Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Lego BB8 Hemisphere!

Wow, it's starting to look like what it's supposed to be!  For once I don't really have to explain what it's supposed to look like!

Lego bb8 Body Hemisphere

Lego bb8 Hemisphere!

Though, again, some bits are complicated, so the red dots are substituting for missing bricks and showing where the white triangle panel buttons go.

Part of the reason building slowed down is that I'd only digitally designed panel 3 so far.  So while Lara was building the orange rings for the panels, I first had to design the pattern layout for the other panels on the computer. 

As I mentioned last time, the body is made of 6 panels designed to fit together into a sphere.  Conveniently bb8 has 6 hatches, so each panel has one of the hatches in the middle.  Here's a view of the three completed panels, arranged as they attach.

Lego bb8 Panels 6, 3, and 5 
We ran into a few problems this time.  First of all, when I'd ordered bricks we only had the design for Panel Three, so I just multiplied that times 6 for the six panels and padded the order a bit.  What I didn't think about was that maybe the other panels would want a different shape of brick, so the design ended up with a few in less-than-convenient sizes.  We made do, but it was annoying and used more bricks that I'd wanted.

The other problem is going to be a lot harder to solve.  Individually the panels are pretty strong, but they don't really attach at very many points.  Trying to arrange the panels for the picture above they wanted to fall apart, and even started splitting at the layers within the panels. 

I finally got it to stay together long enough for the photo, but this isn't going to work for a static (non-moving) model that has to sit for more than ten minutes, let alone a model that's supposed to drive around and interact with folks.  I have several ideas to solve the problem, but it's not going to be trivial; we'll see how hard it ends up being.

You can see symptoms of this problem in the interior photo below.  The white lines in the middle are where the bricks were separated enough to allow light to leak in from the lights outside.

Lego bb8 Interior showing splitting seams
Lego bb8 Interior showing splitting seams

Here it is a little more zoomed out.  I wanted you guys to be able to see how the panels are designed to attach to each other with a reasonably smooth join for the "hamster" robot to run around on.

Lego bb8 Interior
Lego bb8 Interior
Well, now I need to go design the next 3 panels... and figure out what to do to make it stronger.

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