Austerity RC Combat (currency savings are the rule)

Discussion in 'General' started by Astrosaint, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. NickMyers

    NickMyers Admin RCWC Staff

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    You have been pointed towards numerous resources that show building a wooden hull from plans. This site has more than a few threads showing wooden hull construction. You are on at least one mailing list wherein there are a nonzero number of competent hull builders who answer questions. Your guidebook is all around you, but from over here, it looks like youre closing your eyes very hard. Go read Mike's thread building the Bearn, or Tugboat's thread on the Edgar Quinot, or recently there is someone working on a Suffren with pictures as they go. Tom has a thread where he makes a one-off fiberglass hull for a Golo that is pretty neat to go through.
    I'm not trying to knock you down here, I want you to understand what an incredible collection of information exists to help you accomplish this without spending copious amounts of time reinventing model ship building.
     
  2. wrenow

    wrenow RIP

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    I agree. There are plenty of tutorials out there on the web on how to build a ship from plans, also articles in model magazines, probably even some videos somewhere, as well as the threads here and in other forums.

    As with the rules, it appears you are trying to reinvent the "wheel" from scratch, when you can already go out and get your "wheels" in various sizes and specifications. Remember (and this is was alluded to in the comment about props and rudder above), ships have developed over 100s of years to the form they took in the 20th century. Many forms/formulas were tried (including the round Admiral Popovs, which, with modern drives, might have been useful but with the steam drives at the time, were a disaster), and the successful attributes carried forward while less successful ones died out. Choosing a proven design will save you far more effort that trying to come up with a design from scratch. Model Warship Combat in more or less its current form has been going on for about 40 years, so there is a lot of experiential base in the various standards and rules.

    As for an analysis of your most recent design, I concur with the previous assessments - impressive accomplishment but, sadly, quite flawed for your purpose.

    Again, with a 3d CNC router or mill, which you indicate you have (you still have not helped us advise you by indicating what other tools/resources you have available for your class), it would be relatively easy to turn out simple kits of actual warships from the plans available. Surely some of your students have particular strengths they could add to the project. By the way, Delftship is a ship design software package that the basic package is free for non-commercial use and might prove useful in getting the 3d CAD model of the hull ready.

    Also, I, personally, would not be so quick to dismiss the historical aspect of modelling specific, historic, ships, It allows the student to connect with something in real life and have a "backstory" for his ship. It also helps a bit in cross-discipline teaching as they will be more inclined to want to learn some history/hydrodynamics/electronics etc.

    But, it is, of course, your class to teach, and YMMV.

    BTW, I did, already, wish you good luck on the project.

    Cheers,
     
  3. Astrosaint

    Astrosaint Active Member

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    I guess I need to clarify what type of CAD/CAM device I would have access to. A 3" by 3" by 3" block of very soft plastic would be the most it could handle. Good for chess pieces.
    Computer resources are a bit rudamentary for CAD/CAM. This is why hand building with wood is preferred. CA glue is strongly discouraged (too high of a risk of causing asthma attacks).
    All of the aircraft dope has to be used either outdoors or in a vent room that purges the fumes out. CA could be used in those places but it does have its limited lifespan plus pitfalls when 13-14 year olds use it.
    Bear in mind this is a school environment, not the garage at home.
    In any case, I do have a prototype to show the STEM committee.
    A
     
  4. Hovey

    Hovey Admiral (Supporter)

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    I understand the requirement that you keep the cost down, but why not cut ribs from a sheet of 1/4" ply then sheet with balsa? Only tools required would be a coping saw (or a scrollsaw if allowed). That would allow you to build cheap hulls that look like hulls and this is supposed to be advanced shop class after all. Also they might survive long enough to take home after a battle.

    Our rules formed for a reason and it wasn't to increase the cost of a ship. Most of that cost is for electronics and guns anyway. Construction techniques have evolved to make a ship reliable. There are lots of ways to keep cost down and still remain reliable.

    It seems like you dont want to listen and have already made up your mind on how to best proceed. I get not following our battle rules but ignoring advice on best practices is silly.

    I wish you and your students the best.
     
  5. wrenow

    wrenow RIP

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    Would your CNC machine not also cut birchwood or balsa? If so (or even if not), even larger sections of bow and/or stern may be made up in 3x3x3 block pieces. In fact, perhaps faster, make up your master for a bow or stern out of the blocks, assemble, do up a silicone mold, and mold the pieces by the dozens out of a strong urethane resin (might have to do that in the fume room).
    Similarly, I broke a complex gun/valve assembly into 3mm slices that could be laser cut, and then stacked, and it worked a treat. Got the idea from how Raytheon decided to build the top secret magnetron - a story too long to go into here in detail, but, basically they took a complex machining, and, instead of machining it, just stamped out a stack of plates with voids in the appropriate places, and riveted them together.

    You still do not indicate what other tools you have available. Power tools, hand tools, soldering (wire and/or pipe) capabilities? Again, knowing your capabilities would really help us zero in on how to advise you on what use of which resources would be helpful. If you tell us you have a plasma table and full welding facilities, or a lathe, or even a bandsaw or scrollsaw, you will really make those of us starting out with just an old dremel tool quite envious (you already have with your smal CNC mill). And, please note that one of the newer handy tools to have, the oscillating tool, like this one: www.harborfreight.com/power-tools/o...67537.html are generally safer and easier to use than some alternatives and do not break the bank.

    As for glue, I understand your issues with CA, but you can use Elmer's Carpenters Wood Glue (I often do), epoxies, Amberoid, and other fixatives that will work just fine without as many fume issues (Amberoid is probably a bit fumey).

    I believe we are cognizant of, and indeed trying to take into account in our advice, that this is a school environment. And, are trying to help you give the best experience to your students.

    Keep in mind that we often have students in the 13-15 year age join our clubs. Yes, we are often set up in garages or shops, but they are using scroll-saws, sanders, etc. under supervision and with safety equipment (safety goggles are a must, for instance).

    Cheers,
     
  6. Tugboat

    Tugboat Facilitator RCWC Staff Admiral (Supporter)

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    Titebond III white glue is available at Lowes or Home Despot, and is 100% waterpoof (like I built my real sailboat with it). Cheap and easy too.
     
  7. Astrosaint

    Astrosaint Active Member

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    Greetings:

    Yellow Glue (such as Titebond) has proven time and again to be the adhesive of choice for ANY wood working. I have not had any problems with yellow glue in boat building.

    A
     
  8. Tugboat

    Tugboat Facilitator RCWC Staff Admiral (Supporter)

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    That's what I'm saying. My real-life sailboat holds together nicely with Titebond III. TB II is not rated as 'waterproof', just resistant. Since they're the same price, I use the waterproof one. Also use it for furniture. So if the house floods, my furniture is still good to go :)
     
  9. dietzer

    dietzer Admiral (Supporter)

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    You haven't mentioned what CAD/CAM software you are using, but another possibility would be to design a wood kit using a CAD program and send it out for laser cutting like Mark Jenks and others here do. That let's you use aircraft plywood up to 3/8" thick (depending on the laser being used) and is usually not bad on price. While you are waiting for the laser-cutting to be done, you could be using your CNC to create the smaller detail pieces.

    You have also not mentioned (or maybe I missed it) whether the goal is to have each student complete a ship, or if the goal is to have several students work together to complete a ship. This would influence the size of the ship to be built, as having several students per ship would allow a larger ship to be built but still keep the costs down.
     
  10. wrenow

    wrenow RIP

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    As you can see, we ARE trying to help you. However, some of our crystal balls are a bit old and cloudy. It would help us to help you if you could give us more information as to:

    What tools/techniques/facilities you have available
    What restrictions/absolute prohibitions you have (like the CA)
    How many students will be involved
    As noted, how many ships (one per student, teams, etc.)

    Please note that organizing your thoughts on this and giving us a better outline of your final goals and the tools you have to achieve them will not only help us better advise you, but will make it easier to prepare your STEM proposal and to answer the questions that come up.

    Also, please be advised that many of our young captains start out at the age you are talking about, several much younger, so this is not beyond their capabilities. I would bet that, unless yours is an incredibly rural and poor school district, you will find that some of your students already have radio control cars, trucks, planes, helicopters, quads, tanks, boats or other devices.

    A similar project in some ways: My son had a Battlebots competition in the 3rd or 4th grade with a maximum budget of something like $15-$20 on parts purchased - (about 15-20 years ago). His Killer Bee and Baby Bee combo were the winner (Killer Bee was a wedge-bot what carried Baby Bee, a tiny wedge-bot on its shoulders). Had a cool trick of being able to scoot sideways in the middle of an attack. All built within budget. All based on existing off-the-shelf RC models with mods. My son paid close attention to what worked in real Battlebots, and tried to incorporate those features into his model - it worked. Had to resolve several functional issues along the way during his R&D and came up with a foam reinforced/stiffened metal flashing shell/wedge Resources provided by the small Christian school --- floorspace for the competition and judges.

    I think we all believe that getting students involved is a great idea. However, I, for one, believe the higher quality the program for the student, and the better product and knowledge expansion they can carry away, the better.

    Again, good luck.

    Cheers,
     
  11. Knight4hire

    Knight4hire Active Member

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    I have worked with cub scouts and model rocketry. That was a chore! But they made some nice rockets!
    I work a lot with teenagers and getting them fired up about building something and learning history at the same time is FANTASTIC! With the age group that you are working with, they should be able to jump in and work from the plans with some guidance. I have always been plesently surprized by the capability of teenagers. With the proper guidance they can accomplish almost anything! I say give them a chance to build a boat as realistic as their talents allow. I would not be surprized if some museum quality ships are built.
     
  12. wrenow

    wrenow RIP

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  13. Astrosaint

    Astrosaint Active Member

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    Greetings:
    Now that I have working prototypes that can be seen and felt, now I can go to the school board and add model boats to the list of proposed measures to boost middle school shop classes. That discipline has been on a decline because the State of Florida was following a strategy of everyone is going to college and does not need vocational training.
    The State Legistature approved a Vocational ed diploma this year, reversing 20 years of SCRAPPING tech ed and (worse) tech ed equipment. My colleagues and myself now want to bring back the hands on, get your hand dirty and build something interesting back into the the current "zombie shop" classes now offered. Many a saw and drill press will need to be bought since most schools dumped their old ones. There may even be room for some of the new laser cutter devices out there.
    The first few years will be catch up with a lot of hand building but I think we as educators can get the work done. I am optimistic about this issue for the first time in ages.
    The pilot project, if approved, will be the first step.
    Thanks to all for your advice. I apologize if I had some thinking the proposal that I was working on was ready to launch.
    A
     
  14. NickMyers

    NickMyers Admin RCWC Staff

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    Astrosaint, I am concerned you are blind to a primary point here, so I'm going to be blunt - and I am sorry if this offends you: the pictures of the hull you have posted, and what you have described, look and sound like a crafting project for 2nd graders.

    To continue...

    I personally am very concerned that your project may be scuttled because of this.

    I feel very strongly that if you are going to successfully pitch this project, you need to build a proper hull to bring for the look and feel session. Even if it is something as simple as the Maru I built - before which I had not done any sort of woodworking since I was 12 and used no fancy tools on. I honestly believe that your proposal's chances will go up a phenomenal amount if you bring something like that vs what you currently have.

    I am 100% certain that you are capable of building a hull in the way we do, but you need to ditch the crafting supplies and get some real plywood and plans.

    You are and your potential students are quite capable of fabricating a ship from plans, and continuing with the crafting materials merely insults you and your future students.

    Best of luck, do let us know how the propsal goes and feel free to continue to ask questions and share what you are doing.
     
  15. Astrosaint

    Astrosaint Active Member

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    Nick: Your point about the 1930s, low level technology construction techniques are quite valid. I will note that some of the superstructures on some of the models that are used in regulation combat ships do not look too fancy either (especially after a few sorties). Modern ships like the Zumwalt are even less intricate. This is probably why post WW2 designs are not used in the hobby.
    Now the proposal does have problems due to crude construction. Hwever, I am handicapped by two factors:
    I do not have the funds to buy a "real" kit and accessories
    I am uncertain if even I could assemble something this sophisticated
    I have little to lose at this point. The 2 boats that I have are largely built and they will sail during the summer. I has not posted the photos from the second ship since ship #1 was already being put down as being too juvenile.
    The worst that the school board can say is, "you stick to your rockets. Those are cheaper.
    Enjoy your summer.
    A
     
  16. NickMyers

    NickMyers Admin RCWC Staff

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    Once more into the breach...
    I never said anything about 1930s low level technology. I called it a 2nd grade craft project.
    Nope. But I dont have a gripe about your super, we're not big into hyper realistic modeling, we tend to go for the 'looks good from 10 feet away' approach. There is a reality to our game that small bits tend to be destroyed quickly
    No, we dont use modern designs because our hobby focuses on the big-gun era of warships and reflect vessels that served in the WW1 and WW2 eras. Has nothing to do with the aesthetics of modern warships

    You don't need a 'real' kit. The vast majority of the responses on this thread have been telling you that and providing encouragement to scratch build. I don't believe anyone on this thread has said you have to go buy a 'real' kit. Just because our vendors sell fiberglass hulls and kits doesn't mean you have to buy them in order to have a ship.
    You never will if you sit there and say 'I can't'. The first step to accomplishing something is saying 'I can do this'. I didn't know anything about constructing these things when I started. I asked questions and learnt. They are not all that sophisticated when you sit down and break it down. Stop running around saying "I cannot" and start saying "Of course I can"..
    I'm sure they will be delightful and fun for sailing around. I don't have a problem with the fact that you've made something I consider to be a 2nd grade craft project. What I have a problem with is the way you have presented it as an alternative to building a hull from plans with non-craft materials and are intending to propose teaching it to students as part of an Advanced Shop course when I believe your students (and you) can be capable of so much more.
    No, the worst they can do is believe that building with craft sticks is the best their students and teachers can do.
    I don't get summers off, but I'll try.
     
  17. Tugboat

    Tugboat Facilitator RCWC Staff Admiral (Supporter)

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    In retrospect, I have God knows how many wood hulls in the shop; I wish I'd thought to have you come up for a weekend build session so you could take one of those to show the school board. If you have time before you present to them, please come up and we can get you one of my wood hulls to do show and tell with (I say that with no sarcasm; when presenting to bureaucrats, it's always a bit of show'n'tell) :)
     
  18. wrenow

    wrenow RIP

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    Dear Astrosaint,
    Let's try another tack. This is an advanced shop class, right? And you currently build model rockets? What do you build your rockets with? Do you use plans, instructions, tubes, etc. like most people do in rocketry, or do you use only stock kits, or do you build them with matchsticks and popsicklcle sticks and coathangers (not being sarcastic here - I used to build model airplanes from matchsticks and broomstraws that were quite beautiful - as well as building flying model planes from proper plans, kits, and balsa).
    It seems that you are stuck in the mindset of 'to a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail" - but your "hammer" is popsickle sticks.
    Assuming -0- tools and suplies available, you could probably get started building ships from scratch, in the way we have suggested, for a total outlay of under $100 in tools and supplies for a pilot program, and get more than one ship (and the tools area a one-time expense). For $500, you should be able to set up a nice, fairly complete, shop and have enough supplies for a couple of dozen hulls (this is just a wild guess, based on years of experience, but I would bet money I could do so - especially if sourcing it for school projects).
    Also, if you do not feel you and your students can cut out a dozen or so pieces from a sheet of plywood (it does not have to be "micron presision"), there are laser-cut ship kits out there for less cost than a fiberglass hull. www.jenkse.us/rcengr/Kits.pdf If you will look at his kits and the instructions, you will see it is not rocket science - you already do that. ;) But, I can tell you that it is very rewarding to see a piece of plywood and some balsa magically turn into a ship with just some elbow grease and neurons properly applied.
    Please know that we are trying to give you the best advice we can, based on decades of training up kids from 8-18 (and adults) in the hobby. They CAN build a ship from just a sheet of plywood, plans, and glue. I have seen it done multiple times in jjust a few build days. It is helpful if you are building several of the same type of ship at first due to the learning curve. My son did all the ribs on a large oiler one Sunday afternoon (as well as parts of another) at about the age you are talking about. I sincerely suggest you heed the advice you have asked for and been given.
    Again, good luck with the project.
    Cheers,
     
  19. Astrosaint

    Astrosaint Active Member

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    Greetings to All:
    OK, this message is for tugboat of GA. Since I have the time off, I might as well do some traveling. As the crow flies, Statesboro is 6 hours from the my little cottage in Astatula. When is a good time to visit and inspect our respecive hulls ? Is there a sortie I can watch ? My wife has given her blessing to this adventure.
    As for the proposal, its is not due immediately since the funding has not been released from the state and there is going to be a period of time where the school system has to determine what a modern middle school shop needs. THere will also be some equipment to be replaced. Something like a 3D printer is exotic to us. I know of none in my county.
    For the rockets, The student have to hand roll the tubes on a mandral they are given. The other parts are stock from Pitsco Supply Co.
     
  20. wrenow

    wrenow RIP

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    Hmmmm. So there IS a bit of scratch-building involved though how much is saved by hand-rolling a tube wnhen tubes are cheap, I am not so sure In looking over the PitscoSupply Co. site, their prices appear a bit dear. I haven't done rockets for a couple of years, but they seem higher than my :local; hobby shop or other major suppliers like AC. You might want to know that USFC Pyroworks has wireless fireworks display controllers that you might find useful and less expensive than the wired ones on Pitsco as well.
    I don'd believe anyone said you need a 3D printer - you indicated you had a 3D mill/router or some such. Not many of us have 3D printers or mills or routers in this hobby (one guy in our club just bought a used 3D router he is refurbing and hoping yo use if he can get the bugs worked out). However, now that you mention them, Cubify has some with a 5" cubed workspace for $1299 and one with a 10" cubed workspace for $2500. 3D printers are kind of new to most people.
    I doubt more than one or two people here have build their ships using 3d printers, though a couple have reportedly used mills (whether 3D or not, I don't know). While CNC machines are really nice, especially for precision and long runs, they are NOT necessary to build a warship.
    Perhaps looking at Tug's gulls and talking with im a bit will answer a lot of questions.
    Sincerely,