Friday, 30 September 2011

Arun Queen in the sunshine/ Insurance

A return trip to Sumner ponds, this time with all the leaks fixed! The laptop battery seems to go on forever but I will buy it a new one that's safer to charge soon. I would just like to add a bench to the top deck for passengers to break up the space. But basically I think she is finished!
Is there anyway I can insure my glider and boats on the same public liability policy? Other wise I will insure the glider but NOT the boats, joining both model aircraft and boat clubs with separate insurance costs too much for the amount I use them so as Horsham Council insist on it I won't be sailing at Southwater or joining the Horsham Dabblers. I believe that the fleet can use the church insurance but when I'm sailing on my own...

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Arun Queen's vIsit to the Southwater Dabblers

I took Arun Queen to sail at the Southwater Dabblers Model boat club, it had a lot of interest and people kept asking me if they could see inside bcz they had never seen a hand drill used as a paddle wheel drive mechanism before!
Here she is showing off her maneuverability.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Steering and stair cases.

I make the stairs from Costa Coffee shop stirrers! Great for decking too. though a little late for this boat. Despite making up a jig to set the position of the treads they still came out a little wonky! I suppose I ought to make some hand rails though Murray cargo vessels didn't bother. Maybe some benches from the afore mentioned stirrers would look nice and add some interest to the top deck.

Also photos of my unconventional steering system!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Arun Queen

The two new photos show a photo from the web of the same type of toy aircraft carrier that the hull came from (I omitted to take one before I started) and the now Arun Queen with her new life belts made from toy car tyres and even a fire bucket! I've since filled in that uneven gap at the base of the wheel house with a skirting strip.
The problem is it all started as a lashed together experiment and now that it works I'm trying to tart it up to make it look like a scale model...well I guess it'll end up somewhere between to two! I have some port holes made the make the super structure look more interesting and I'd really like to add some more detail behind the funnel, maybe add a Murray style vertical towing pole, it makes sense to tow from the middle of the vessel as towing to close to the stern counter acts any rudder action and would prevent it from maneuvering around the bends in the river.
(Link to a photo of a steamer towing a barge)

Monday, 25 July 2011

A very short maiden voyage!

I'm very glad I didn't take my son's advice bcz it had a bad leak behind one of the paddle wheels and would have sunk! That's why it was listing so badly. Is {hopefully) fixed now and other wise every thing went to plan, my unconventional twin rudders work well too! It a shame for the video that the top deck lid wasn't down fully.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

99% there.

There is still detail to be added but I hope to launch it some time this week. Being an Aussie vessel you will notice that the skipper has got a few kegs of the amber nectar on board!
Sorry this blog has been over run by this build, to see the footys scroll down to older entries.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Testing my speed controller.

Testing my built from junk speed controller. That LM338 voltage regulator runs very hot though as it is dissipating too much power, I will try to find a battery closer to the 8 volts or so I actually need rather than the 13 volt one I have at the moment. I guess I could water cool it! But it proves it all works!
From left to right: Direction change micro switch-Servo-Speed potentiometer- Push to break power micro switch -direction change relay.
That hand drill bevel gear drive is a little noisy but that's all part of my boat's old school-low tech charm I guess!

Just added this video!

Friday, 1 July 2011


As you can see I've started to build up the superstructure, to prevent it getting too top heavy it is mainly made from balsa, I have since these photos glued on the splashers and filled in the gap at the top. (and all the gaps where parts don't quite fit!) The battery was nearly flat so quite convenient for a test in the bath, I didn't want full power just a cruising speed and even like this it seemed impressive! The speed regulator board (LM338 chip) has just been tested on my bench and I will try it on the boat's motor tonight, now I need a 12 volt relay for reverse switching and and probably a second micro switch so that the motor is totally disconnected and not draining the battery when in the stop position. The main job left is designing and fitting the twin rudders that sit behind each paddle wheel, this seems far more sensible than one rudder trailing behind in the center where it would have far less influence and be more likely to be damaged.
Btw the doors came from the original aircraft carrier though they weren't doors, kind of louvers of some sort,I turned them round to show the back just bcz i thought they looked like a ships doors, probably more water tight and ocean going than you'd find on a river boat but never mind. I'm also going to use the aircraft lift platform as the bridge's roof as it has a nice planking pattern on it, why not.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Less aircraft carrier and little more like a paddle steamer.

There seems to be a rather large paddle boat appearing on my bench! I Didn't realize it would turn out this big! Ok you still need to use some imagination as nothing is properly attached and my materials are rather unconventional ; Cut down paint pot spashers and decks from an old plastic phone book stand! Better float it again and recheck it's buoyancy! Btw I think I will cut off the last section of bow and fix a wooden block there so I can shape it how I want.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Paddle Steamer Progress

I'm sure Isambard Kingdom Brunel floated a model of the Great Eastern in his bath just to check it's buoyancy...didn't he? The 12 volt electric motor is from a soviet made Lada car and it has been mated to cut down electric screwdriver gearbox (with metal epicyclical/planetary gears no less!) and then through the bevel gears of a hand drill, it has been tested and works beautifully, it needs installing for propper into the boat now so I need to fit wooden bearers into the hull so I can screw down the parts. Btw I'm not sure how much it will end up looking like a Murray river steamer! I've got some ideas of my own i want to try out.

Parts used in the drive train so far;

12 volt car windscreen washer motor (USSR made)
Radio knob for motor to geabox shaft coupling
Half an eletric scredriver gearbox
Electric screwdriver allen key bit
1" long surgical tubing
Nut from a surgical tubing gland that happened to have the same thread as..
A handrill minus the chuck and handles
12" of M6 studding
The wire levers removed from 8 clip board clips (Paddle wheel spokes)
Tin from the rim of a chocolate tin (Paddles)
8mm Nylon tubing.
Various M6 nuts and bolts

Cost so far-- I need to replace my hand drill! Have seen one for £6.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Footy rescue vessel paddle steamer.

We often sail as a group on ponds where a rescue boat isn't on hand and idealy a dingy of some sort but in the event of getting stuck in the reeds/ radio failure or a sail malfuction just a push from a powered model would suffice. Also I've always wanted a paddle "steamer" and this is an excuse to build one!

A Murray River Paddle Steamer.

The idea is to build a simple electric paddle driven boat which apart from being a model in it’s own right had a secondary duty of rounding stranded or wayward Footys and pushing them back on course or back to the bank.
I came across in the bottom shed a discarded toy aircraft carrier whose 24” long hull was just too good to pass by (No matter what my teenage son thought! You can’t use that Dad, it’s a toy!) I looked on the web for a suitable boat to build with it
I stumbled on the Aussie Murray river steamers and love there simple no nonsense design and it should look right at home on our muddy ponds!

So far my parts list consists of; one afore mentioned one long plastic toy aircraft carrier, a Soviet made windscreen washer motor from a Russian car, a battery from a cheap pistol drill, a cut down planetary gearbox from an electric screwdriver and a hand brace!

I’ve cut the hull down to about half it’s height, cutting off all the odd aircraft carrier deck extensions, this leaves a shallow hull that is approximately right for my paddle steamer. A floating hull in half an hour can’t be bad!
The motor looks tough and very well made I’m not sure how it’ll stand up to continuous running though it doesn’t appear to get hot. I’ll put it on a power supply tomorrow to see exactly how much current it is drawing. With the cut down screwdriver gearbox clamped in the jaws of the hand drill’s chuck propels the handle around at about 60 RPM. These gears will turn the power 90 degrees onto the paddle shaft. I’ll keep you updated!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Sails and Rigging etc

I think a techy blog with some close ups is over due, during the build the emphasis was more on our progress rather than any detail and admittedly the hull was pretty much a bog standard balsa box but the sails and rigging were open to improvisation and it all had to be done on a tight budget too!
This was my first real go a sail making, I had a go before on my old yacht Seagull but those sails now look pretty inefficient now but where made before the advent of the internet! The original Papaya 3 plans have a swing rig but I've heard they are a bit tricky to set up and I'll be honest I don't like the look of them even if they are more efficient! I really wanted to avoid sewing too, it might sound sexist but it's true teenage boys aren't known for there needle craft! So I decided to use the nylon from £1 shop umbrellas (and later found a red and white golf umbrella inside out in a bin at the park!) We cut them so an existing seem ran along the luff and left a little bit of that double thickness part sticking out so we could tie onto it a tension it. We super glued strengthening patches on to the Head and clew (and some of the tack) corners so we could attach an eyelet to them. We just hope the leech and foot don't fray too much! The battens were made simply with lines of super glue on one side. The masts, booms and jibs are aluminum tubing, not the lightest but cheap and as I work as a wireman nearly every other fitting was fashioned from various P clips! Time was getting ahead of us so I made up the fittings in the form of kits. Most of the ends of the tubes have super glued P clips on short lengths of nylon (pneumatic) tubing that simply push in and finished off with the head of a plastic rivet to keep it tidy. The swan necks are two different size clips. (Though I notice they could be a bit more freer in light winds - a drop of WD40 on the mast seems to help!)
Larger pneumatic tubing also was used for the sheet feed tube and I made most of the bowsies from short lengths of cable tie, just one for slot adjustment and one for the kicking strap, I didn't want to over complicate things.
So to sum up, I didn't even know how competitive they would be against other footys but they seem to sail well enough and cost us very little just using some ingenuity with the parts I had hanging around.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The race is on!

We had a great time at Goffs Park on Sunday afternoon and we have learned enough to be able to race our yachts rather than just watch them go in random directions! Peter's replacement radio had arrived and he finally got to sail his own boat (432) which seemed to be about the fastest of the lot winning several races. I'm going to have a wee look at how it's trimmed! Shhh ;) In lieu of any buoys to mark out a proper course we would simply push off from the side, sail out to and round a distant floating twig and back again- first one the touch the bank wins! No rules! I have since made a pair of bright red buoys from squash bottles ballasted to float end up with old nuts and bolt and we are all looking forward to our next race meeting! Maybe visit a local club, sorry in advance if we're a bit rowdy.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Big Launch!

We had a great evening at the Hove Lagoon last night, the weather was perfect with sunshine and a nice constant breeze. Seven boats took to the water and the crews quickly realised that there is a lot more than merely steering you boat around with the rudder they are keen to lean about tacking, gybling and reaching. The boats all sailed really well and are easy to manouver though Jame's sprung a small leak which resulted in a dead sail servo also Sam spent too much time heeled over in the choppy end of the pool as salt water got into his reciver and one servo! Somehow the plastic bag I had carefully encased the reviver in had got holed. :( Jake was pretty shocked when I put it under a running tap to wash out the salt when we got home. This morning I brushed some IPA onto both PCBs to help dispel any remaining moisture and both reciver and servo have come back to life! Phew!
Thank you to Les for driving us down there and sorry that your sail design didn't work as hoped.
We are all looking forward to our next trip and start doing some serious racing! Hopefully Peter will have a radio so he can sail his own boat as it had to be returnd under warentee hence he borrowed my fishy boat.

Monday, 25 April 2011

The first boat launch!

We sailed my so Jake's boat today and it seemed to sail very well and was nicely balanced when tacking though because the pond is in a dip the wind direction was very turbulent so hard to teach him how to sail..which isn't helped by the fact that I'm still learning myself! We are launching the others on Wednesday, I'm hoping the wind won't be too strong!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Last boats.

Jakes boat is now compete and I have sorted out the foresail which looks wrong in this picture.
Also Dick Dastardly has been disqualified before he even crosses the start line bcz our club race rules say we are only allowed to race one boat. Drat and double drat!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Meet the Fleet!

Things have finally come together and our next meeting will be at the pond! It's been a big project but well worth it! We hope to organize a regatta so we can invite our church, friends and family along to watch them race very soon! I'll make a video and post it here too!
My son just wants to finish tracing his numbers onto his main sail of his green and red boat and we can rig that up too! Unfortunately the radio for the blue boat has gone back under warranty so I hope a replacement arrives soon!