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1/144 Nautilus Typhoon PETG

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  • 1/144 Nautilus Typhoon PETG

    I'm way overdue posting about my first build, especially since I started planning this in the 1970's, but I wanted to get some mileage under my belt first. So I finally present the ROTC - Ridiculously Overcomplicated Typhoon Construction.

    My Background
    I've wanted to build an RC sub ever since I saw a PVC and fibreglass Charlie class in Model Boats magazine. My grandfather was a radio technician in WW2 and built his own RC system in the 50's. My father started building RC boats shortly after, and I grew up in his workshop, but never got around to building a boat before now. I looked at the Engel Typhoon a number of times, but the cost was too high. However the 3D files from Bob, combined with limited time left for my father to see me finally build something meant it was finally time to start. But after all this time and planning, I wasn't going to rush.

    The smart thing would have been to follow Bob's advice and start simple. But my plan was to do it once and do it right (even if doing it once meant doing each step over and over..)

    I spent three of my six high school years at a technical school covering welding, casting aluminium, sheet metal work, lathes, milling, drafting, electronics etc. As my father was an architect I got early access to CAD software. Eventually I studied computer engineering, and many years later I am now head of engineering at a production plant that makes a wide range of products. I've had a range of hobbies from programming games to building houses and building/racing cars.

    What I am loving about this build is it's exercising a vast range of my technical skills, and building new skills. I love hitting a problem and then trialling solutions. I'm not counting the hours nor revisions- that's for the office.

    The plan
    The 3D Typhoon printed in PETG, with a Nautilus V2 cylinder, with the addition of bow plane hatches, twin sets of scopes, bow thrusters, and sequential opening missile hatches. Fortunately Bob talked me out of the thrusters early, because although I had assumed the Typhoon would have room to spare, once the cylinder went in there was no space for a thruster.

    The remaining mods are a big threat to the centre of gravity, but the fall back plan is to have a static display top hull with the bells and whistles, and a simpler version in water. It's too early to tell if I need to fall back.

    Hull modifications
    I found one of the lower hull files had the side rails detached. I imported this into Tinkercad and added internal blocks. While this was a quick fix, Tinkercad loses resolution, so this piece needed more filling. A fully licensed version of Fusion would be better as it has mesh to solid conversion. When you first install Fusion now you get full functionality for a while, but my aging PC couldn't handle the calculations for so many polygons on a curved hull.

    A crack appeared between two lower hull sections, so I fibreglass reinforced the lower hull. The thin section between missile hatches on the top hull is reinforced with brass.

    My inexperience shone through when my prop shafts finally went in and were slightly misaligned compared to what I had intended. I had created a jig when drilling for the bushings, but this wasn't good enough. I've carefully aligned the shafts now to avoid binding, using a custom 3D printed adjustable mount. I would love to know how others ensure shaft alignment.

    While working on th​e stern, I took my eyes off the bow end and found I had left insufficient room for a simple linkage to the bow planes. I also had to account for my missile hatch and bow hatch mechanisms. Once again the 3D printer came to the rescue and I designed a set of brackets (imagine a Z mating up to an inverted T) to set back and hold the magnetic links.

    Missile hatches
    A glutton for punishment, I wanted a mechanism that opened the hatches in a staggered fashion. I also wanted the tops of the missiles visible, despite limited room above the cylinder below. I went through multiple designs and trial and error, but have settled on a sliding cam, with worm drive, waterproof geared motor, and microswitches for each bank of hatches. Some parts are still on a slow boat from China, but here's hoping this works (and the waterproofing holds).

    Bow hatches
    I could write pages on the development of this mechanism but will try and be brief. I needed an adjustable, robust mechanism, and went through countless designs. It has a 3D printed rack and pinion to deploy the planes. The hatches only just clear the pitching mechanism and retracted planes. The system assembles like a 3D puzzle. Adjusting in situ was a nightmare, until I printed a translucent jig. Hopefully I can then transfer the adjusted mechanism directly to the top hull. A waterproof servo mounted low in the nose operates the hatches.

    Twin scope mechanism
    Another waterproof geared motor, worm drive and microswitches lifts the attack scopes when driven forward, and the Nav scopes going backwards (scopes down is between these two positions). A clutching mechanism engages/releases a pin on each set of scopes scissor lift. A 3D printed spring is hidden inside. The mechanism is mounted to a removable bracket.

    The other significant mod that happened along the way was the change to the top of the sail design. I realised the files had a flat top, and I wanted something closer to the real design. LEDs for the Nav, front and warning light will operate in different modes, depending on the scope status.

    Rather than the typical wooden cradle I decided to make a combined display, build and carry case. The top part attaches to the cradle and provides a sub shield. I am worried about heat (I'm in Australia) and the PETG. Various printed parts have Jones & Son & Son imprinted on them, as a nod to my father and grandfather.

    A 26Mhz 10 channel Futaba system controls the cylinder. An Arduino replaces the originally planned bow plane interlock, in order to add an interlock for the bow plane hatch. Another Arduino controls the scopes and missile hatches.

    What's next
    The hull is ready for filling and painting. The bow hatch mechanism is ready to install and then to finish the linkages. A new V3 end cap is waiting for servos to be moved from the prior design (there wasn't enough space for the wiring on that one). Ceramic bearings are on their way before I finish the missile hatch mechanism.
    The actual scopes need building, aligning and attaching to the scissor lifts. Then trimming in the pool, before actually looking for a place I can run her, as our local RC club runs on a brown, weedy lake!

    Future plans might include a CR-30 printer. I would love to print a hull piece in a single print! Perhaps a scratch built Tintin shark submarine for the next build.

    Thanks and regards,
    Colin Denman-Jones.​
    Last edited by FindingNemo; 03-16-2023, 10:34 PM.

  • #2
    A real plate-full for a first boat.

    Who is John Galt?


    • #3
      an awesome project you got going there. WIshing you the best of luck.
      Would it be possible to get a scan copy of that vintage magazine article you posted. Thanks

      Make it simple, make strong, make it work!


      • #4
        Colin, What you have accomplished is what most of us could only dream about! Good on ya Mate!


        • #5
          You have stunned me with what you have accomplished. Well done.
          If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.


          • #6
            Congratulations on your progress!!! Awesome stuff, Colin.


            • #7
              Like the coffee table size carry frame.
              Everything else is Mucho awesome.