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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Robot on the road to recovery

Ok, Since the name of this site is "CONFESSIONS" of a B9 builder Lost in Space, I figured it's time to "fess up" to the stupidest mistake I've made on my B9 thus far. It started when I removed the torso from the robot and layed it in a fold up chair. This lines it up in perfect position to drill holes.

The goal was to mount the microphone and switch. After carefully measuring and double checking, two 5/8" holes were precisely and carefully drilled into the torso. I'm mounting a real microphone inside my external mic and needed the holes that size. Instead of using the epoxy I (thank God) used goop to mount my microphone and torso ring for the switch. I even went back and verified pictures to make sure I put the microphone on the correct side.

Thirty minutes later we were leaving to go out to celebrate my mom's birthday. On the way through the garage, I proudly showed my wife the microphone and switch freshly mounted on the robot. It looked super and I was very proud.

All of a sudden a sick feeling welled up from the bottom of my stomach. Wait a minute, am I looking at this right? Oh my GOD !!!!! The torso was turned around and I mounted/drilled/glued the microphone and switch on the wrong side. On the top instead of the bottom. How could I have made such a stupid mistake?

Fortunately goop is slow drying so both pieces were easily pried off the torso with a screwdriver and all the goop was easily removed from the torso and parts. Then I stepped back and just stared at the two new torso holes in disbelief.

On our way home that night I stopped at Lowes and picked up a couple of rubber corks that fit perfectly in the holes. Possibly that could work to help fill the holes.

So yesterday after tapping the minds of other B9 builders and having some fun, I picked up a pint of fiberglass resin on the way home from work. The rubber corks were inserted partially into the holes from the back and a piece of duct tape held them in place so they wouldn't slip out. Fiberglass was then mixed and some hardner added. The directions are so lame .... 1/4 of the can to 1/4 of the tube proportion. So how do you measure 2 plastic spoons worth? It's all guesswork but better to be on weaker end of the hardner so it doesn't harden in 30 seconds (that happened to me once when mixing bondo for the B9 torso). By the time I got done mixing it, it was hard as a rock.

After filling both holes I smoothed it out as carefully as I could. About a half hour later I pulled the corks out and then applied a generous amount of fiberglass on the inside. I had a little leftover and used that to reinforce the neck area of the robot.

Once it dried, it seemed to be a solid fix. Several coats of bondo spot puddy and you can't even tell a hole was there. It was much easier to fix than I anticipated. Another good learning experience.

I also trimmed my neon backing plate and started working on a strategy to mount that. Looks pretty easy. Then I drilled and mounted the microphone and switch in the correct place.

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