Monday, September 19, 2011

Build a Model

The vast majority of my plans customers seem to be first-timers, and the building process - particularly visualisation - can be quite intimidating. Without any shadow of a doubt there are three primary aids in making a good start: -
  • reading the correct text books (be extremely cautious about internet forums);
  • spend plenty of time studying the plans;
  • build a scale model.
The first two are self-explanatory, and I provide a recommended reading list with my plans, and try to make the plans detailed, supported by a comprehensive set of instructions.

Phoenix III plans - 30 sheets of A3 drawings and 50 pages of illustrated instructions.
Making a scale model is relatively simple if you follow the plans of the full-szed boat. The model doesn't have to be a masterpiece, but should follow exactly the sequence of constrution as specified in the plans.

Sometimes I build an exact replica using scale thickness plywood and scale thickness lumber of the same density as the full-sized boat. This allows me to test trim, stability, flotation and other elements of the design. At other times, I model only a section of the boat to examine things such as panel developments and curvature.

Hull panels for my Three Brothers design cut from 1.5mm Hoop Pine marine plywood to produce a 1/8th scale model.
Scale stitch-and-glue process
Hull panel developments being tested.
Anticipated shape confirmed as being developable
Sometimes people find it difficult to locate scale thickness plywood, but using balsa or other timber can still produce a worthwhile model for shape visualisation, and to help one understand the construction process.

Dan Taylor's model of Phoenix III
Another photo of Dan Taylor's Phoenix III
My good friend Doug Laver is building a model of First Mate just for the fun of it. He intends sailing the boat using radio control, and has replaced the centreboard with a ballasted fin keel to make up for the lack of crew weight out on the gunwale.

Dougs First Mate parts cut at 1/5th scale using plywood
Lots of little clamps in use
Ballast keel inserted in centreboard case from below
First Mate waiting for her lead ballast and her rig
Modelling may appear to be a time-consuming business, but in the long run it usually saves time - and it is fun!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ross, keep up the good work. Just to warn your fans of the pit falls of model making. Back in the early eighties I made a radio controlled model yacht to a Vic Smeed design. Within a couple of years Iwas half way round the world sailing the real thing..............brilliant! Phil Sykes.