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Getting Started

By Scott Sanderson

Ok, you want to make your own B9 robot, but what is the next step?

1. What is the B9 Club?
The B9 Club is a group of people who have combined resources, information, and individual talents to create the largest B9 Club in the world. The B9 Club has members from all over the USA as well as the world! Drawing on the talents and knowledge of its members the club has been able to put all its resources together into one huge resource called the B9 Club. Thanks to the internet, people throughout the world can join the club!

2. What is it going to cost?
The first question people ask it "what is it going to cost to make a B9"? This isn't an easy question to answer and depends on what you want out of this project. The more authentic and accurate, the more time and money it will take. The club offers information for the "do it yourself" members using common materials and tools to top-of-the-line professional quality authorized parts that recreate the original robot. This is your first decision and one that needs serious consideration before proceeding. I suggest looking in the B9 Club Store in the parts section to see what parts are available and what they cost. People have made B9 replicas from under $1,000 to well over $10,000. Typical costs range between $5,000 and $7,000 on average for a very respectable replica.

3. What Skills and tools do I need?
This is very dependent on what parts you will be making yourself, but in  general you should have basic mechanical knowledge and woodworking skills. Although I strongly recommend against using wooden material in your B9 (more on this later), the tools and skills used in woodworking are similar to those used with fiberglass and plastic. You will use lots of sandpaper, primer and paint. Although no special tools are required, a drill, saw, screwdriver, files, and a good ruler will serve you well. Many times you can get around using specialty tools if you plan your design carefully and develop creative methods to accomplish what you need to do. Good planning can be your best friend! 

4. How long is this going to take me?
This is very dependent on what parts you buy and which you make yourself. On average I would plan on spending 6 months to a year to finish your robot. Your budget may require you to go slower, but I highly recommend you complete your robot as planned and take whatever time is required to do the job right! This is not a project that you can complete in a few weekends. The most common mistake is rushing into this and finding out midstream that you have made some serious errors that you must go back and correct. I suggest that you spend a few weeks planning your robot and studying the real B9 robot. Once you have identified each part and studied it you can make an informed decision whether it is within your capabilities to make the part yourself, or if you would be better of buying the part.  One word of caution: only use pictures of the original robot and learn  to identify the mistakes on the restored original robot (there are plenty of them!). If you use the life sized cardboard B9 standup as a reference you are bound to have mistakes. 

5. Any parts I should really purchase?
There are certain parts that I consider a "must buy" based on their  complexity and overall contribution to the final product. I suggest you  purchase the bubble and torso since these items are difficult to make  yourself and are generally the "make or break" parts on your B9. Although it is possible to make your own torso, it is a very labor intensive task and not for the faint hearted. Also there are various blueprints available for the robot - keep in mind that even the original robot varies from its own original blueprints. This is where your research pays off!

6. Who can answer my questions?
I strongly recommend you join the B9Talk mailing list. This is a mailing  list created specifically for people wanting to share information and ideas  on building the B9 robot. You will find many knowledgeable and helpful  people here.

7. Any other advice?

  • Take your time and do the job right the first time. 
  • If you have kids include them in the project. 
  • Take time out to spend with your friends, family, spouse, etc.
  • Plan to make a lot of new friends and meet some really talented and interesting people! 
  • I recommend using as little wood as possible, especially on outer  surfaces. Wood shrinks over time and changes dimensionally with humidity and season changes. Over time wood grain will show through and the paint around at your joints will crack. 

               
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