First upgrade already

Its not even done yet and I’m upgrading it, I’m sure this won’t be the last either.

After seeing Izzy’s droid with the Padawan sound system, I’ve decided to upgrade from the iPod/Bluetooth speaker straight to the Padawan system.  I have the parts for the ThinkGeek sound system but am going to skip that ‘step’.

I ordered the following from SparkFun

Arduino Uno R3
Arduino Pro Mini 328
MP3 Trigger
Total: $90.00

You’re hosed

Picked up four 12″ braided stainless steel faucet supply lines from my local hardware store.  I’ve seen various lengths described on the boards but decided to go with 12″.  In hindsight it may have been cheaper to go with 24″ and cut it in half.  The cost was $5/each for a total of $20.

I’ve seen various ways to connect the hose to the knurl fittings, and the fittings to the foot/battery box.  I also saw a few come lose at Celebrations by catching on things or being knocked off by other people.

I decide to go with a magnet approach, this way if they get caught on something they should easily detach.  In look at the hoses and the fittings I decided to glue the fittings to the feet/battery box and add a magnet to the end of the hoses.  So the hose will pull out from the fitting (in theory).

I purchase 8mm diameter ‘Super Magnets’ at Home Depot for $4.


It took a few attempts to figure out exactly how to make it work.  I tried just gluing the magnet in the hose, but it kept turning and twisting.  The solution was to use a slightly smaller wooden dowel cut to about 1/4″.  I glued the magnet to the dowel, and then glued the dowel in the hose.  You will also notice I wrapped tape around the hose for two purposes.  One was to prevent the braids from separating and the second was to retain the circular shape when gluing in the dowel.

IMG_2837 IMG_2838

I was going to glue a magnet inside the knurl fitting to give a strong magnet to magnet hold.  I decided to just glue in a steel washer for the magnet to attach to as I was having problems getting the right side of the magnet (for polarity) to stay face out, plus the depth of the knurl fitting didn’t conceal the glued part of the hose where the dowel was situated.


I used Citadel Reikland Fleshshade paint that I bought from Games Workshop to color the hoses closer to what is seen in the films.  Cost of the paint was $5.


Here is the finished product, looks good to me.


Hoses: $20
Magnets: $4
Dowel: $3
Paint: $5

PSI diffusers

I’m using a piece of frosted acrylic as the diffuser for the PSIs, and then will use PVC pipe to hold the LEDs from the Teeces kit.  I seen some use a spacer to set back the diffuser from the dome surface and others that mount it flush.

I decided to actually cut the acrylic the exact size of the opening in the inner dome and silicon it in place.  The outer dome will cover the edges and it will be basically flush to the back of the outer dome piece.

Here is a picture of what I’m trying to explain above.  This way the diffuser is a part of the dome just like the other panels.

PSI Diffuser

Center vents

The outer ring of the center vents are resin, but the internal pieces are all 1mm styrene.   I found the plans on the Yahoogroup and glued them to the styrene.  I then cut out each piece as carefully as possible and then test fitted them together.  Once I trimmed them to fit as close as possible I started gluing them with the weld-on.

I watched Izzy’s droid get poked in the center vents numerous times as Star Wars Reads Days so wanted to beef mine up so they could take the abuse.  I used clear silicon along the back pieces/parts of the center vents to get them extra strength, plus the silicon will give a little bit as the styrene flexs.  Hoping the bend but don’t break works for these.

Here is a picture of the styrene after I cut out the needed parts.


Is it done yet?

IMG_2740My son keeps asking ‘is it done yet?’ when he looks like this you’d think I’d be close

Can you name everything that isn’t done……its quite a list but I’m encouraged to keep pressing on.

I could play the tin man on Wizard of Oz!

Been fretting on what to do for the dome finish.  I’ve read several build logs which talk about painting the styrene, some used other finishing methods, and some used Rub-n-Buff.  The latter is what Izzy recommended from the start, but a few trial pieces didn’t turn out too great for me.

Izzy had done his Jango Fett costume with it, and he send me the tutorial video on Youtube

I followed it exactly.  I sanded and cleaned the dome with degreaser like all the other parts.  I then painted it with the Rustoleum Automobile Primer Ultimate Finish as shown in the tutorial.  Once it was dry, I wet sanded the entire dome with 400, 800 and 1000 grit sandpaper.  I re-applied another coat of primer and re-sanded it.  It was freakin smooth!

I then applied the rub-n-buff with my bare hands.  I rubbed and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed.  It took a few minutes to figure out how to get a real good consistent shiny but it worked.  It looks awesome.


My advice is to start at the top and do the parts around the pie wedges, only go about 1/2″ down from the pie wedges.  You’ll need to buff up enough along the inner skin that will show when the outer parts are installed.  I used cotton balls to get in these tight spaces where the inner and outer skins met.

I then did the lower part of the dome where all the other panels/parts are.  I found it was easy to shiny up the small pieces but in doing so it would affect the area above or below it.

Once you have the top part and the lower part shiny up, now hit the middle piece which is a large and wide open.  Feather into the upper and lower parts you buffed previously, and keep rubbing.

Part of my previous apprehension was about the silver getting on kids when they touched the dome, if done correctly you will not get any silver on your hands when you touch it.  Of course I mean after you are done rubbing.  You will look like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz while you are doing it!

Rub-n-buff cleans up with any good hand cleaner soap you’d find for car repairs.  I had read you needed Mineral Spirits but in reality I didn’t.

Tip:  Since the dome rings are MDF they don’t like water.  I recommend sealing them with paint prior to installing them.  I didn’t do this with mine and they started to fuzz up where there were openings (holo projectors, PSIs, etc.).

Rub-n-Buff: $4/tube, $8 total

That’s what friends are for……to help with R2

Started on the Teeces setup for the dome.  Talk about having to solder a thousands things, fortunately Izzy stopped by to help out – ok so I begged him.  I soldered the Front and Rear Logics as he fixed the rear PSI (long story) and soldered the front one.

After we were done, we plugged it all in to see if it worked, he had previously programmed the chip.  Bam!   Absolutely nothing……sad face.  He took a look at all the pieces and parts, re-soldered a few things, changed out a few chips and whamo!  It worked!

I couldn’t have felt more freakin amazed that what I had just spend hours soldering actually worked.  I had never soldered circuit boards before, mostly larger stuff – but I did it.

I was so proud, when my wife got back from bookclub I had to show her.  I was like a kid a Christmas.

Teeces Kit: $
Soldering Iron + supplies: $