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William Waters III - N7IPY

How I built my Brain

The first task was to find accurate and detailed drawings of the intricate and futuristic cut outs all around the brain structure.  An email to the B9buildersclub got me answers and dimensional drawings. 


The structure of the brain is built from 3 laminated layers of 3/32 Hobby plywood, glued together with a 20 minute epoxy on a very flat surface.  I bought 3 12x48 inch sheets of the plywood at the local RC airplane hobby shop, and layered the wood sheets by placing 2 12x24 inch pieces down first, then applying a thin layer of epoxy resin, then laying the next two sheets rotated 90 degrees, then the final 2 sheets, with epoxy rotated 90 degrees.  This ended up giving me a 24x24 square inch sheet of approx 1/8, very flat plywood, which would fit 4 brain top/bottom pieces (giving me an extra piece if I messed up on one.  Using the pattern I made from the drawings I got, I cut out 3 identical pieces, A top, bottom and middle.  I then took the middle piece and cut all but 3/8 of it out giving a piece that is used for the structure of the brain and allowing a place for the solid top piece to sit on.  As it turns out to get the best fit for the brain construction, the middle support piece sits 1 inch above the base plate, so I cut a number of 1 inch long hardwood blocks and started gluing.  


The front of the brain was made from a pattern piece stuck to 1/64 hobby plywood veneer.  The pattern printout was glued to a piece of construction paper and carefully cut out, then CA (super glue) glued to the wood.  Mistake!!!, now I had to cut out all of the detail patterns again, way too much work.  The brain sides were made by gluing the pattern to 2 layers of construction paper using spray on paper/scrap booking glue.  I then cut out the pattern with my exacto knife (long task).

Next before the spray glue had set I pre bent the brain side panel for the hard radius at the back of the brain in a simpe  jig cut from a 2x4 scrap and let dry over night.  The brain front and sides are then glued using CA glue to the frame.  Because the construction paper is soft and I wanted more thickness, I laminated oz fiberglass to the sides and re-trimmed the cutouts using fine files.  This gave it a strong hard structure.  I bought cast eye lenses from one of the club members that sells them as an aid to other builders.


The top plate is made from 2 sheets of 1/64 ply laminated using 2 part epoxy.  This makes the top plate thin, light and rigid.


Prime, Sand, Prime, Sand and Paint was next.  Make sure to mask off all of the areas you dont want paint getting into. 


The Brain Structure glued and sanded, and ready for primer.
Brain Sides, made from layered Construction Paper
Brain basic Structure, note supports are located to not block the cutouts.
Different view of finished structure.  I have not cut the holes for the brain cup yet.

See the Light Controller page (click Here) to read about the programmable light controller project.  Using the light controller, 22 Bright White LEDs, 2 low power LASER modules, and the 7 incandescent finger lights + the 3 incandescent top of brain lights, I added life to the brain project. 


To add lights, I first glued in place a light plastic light diffuser made from scrap plastic (from a throw away clear plastic food platter cover) that I had cut to size and fogged with light sandpaper.  This helps diffuse the LED light.  Next I cut 22 LED posts out of 1/4 x 1/4 balsa wood that are 1/2 inch tall and have a half circle in them for the LED to rest on.  To do this, I marked the balsa at every 1/2 inch and drilled a hole at every other mark, then cut everything to 1/2 inch long.  A light sanding and a drop of CA glue to hold the LED in place and I had the LEDs mounted.


To light the eyes I used low power RED LASERs, and I know that is not accurate for a reproduction robot, but it looks real cool.  I used some of the same plastic infront of the LASERs to defuse the light which makes the eyes glow.


A few evenings with the soldering iron and I now have a functioning Brain Light system that I can remotly control what light sequence is used.  I did not get too fancy using heat shrink-tubing on all of the solder joints as the wires are light and once assembled there is little chance for any shorts or bad connections


I now have the Bubble and Brain Boot but I am still waiting on the brain cub, base and cam to be able to finish up the in-bubble part of the project. 


Mounting the LEDs to the Brain
(Click Picture for Full Size)
The wiring begins
(Click Picture for Full Size)
Closeup of Controller, wires and one LASER
(Click Picture for Full Size)
All that is left is the finger and top of brain lights
(Click Picture for Full Size)

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(C) 2007 - 2018  William Waters   Last Updated February 2018