I met him in a swamp down in Dagobah

June 5th, 2012 by chris

A work in progress shot of Yoda done in ZBrush

I see a light…

May 30th, 2012 by chris

So I can now say that work as officially begun on my little stubborn droid.
Bought a bunch of soldering things (new iron, tips, rosin core solder, de-soldering mesh, helping hands) and then got scared….

What if I mess this up? UNGH! I haven’t soldered in forever.

Grab a spare PCB and some resistors and start.  First two joints… perfect, looks like right off a factory floor. Then next seven are a different story…

First I burnt myself a few times, then I had the smoke from the flux boiling almost trigger the smoke detector. Oh! Did I mention that the boiling flux core can cause the solder to spit and hit you in the face??? Oh… guess I didn’t… well it can! Then I looked at all these practice runs and they were horrible… solder not making a connections or not sticking at all.

Back to more practicing!

I finally got to the point where I was ALMOST confident enough so I bit the proverbial bullet and went at it.

Bellow is the FLD or Front Logic Display. If you look at R2’s dome, in the front, there’s 2 small rectangular light boxes that blink in White and Blue. This board is almost done, and then I need to start soldering all the little LEDs on it…

Front Logic Display

Front Logic Display














Bellow is the Rear Logic Display, the big light in the back of R2’s dome that blinks red, green and yellow lights. This is also where the Arduino board (the computer that runs the logic for all these lights sits)

Rear Logic Display

Rear Logic Display














Unfortunately though, the two rows of Female Pin Headers (where the Arduino sits) came in one big strip… and each time I tried to cut them.. I’d expose the internal pins. I started freaking out.. then realized, worse comes to worse I can just get some of those at some Radio Shack type store. But after talking to the guy who sold me this kit, as long as the pins are soldered on, and the Arduino sits in it properly it should be fine. If I’m really worried about it, I can use some electrical tape.  You can see the broken pin headers in the following pic.

Broken Pin Headers

Broken pin headers














So now onto more soldering and TONS and TONS of LEDs…

R2 Project update

May 16th, 2012 by chris

So there’s been quite a few updates.. none on the building phase but on the procurement of the full aluminum r2 parts.

First I got the Teeces V3 lighting kit for the dome this past Monday. I was really lucky with this, as I had found out about this run, I got the last set and the guy making them has said this would be his last run for a while.  There will be alot and I mean ALOT of soldering to do… My fingers already fear the burns.

Next, as of 20 minutes ago, I got the last Com-8 Budget frame from Commando Eight. He started an other run, limited to 25 units and I got the 25th unit.

The kit includes the aluminum budget frame, the shoulder to frame hubs, a rear hatch for easy access to the inside of the droid, 2 electrical plates to mount the electronics on the inside, a skin Block set to attach the skin when I get one, a Pittman Dome Drive and the  charging bay.

Now, this set cost a pretty penny… or more… but I noticed that there aren’t that many runs of this and definitely not one that includes all these parts.


So I’m definitely on my way. I have the lighting in, the dome will be here in September, the Frame should ship on June 22nd. This is so exciting.

R2-D2 Where are you?

May 6th, 2012 by chris

It’s no secret that many things interest me. 3D modelling, photography, TV, Film, miniatures and board games… but there’s one thing above anything else that I have strong found memories of… and that is Star Wars…

Some of my oldest memories are of my dad and I, in the middle of an electrical storm going to the corner store to get Return of the Jedi trading cards. Or of Christmas time and my great uncle’s unwrapping an AT-AT, or completely using up the VHS tapes I had of the original trilogy.

So it’ll come to no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’ve decided to embark on a new quest… Yes, I’m building my own R2 unit.

I will chronicle the whole project here (as long as I don’t forget).


The first step in this insane project of mine was to find out how do I do this. That’s where I stumbled upon a great group, at http://astromech.net. This is a group of dedicated fans and robot builders.

After spending quite some time reading the forums I arrived at my first decision… what do I want to build him in? Aluminum? Wood? Fiberglass?

Well I think I’ll do a mix… in order to speed up the process and cut costs (every little piece costs a pretty penny)

So now that I kinda know what materials to look for… where do I start? Head? Body? Legs?

Well two things helped me make up my mind… availability and sense of completions. Since the legs are some of the most expensive pieces (and none were available) I wasn’t going to start there…. now… if I worked on the body… I could… oh wait… no aluminum frames available and I don’t really want the wood one. So the head it is. Not only were the main parts available, but I figured if I finish the head and take a break, at least I have something recognizable… everyone recognizes R2’s head.

So I ordered the dome, but won’t have it till September. I then started to look at what else I could get (and afford) for the head and saw that one guy who makes the lights for his head was doing a last run of them. I was extremely lucky and got in on the order and got the LAST set.

So I should be getting that soonish… which means I’ll have to brush up on my soldering skills.


Emperor’s New Clothes

April 5th, 2012 by chris

Started giving him some new clothes more suitable for an evil overlord.

I found a new technique to make clothes using the retopology tool with a zsphere.

Basically you append a Zsphere with your model, then the Topology menu shows up under Tool.
You then start the retopology process as you would normally… but instead of doing the whole model, you just do a long shirt… then extract it and you can model it.

Now  the name finding process starts

Sky Sled of Tomorrow?

April 4th, 2012 by chris

While trying to create the concept for the crew’s ship, I ended up modeling a hover/hotrod/jet car.

I like the concept and will probably finish it, however… it doesn’t suit the feel I want for this Space Opera… not to mention I’m having tons of problems with the engine’s faces… I select them and delete them, but the edges stay. If I select the edges I can’t delete them… All I want to do is extrude the edge loop to make and engine :(

Ick Nekked Lizard Ruler parts!

April 4th, 2012 by chris

Here’s an updated pic of the Lizard Overlord.

Imported into ZBrush and divided a few times, I started adding the quills to his face and then had to give him SOME sort of clothing.

This is not the final wardrobe, however I did learn a new technique in order to make flowing cape.

Keep that tongue in your mouth you slimy lizard

April 3rd, 2012 by chris


So after being mostly done with Al, and not being happy at all with the base mesh for Mr Buns, I decided it would be cool to make the main villain so I could make posters and all. Well… all I know of the villain so far is that he’s a bearded dragon. So I launched Maya and started box modeling. After a few hours I came up with this.

Funny thing is, I looked at it this morning and I could barely see what I saw in it last night… but once I imported it into ZBrush and started smoothing it and dividing it… it’s really starting to look like what I had imagined. Now to figure out his name, how he’s going to dress and all the other details.

They call me Al!

April 1st, 2012 by chris

Aloysius Livingston Mouse The 14th.

Things left, Add the ray gun, finish the hands, texture the jacket and then finally… Rig him.

When does the hurting stop??

March 30th, 2012 by chris


I’ve been working on this small prop for one of my models and it seems like it’s taking way more time than it should. Heck, I’ve already spent twice as much time on it as I did on the character so far.

Every time I do anything, I hit more stumbling blocks.

First it was faces with more than 4 points (which are bad, but ZBrush really hates them). Then I had importing glitches. Tons of crashes. Now, as I thought I was done… I see a tear in the mesh when I try to divide it in ZBrush… I went back through the base mesh in Maya and there’s no overlapping vertices, the edges are all merged… the only thing I haven’t looked at yet is the normals. I really hope that’s all it is.