Traditional Wood vs Fiberglass Hulls+Maybe Composite Hulls?

Discussion in 'Research and Development' started by AdmiralBangerBang, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. AdmiralBangerBang

    AdmiralBangerBang Active Member

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    Wood vs Fiberglass... We've all faced this choice. Your building a new ship, and you start to shop for materials. You head to Strike or BC, and you see a shiny, premade fiberglass hull. But you were going to build one out of wood. What do you prefer?
    Extra: How do you feel about Kevlar hulls, or Teflon or other techy plastic hulls?
     
  2. SteveT44

    SteveT44 Well-Known Member

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    You build with whatever your comfortable with. I build from FG because it's quicker. Past boats have been a combination of FG hulls and plywood for subdecks and frames and other structure. My current build has no wood whatsoever. FYI, a Kevlar hull will be extremely difficult to cut.
     
  3. AdmiralBangerBang

    AdmiralBangerBang Active Member

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    But what about using Kevlar to reinforce balsa and glass hulls? On glass boats, timber backings are used on the ribs for additional stiffness. But the problem is that these backings are fairly thick. Wouldn't a Kevlar backing be stronger and still take less volume, allowing more space for armaments and other systems? Since Beaver and I are trying to come up with a viable Open Design Warship combat system, I've been researching ways of incorporating composite structures into Open Design Warships. (oh yeah, please tell me what you think about Open Design Warships.)

    Also, Kevlar hulls can be cut with machines, so while home built Kev hulls are impossible (for now) larger companies like Strike and BC could provide precut hulls? This would also reduce the possibility of bbs denting the (supposedly impenetrable) bow areas on balsa warships.

    And carbon fibre and Kevlar could be used to make high stress parts, like some cannon parts, as well as the rudder and the propellers, as well as for shields for the valuable internal electronics.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2018
  4. SteveT44

    SteveT44 Well-Known Member

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    Dude, your enthusiasm is fantastic but your really overthinking a lot of this. Fiberglass is more than strong enough to handle bb impacts, its cheap to construct with, and cheap to repair if required. That's why it's been the tried and true standard for decades. Wood hulls are for the more advanced builder that wants to do something different. You can also buy some really nice laser cut kits in wood today. If you want to build with Kevlar or carbon fiber, that's great, but it's not required for a functional model. As to your Open Design Warships initiative, you will find that most in the hobby are well invested in one of the current formats and will have little interest in something new. As Beaver pointed out, you can look at the Steam Punk format for something to go crazy with (as long as you stick within it's ruleset). Several builders have even started SP builds but nothing has hit the water yet. My advice to you is to get that cruiser from SAS and see if you can get it built out as a normal R/C boat first. That way you can hit your local pond and have some fun. If you get that far, then take it to a spring battle to show it off and look and learn how others do it. Then build or buy a couple of cannons and firing circuits and have it ready for summer battling.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  5. AdmiralBangerBang

    AdmiralBangerBang Active Member

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    So, Steve, being a little Asian techhead, I was burning out my brain thinking about some breakthrough ship designs. But Steampunk doesn't allow multihulls, and I want Open Design Warship combat to promote tech and ship design, as well as captaining skills. I feel that regular combat is extremely restricted in terms of ship design, and I want ODW (Open Design Warships) to be more open in terms of ship design, and I want ship design to be more important.
     
  6. AdmiralBangerBang

    AdmiralBangerBang Active Member

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    Also, how should I arrange my guns on the cruiser? Any charts?
     
  7. SteveT44

    SteveT44 Well-Known Member

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    First and foremost, R/C Warship Combat is a battling sport before anything else. The rules are restrictive because they are meant to promote fair play. If anybody was allowed to hit the pond with a technical wonder that had auto-aiming and self sealing bulkheads, what fun would that be for everyone else? You would soon out-price the game to everyone but the ones with money to throw away. It's exactly what happened to Robot Wars and Battle Bots. The teams with the biggest budgets and sponsors were the ones that always won. Believe it or not, there is room for innovation in the hobby. You can look at the brushless motor tech people are starting to deploy or the 24v drive systems that I'm using in my latest boats for examples. Believe me, nobody is stopping you from designing and building your multihull battlebot. You just won't have many people at the pond to play with unfortunately. While designing and saving up for the Kevlar for your killer boat, spend a few bucks and some time on that little cruiser and come out to the pond and have some fun.
     
  8. AdmiralBangerBang

    AdmiralBangerBang Active Member

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    I know for a fact that a lot in the model warships community would be fairly interested in a Open Design category. Open design warship combat is still a sport. F1 is a sport, even though the cars are open design. The America's Cup is a sport, even though the boats are (mainly) open design. For this reason I think that Open Design combat is viable and should be looked into.
     
  9. warspiteIRC

    warspiteIRC RIP

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    Wait 'til you battle some! We have heard it all in the past, including heated bbs, unlimited ammo, secondary armed turrets, etc. I have been in this hobby since 1983!
     
  10. Anvil_x

    Anvil_x Well-Known Member

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    I second Steve and Warspite. I've worked with Kevlar weave a fair amount--it's only strong when you have DOZENS of loose layers or use it in a thick weave with carbon fiber. Standard fiberglass gets a lot of its strength from the hardened epoxy, and if you want to "strengthen" something with Kevlar you're going to have to replace that one or two sheets of fabric with at least twelve sheets of kevlar, which will be an utter pain to deal with even before throwing on the Epoxy. On top of that, Kevlar loses its strength after about two years. That's why I had to turn in my IBA twice while I was in the service-- the chicken plates were worn out.

    That, and Kevlar NEEDS to be free in order to work on impacts in the first place. the bullet-stopping magic happens when free-floating kevlar sheets move and bunch around the bullet, robbing it of velocity and kinetic energy. All of this "Bro, it has kevlar weave in it, so it's stronger" stuff is malarkey. You're just telling me that there's a plastic fabric in there that will go to crap if exposed to high temperatures or out in the sun for too long.

    Carbon is another thing that sucks in an MWC application. that stuff stands up to a lot, but point-impacts will shatter carbon fiber. This hobby is almost 100% point-impact stress. Carbon fiber's strength is more applicable toward something like a bicycle frame, or aerospace components, and even then the parts wear out after a few years.

    The reason that Fiberglass is almost perfect for the hobby is that it can flex a lot more than carbon ever could. hit it with a BB, and it'll deform for about 1/100th of a second before bouncing back to form. Carbon would just shatter if you shot it, and kevlar is just silly in this application.

    I've built FB and wood so far. Wood costs a ton, and the man-hours are far higher, but I absolutely LOVE the results. Like any other hobby, this is about fun and the experience. Get on the water with a run-of-the-mill used boat or whatnot, and see how much fun it is to work within the current structure. the goal isn't to have an arms race and utterly slaughter the other boats with newfangled tomfoolery. If you want to do that, along with open source stuff, then get into the hobby, and after a few years, convince the guys in your local club to start throwing cash into the woodchipper on their own open-source boats. My Texas is already going to cost around $1200 bucks, so building a second fancy boat is not high on my list of things to do with my Forester's salary, and I'm probably not the only guy on here who isn't a retired millionaire.
     
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  11. Beaver

    Beaver 2020 Rookie of the Year Admiral (Supporter)

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    Well said, bro!
     
  12. GregMcFadden

    GregMcFadden Facilitator RCWC Staff

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    Having built a few wood hulls with all manner of reinforcement, inclusive of carbon and aramid fiber, I will say the following. Carbon is great for stiffening the hull if weight is a concern, I typically use a strip of 2 or 4 inch wide cloth on the bottom of the hull but never where there is an impact risk. Aramid is also a bit stiffer per pound than glass but is a real pain to cut and trim. I don't use it anymore for that reason. Anywhere I expect impacts, I generally rely on glass over wood or foam as it is plenty resilliant and easy to repair.