Monday, 23 September 2013

Return of the Garrison!

This weekend, the National Space Center held a convention to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of Return of the Jedi!

Unfortunately, there was only 2 working droids that were able to attend this year.  But fingers crossed that timings work out better next year!

A big draw for the crowds (besides us of course ;) ) was the reunion of Ewoks!!  The actors, Brian Wheeler, Alan Bennett, Sarah Bennett, Katy Purvis, Kiran Shah, Danny Blackner and Peter Burroughs were all there, as well as the man whose reputation is bigger than an Exogorths stomach, Warwick Davis!

This is the second time I've met Warwick, and I can honestly say, I've gone from being a fan of his work to a fan of him.  He is one of the hardest working and dedicated people I've ever met, and so down to earth and willing to talk to fans.  He accosted us for about half an hour after the show just to ask us about out droids!  He was a big fan of them!  I thought he was going to ask us for autographs ;) But he was happy enough with us allowing him to take a few photos with them.  So we of course got some too ;)

Warwick Davis and UK R2 Builders

The UK R2 builders were asked to give a talk, and we were happy to oblige!

We kept it to who we are, what an astromech is and the basics of building one and where to find out more information, but we we got a lot of good feedback for it and hope to be asked again!

I was lucky enough to bump into Peter Brebner again  (happy birthday dude!).  He's a costumer in the UK with a great Threepio costume, so we were able to set up some photo ops for everyone that went down a treat :)  Again, we couldn't resist a nice photo with our droids and us too ;)

We would like to give out a big THANK YOU! to all of the UK Garrison - you guys are all great and have a wonderful community.  Also to Malika at the NSC for organising the event and make us so welcome, and to all of the actors that we met during the weekend.  It was great to meet you all, drink with a few of you, and share your stories.  

We can't wait for next time! 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

This dome is now armed and fully operational!

R2-B4! :D

Nice little video showing off what he can now do with his dome panels.  Subscribe for more updates ;)

Have just realised I only control sets of servos in this video, either via scripts or all top, or all bottom.  I also have control over each individual panel too :)

So here's a few pics!

I'm using an Arduino Uno and an Adafruit to control these with

[URL=""]the BHD code[/URL].

The servos are cheap ones from ebay - Tower Pro SG90 :)

The servos are being powered through the slip ring.  The Adafruit has 2 power supplies that need to be used.  One for the controller, and one to power the servos themselves.  I'm powering the controller from the Uno +5v and ground pins, and the servos (via the Adafruits screw terminals) from the main battery, through the slip ring, into a pololu 5v converter.  Lots of wires :D

Arduino Uno on the right (which I'm sure you're all familiar with by now), controls the 3 HP LED's, and the dome servos.

On the left we have the Adafruit.  This is controlled by the UNO via I2C.  The first 3 servo spots on the Adafruit are for the HP's which I don;t have controlled yet (only one movable resin one at the moment).  I'm using the BHD code, so instead of altering it all around, I just set it up like this.

Like an idiot, I managed to drill the holes the the lower door hinges over size, so I had to alter the clevises to take an M3 bolt.  Don't do this :)  It's a headache.  In this picture you can still see the pen mark where I aligned the hinges where I wanted them.

The large rear door is quite heavy, even in styrene!  I found it was best to use a point closer to the servo itself to attach the servo rod to.  In hindsight, I should have done the same for all of the hinges.  Larger range of travel on the servo, plus more power!

I'll update the blog properly as soon as I can :) Just wanted to share this now it's all running!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Quick dome update, plus my secret...

Hello again everyone!

Not a huge amount of progress at the moment, so just a quick update

I've been adding hinges and servos to the lower doors on the dome :) No servos in yet, but should be soon.

I did make a video for you all though :p

I promised I'd give you an update on the secret thing in R2 I had planned for CE2.  Unfortunately CE2 was very loud so I didn't get to show it off very much :(  So here you go!

I'll get this track uploaded for you all to use :D

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Celebration Europe 2!

Well boys and girls, the big event!

I had my hopes up for this.  I had got my expectations so high, and done so much to prepare for it.  I made up an image of what it was going to be in my head, but was ready for anything.

I've got to say though, it was so much better than I can imagine.  Even with my reputation as Blogger Number 1, I may struggle to put into words just how great the weekend was.

First of all, I can't stress enough, the thing that really made this event were the people.  I want to put a special thank you to the following in particular (in a particular, but misleading and jumbled order to confuse you all),

Stuart Bone,
Simon Battell,
Brad Oakley,
Ian Smith
Carl Thomas,
Mike Filippidis,
Mark Cox,

All the above chaps were great drinking partners and kept me at the bar longer than I was probably at the event :)

Also, Mary Franklin - Thank you for spending time with us!  You name is one that I recognise and always makes my ears prick up, but I cannot believe how much of a genuine and nice person you were.  You were either a great PR person, or genuinely interested in us and our droids.  Feel free to subscribe to my blog ;)

I dare not list all the others, or I'll be here all night.  But guys, you were all legends!

So I guess you'll want pictures now :) Luckily, I took one or two.  At the moment the below pictures are out of order, I will put them into the correct order as soon as possible.

Mt Anthony Daniels came and paid us a visit!  I had a chance to grab a few photos of him and my droid and shook his hand :)

Mary Franklin!  My new best friend :D

She tweeted this picture!  I was on the front page of Star Wars for a while :D  (although she did post the picture upside down :/)

She couldn't get enough of us and came and visited our stand

The quality of cosplay from everyone was amazing!

See ;)

Pam Rose.  She was both lovely, and mental.

Kenny Baker!  We got him over to our stand as we had prepared an award for him.  We've chosen him to be our senator here in the UK and made him a very nice trophy (well done Colin!).  He was very pleased!

Our first sight when we walked in.  Nothing set up at all!

Then we found our stand!

Chilling out after our long trip there on the first night.  This was the first of many German beers

Mike doing some testing before we opened up

Stuart being a tart.

Ahsoka Tano! Ashley Eckstein, was such a lovely girl.  And she sounded just like Ahsoka too, which was kind of weird.

This model caught my eye, I was very impressed until I realised it was made of Lego.  Then I was MEGA impressed!

It was neither Han or Greedo after all!

I bumped into Bj√∂rn on the way to the droid talk.  We jumped into the same lift :)