Saturday, October 5, 2013

Brickcon 2013 L3-G0 Setup

L3-G0 Made it to Brickcon!!!

Whew, that was way more complicated that I expected.  Especially since the new! lights blew up at 1:30 AM. 

But he made it, here's a quick clip of L3-G0 doing his thing and some of the other MOCs at Brickcon 2013 (Oct 6/7).



Right now L3-G0 is using FOUR computers:
  • Perhaps counterintuitively, a Lego EV3 Mindstorms to make his head spin
  • An Arduino for the blinking lights.
  • A Microsoft Surface for the sound effects (looping audio track)
  • And a Surface Pro that programmed the Arduino and the EV3, at the moment needed to trigger the EV3 (start button's buried), and was using it to tune the dome program for the conference today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

L3-G0 is Ready for Brickcon!

Yippee!  All ready for Brickcon 2013 (October 5-6 at the Seattle Center)  He's not going to have feet at Brickcon because that's going to be another very huge undertaking.

I didn't have a ton of time to post, so a lot happened.  The dome sits on a bearing, so that had to be mounted and bolted on.  The dome also basically fell apart and had to be rebuilt... better... stronger... faster... (yes faster, and it didn't even cost me Six Million Dollars).
Nikita helped test the dome:

The bearing and dome base rest on a support that is made from the hinges that hold the panels together.  There are two motors for the Lego EV3 Mindstorms (this is the largest Mindstorms robot I've built by far).  Two because they push a lot better than they pull.  The wheels will rest on the inside of the bearing, attached to the dome of L3-G0.  On the right, near L3-G0's blue front you can see a color/light sensor.  The light sensor is used so the EV3 knows when he's facing forward.

And here it is with the dome base on.  You can see that the plates on the base of the dome ring are bolted to the aluminum bearing.  The bearing has a plastic support ring on top of it, also to keep it from dragging the dome bottom on the static side of the bearing.
The bottom of the bearing is mounted to 1/4" plywood, seen here from inside the body, before the dome ring was installed on top. 
 The dome itself has been strengthened, and stays together much better now.
Also finally got the shoulders finished.  Lots of bits weren't perfectly aligned in the Lego Digital Designer (LDD), and LDD also doesn't show you how to attach 12 pieces from different directions at the same time!  Getting everything to snap together right was a bit challenging.

I like the detail on the shoulders, and also I like the "Under Shoulder Detail" (R2 Builders Club Lingo):
I show his dome spinning at the end.  I'll have a better video of that later, but here's what I have so far:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Building the 2nd Dome Panel Row

Hosik, a Korean foreign exchange student helped out this time, thanks Hosik!

Hosik and Darius also helped make sure the cat (devil cat?) got some cameos.

It's sort-of days 11-12. Sort of because sometimes I only get an hour or two, so I try to get those into a "day" unit, whatever that is. This part of the dome's being really hard because of the multiple curves. At least the plan is mostly working, however the incomplete sections are fairly fragile. I also took time to build up some plates where the dome will rest on the Lazy Suzan bearing. Since the dome was already partially built, I did that from the bottom.

Also got the eye done!  The eye was challenging because the shapes don't align very well to actual brick sizes and shapes.
The logic display also looks particularly nice with a flashlight behind it.  This was fairly challenging to get all of the panels to fit next to each other and provide enough structure for the panels above and below.  It was rebuilt several times.
Its starting to get there.  I'm so focused on the detail that I miss the big picture sometimes.  A few times L3-G0's gotten my skin crawling when I walk into the room after stepping away.  Then it's like "who put that R2-D2 in my kitchen?"

Time Lapse Video for the Middle Dome Layer


Sunday, September 15, 2013

First row of dome panels

Day "10", some of the first layer of dome panels. 

The dome is roughly 12-sided, but the 1st layer of dome panels has extra segments between each of the 12 sides (so it's an irregular 24-sided curvy thing).  At the top we eventually end up with 6 sides, but everything's based on the original 12 sides.

Somehow I'm missing the big round piece that I'd intended for the back, I'm sure it's around somewhere.  Otherwise the trickiest parts were the "logic displays".  I did the front ones, but the longer one is just a hole at the moment.

This section gave me a chance to attach two of the Holoprojectors!  The first parts built are finally attached.

Another Time Lapse Video

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Front Vents and Dome Ring

The last few days were complicated.

Saturday I took the body to the SEALUG meeting (Seattle Lego Users Group), and it fell apart in the car when I braked for a stop sign. Internally there's some hidden hinges that didn't really have a ton of surface area.  We cleaned up some to make the body sturdier. Now the hinges connect to the body panels with nearly 3 times the surface area. It might still need some glue to be motorized, but it should at least not fall apart.

The front vents weren't done earlier because the hole in the front panel needed to move a little from the original plans. Additionally, LDD let us have some error in the brick attachments that didn't work in the real world.  It took quite a bit of effort to get the panels securely attached. At one point there was a quarter-plate difference in height between the vents and the hole to attach them. I have no clue how to move something 1/4 plate, and it was too loose as it was. I fixed it by making the middle blue stripe slightly wider, it was a single stud (2.5 plates), now it's 3 plates. I also noticed a few missing outline tiles.

We also started on the dome ring, which was tricky because the original design had some pretty big flaws. (Lego Digital Designer doesn't really tell you if stuff is structural or not).  The ring portion is complicated because the middle bricks of each section are offset by 1/2 stud to help the illusion of being round.  Complicating matters are a couple slits that go the circumference of the dome, which we did by recessing the plates there by another 1/2 stud.  It took a little work to get everything secure

Time Lapse Youtube Video

The horses get to go on a carousel ride.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Barrels of L3-G0 Fun!

I skipped posting for "day 5" because it was sort of short due to my birthday activities, and because what was built (parts of the body) looked a lot like what you've already seen.  So days 5 & 6 are combined.

The back is done, but, as mentioned, it's pretty much like what you saw before, but a little bigger.
However, the front is also mostly done (except for the front vents).  The utility arms are probably the least detailed part on L3-G0, "the plan" is to improve L3-G0 over time.  Adding arms seemed like it'd take a while to figure out, without adding much.  Eventually we'll probably have doors and other stuff, and maybe even utility arms, but the first goal is just to get him built!  It's Lego, so we can update him later as needed. 

The kittens have a different plan for L3-G0.  They think he makes a nifty cat house or cat toy.  Cats love boxes and I guess they decided his body is a box.  The missing vent is apparently a perfect kitten door.  (I confess to using the streamer to get him to pose for the camera, but the kittens were the ones that started climbing into, and over, the body.  The also think the loose Lego bricks are great toys.)

The day 5/6 time lapse video 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Birthday

There was an interruption of the construction and posting because of my (Shawn's) birthday.  A few more body panels were done, those'll get posted later.  Thanks everyone for the party and the presents!!!

The party was Star Wars L3-G0 themed for some reason, Lara got perfect cake!!!  (Apparently getting someone to print L3-G0) was a ton of work, but I really liked it.
And I got Brainz!!!!  L3-G0 will probably appreciate this.  Granted it's going to need a *lot* of help to make an EV3 control L3-G0, but it seems like a Lego Astromech's brain should be a Lego computer. 
And that's pretty much it for the birthday photos.  We gave the camera to our teenage son, so most of the rest of the Shawn's birthday party photos are Darius' selfies :)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Filling Holes

Yippee, most of the rest of the bricks arrived (there are still a couple where we were short for various reasons, but that won't stop us).

So this post is "filling holes" in the parts we already built, along with some better photos once the right parts are in place

First I added the little gray ring on the tippy top of the dome, only one brick, but a pretty big detail
Next was filling in mostly the missing tiles on the body.  Some of the white tiles for the panel outlines were missing, as well as tiles on the vents and some of the coin return slopes.

Detail of the side vent, notice that the blue parts are recessed.

The quarter of the body that fits together so far (3 other panels are done, but they're the same or mirrors of these and don't directly connect).

Next, the legs.  I really like the detail on the leg strut and it's angled square top.  Also the complex curves where the notches are, and at the top of the booster cover under where the shoulder hub will go.  We were missing the little slope parts and some tiles to make this all work.
Top of strut in booster cover:

Notches recessed in a curve in the booster cover:
Complex curves at the top of the booster cover:

The center foot was also missing a couple square plates on one side, but the photo isn't really different than before, so I didn't include it.  Also the side "footprints" were also missing square plates, but they're not very far along, so I'll photograph them when I do the rest.
Lastly, I fixed the colors around the bottom edge of the Holoprojectors and removed the shim plates, so they look a lot better:

Next up is probably more of the body, probably starting with the rest of the back since the two remaining back panels would allow me to connect 8 of the 12 body panels.

Time lapse of filling holes and the resulting parts

Building on Day 4 - Starting the Body!

The parts we needed for the body arrived!!!  We're still waiting on ~1500 of the original ordered parts (a little bit of rework has caused us to order a little more since then).  So there're still some gaps for parts.  Considering it's 15K+ parts, we've done great missing 10% of the bricks!

The body is 12 panels, and I started on six of the easiest.  Mostly because they're either identical pairs or mirrors.  So that's about half of the body!  (just the easy half).  3 of them are contiguous, the next two holes in this photo need an additional panel, and the last two go next to each other (despite the gap in the photo).  You can see the missing bricks :(

Three are next to each other, so we can see how they fit.  If you can get over the missing bricks, you can get an idea of the 3-D detail.  I'll probably take some close ups when we get the other bricks filled in.

And an idea of the scale, Lara posing with the partial body.

Time lapse video for day 4

(All 3 cats interrupted the video, they like playing with the loose bricks.  Additionally there's.... horses?)

Moved the youtube videos

I know my links/videos are embedded, but we're moving the youtube stuff to it's own L3-G0 channel,

Apparently throwing in all the Lego and Sci-Fi stuff scared away all our subscribers (yes, both of them) that just wanted cat and disaster videos.  Since a half million views are of the storm and only 150 for L3-G0, it seemed prudent to separate them.  (Feel free to get L3-G0 up to that level, I won't mind).

Likes and subscribing are good too :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Building Session Three

Well, something about having to work, so I didn't get daily updates.  Instead the bits are interrupted and built over a few days.

We still don't have all of the parts, so there's a few holes to fill in the results, but there's a good start on the skirt (under the body), the very top of the dome (I thought I had all the parts, but it's missing a little gray ring), and the legs.

Worked on the skirt first (daughter realized it's his butt, what do you expect from a teenager?)  Unfortunately we're missing a bunch of the "wing" pieces to round out the edges :(

It's also a bit "wobbly" because the hinges let it bend, but that'll get fixed later.  Even so, I think it's looking pretty good.  (Photos are with the skirt upside down).

I thought I had all of the parts for the tippy top of the dome (above the pie plates), so I figured I'd whip that out in about 10 seconds.  Unfortunately I'm still waiting for a little ring on the very top.  (Hopefully tomorrow).  I was able to use the flying saucer or whatever they're called parts for this part of the dome.  The angles and sizes matched surprisingly well for that.

More successfully I worked on the legs.  Again, some parts are missing, but I got further, including some complicated stuff.  Obviously they're incomplete, but I'm reasonably happy with the detail.
One thing I realized looking at a photo of a real R2 is that my legs seem a bit tall.  I was expecting them to attach to the plate on top of the ankle, but the distance between the notch and the bottom seems longer than on the real photo.
Coincidentally, the R2 builders group had a thread today that mentioned "standard" and "extended" legs.  I wonder if I followed plans for "extended"?  Clearly there's some measuring in my future to make sure I get them the right height.
Top is missing some of the slopes to make the recess rounded (it's a pretty complex curve), but here's the top so far.  Hopefully the slopes come today:

Time Lapse of Phase 3 Building:

Monday, August 26, 2013

On to Day 2...

Day 2 building L3-G0.  Mostly finished the center foot, except a few parts are missing (still on order), which is part of why the corner edges don't fit as nice as they eventually will. 

Also the center ankle cylinders (back one's also missing some parts).  And a tiny bit of the dome, which was missing a lot of parts so I decided to come back to that later.  The dome edge will need a little rework, and it's got me wondering a bit about how I'm going to fit it to my bearing.

There's a Day 2 Time Lapse Video too...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Starting the build!

Not all of the parts are in yet, but there's some stuff I can start on, so here's the results of day one constructing L3-G0.

First I worked on the Holoprojectors (they go on his dome) because I thought I had all the parts.  Turns out I'm short the curved pieces on the bottom, so the white will need replaced with gray when it arrives.  The funny colored plates are just to hold the HP together until it gets on the dome.

Also notice how the top right holoprojector is pivoted?  That caused a bit of extra work, it would've been easy to make them stick straight out, but the real ones were made from those vent things on an airplane that point in different directions, so I wanted to keep the ability to move them.  That caused some extra work.

In addition to the holoprojectors, I started on the feet.  For the main feet I did what I'm calling the "footprint", before it starts angling.  For the front center foot I got most of the front and back, and some of the sides done.

Time Lapse Video of Day 1 Construction


Friday, August 23, 2013

We've got brick!!!!!!!!!!!

We've got brick!!!!!!!!!!!  The mailman's a bit impressed.  This is JUST ONE DAY's delivery, only 18 packages of 52.

And when you get bricks, you have to sort :(  Thanks Jaron for the sorting boxes!

As of today we have enough to start building, but we're still waiting on 6 packages, so available parts will guide what we start building with.
Also a few packages were short a couple bricks (we're still above 99.9% accuracy, but when you order 13 thousand bricks I guess a few are going to be short).  So I've updated the parts needed list if you have a few bricks in great shape to spare.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ordering Parts

Wow, ordering parts is hard.  L3-G0 needs about 15,005 parts.  It took two days stumbling around bricklink to order approximately 13 thousand parts (we had a few thousand lying around home).

We ended up placing 52 orders (one with Lego themselves).  We're still short a few bricks, click to see the list.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Other Lego MOCs

I wanted this to be all about L3-G0, however it occurs to me that its not easy to find out about our other MOCs, so here are some links.

* - Disorganized posts including other Lego MOCs
* - Disorganized YouTube channel with MOCs (don't tell google that you clicked on the ads for me).

Our Lego Space Needle:

Our Lego Disney Wonder Cruise Ship:

(Cool story)

Thanks for helping!

Thanks to the Bricklink sellers I got parts from, ordering ten thousand parts is tough!  Special thanks for these sellers for helping with discounts.  My costs are still unmanageable, but every bit helps!
Also thanks to those that provided some bricks:
  • JR Tyner
  • Laurel Lee
  • Merelee Knott
  • Bernie
(There's a list of tough bricks still if you want to help).

Thanks to Jaron Kelley from SEALUG or providing sorting boxes!!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Thanks for Helping!

Thanks to everyone I got parts and other help from.

The following Bricklink sellers helped, ordering ten thousand parts is tough!  Special thanks for these sellers for helping with discounts.  My costs are still unmanageable, but every bit helps!
Also thanks to those that provided some bricks:
  • JR Tyner
  • Laurel Lee
  • Merelee Knott
  • Bernie
Thanks to Jaron Kelley from SEALUG or providing sorting boxes!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Parts Needed

As you can tell, L3-G0's pretty much done and we don't really need any more parts.  Maybe a few spares here and there.  Now he's off to buying is own Lego:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

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

We've made a few Lego models, such as the Lego Disney Wonder cruise ship and a Lego Space Needle, and it's about time to do something new, but all of our ideas were pretty lame.  So in the back of our minds there was some thinking about "what could we build next?" 

Then we went to Emerald City Comicon and saw some of the wonderful Astromechs there.  Of course I wanted to build one, but quickly realized it'd be a ton of effort, cost a lot, and I wasn't terribly familiar with the materials.

It should've been obvious, but "gee, I wanna build a droid" sat in one part of my brain while "I wonder what I'll build next in Lego" sat in another part.  Eventually we came to the obvious conclusion:  "I'll build an L3-G0".  Don't know why it took so long.

Normally I grab a bunch of bricks and start building, then get more bricks, but for various reasons I started toying around with some of the sections in Lego Digital Designer to see if some of my ideas were practical.  Of course, once I started, I forgot to stop.

Now we have a 15,000 piece model pretty much figured out, and all we need are about 12K more bricks!  (Well, and some sort of frame, and some motors, and some electronics).  We're hoping that at least part of L3-G0 will be done for BrickCon in October.  Feel free to send us your spare bricks ;-)

There are some parts that will undoubtedly need changed from the LDD model, and he's going to need an internal frame of aluminum or wood or something, but it should be do-able.

A couple more screenshots of the drawing:

The model is based on plans from the R2-D2 Builder's Club (  Of course brick isn't as finely detailed as manufactured parts, but he should be "pretty close" to spec.  He'll probably be about 100 pounds.  Eventually we'd like more functionality, but for a start we're looking at getting him to move and beep in time for Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) 2014.  We'd love to take him other places too, anyone know how to get him to Celebration in one piece?

We'll post more as the project goes.

Bricks acquired so far:  15900/16000.