Building R2D2: Entry #2

R2D2 20140710 01Not so long ago, in a place that sometimes feels like it is in a galaxy far, far away, a man who couldn’t build a birdhouse to save his life decided to try something way over his head. This is his story.

In my previously entry, “Building R2D2: Entry #1,” I explained how I decided to start this DIY project which has been on my bucket list for quite some time.  I ordered the dome, bought some tools and materials at Lowes, and decided to have at it.  I cut the upper portions of the arms out of four pieces of 18mm MDF board, which I then screwed together in pairs, and I made four 18mm MDF rings which along with four pieces of 3×2 board, will make the frame for our R2D2.  As you must have seen from the first photograph, it looked decent when I dry assembled it for the photo.  However, once I started trying to screw the frame together, the pieces didn’t want to fit just right.  My notches on the MDF and 3×2 boards were not cut cleanly or exact enough.   Also, the screws were not long enough to secure the top and bottom pieces of MDF to the top of the 3x2s, so that every time I adjusted something, the MDF would pop off of the 3x2s, screws and all.

So for another excuse to travel the 20-something miles to civilization and eat lunch at Steak ‘N Sheak, I decided to return to Lowes to get some longer screws (2″) with which to secure my frame together.  I also decided to break down and buy a chisel (1/4″) that was actually made for chiseling wood.  It turns out to have been a wise purchase, for I needed both the new screws and the chisel (and the jigsaw again) to make up for what was evidently a lack of attention to detail when it came to doing the math required to cut the pieces so they would fit together.  But who needs math when you have a wood chisel, right?  After some sawing and chiseling and quite a bit of screwing (but surprisingly, no swearing), I was able to get both inner MDF rings to fit in the notches I made in my four upright 3x2s, and secure everything in place with screws through the top and bottom MDF boards into the 3×2 posts.

Having finished the body frame, except for some sanding, I found a blueprint for the shoulder horseshoes and made a template on paper.  In making my template, I think I used a protractor for the first time since 8th grade.   After drawing out the shoulder horseshoe, I then cut the template out and used it to mark two shoulders on 18mm MDF board which I then cut out with the jigsaw.  I used the template twice this time as opposed to using one shoulder piece as a template for the other.  Hopefully this will help avoid the need for the wood chisel later.  In “Building R2D2: Entry #3,” I’ll have to talk a little more about these blueprints.

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