Wednesday, December 17, 2014

R2-D2 in Star Trek Redshirt Costume

Well, L3-G0 decided to crash a Star Trek convention.  And, of course if you're gonna mix canons like that, your gonna need a costume:

Lego R2-D2 wearing Star Trek Redshirt
Lego R2-D2 wearing Star Trek Redshirt
Our daughter has been collecting signatures, so we wanted to see some of the stars, and Lara thought it would be a good idea to bring L3-G0.  I wasn't so sure, but she had the idea for the red shirt.  Of course we put off actually making the costume 'til the last minute.  Anyway it turned out pretty fun.

Artoo wasn't the only cosplayer there:

R2-D2 with Star Trek Cosplay Cosplayers
R2-D2 with Star Trek Cosplay
Of course, there were scarier things than Klingons:

Borg Cosplay with Lego R2D2 in Red Shirt
Borg with Artoo Red Shirt
Artoo did get to meet some of the Star Trek talent.  Some of them left early and missed him, but Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Denise Crosby and John De Lancie all got a chance to say hi to him.  They also had some talks that were pretty enjoyable with funny anecdotes, their an entertaining crowd.  (I guess that's their job.)

Marina was really funny.  She saw R2 in his red shirt and whipped out her phone... a Blackberry... asking if she could tweet a picture.  There was lots of tapping and phone wrangling, but finally she held it out to take a picture... Whoops, another one... And another.  Finally she apparently has a picture and taps a bunch more (all the while insisting she loves her Blackberry).  Viola, she announces that she's done it and posted the pix to twitter.

Curious about this 5 minute picture taking of course I check twitter when we move on:
Hilarious, all that and no photo :)

Later in the day the talent had no visitors, so we went back and let her know about the faux pas.  It didn't take as long this time:
I know she likes that phone, but maybe she wants one with a better camera, just sayin'.  Anyway, thanks a ton to Marina for providing us with such a fun story and memories.

Another hilarious bit was when the talent first arrived.  Apparently they had been told to bring photos, but Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes apparently hadn't been listening.  Marina was like "men".  Brent was griping and grouching, digging around his bag and pulled out the only shot he could find, all bent and torn, turning around and asking the fans if they'd buy that.  (Someone did scrounge up some stills for them eventually.)

In short, we had as much fun as Lara predicted, and he was better received than I expected, considering that we had the wrong genre.  I guess we're all just geeks. 

L3-G0 (in costume) saying hi to famous people
L3-G0 (in costume) saying hi to famous people

Friday, October 10, 2014

Brickcon 2014

Back to Brickcon!

This time L3-G0 brought a friend, MCK-Y, the Lego Mouse Droid.  We spent so much time running around the hall interacting with the kids and folks that we don't have a lot of photos, but here're some decent ones.
L3-G0 and MCK-Y, the Lego R2-D2 astromech and MSE-6 mouse droids.
Above you can see that MCK-Y has some glowing undercarriage LEDs that provide a nice effect, if not canon.  MCK-Y has his own set of bleeps and noises, we'll try to post some video later.  MSE-6 Mouse Droids also go by the name "Baby Box Droid."  Here's a close up of MCK-Y.
MCK-Y the Lego MSE-6 Mouse Droid

We Win!

I know we win because I have a picture of the trophy to prove it :)  We one the "Sublime Shape" artistic category in Brickcon 2014.  That's one of the art categories.  We're honored, there are tons of amazing MOC's at Brickcon.  And, as you can see, the trophies themselves are pretty cool.  This is our second trophy, the Lego Disney Wonder won a microscale contest a few years ago.
"Sublime Shape" trophy for the Lego Droids, Brickcon 2014
We had a few mishaps, L3-G0's front foot took a beating, I think the hinges are getting looser so it falls apart more readily :(.  MCK-Y is new, so had teething problems.  The light is a battery hog, and his wheels are funny rubber bean bags (Lego tires filled with real beans), which make him have a cute wobble, but also make the wheels fall off.  Definitely need to figure out how to get better wheels in the future.  His wheels are also pinned on with 3 technic pins, so we were able to keep repairing the wheels until the pins actually broke!

Anyway, we'll leave you with a photo of the droids:
Lego R2D2 and Mouse Droids

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rose City Comicon

I've been remiss in posting.  L3-G0 has visited a school, Children's Hospital, and a few conventions, and attended a Unicode Technical Committee meeting (last post was backdated).  He's also gotten a new friend, MCK-Y the Lego MSE-6 Mouse (aka Baby Box) droid.

Anyway, here he is at Rose City Comicon.  Roaming the halls we met lots of folks, including Master Chief from Halo!

Hey, Master Chief!

It wasn't as crowded as ECCC, so we were fairly free to roam at will, though we always attracted a crowd.  Some weren't very well behaved though, vandals!

Vandal Attacking Lego R2D2 With a Bat!
And, of course, there was tons of other cool stuff.  Here L3-G0 poses on the red carpet with a Back to the Future Delorean replica, and a Doctor Who Tardis.

L3-G0 with Tardis and Delorean
This hexacopter was flying around the celebrity area, Artoo took offence and tried to tell him that it was a no-fly no-camera zone!  (I'm still hoping to find his video of this confrontation).
L3-G0 tries to fend off a Quadrocopter

While we were in the celebrity area, Wil Wheaton took notice.  He was nice.
Garrett Wang was also hilarious on the red carpet.  He saw L3-G0 while talking to a fan and flew over his table to run up to L3-G0 and take his photo.  Startled us terribly.  I heard him apologize to his fans when he went back.
Oh, no, L3-G0's lost his head!   We also participated in the R2-D2 Builder's Club talk about building Astromechs, where we showed off some of our droids and how they are built.  It was a talk like this that helped me decide to make L3-G0, lots of folks get there start building by seeing the other droids at a 'con and seeing such a talk.
L3-G0 at builder's talk with head off.
And we all posed together in the lobby.  Group photo time.
Astromechs in the Lobby at Rose City Comicon

And of course everyone wanted to pose with L3-G0 and the other droids.  I don't think he minds.
L3-G0 likes her R2-D2 skirt
It can get quite crowded though....
Crowds of picture takers
Things went pretty well this time around, I guess we're getting better at this.  We had two problems: the drive wheels keep slipping on the driveshaft.  The chain turns a sprocket which uses a bolt as an axle, but the set screws (on all 4 shafts, he's 8-wheel drive) keep slipping.  I tried drilling a notch in the shaft for the set screw to grip, and broke the bit.  That seems to have helped the most, having the ground up bit mashed in there to keep it from slipping!  Anyway we had to fix it several times.

I also drove ineptly (again) and mashed a shoulder (same one) into a vendor's table.  The right shoulder's smashed itself 3 times now!!!

The lights died right before seeing Wil Wheaton, so we had to come back for a better pix.

The other problem is an odd electrical thing.  He started freaking out and spraying his mist all the time (he can startle folks with canned air), and his dome started spinning madly.  We'd had a similar problem where the mist freaked out, so we unplugged it.  Then his dome refused to move.  But we thought it was fixed before the con.  Last day we had to leave early though.

When I got home I checked EVERYTHING trying to repro the problem, but it wouldn't happen.  Eventually I replaced the fuse on that circuit (it's the car-type fuses) and he was great.  I left his head spinning for a half hour to prove it.  What happened is that the fuse was apparently weak.  Eventually the dome motor controller got it hot enough that the volts dropped (from resistance), but it didn't blow.  That confused the motor controller which was also reading the RC signals, and sent gibberish to the Arduino controlling the mist, and of course it confused itself about the dome's movement.  What a freaky problem.  What a relief to have figured it out.

We had tons of fun at Rose City Comicon, we'll try to see if we can make it next year!

Friday, August 8, 2014

L3-G0 attends Unicode Technical Committee Meeting

L3-G0 has a good buddy that's interested in millions of forms of communication.  He couldn't make it, so L3-G0 decided to attend the Unicode Technical Committee meeting in his stead.  (L3-G0 follows me to work somewhat often.  I'm losing count, but he's visited about 10 of the buildings on campus).

Lego R2D2 at Unicode Technical Committee meeting
L3-G0 with colleague at UTC meeting
I saw a copy of the meeting minutes, and he's listed on the attendee roster :)

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.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Umm, when is ECCC?

Emerald City Comicon's tonight.  L3-G0's gonna be working, flashing lights, sound and everything, right?!!?!?!?

He's decapitated, and the body's upside down!  And doesn't that 3D printer look like its on and running to you?  Hope it's nothing critical.
The table's covered with a pile of parts, tools everywhere.

And his legs are off and the insides of his feet are showing.

I'm supposed to be at Emerald City Comicon when!!?  Maybe I should show him as R2-D2 in the droid factory.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Latest Video

Still needs legs and a few other details, but lights and sound are working now!  He went on another test run at work (Microsoft Building 50).  Afterward we took a spin through the cafĂ© where he got quite a few pictures taken.

Latest video:

Friday, March 7, 2014


Well, this is a bummer :( 

We had a little mishap at the science fair.  This is what happens when centripetal force gets to L3-G0's head and he spins too fast.