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Project: 1/72 Balao Class USS Bowfin (SS-287)

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  • Project: 1/72 Balao Class USS Bowfin (SS-287)

    Hello All, it was some time that I joined the forum but it is not that nothing happened in the mean time.

    I promised To post my progress, so here it go's.
    I will do a recap to the point where I am now.

    The whole project started after I received the drawings and will be designed in Fusion 360.
    The model itself will be mostly printed in PLA+ and resin.

    I choose for the Bowfin in the November 1944 outfit, so still with the old deckgun on the front deck.
    Simply because I like this outfit, and I have some pictures of this period.
    Another source is the Bowfin museum, however at its current state it has a lot of the late and after war modification.
    So I still need to do a lot of investigation of what is and what is not correct for my model, and no doubt there will be some minor detail mistakes made.
    And in the meantime I had to learn Fusion 360 as well, so some parts toke longer than needed to design, but so far it is huge fun to do and I enjoy this project a lot.

    Anyway, here is the designed 3D model so far.

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    And the other side, the anchor housing is printed seperatly in resin.

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    The first parts that I printed where the fairwater, bridge and all the bells and whistles.

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    Bridge and ventury.

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    Periscope housing

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    And how things start to come together.

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    I desided to make all the piping in messing because it just looks better.

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    I made the deck hatches out of resin with messing springs.

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    I make a sepperate post about the hull, or this will get too long.

  • #2
    Next step is the hull.

    As a side note, everything is still a work in progress, I switch from part to part now and than to keep things interesting.

    All PLA+ parts I give a coat of UV resin from my printer and cure it under a UV lamp.
    It makes the PLA+ much stronger and it fills up the most printing lines, see it as a base coat of filler.
    And personaly I find it sanding much smoother than the PLA+ itself.

    Anyway, I print the hull in parts, my Ender 3 pro is not that big :D

    On all the gleu seams I make a bulkhead, this makes the lining up easyer and gives some more material for the gleu to hold on.

    I printed the bow in two parts, this made the print more doable and gives some room to make the interior more fitting.
    The two parts will be gleued together later.

    Here the first part with the seperate anchor housing.

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    And the bow mockup as it will become later.

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    The anchor housing and the anchor, as you see I first tryed it in PLA+ but I didnt like the result so I printed it in resin.

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    Than I started to print the first hull part, those are long prints.
    The hull parts print time is between the 14 and 18 hour.

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    After cleaning and roughly sanding it gets resin treated and sanded again.

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    And a mockup, to admire my work :D

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    Than printed the two midsections with the bilge keels, and a mockup to check the fit.

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    Printed another section and guess what.....it starts to look like a boat :D

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    Now it became time to make some bulkheads.

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    And the bulkheads for the deck as well, these are seperate so the deck can be removed.

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    And this is how it all should come together.

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    • #3
      Well this is a short recap of the progress so far.

      Now I am working on the deck and plan to print the first part next week.

      I hope this thread is a inspiration for some, or maybe a help.
      Please feel free to ask anything about the project and I am happy to answer.

      And probably somewhere along the line I will have questions as well.

      Comment


      • #4
        Impressive! You did this as your first Fusion 360 model? Very humbling. Look forward to your progress!
        If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.

        Comment


        • #5
          You Fusion work /boat is remarkable. Great project!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you for the kind words, thats a great motivation :)

            Yes this is my first real model in Fusion besides some simple things, and it is a adventure on its own.

            After some Real Life 1.0 stuff, back on the project.

            I have put the bulkheads into the hull sections with gleu and than reenforced with resin.
            After that I treated them with filler and sanded them down to a smooth surface and they are now ready to be put together.
            I have done this per section because this whay they are easyer to handle.

            I printed the first part of the upper deck, it did not came out great but good enough to use.
            The deck planking did not print great and on the after part it is even basicly gone after sanding.

            I was not happy with the planking in general so it is not a big isseu, I was already looking for other way's to make the wooden deck.
            On pictures of the excisting boat I can see that the wooden deck is above the steel so on my model it needs to be redone anyway.

            Here is the first part of the upper hull.

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            Here the upper deck, its clearly that it was not printed right.

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            And the deck after sanding, this will be fixed later.

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            Here the bulkheads after they where gleud in place, I made some seperators from wood so they wont deform when bonding.

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            And fixed on the inside with resin, this makes a very strong bond.

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            The sections after spray filler and sanding.

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            And finaly finished after normal filler and sanding, now ready to be put together.

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            Comment


            • #7
              That is really coming along nicely! Well thought out too!
              If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.

              Comment


              • #8
                Great job on the model, I'm using freecad which is much harder for the good looking stuff. Great for engineering parts though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks all for the kind words.

                  I have tryed Freecad but we had a hard time to become friends.
                  Than I discovered that Fusion 360 has a free download for hobbyists and I found that it works better for me.


                  Last day's I spend time on putting the hull together.
                  First the front and back to parts, gleu, resin filler and sanding.
                  Than those two parts together, rinse and repeat.

                  It was more work to do than to tell about XD

                  But it starts to become a hull and I am very pleased with the result so far.
                  Now I need to clean up my work desk, the takes more space now lol

                  The parts gleud together and treated with resin.

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                  And after filler and sanding.

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                  Than I fixed the two parts together with CA.

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                  Treating with resin.

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                  Than Filler.

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                  And sanding.

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                  And the result so far.

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                  And it slowly becomes a hull, here on its work stand.

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                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How much does this 3D printed hull cost compared to the stock Revell kit (that needs tons of modifications to make it RC)?
                    Make it simple, make strong, make it work!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good question.

                      Not considering the time I put in and the drawings I bought for it.
                      As for the drawings, the postal was more than the drawings and the e-book.

                      Pure in print materials.

                      2 roll's of PLA+ = 56 euro
                      1/2 kg resin = 24 euro

                      So a total of 80 euro in printing materials.

                      I had some miss prints, test prints and experiments, so maybe it can be done with one roll.
                      the hull sections are large but not thick.
                      And 1/2 kg of resin is way too much, but it is the smallest container I could buy and I use it for other things as well.

                      And I dont count the filler, brass etc.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The prices I saw for the Revell kits were around 150-160 euros. So I guess the prices between styrene and 3D printed aren't far off.

                        Advantage is that any modifications needed like hull separation and vent holes are already done during the printing process.
                        Make it simple, make strong, make it work!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes indeed, add some bits and bobs and the printed model would be around the same price.

                          But as you mention, I make my model including all the holes and ready for rc.
                          The cutouts in the bulkheads are made to hold a 7 cm diameter wtc.

                          And I make a specific boat namely the Bowfin.
                          If you buy the Revel kit you basicly have to do with what the manufactorer offers.

                          As I understood from some other people, the Revel kit is a Gato but not a specific boat.
                          So you have to buy or build additional parts to fit a excisting boat.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think I will add welding seams to highten te level of detail and realism.

                            so after some pondering and expirementing I think I found a decent way to do this.

                            When I am tottaly happy with the result and have a bit more time I will post how I did this.

                            The test so far, I think the seams on the left side are better in scale, they are a bit smaller.

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                            And compared to the fairwater.

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                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Progress on the welding seams.

                              The results I have now are pretty decent to my idea, they probably can use some refinements though.

                              As I do now:
                              I first scratch panellines.
                              Than I soak sewing threat in resin and place them in the panel lines.
                              Than harden under a UV lamp.

                              I did experiment with different threat and found some very thin threat to be best on scale.


                              Here the scratched panel lines, I didnt use a ruler.
                              When I look at some pictures, on the actual boat the welding seams are not very regular either.

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                              Here the treat soaking in resin.

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                              And after curing
                              The middle seams are too thick and wooly but the top ones look pretty good.

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                              And after a coat of paint.

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                              Furthermore I fixed the internal structure in the fairwater.

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                              And I found a solution for the deck planking.
                              Evergreen sells sheets of car siding, they have the exact dimentions as my deck planks.

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                              Comment

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