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  • QuarterMaster
    Originally posted by SteveNeill View Post
    The Prize. A French ship? Just kidding.

    From the Far side of the World.

    Dave will custom build the winner an operational RC Model of Robur's "The Albatross" so you can become "Master of the World".
    Vincent Price not included, some assembly required.

    Click image for larger version

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  • Ken_NJ
    Thanks David for the regatta synopses. Always nice to meet up with everyone. Feels like seeing long time friends every time we meet. Would be nice to see everyone more than once a year.

    Have a blast with the new 'kit'!

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  • He Who Shall Not Be Named
    new toy!!!!!!

    Just arrive about twenty-minutes ago. The Nautilus Drydocks FLYING SUBMARINE conversion kit!

    Like I don't have enough unfinished projects on my shop tables and hanging off the wall?!....

    Damn you, Nautilus Drydocks!

    Already my mind is in over-drive thinking about the addition of pump-diverters to enhance yaw rate; differential nozzle control to achieve banking turns (no more healing out of the turn), and other Bizarro stuff too horrible to announce in a public forum.

    To be continued...

    Squealing with Glee like a little girl on a Pony​

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  • He Who Shall Not Be Named
    Originally posted by RCSubGuy View Post
    Epic post, Dave!

    Quick correction regarding SUBFEST. It takes place 3rd weekend of September, this year is 14-17th. Going to be a great turnout this year!
    Damn! Good catch, Bob. September, September, the gun-powder....

    Not June as I miss-stated in the article. I'm such an ass when it comes to names and dates.

    Idiot in Residence

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  • RCSubGuy
    Epic post, Dave!

    Quick correction regarding SUBFEST. It takes place 3rd weekend of September, this year is 14-17th. Going to be a great turnout this year!

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  • SteveNeill
    The Prize. A French ship? Just kidding.

    From the Far side of the World.

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  • He Who Shall Not Be Named
    Originally posted by SteveNeill View Post
    Thanks David. A lot of hard work went into this. "At my age". I sure hear you there. But we keep going becuase we need to.
    Anything worth doing, is worth doing well!

    (Last man standing gets the prize!)

    Old ****

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  • SteveNeill
    Thanks David. A lot of hard work went into this. "At my age". I sure hear you there. But we keep going becuase we need to.

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  • trout
    Well written overview of events and care of ones sub. Thank you!

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  • He Who Shall Not Be Named

    After years of work, Frank Salerno got his big SEAVIEW into the water for some surface running. What a sight! Beautiful. Originally built by Ray Mason. After Frank took custody of the model he lengthened the hull, gutted the interior and turned the insides into a Plumbers nightmare... and I mean that in the nicest sense; the thing now has bells-and-whistles on top of bells-and-whistles. For example, for servicing the interior the superstructure is lifted clear of the hull through two internal pneumatic jacks. Well, that alone was enough for me!... Frank is definitely Certifiable.

    North lake has a sandy bottom, and that sand extends well onto the surrounding property. That sand presents a hazard should a wet-hull type model submarine ground as the sand will get inside and could tear up pushrod and shaft bearings as well as get into the tight spaces between the leading edge of control surfaces and trailing edge of supporting stabilizers, effectively rendering them inoperable.

    Frank worked as an industrial model-maker at the Grumman company, and his expertise gained from that experience is showcased in everything he puts together. He's a practical mechanic if I ever met one.


    The surface runs revealed poor propulsion efficiency. I suggested to Frank to not rely solely on the scale 'shark gill' intakes, and to open up huge auxiliary inlets into the bottoms of the propulsion tubes, ahead of the gills. We'll see if that helps come next years SUBEX.

    Sunday was clear and turned into a perfect day.

    Fred Freketic. Long time r/c submarine nut, customer, and friend. Here operating his 1/72 THRESHER. This guy is a first-class photographer, both video and still. When not driving toy submarines he can be found airborne in a WW-2 era bomber taking fantastic video. If you're into that sort of thing you likely saw some of Fred's work on YouTube and other outlets.

    When it comes to documenting the activity, Fred does not fool around. Here is a rather exotic looking camera mount supporting no less than three go-pro type video cameras. The boat passing by is Ken's MARLIN.

    North Lake is basically a fresh water holding pond that has been turned into a base swimming hole for members of the military through the addition of a Chlorine pump-house with a filtration system; bathroom and changing facilities; lawn furniture; and atop a sizable bluff, a long roofed pavilion to provide shade or shelter, depending on the weather; and within the pavilion, pick-nick tables, overhead lighting, and electrical outlets.

    But, I want to emphasize that this photo shows more than just a body of water, it paints for us what I hope will be the future: A father and wife with their children discovering this hobby – locals who heard about the event and drove over to see what it was all about.

    Kevin has given Dad the transmitter and in only a few moments of indoctrination the man is running the boat submerged and obviously enjoying the experience.

    Yes! We got our hook into this one.

    Here, Brian Wright has handed off his transmitter to an interested sailor. They are atop the bluff overlooking the lake. A great vantage point from which to drive r/c watercraft.

    To the future belongs the young and young of heart. And may that future contain people who still creatively use their hands and minds.

    (If we can only get the corrosive phones and 'game-boys' out of their hands and brains).

    Our drive back to Virginia was uneventful and almost pleasant. Dropping Kevin off at his digs I continued south another fifty-miles, pulled up my drive and proceeded to stage the boxed models through the shop and into the dining area. Thus began the long, and somewhat tedious post-mission tasks.

    The models were unboxed and the WTC's pulled and set aside on one of the shop benches. The model hulls had collected North Lake sand through their bottom flood-drain holes, and dried duck poop and water-spots clashed with my paint and weathering. I addressed the hulls first.

    Dunking a hull into the outside 'test-tank' filled it with water. Before all the water could drain back out I tipped and rocked the hull back in forth. This worked to dislodge internal sand and muck which drained back into the test tank. About three cycles and the interior was clean enough.

    Each hull got the once-over with a soapy water filled soft paint-brush. I took care to use a mild detergent so as not to bleach out the paint, clear coat or any touch-up acrylic paint applied to hid collision and handling dings collected over the years.

    The soapy scrub was followed by a thorough rinsing with the garden hose. At which point the hull was marched back into the shop and toweled down. From there it went back into the dining room where it was left to dry overnight.

    The water tight cylinders get the most post-mission attention as they are the heart, brains, and brawn of an r/c model submarine. All of my submarines are of the 'wet hull' type, i.e., the hull proper is not a watertight structure. In fact the hull serves only as an attractive streamlined vessel containing the WTC and supporting the control surfaces and propulsor. The WTC is divided into three spaces by four bulkheads. The forward dry space contains the battery, the center compartment functions as a ballasts tank, and the after dry compartment houses the control and propulsion devices.

    As the hulls dried out in the dining room I started my inspection and testing of the WTC's by turning each on and driving its functions with the appropriate transmitter. Any servo chatter or out of specifications response was noted and addressed.

    Though I encountered no obvious water intrusion into any of the WTC, is remained a MANDITORY requirement to stow each WTC with the forward and after bulkheads unseated to insure that any moisture in the form of hard to detect condensation will have the opportunity to evaporate away during storage.

    Here I'm oiling up the inboard side of the servo pushrod seals as well as the propulsor shaft with silicon oil.

    Long ago I switched to Lithium-polymer batteries for propulsion and hotel services aboard the WTC's. The exceptionally high power density (more Amperes per unit of weight) of these sometimes temperamental chemical hand-grenades makes them a near perfect source of energy within the tight confines of an r/c model submarine.

    Here I'm checking end-of-mission voltages, and charging the batteries after my arrival back home from the Groton SUBEX 23 event. Once they're all banged up they are placed in safe storage... OUSIDE OF MY HOUSE!!!!

    The charged batteries are placed into a water-proof ammo-box and placed outside. Note the white duct tape. I've pulled it away to reveal a hole I punched into the side of the ammo box. That hole and tape is a 'blow-out plug' used to vent the box if a battery fire erupts (and these little ****ers WILL burst into flames sometimes!), the holes function is to vent the box, preventing it from exploding do to a sudden internal over-pressure should things get nasty within. It won't save the batteries, and the box will become a molten pool of goo, but it will serve to keep shrapnel out of my neighbors fanny and prevent my house from burning down.

    Ah... chemistry! Got to love it.

    And this, boy's and girl's, is how you insure safe storage of Lithium-polymer batteries: outside the house, on a cement slab. In watertight, explosion proof boxes. Well distanced from the house.

    Post-missions completed, each hull is placed into its shipping-stowage box, awaiting the next regatta.

    If done right, r/c model submarining is not a 'casual' activity. It requires planning, adherence to established procedures, and your full, undivided attention. The reward for all this? A fun, successful day at the lake or pool.

    Works for me.

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  • He Who Shall Not Be Named

    At my age I've trimmed down the number of major model boat regattas I attend. It's now down to three per year: The SUBEX event, chronicled in some detail here, is an all submarine dedicated weekend of submarine running, mixed in with a smattering of surface craft (AKA, targets), held at the Groton submarine base, in Groton Connecticut.

    Ken Druze put together an excellent video of a past SUBEX event:

    Here's a quick look at the other two regattas I attend:

    SubFest A three-day all submarine regatta held in July (but open to those wishing to risk surface craft in such shark infested waters). Held at the Red Clay Resort swimming basin in Cohutta, Georgia.

    The below shot, taken last year, is of my 1/60 ALBACORE model slinking around in the crystal clear swimming pool. This clearly illustrates the visibility of the water at this site. Unrestricted visibility all the way from the shallows to the deep end. Exceptional!

    SubFest, hosted by The Nautilus Drydocks, organized and helmed by the world famous r/c submariner, Bob Martin. SubFest features fun-runs as well as structured events such as a course run; speed run; and judging and awards for craftsmanship, conning skills, and innovation. And for those who are nigh-owls, two nights of fun-runs.

    The resort has all the facilities you need: camp-ground, grill, bathrooms, pavilions outfitted with broad work-tables where the models are staged and worked on as required, and plenty of parking only feet from the tables.

    A beautiful place to run boats! For me, it's well worth the twelve-hour drive!

    Located in the north-west portion of Georgia the SubFest regatta is ideal for those driving in from the east and mid-west. I've made two of these events and simply must attend these functions in the future.

    Here's an informative video of the 2022 SubFest event:

    1/96 Fleet-Run A weekend model ship and submarine regatta open only to models of 1/96 or 1/100 scale. Electric or sail only. No gas, nitro, or hydro racers. Sponsored by the N.C. Model Ship Builders club, the event is held at City Lake, Rocky Mount, NC. A feature of this event is the never ending parade of like-scale warships, often conducting coordinated fleet maneuvers – a most impressive sight!

    It's a bring-your-own table sort of affair, and personal tents are also a good idea if you can't find a tree shaded spot near the waters edge. Parking is plentiful and immediately adjacent to the waters edge.

    Geographically the event is pretty much an east-coast sort of affair, and I like it as the event is only a two-hour drive from my home in Virginia Beach. As I'm usually the only guy running submarines at this event I have a free hand to lone-wolf it and in so doing making life miserable for the other Captain's trying to maintain fleet order as a pesky periscope tears in and out of a battle-groups carefully rehearsed formation. To most of them its all about the majesty of coordinated turns and other regimented group maneuvers. To sneaky guys like me... it's a turkey shoot!

    City Lake is very well maintained and a paved walkway running the circumference of the lake permits easy and enjoyable circumnavigation of the lake.

    Here's some fleet-run video:

    SUBEX 23 The first r/c submarine regatta of the season for me.

    Attendance was preceded by many hours of preparation – getting five submarine models checked out, repaired, adjusted, and organizing a complete field kit. SUBEX is a two-day all submarine regatta (but surface craft do participate, providing target services) held at the submarine base, Groton Connecticut.

    A long tradition to this annual r/c submarine regatta. It all started back in the early 90's, the first full fledged annual r/c submarine regattas in America – a tradition that came to a grinding halt after the 9-11 terror attacks. However two dedicated guys, Ray Mason and Joe Oliver, working with the base authorities, have re-established the regatta and we're back running our submarines at North Lake. Just like old times, but with far fewer participants. But the numbers grow with each new year.

    Preparation is everything in this game of r/c model submarining. Only r/c helicopters – because of their complexity – demand this kind of attention from the participant. Real helicopters have close to a 1:4 fly/maintenance ratio!

    I worked it out once: on average for each hour of in-water operation a model submarine will undergo two-hours of post and pre-mission checks.

    To operate consistently, long-term, the r/c submarine must undergo stringent checks and procedures: pre-mission – getting the hull and WTC out of storage, integrating them, and get the system into working order; mission – those tasks at the lake or pool required to keep the submarine in working order; and post-mission – those tasks performed when the model is back home where the problems encountered at the lake are addressed, after which the hull and WTC are put into a state of preservation and stowed in a safe place.

    Post-mission operations are personified by this shot. Here I'm replacing a bum servo within my 1/60 ALBACORE WTC/SubDriver – a problem that occurred during a previous run, recorded on paper so I wouldn't forget, and that task added to the other chores performed back home during the post-mission phase. Note the 'to do' list lower-right.

    Under the North Lake pavilion you see my work station, adjacent the base golf course. Tools and consumable at hand and ready for use. Mission checks and operations quickly become a pain if you have to dig to the bottom of a tool chest to get the things you need, it's best to have your gear set up and ready for surgery if (and when) the time comes for on-site adjustment or repair. A place for everything, and everything in its place!

    (Today I have about twenty-five fully operational r/c model submarines. Different subjects, different scales, and various sizes. The smaller models are reserved for restricted bodies of water, such as pools and medium sized ponds. The larger models are for lakes, large ponds, and coves).

    For the Groton run this year I selected two of the longer 1/96 boats, the flight-2 LA class, and the SEAWOLF; the 1/72 SKIPJACK and 1/72 ALFA (not pictured here); and the trusty 1/60 phase-2 ALBACORE. All big enough to have 'presence' on and under the water, but not big enough to hurt this old mans back.

    At some events table space is at a premium (not so at the Groton events – today number of participants is much smaller than in the good old days before 9-11), so I built this 'stacked' boat display stand to hold and display the boats not in immediate service. Velcro straps holds each model securely upon the stand.

    I have an identical stand, sized to hold smaller diameter boats.

    To the left you see an almost completed Disney NAUTILUS, still in primer gray. Assembled from a kit Ray Mason produced over thirty year ago by David Jacobs 'Jake' is a big-time r/c model tank buff and should be done with his NAUTILUS and have it running in time for the big SubFest regatta coming up this July.

    In my capacity as 'teacher' I've started to bring along binders to these events containing pictures of our work over the decades. Rich in illustrations dealing with scratch-building, vacuforming, acid-etching, glass lay-up, painting, master making, tool making, masking, weathering, WTC's, etc.

    The only way we're going to keep this hobby of ours alive is to pass on our 'institutional knowledge' to the youngsters. Publish or perish, so the saying goes among the learned.

    There's a reason I dominate r/c submarine regattas here in the States: I come prepared. I don't come to play. I come to kick ass and take names.

    I arrive with the tools and consumables to not only adjust, but to make significantly involved repairs, on site, if required. R/c model submarines belong on/under the water, not stuck sitting on a boat-stand under a pavilion roof. SUBEX 23 was typical: Out of some 25 participants, a quarter of them managed to get their model r/c submarine to work credibly underwater this year.
    Clearly, a lot of guys are not doing enough maintenance at home.

    ******!... don't bring broken toys to a toy show!

    My partner in crime, Kevin Rimrodt. Here he's playing... err... studiously and exhibiting stunning professionalism, trimming out my 1/96 flight-3 LA class model. I brought five boats to Groton this year... five WORKING boats!

    The two of us shared the driving chores up from Virginia. In spite of working in a three-hour buffer between the time we planned to arrive and the traditional 5PM meeting at the Groton Townhouse restaurant, Connecticut rush-hour traffic stepped in and slowed us to the point where we arrived at the eatery with only ten-minutes to spare! I simply hate that span of I-95 between New York and New London!

    Saturday, the first day of the two-day event, was raining cats and dogs. However, Kevin … looking a lot like Gabby Hayes here... and I did get in some check-out drive-time between rain squalls!

    However, the Saturday showers meant little to most of the attendees as the majority of them had signed onto a tour aboard a VIRGINIA class submarine tied up at the waterfront. (Meanwhile, with tables left unattended, Kevin and I got to rummaging through unattended coolers and lunch pails).

    One of the two spark-plugs of SUBEX events – the guys who coordinate with the base for the use of the North Lake – is Joe Oliver. Here, with his wife, 'Jimmie'. We are all indebted to Joe and Ray Mason for all the hours of work required to make things run smoothly at this very security strict regatta site.

    That neat looking hydrofoil has been a long-term project of Joe's and he's finally just about got it dialed in. Based on a 32nd Parallel kit, this speed-demon has been decked out as some kind of Nazi marine vunderveapon. Nice.

    The other 'wheel' that makes the SUBEX events reality is Ray Mason. This guy was there at the beginning of the SubCommittee sponsored North Lake regattas back in the early 90's. He and Joe put the ball in play again at the base after the 9-11 shut-down. The reason we all now have access to the submarine base North Lake is because of the hard (and sometimes frustrating) work of Joe Oliver and Ray Mason.

    Ray is a fantastic model-builder. SEAVIEW, SWORD, the Disney NAUTILUS, are all scratch-built models created by him – and he did that work decades ago.

    Ray's the first guy in America to operate a credible looking and handling SEAVIEW – in fact that same model, now in the capable hands of Frank Salerno has undergone an extensive expansion and was on-site this year and actually made it into the water for its initial post-yard period sea trials.

    And know that most the pictures here were taken by Ray and used with his kind permission.

    Frank Ricucci standing behind some of his outstanding model work. From the left is a gray German E-Boat of rather large scale; next is a 1/24 Anfora kit of the Spanish steam-powered ICTINEO ll; and to the right is what appears to be a 1/6 scale Cottage Industry Models, TURTLE. Frank's not only a skilled kit assembler, he's also one heck of a practical engineer. His work is so crisp!

    Ask Frank how one finger-checks a stamping machine (but do work out a quick escape plan before asking that question).

    Frank fashioned the Diver suits from rubber gloves. Simply perfect!

    (if I was the guy driving I would beforehand made sure the guy in back knew I owed him money... look at his eyes!)

    Ken Druze and his first-mate, Carol, showing off his very well trimmed out and running Moebius Models 1/72 SKIPJACK. Ken also brought along his SubTech 1/35 MARLIN, another well running model submarine that kept everyone watching entertained Sunday.

    An exceptional scratch-builder, Ken's favored subjects being party/charter boats, subjects he lavishes with obvious and hidden detailing that screams 'museum quality' to even the most casual observer. However, it seems that whenever this guy and me have a boat in the water at the same time things can't help but turn into a knife-fight! We do swap paint on occasion.

    Jerry Pavano's long suffering Disney NAUTILUS. He's been bringing this beast to just about every North Lake event I can remember. Finally!... he's got the thing working in surface mode. I got him to promise that next year the boat will actually operate submerged. The guy just won't quiet.

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  • goshawk823
    That is some really neat work. Wow.

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  • He Who Shall Not Be Named

    That strange looking rotating spiral thingamabob tucked within an open section of the forward, lower keel of Nemo's NAUTILUS. Ever wonder what it's function was? 'Jake, when he first saw the movie at age 12 thought the thingamabob was some sort of auxiliary propulsion device.

    Me? When I was a kid, and saw the movie with my parents, thought it was some kind of rock/coral crusher.

    The thing is in fact an 'Archimedes Screw' and such things can either be a propulsive device – a propeller, imparting motion to a fluid to thrust its way through that fluid. Or, it can be a force generator – a turbine, set in motion to do work by a fluid running through it.

    In fact, what we youngsters failed to grasp, was that the little Archimedes screw beneath nautilus was a turbine, its job to produce a torque who's force was proportionate to the speed of the submarine through the water; a speedometer. Analogous to today's, speed-log used by modern ships and submarines to accurately measure the speed of the vessel through water.

    Decades ago, Ray Mason produced beautiful GRP and resin kits of the Disney NAUTILUS. I got one of them. But after years of procrastination, I gave it to my buddy, David 'Jake' Jacobson, a fellow retired Torpedoman's Mate. However, nearing completion of the kits assembly found that either I or he had lost the kits Archimedes screw part. So, needing one to complete the model, Jake came to me for some help to scratch build a replacement part.

    When it comes to kit assembly or scratch-building Jake is no slouch. However, creation of this tightly wound helical 'cork-screw' baffled him. So, he came over and we spent the better part of a day making one. I put tank-boy (he's a mover-shaker in the combat r/c tank world) to work producing the missing part. Notice his eager enthusiasm!... the idiot thought I was going to do all the work.

    We used the lathe chuck and tail-stock only to hold the work steady as we used a round file to cute the channels between each 'blade' of the helical screw. The machine was NEVER turned on. By rotating the chuck by hand this 'rotary holding jig' permitted us to file away one portion, rotate the work as required, and continue with the filing till the job was completed.

    The half-way completed turbine seen below. Beneath the screw, at either end are the kit provided bearing foundations which suspend the screw within the trapezoidal opening within the NAUTILUS forward keel.

    Jake, like me, makes it a shop practice to keep lists and notes of what has to be done, problems encountered, and consumables that have to be gathered to see the project through. You see some of his scratchings to the left.

    Model building, particularly scale model building, is an exacting, structured activity, supported by the Craftsman's ability to engage in problem solving and mastery of techniques of manufacture.

    Sitting atop a photograph -- taken by the kit producer, Ray Mason, of the actual 'hero' effects miniature during its display at one of the Disneyland parks way back in the day – is the half-way completed helical screw piece Jake and I made to replace the missing kit part.

    I can't help but note what an impractical arrangement this is – putting this cork-screw turbine behind all those flow restricting items: the keel itself, and the forward and after bearing foundation.

    Obviously, to be a practical spinning item, the turbine was linked to a gear reduced motor within the eleven-foot long miniature to give the illusion of a working helical speed log. You can make out the drive coupler to the left, missing is the connecting shaft between turbine and hull. The detail the Disney model-builders invested on this thing is simply amazing!

    The half-completed Archimedes screw sits atop the picture of the hero miniature NAUTILUS.

    Note that the process of manufacture starts with a spiral-wrapping of a narrow piece of masking tape around a turned RenShape cylinder. The diameter of the cylinder equates to the diameter of the eventual screw. The spacing between the screws 'blades' represents the pitch of the screw. A hole down its center into which a length of brass tube was CA'ed in place. To further strengthen the structure against the forces that would be applied during screw cutting, a temporary length of steel rod was inserted in the hollow brass tube. The brass-steel core was secured at one end into a four-jaw chuck, the other end supported by the lathes tail-stock chuck – this permitted easy rotation BY HAND of the work as the material between the blades was ground away with a round-file.

    With the initial cut completed the spiral-wound length of narrow masking tape was removed – revealing a rather wide edge of the helical 'blades'.

    Blackening the tips of the 'blades' with a Sharpie pen guided Jake as he cut one side of the helix with the round file to bring the entire screw to a sharp edged configuration. By this point Jake was getting pretty good at this, so the work went surprisingly quick. The boys a quick study!

    Forty-pound-per-cubic-foot RenShape is pretty stout stuff, but when cut to such thin section – particularly at the tip of the 'blades' – the stuff has little resistance to shear forces. So, after getting the helix to shape, Jake slathered on thin formula CA, quickly wiping the excess off with paper towels as he went. The adhesive quickly filled the microscopic open cells of the medium and greatly strengthened the entire structure. The fixtures ability to rotate BY HAND permitted even distribution and wiping of the work which negated any possibility of CA pooling where we didn't want it.

    The cured CA not only permeated the cell structure of the substrate, it also left a nice – though bumpy – glaze on the parts surface. The rough surface was smoothed out using 'twists' of varying grades of sandpaper. Useful tools when working fillets and semi-round surfaces like that of this Archimedes screw.

    Good old air-dry Nitro-Stan touch-up putty was brushed on and later sanded smooth.

    The completed Archimedes screw. After removing it from the lathe/holding fixture I left it to Jake the job of cutting the screw to correct length and mounting it within the open well of the NAUTILUS keel.

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  • cgbillb
    Thank you very much for 115 pages of great stuff.
    I just made a Excell spread sheet up of al the pages that are of intertest me.
    I now can go back and work on my Hunley with your help.
    Thanks Again.
    Athens, Ga.

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  • He Who Shall Not Be Named
    Originally posted by trout View Post
    David and Andy, this should put a smile on your face, guess what our school is bringing back in 2 years (time it takes to get the new building completed)? Shop, Metal, wood, and auto plus next year we have airplane engine maintenance. This has been in the plans for a long time, but I think the supply chain issues confirmed it is the right direction to add to what we offer. There is hope for humanity.
    Better late than never. Bout Time! Hope this a National Trend, Tom.

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