Sunday, May 4, 2014

Star Wars Day, May the 4th be With You!

(General L3-G0 Video is at if you are just looking for Lego R2D2 videos)

@()$*&)(*& Sandpeople!

Lego R2D2 fallen on the sidewalk with right shoulder shattered.
L3-G0 faceplant, @#$_()* Sandpeople!
I was running a little bit late, so I let us be a little rushed and didn't watch for sidewalk cracks close enough (I even thought about it and figured the 2 I could see were OK so the 3rd was probably good), and L3-G0's body tripped as I was trying to get it out of the slight drizzle. 

His right shoulder got mangled again, and one of the front panels screws got pulled out.  A few bricks were scratched or dented and I'll probably replace them.

On the plus side, I don't think I have another picture of the bottom of his feet, and from the label I can now clearly tell which one is the Right Foot!  (As if I didn't know).

Fortunately the 501st was there, though where an Imperial learned to repair Lego Astromechs is beyond me.

L3-G0 the Lego R2-D2 and a 501st Jawa
L3-G0 the Lego R2-D2 and a 501st Jawa
501st trying to repair L3-G0 the Lego R2D2
501st trying to repair L3-G0 the Lego R2D2

Unfortunately he missed the group photo while I put his shoulder back together, but I got a couple more photos with the 501st.
L3-G0 the Lego R2D2 with some of the 501st
L3-G0 the Lego R2D2 with some of the 501st
L3-G0 considering a Tuskan Raider
L3-G0 considering a Tuskan Raider
Probably even more dangerous than the face plant was a run-in with a Sarlacc, I mean Gus Lopez, a Star Wars... collector!  Fortunately the endorphin rush Gus got from bagging a stuffed Bantha allowed L3-G0 to slip away...

Gus Lopez with L3-G0 the Lego R2-D2, Sandtrooper stumbling in background.
No Gus, you may not collect L3-G0 the Lego R2-D2 :)
(I'm not quite sure what's up with the pigeon-toed Sandtrooper, I guess he's still looking for the right droids :-)
After going back home (and finding my daughter who managed to vanish) we went back out to the mall for a few minutes.  Apparently the Minifig he bought at Comicon wasn't enough for him.
First stop was to check out the Lego store. I tried explaining the birds and the bees, but apparently I didn't make the right beeps and whistles, so L3-G0's still trying to figure out where he came from.
L3-G0 the Lego R2-D2 at the Lego Store
L3-G0, the Lego R2-D2 trying to figure out from whence he came
After my earlier wipe out (and random stranger kids wonder why we don't let them at the remote control), my daughter insisted that she be the one with the controls.  I'm not quite sure if it was her or L3-G0 that wanted to look at XBox One games...

L3-G0 the Lego R2D2 perusing a shelf of XBox One games
L3-G0 the Lego R2D2 perusing a shelf of XBox One games
 Since it was Star Wars Day, we ran into the obligatory Princess Leia hairdo of course!

L3-G0 with a fan on Star Wars Day
L3-G0 with a fan on Star Wars Day
And as if L3-G0's ''where did I come from?" question wasn't confusing enough already, we ended up at the Disney store.  (Looking for one of those Banthas Gus had showed us.)  Everyone there learned that, in addition to several Star Wars classics, L3-G0 already knows the Disney production logo theme "When You Wish Upon a Star" as well as "Let it Go".

L3-G0 at the local Disney Store
L3-G0 at the local Disney Store

 Anyway, that was L3-G0's Star Wars Day, May the 4th be With You!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Emerald City Comicon 2014

L3-G0, a life size Lego R2-D2 attended ECCC (Emerald City Comicon) in 2014.  It took me a bit to get the video and stuff organized, I've been busy, so the post's been delayed.

In case you're new here, as far as I know this is the first time a complete full sized Lego R2-D2 has been displayed in public.  L3-G0's been "out" a couple times (at Microsoft, Lowe's and a Sealug meeting), but not with all his bits.

By completed I mean that as in "just completed."  The last bit got complicated and he didn't show up until nearly the last minute before the doors opened.

We had tons of fun with L3-G0 at Comic Con, here's the aforementioned video:

The video has several short segments I thought showed pretty much the experience, skip ahead if you don't like a piece, the parts get better.
  • L3-G0 with some of the fans taking pictures, even Unikitty!
  • The astromech parade with other Pacific NW R2 Builders Club R2-D2s and other droids.
  • The crowd and going back to "Brick Nation" where the Lego exhibits were.
  • A short encounter with a taller pirate.
  • Darth Lily, one of L3-G0's more enthusiastic fans.
  • L3-G0's shopping spree, it is a con after all, you've gotta buy something!
  • Keeping all those pesky Daleks away from Brick Nation.
People don't seem to be getting past the first bits so I might post individual videos later, however if you want to share only one bit with your friends, YouTube lets you share starting at a certain time.  Or just ask them to skip to 3:57 or whatever.

I forgot to include a bit on packing him up :(  Too bad you can't edit YouTube videos.

Some photos as well:

Darth Lily comforting R2-D2 after she scared him so badly.  She was cute enough she has her own post
Darth Lily comforting R2-D2 after she scared him so badly
Darth Lily comforting R2-D2 after she scared him so badly.
L3-G0's on the right with the other club droids.  It's kinda cool to see him next to the other droids.
The ankle details on his right ankle are backwards, fortunately it's hiding in this photo.  I was so mortified when I noticed that a couple weeks after the con.
Pacific NW R2 Builders Club astromech droids all lined up.  Lego R2-D2 on right.
Pacific NW R2 Builder's Club droids all lined up
I liked this nook while waiting for the droid parade.  Reminds me of Jabba's Palace for whatever reason.  (Not saying anyone else would make that jump, but I did).

L3-G0, life size Lego R2-D2 in a nook
L3-G0, Lego R2-D2 in a nook
What's a Lego exhibition without a Unikitty?  Unikitty came to see L3-G0.
Unikitty posing with Lego R2-D2 (life size)
Unikitty posing with L3-G0

Eventually it all ended :(

L3-G0 the Lego R2-D2 packed up and ready to go home
L3-G0 packed up and ready to go home
Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed the ECCC 2014 report.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fixing your Lego R2-D2's angle for Star Wars 10225- Ultimate Collector's Series (UCS) model

Before I built L3-G0 I built the 10225 Lego UCS R2-D2 ("Ultimate Collector's Series", I guess they haven't thought of L3-G0, is he ultimater?")  Even before I joined the R2-D2 Builders Club, I realized that my new "ultimate" R2 didn't stand right in 3-legged mode.  It drove me nuts, so I fixed it.  Here's what I mean:

R2-D2 is supposed to have an angle between the legs and vertical of about 18 degrees for a total of 36 degrees.  However Lego's instructions for the UCS R2-D2 don't provide the right angle.  I didn't know the exact amount when I build the 10225 Lego kit, but I could tell that it looked wrong. He looks like he's about to fall on his face. 
I drew a red line sort of along the middle of the bad angle Lego kit and a green line in L3-G0's centerline.  As you can see they're pretty far off.  Notice that the back legs aren't too bad, it's just the angle of the body.

To fix it, all we have to do is make the middle leg a little longer.  To do that I moved the stop up one stud to the top of the leg support - and all of the teeth too.
Unfortunately, that means that it hits the stop plate in the center support.  That's the 4x4 plate with a 2x2 hole in the middle.  When it hits the plate, the foot won't retract all the way.
The fix is to remove the offending plate, which apparently isn't really needed, so you can use the cool hollow 4x4 plate somewhere else.  Here's a picture showing the removed plate circled and the stop in the space the plate had occupied.
Here's the result of our repaired droid.  A nicely inclined astromech at the same angle of the full size one.
Lego R2-D2's, both L3-G0 and the UCS 10225 Lego Kit
Anyway, I hope this post helps save the world from Lego R2-D2s that look like they're about to fall on their faces!
I'll leave you with an annotated copy of on of the R2-D2 Builders Club diagrams showing the correct dimensions of an Astromech Unit.  I've added the 36 & 18 degree angles in blue triangles.
Now I know I'm truly way too much of an R2 geek!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Transporting L3-G0, the full size Lego R2-D2

People have asked several times how we transport L3-G0.  It's actually really, really easy.

Many MOCs (My Own Creations) are fairly fragile.  I was terrified of figuring out how to move L3-G0 and that was in fact one of my first experiments.  I had tons of bungees and other stuff ready to move, plans for a plywood base and all sorts of stuff.  Moving the Lego Space Needle is pretty challenging.  I feel happy that it only takes 1/2 hour (usually) to get it back together now.  That's only 4500 bricks.  L3-G0 is closer to 16,000 bricks!  So I figured it'd be harder.

He's only 60-65 pounds or so (almost 30kg), so unlike many other R2-D2 builds he's not too hard to lift.

The first part is to take off his head (remembering to unplug the wire helps) and stick it on the car seat, careful of the holoprojectors.  I put the seat back up as far as possible, but don't really worry about strapping it in or anything.
Then we pick up L3-G0's body and put it in back.  The front foot shell comes off and the casters get shoved in around the rear seat's mounting point.  Hooking the bungee around the top of the foot is about the only hard part since the hooks don't have much room on the mounting point.
And then last is to merely hook the back seat belts around the central foot guide post, pulling them to ratchet tight (like you would a child seat).  Again, watch the wire on the top.

The sad thing is that getting the bungee is sometimes tricky, and the last step, the seatbelts, is so simple, that I've forgotten about the seatbelts about three times already.  Fortunately the last two times I caught myself, but on the way to Hosik's science fair we were late & rushing, so I drove down the driveway with them off.  I was reminded to fix it when L3-G0 fell over on his face.  Fortunately it didn't do much damage.

Anyway, once he's secured, the model's ridiculously stable.  It barely moves and I don't need to be nearly as careful driving as with the other models.  (The Space Needle wants the sections I divide it into to fall apart, and the Lego Disney Wonder's nice wooden platform has slippery velvet on it, so it wants to slide around.  The worst part for L3-G0 is putting the front shell back together.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Little Darth Vader (Darth Lily?) Loves R2-D2

One of the fans attending ECCC, Lily, was dressed up as Darth Vader when she came to visit L3-G0.  Her dad asked her to go put on her Vader mask and pose with R2-D2.  As she came up, "R2" saw "Vader", made his sad sound and backed up.  She came closer and he did it again.  And again.

Lily didn't like R2 being sad, so she took it off and showed him it was just a mask.  Then she gave R2 a hug to comfort him.  She talked to him a lot saying how she saw his movie and he was her favorite robot and other stuff again.
Darth Lily hugging Lego R2-D2

Everyone wanted to put the mask back on again to take pictures, but she didn't want to scare R2 again.  They "talked" a bit, and her dad translated his beeping as really wanting to be scared again.  She asked if he was sure and I managed to hit a button that did a somewhat positive sounding beep.  Reluctantly she put the mask on again, and when he shuddered again, she quickly ripped it off and gave him a hug.

Normally L3-G0's a "don't touch", but Lily was so short and concerned and gentle I wasn't worried.  It's the kids patting him on the head that cave in the dome, or people tripping over his feet (I've learned R2 has big feet). 

Thanks to Lily and her parents for letting us share her picture and video.  I start this clip just before Lily so you can see just why he's so scared of her costume.

Yes, Lily, L3-G0/R2-D2 hasn't forgotten your name :)

Group photo at ECCC

Photo of L3-G0 with other R2 Builders Club astromechs here at ECCC.

It was great finally meeting other club members up here.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Made it to Emerald City Comicon (finally)

I'll try to post more later, but here's a tiny bit about the first day at ECCC.  Everyone loved the full size Lego R2-D2.  Asking wonderful things like "do you know about the R2-D2 Builder's Club? (yes)  And then L3-G0 would beep and they'd go "oh, he makes sound too!"  When they started to turn away I'd drive him out and run around the show floor and they'd say "No way, he moves?!?!?!"
L3-G0 was supposed to get set up yesterday, but the skirt took too long to get behaving.  I blogged about what he looked like yesterday morning.  That required 3D printing some bricks and stuff, but I still had time.  Unfortunately the skirt's on the bottom, so he had to be upside down with the legs & feet off to work on the skirt. 
When I flipped him back over and stuck on the remaining parts I found little things like the dome wouldn't fit: 
  • Above the shoulders, I'd fixed a gap that was missing last time, he hadn't had that before, so I didn't know it'd cause clearance issues. Because of the tightness I'd left out a plate of thickness, about 1/8" and forgot it'd make the sides 1/8" too narrow.
  • The left battery box hadn't been Kragle'd and tried to disassemble itself when sticking it on.
  • Worst, somehow I'd messed up the center caster.  I knew the standards 3" caster didn't fit in my Lego shell, but my custom casters failed miserably.  But in the trials I found a 3" caster that seemed to work well.  I was so fixated on the fore-aft clearance I forgot about sideways, so he couldn't go backwards without the caster jamming or slamming the box to pieces.  So I gave up on Thursday.  Show didn't open 'til Friday @ 10 so I had time.  I used an early prototype and finally got his feet behaving around midnight.
Getting to the convention center was tricky.  His tie-down is actually really trivial in the minivan.  Jam the front casters into the hold-down for the far back seat (after taking out the seat) and throwing a bungee around it.  Then, with the dome off (sitting on the rear seat), stick the way-back seatbelts around the center post and let them click into being tight.  I'm used to Lego MOCs being fragile and insecure, but L3-G0 travels unbelievably well.
Of course that's before putting the fragile shell on it.  I thought I could lift it up, but it turned out there wasn't enough room for the bungee, so the shell came off.  That wasn't too hard, but I outsmarted myself and it was harder to put back on than I'd expected once I got to the convention center.

Once there, the fans loved him.  One seems to have found the droid they were looking for!

L3-G0 worked really well.  On the previous trials parts fell off and there were other small problems, like when the shoulder broke.  But he was really reliable.  Unfortunately the battery died before lunch, and I let it get really low, so it wouldn't fast-charge.  Fortunately I found a motorcycle shop that had another.  Alternating two seemed to work fine later in the day (though it's annoying to swap), but we'll see tomorrow. 
The worst part was the prodding of the fans.  They liked to poke.  And many wanted pictures with their hand resting on the top of his head.  Which is the most fragile part, so his head was dented a few times.  And he had an accident with his front foot, but for the most part L3-G0 was strong and ran well.
At the end of the day the sprockets on the bolts I'm using for axles started slipping :(  The best I can do is probably tighten the set screws in the morning and cross my fingers, but I think it'll be OK.  And maybe slow down the acceleration curve a bit.  It looks like the rest of the stuff I did to tighten up the wheels worked OK though, so it should be solvable.
Gotta get over to the R2-D2 Builder's Club folks sometime, which should be tricky as they're in the other building, and worse, on the other side of the trade floor.  The alternate route crosses the street and L3-G0 hates pavement (way, way, way too bumpy).
Need sleep, two nights up way too late.