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Metal Sutcliffe Nautilus Rebuild

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  • Metal Sutcliffe Nautilus Rebuild

    The Sutcliffe Nautilus subs are easy to come by, especially in not running condition. They can be rather expensive if in good running condition. I picked up a few non-runners for some fun modifications and do my own interpretation of the Jules Verne Nautilus based on the Sutcliffe model.

    A drawing was made from construction sketches. I chose the blue model with grey over spray as the boat that will be converted. It's not really a Nautilus version, but has a gun emplacement and makes a great candidate. The green one has the Nautilus finish offered by Sutcliffe and is in relatively good condition, however, the windup mechanism is seized up, among some other problems. Too nice to cut up.

    Power for this model will be either a windup, if one can be found or battery and motor...still up in the air.

    Joe
    Attached Files

  • #2
    After un-soldering the model into two halves, we find the inside to be missing the clockwork mechanism and a bit rough with corrosion. Still, not as bad as it could be. After some careful sand blasting, the model reveals some pitting and some small rust-thru's, but nothing major. Hull is very straight, which is most important.

    First thing, get the hard part out of the way. The brass deck starts with a paper model fitted to the hull and that gets transfered to cardboard. Corrections are made to the cardboard deck until it is a close fit. The more time spent here, the easier it is to fit the brass deck later. Final corrections can be made to the brass deck, but these changes are best made small.

    Limber holes and railing positions are worked out with a felt pen, until something looks right.

    Joe
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      I love watching a Craftsman at work. What type and grit of sand-blasting material did you use? Let's see your shop and the tools unique to your work! What the alloy of this thing?

      Now!

      David,
      "... well, that takes care of Jorgenson's theory!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, a clean workbench is no good, at least it doesn't stay that way long. Standard drill press and Taig lathe, which is worth every penny. I like my new blue handled Channel lock long nose pliers recently acquired....I'll include shots of some of the tools I'm using for this project.

        I'll start with a bit of backtracking with a shot of the drawing materials. All standard and so are the techniques. Since the drawing has to be modified many times during the build, I like Strathmore Series 400 SMOOTH surface (it comes in several surface finishes) as it allows many erasings without the paper deteriorating. It is also heavy enough to make templates and actual study models.

        I have a miniature sandblaster but this job went to my neighborhood shop. Try walking into a large shop with two tiny shells...they're used to my special projects and it breaks up their day...it may take a few days waiting before they fire up their compressor with the right grit needed for your job (they slip my stuff in with a 'real' project), but it's worth the wait and much cheaper. I'll do a final sandblasting with a medium cut pumice using my small setup when all work is completed.

        Joe
        Attached Files

        Comment


        • #5
          First photo shows all three steps I use to get to the brass deck. It shows white paper, cereal box (Captain Crunch) cardboard and the cut out brass pieces. One coaming is already being bent to shape.

          I like to cut the brass with my Dremel cutoff wheel....not the fiberglass reinforced wheel that we all love, but the finer 'grit' wheel. It cuts much more acurate, less heat and almost right on the line. It does come apart much easier, so, as always, eye protection is critical with this wheel. I've tried other ways, scroll saw, shears, etc., but they distort the sheet too much. I'm using .020 K&S brass sheet for deck and coamings. I like a little space between each piece. Grouping them closer saves a slim piece of brass, but it's not worth the extra work in causes.

          Deck went on nicely and spurs the project along. Railings are going on next....though there are two rails now, the final version will be a single rail, to keep it in scale, which is 1/200.

          Joe
          Attached Files

          Comment


          • #6
            Your methodology is sound: study a working prototype; identify missing/broken parts needing replacement; paper study; paper model and trial fit; transfer of paper parts to model parts; final assembly. Good, sound by-the-numbers thinking there, Joe.

            What size iron gets the heat needed to all that metal? How do you prep the metal for primer and paint -- or am I getting ahead of the later discussion.

            I'll shut up now and just watch and learn.

            David,
            "... well, that takes care of Jorgenson's theory!"

            Comment


            • #7
              My dad was a communications installer and maintenance man at the central switch offices for both the military and civilian facilities. The soldering iron he brought home when I was a kid was as big as my forearm. It could melt a plastic model or soldier in seconds....it finally burnt out not long ago. The one in the picture is a two speed, 20 and 40 watts, from Radio Shack. It mainly does wire connections. For sheet work, I use the little Lenk torch that is pictured by itself. Other brands are just as good, the more spent here, the better. I think this one was about $25-30. Pennies to operate. Since it is butane, its temperature is limited. But it will do all the soft soldering you can throw at it. And no hoses or heavy, awkward tank.

              If I may add a few solder observations...three age-old rules for solid solder joints:

              1-Bright metal. Whether it's wire, rod or sheet makes no difference, freshly brightened surfaces of the joining pieces can't be stressed enough.

              2-Lots of flux. I use the paste type as it acts like glue, holding the little piece of pre-cut solder right on the spot I'm trying to join.

              3-Lots of heat. The little Lenk does that well and quickly.

              I've included one photo of the Holland deck underside to show another important technique. I spot-solder the deck to the side coaming. It keeps the deck from un-soldering when attaching things later. If it was a continuous solder joint, the heat would just travel down the joint, melting more of the joint than necessary. If spot-soldered, usually just one spot liquefies when doing more work later in that particular area, not enough to let the deck move. I used the same technique on this project. Since the Nautilus is only 7.5" long, I've anticipated some soldering problems, but none have appeared yet.

              One last thing...in the group tool shot you'll see some little alligator clips. They don't have teeth, they have a thin, flat tip on both sides that act as heat sinks when clipped on the workpiece.
              Attached Files
              Last edited by redlite; 01-06-2011, 02:28 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                The angle of the prop shaft needs to be leveled out. Almost all sub toys from most of the makers have this rake, helps the model to dive, I suppose. The change makes a big improvement to the model's profile right away.

                I decided to make the rudder/diveplane wire supports removable instead of soldering them on, like the original. I also used .065 music wire or sometimes called spring-steel, instead of the thinner, softer wire they used. And a four point attachment instead of three. Some brass tubing soldered on the tail act as sockets for the wire supports. Once the wire is bent, corrections are just about impossible. It took three sets to get a set that worked. The first two sets were a bit too big, best to stay with it, and get it right.

                Joe
                Attached Files

                Comment


                • #9
                  How to paint this model hasn't been decided yet. I've been considering a non-conventional method of joining the halves together. By using a modern adhesive, 3M 4200 for example, I can then address the pitting on the inside surface with an epoxy coating. And at the same time, the epoxy coating will solve the rust-thru holes. The heat from soldering the halves together complicates the job, requiring more technical solutions and rules out any plastic coatings. Part of the fun doing these odd projects....

                  The three tail pieces. In one photo I show the working sketches, which are changed each time a new attempt at making the part occurs. If the part works, then you'll have a correct sketch to transfer over to the final drawing. It's the complete opposite when building a model from a kit, you work from a drawing. You have to kind of back your way in with this kind of project.

                  A pair of really worn out scissors are all you need to cut the rudder and stern planes. Of course the sharper, the better, just don't use the 'house' (her) scissors. The material is .005" brass sheet and cuts like heavy paper. You can cut right on the line. Tap flat with smooth face hammer. I wanted to keep a little bit of the flavor of the Sutcliffe design, so the rudder is close and I used the same mounting spots for the rudder support wire.

                  Joe
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The prop was next to be changed. The developmental sketch is shown. On it you can see one of the prop sketches is rough and free form....from that comes the final design, a shark fin shaped paddle that compliments the Nautilus. Again, scissors are the main tool.
                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A net cutter and an anchor chain were added to the bow. The net cutter is a piece of rectangular brass tubing. By grinding with a cutoff wheel, I ended up with a double row of saw tooth mayhem. I was a bit nervous soldering the cutter on the bow, but all came well.

                      The Holland makes a proper backdrop for some finished shots. The exterior is about done, the engine compartment will be next. A fellow SD member has offered a replacement clockwork mechanism for this boat. I'll show installation when the piece arrives. A huge thanks to Ray for this surprise and it will conclude this project the way I had hoped for.

                      Joe
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Hi Joe.
                        Just a quick pic of what I have left moved house acouple of timesthis is all I can find,I will get it to you..

                        Ray
                        Attached Files

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                        • #13
                          Hello Ray

                          That looks great, Ray, will put it to good use.

                          Joe

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