• Danger, Will Robinson!

    Danger, Will Robinson!

  • Mold Making - Part 1

    Mold Making - Part 1

  • WonderFest - Louisville, KY

    WonderFest - Louisville, KY

  • A Project Out Of This World

    A Project Out Of This World

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Building the B9 Robot Torso

B9 Robot Torso

This is my Torso. I can't tell you where I got it because I don't want to sick the dogs on this person. Let's just say, he's a nice guy doing a favor for those of us that have this need to build the B9. It's a copy of the original robot torso. I am very pleased with the torso but have yet to start the filling and sanding that it requires. I'll use a auto body Bondo filler that I have used in the past. I'm working my way "up" to the torso. This is one of the few parts that you absolutely have to get right, or the whole robot looks wrong.



These are the Chest Buttons (also known as the "teeth lights"). They are made from acrylic. They look great and are just waiting for me to tackle the torso so I have someplace to put them.

Here are the small chest lamp bases. I ordered them from Newark Electronics. You'll need 12 of them for the torso and 1 additional for the programming unit below. I ordered a variety of clear colored lenses plus a solid yellow lens for the programming unit.

I made the programming unit myself. I finally found the correct switch for the hole on the right side. Now all I have to make are the round labels. The unit was rather simple to create. I used a piece of 1/4 in. thick white plastic styrene, which was real easy to work with. I cut the rectangle with my scroll saw. The holes were done on my drill press. For the tape reel, I centered a ceramic type fuse in the hole of the tape reel and filled the hole with resin. Once it hardened, I snapped it into the fuse holder.

Here's a view of the original programming unit.

So, they were throwing out some old test equipment at work and I was checking it over when I came across this old 1960's vintage Dielectric Withstand Tester. The knob had this familiar look to it so I grabbed a screw driver and backed out the set screw and popped it off. I got it home and compared it to pictures of the real knob and it looks like I got a match. Cool! My cheapest part so far.

Here's the real knob.

I cut the holes for my 12 small chest lights. It came out pretty good. It was difficult to get them spaced exactly level (left to right). I found out that the bottom ring around the torso is not even. I had measured "up" from the ring and after I drilled the holes, I realized that it was not level. I sanded and filled a few of the holes with Bondo Auto Body Filler, to get them to look right. I cut the hole for the chest buttons (really faux buttons). I put the buttons in with the colored inserts behind them. They look great. Lots of sanding and filling left to do. Boy it's tough to sand in all the nooks and crannies.

It's been a while since I posted an update. That's because I have been sanding and sanding. My torso needed (needs) some major body work. I have tons of spots to fill and trim to correct. I'm still working on it and will be for some time. I have only been spending a hour on it here and there. With summer here, I have found many other "projects" to spend my time on. I found that if I spray a little primer on my torso in between sanding, I can see the uneven spots much better.

More sanding to do, what can I say. I see another few weeks (I hope!) to get it right. I can only Bondo so much at a time before having to wait for it to set up. My neighbor (Hi Bruce!) snuck up on me this last weekend and caught me working on the torso in the garage. Now the cat's out of the bag. He recognized what I was working on, so I didn't have to go into some lengthy explanation.

I'm still sanding, but I'm getting close. Maybe I'm being too picky since I'm going to texture the surface. I took time out to drill three holes for the power pack. Here it is set into place. I used 1/8" phono jacks and set them in fiberglass resin. You might say, the robot got fitted for his heart tonight. Cool. I can't wait to wire him up and plug in the power pack and watch him come alive. Thinking of that gives me goose bumps.

Well, I am about done sanding. I finally cut the arm holes and I am working on the arms. My arms are fixed. Eventually I want to have movable arms, but that will be at a later time. The B9 will always be a work in progress and there will always be something else I can add or update.

Here's my daughter modeling the torso. I didn't even try to put it on as I didn't want to get stuck. I can only imagine what Bob May must have felt like in the original B9.

Before I sprayed on the texture, I gave the torso a bath. I wanted to get off all the dust and fingerprints. I'm the one on the right with the sponge.

FINALLY! Today I textured the torso. I really like how it came out. I used a Plasti-Kote Truck Bed Liner paint. It goes on nice and even and gives an orange-peal look. The original was textured after the first few episodes so that the bright lights didn't reflect off of it into the cameras. I want it textured but still shiny! I guess I want the best of both worlds.

Fall came early here in upstate NY but I caught a real nice weekend and was able to prime, sand, give it another bath and then get a few top coats on the torso. I am hoping to get another warm day and add a few more coats. I used Rustoleum High Heat Silver. Well, I didn't like how the paint from the can was going on, so I went out and bought a paint sprayer for my compressor. I had an auto paint store mix up some Alfa Romeo Metallic Silver in enamel. I only have one coat on here but I like it a whole lot better. I'm hoping to catch some warmer weather this weekend and add a few more coats. I plan on sanding a bit between coats to take down any high pints that the paint may bring up. The picture is of the Alfa Romeo Metallic Silver.

Here's a close-up of the texturing. From about 5 feet away you don't see it. This is the look I was shooting for.

I constructed my own torso microphone from a chrome drawer knob (32mm) found at Home Depot. Search on item #164400 or 164401.

I drilled a 1/2 inch hole in the top of the knob and widened it by placing it flat against my disc sander. I had an old non-functioning microphone that I stole the screen from and put it in from the back side. I purchased a Dynamic Microphone from Radio Shack and took it apart. I put the microphone element inside the drilled out knob.

I set a screw in the back and filled it with plastic resin to hold it all in place. Some folks make the microphone so that it can be pulled out while still attached by a cable. Since it was never used this way in the show, I opted to make it stationary. I'm not sure how I'm going to make use of it, but I wanted it to be functional, just in case.

It's a real shame I'll have to paint it.

Paint it, I did. And it looks pretty good.