -- from 50'+ down to about 15' ... less if there's much competition for signal.
* I have a ground loop in my audio system that causes a nasty hum.
* Amazon botching a prime delivery prevented me from installing a component to make his Arduinos run off of the main battery.
* The mount for my bicycle flag didn't really work, so I didn't use it. Consequently I didn't take him out on the atrium floor very often (out of fear of tripping someone).
* Head still doesn't rotate, as fixing this will require more significant design work I didn't have time for


The Ugly:
* I didn't have any sort of robot caddy, so between drive malfunctions and the Artie-incompatible terrain lying between the Westin (where we stayed) and the Marriott (where most of the action and droids were), I lugged him around by hand a lot ... just like I did in 2016. Except, back then I was staying in the Marriott. And now he weighs a bit more due to the drive system. Sore arms.



The lack of caddy was rectified less than a week after returning home (bought one of the collapsible Ozark Trail wagons from Walmart's camping department). I already have my hands on the part for changing the power system, and fixing the audio hum just means ordering a ground loop isolator (about $10). I also have a workaround for the bluetooth; it doesn't quite restore full range, but it does roughly double what I have now.

The green and orange frame in the picture in post #5 was version 1. That proved too flimsy for the head rotation setup even at the time, and shortly after my last post I began the process of switching from my Space Drone 2000 handset to using PS3 nav controllers. That requires moving from an Arduino Uno to an Arduino Mega ADK, and a Mega won't fit in the v1 frame, much less the amp and all the other components. Earlier this year I ripped out the V1 design and created a new V2 removable 3d printed frame:



During the con, I found that space inside was still severely limited, limiting my access to some of the components, mostly due to the large size of the audio amp. The above pic doesn't even have a couple of things installed, and it's already getting crowded. I have some thoughts on designing a version 3 frame (tucked under the overhang) and hope to improve the wire management and available space a bit in the process.

However, Artie works well enough for now, so I think the more involved design changes aren't a terribly high priority. I'm shifting my focus to my next robot project: my WED Treadwell droid. Treadwells are these guys:



But Halloween (and then the holiday season) comes before I can really get rolling on that. I'm taking it easy this year and not really building much new, but one thing I am considering doing is making a "costume" of sorts for Artie so I can use him as a scare prop. I haven't decided exactly what to decorate him as, however.
 
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