Mike's Lost In Space B9 Robot     |   home

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...... Brain ......

Was lucky enough to pick up this excellent steel brain from a very limited run by Aussie builder Ian Soden.

Also have the Aluminium brain cup and finger lights from Jerry C, which look too beautiful to paint, so am not. i know they are supposed to be grey ... but always thought they were silver, so that's how i'm leaving them. Also painted the rest of the brain silver instead of grey.

Made from steel plate then copper plated to aid the soldering process.

Used an etch primer first because of the non-ferrous surface, then the standard filler/primer before sanding.

Here it is with the paint that was used, and the polished stainless steel top plate that came with it.

Although i'm very happy with the brain, and wouldn't part with it now i have it, if i was building again now and it wasn't available i would use styrene.
It would seem to be the perfect material for this part - it's light, strong, inexpensive, easy to cut and stick together, and easy to make all those little holes with just a drill and a sharp knife.

Finger Lights

Found some Super Bright, Water Clear LEDs that are a nice Orange/Red colour. Soldered on a resistor and two wires.

Added some heat shrink.

Hollowed out one of the normal flasher globes and inserted the LED in from the bottom.

Threaded the wire and globe down the finger rod from the lighted end. To hold it in place i wrapped some tape around the threaded part of the globe until it was a push fit. You could also use Silastic, but don't use too much if you ever want to get it apart easily.

This only looks orange while the LED is on, you can still colour the globe with orange nail polish, or whatever, but i like this look and will keep it clear for now. (i can always change it later).

Brain Cup

A few builders i've spoken to have had problems with the rotation of their brain motor if left running for extended periods. The Delrin bearing of the cam wheel is a pretty snug fit in the aluminium brain and after a while it can jam. Although it's always good to keep the design simple, and the number of parts to a minimum, there is no particular need to have one Delrin component perform the task of bearing and cam wheel. So i decided to eliminate any possibility of a problem by keeping the upper portion of the Delrin acting as the cam wheel, but replacing the bottom portion with a roller bearing similar to the ones used in the wheels.

Covered the surface with tape to make sure i didn't mark the cam surface.

Don't have a lathe, so used a hacksaw to very carefully cut off the bearing portion of the Delrin, then sanded the surface flat. It doesn't have to be perfect as it's no longer touching anything.

The shaft is 3/8" diameter and the hole in the top of the brain cup is 1", unfortunately this isn't a standard size for bearings, they tend to be (I.D. 3/8" x O.D. 7/8") or (I.D. 3/8" x O.D. 1 1/8"). i didn't want to make the shaft thinner or i would have to modify the cam too, and didn't want to bore the brain cup out to 1 1/8" because it's already got the finger lights mounted and wired up ... didn't want to go through that again! So settled on 3/8" x 7/8" bearing that would at least fit the shaft without modification.

Then made a bush from some aluminium tube with an O.D. of 1" and a wall thickness of approximately 1/16". This little pipe cutter is one of the handiest tools i've found.

The bearings i got were "flange" bearings which kept everything together neatly, but you could use plain bearings and a bit of Loctight if it wasn't a tight fit.

For the 1" pipe it's a push fit for which i used a small vice.

Also used a short length of I.D 3/8" aluminium tube as a spacer between the larger base of the shaft and the point where the bearing sits in the brain cup.

This is possibly overkill, and may not be needed, but at least i know that with the small amount of load on this bearing it will never wear out.