SMALL - Telemetry SMALL - Radio
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Old Aug 22, 2014, 12:22 AM
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Build Log
Building a Vac-U-Tug with my 5 year old daughter

She was excited when the kit arrived a couple weeks ago. The kit was a suprise since I didn't know exactly when Phil would have it in and get it shipped. Since then I've been collecting all the stuff not included in the kit.

Our plan is to add a fire monitor and LED lights for night running as the local club has a special night running event. Originally I thought I might setup a buddy box system for the transmitter to make sharing with my daughter and any other friends easier, but for now I'm skipping that. Still an option with the system purchased since we needed the extra channels for the fire monitor pump and aim.

After stumbling across the 808 keychain camera I added that to my Hobby King order. Should be interesting to see the on board video of a 5 year old running a boat around the pond.

It's been about 15 years since I built my last model boat, so one of the most amazing things to me is how much the price of the radio gear has dropped. That was the main factor in bringing me back in.

One I have more exiting pictures I'll drop them here. For now the unexciting pictures are in a Flicker album.

The most interesting thing right now is my failed light mast build from a drinking straw experiments. I think I've got a design that will work now. The drinking straw idea was born of the desire of something simple and easy to build and rebuild when it inevitibly breaks. For now I'm planning on just the basics. Navigation lights and minimum towing lights. (Extra masthead light and the aft tow light.) I don't see us doing any real towing with this tug until later if at all, so the lighting system can be redone if a proper base system goes in now.

Since my assistant is a 5 year old, I don't expect we'll finish all that soon. Hopefully we'll be able to drop it in the water before the ponds freeze.
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Old Aug 22, 2014, 01:33 AM
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Portland Oregon
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Greetings Andyzib,

I to am waiting for a Vac-U-Tug to arrive so I will be watching you and your daughters build closely. I haven't felt this excited about a new boat in a long time. I had been thinking about getting a Vac-U-Tug for a long time and when Massey started his that was all I needed to get of the fence and get going.

Good building to your daughter and you, take lots of photos and post them.

Andre
Portland Oregon
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Old Aug 22, 2014, 02:58 AM
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Welcome to the family! These are great little boats, I love mine. I have built 4 of them now, 2 of the older style and 2 of the newer style and they are all great boats. I at first bought Kate to be a recovery boat for my Miss Elam Plus hydroplane and it soon became my favorite boat of all. I have been known from time to time to be seen towing a barge shaped object around the lake with about 20lbs inside with no trouble. Great fun and a very durable boat.

Happy building and like Andre said post lots of pictures. Oh and when you are done make sure to send a pic or two to Phil, he loves to put them up on his website.

Massey
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Old Aug 23, 2014, 06:00 PM
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Some progress on a rainy afternoon. Hull liner epoxied in place. Started Abby on paining the fire monitor parts. After that, we covered some hobby knife safety while trimming hull parts.
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Old Aug 23, 2014, 08:49 PM
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Way to go ! And what is the assistants name? We all want to know!

Andre
Portland Oregon
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Old Aug 24, 2014, 12:15 AM
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My lovely assistant Abby is in bed, so I'm off on a tangent.

Finished trimming all the parts, and had some inspiration on something that would be fun to tow around the pond. I wasn't originally planning on towing, but some ideas are just too good to pass up.

So I'm borrowing a page from Massey's book and adding some reinforcement. I don't have any wood on hand, but the scrap parts from the superstructure looked about right. A cut, some epoxy, and a bunch of clamps (you can never have too many clamps!) and this might do. I'm planning on trimming away the excess after the epoxy has cured. If this doesn't work out, I can scrounge some wood scraps from the neighbors.

I was also inspired by a water bottle. The cap looked like it might be a good fit for a radar dome. It would be attached to the removable/upgradable light mast I'm planning, so I'm not concerned with sticking trash to the boat. Part of the fun in building models is reusing things in unexpected ways anyway.

Two caps glued together was too big, and I didn't have much luck with cutting and gluing two together. So with a belly full of water I popped open a third water bottle and went for the simplest route. Push in a T pin, a few dabs of CA to hold things in place, then fill with epoxy. Some sanding and paint and this might work out. The pin will be trimmed to fit later, for now having the pointy end will be handy later.
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Old Aug 24, 2014, 12:10 PM
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Looks good! It is also great to see your daughter helping out, I love seeing kids doing projects like this. I'm not sure the plastic will be enough reinforcement. When I did Kate I used a small piece of basswood about the size of my bow piece on my new boat and when you pull on it the whole,deck will buckle, it always has. The next boats have all gotten a thicker and larger piece and there is almost no movement of the deck when pulled on. The wood doesn't have to be much, the piece I used was just some 1/4 ply from the hobby store... Midland brand.

Massey
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 12:52 AM
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It was a nice idea, but I decided the plastic wasn't strong enough. With a couple more layers maybe. Picked up some plywood and got it attached. I'm thinking I may just hit up the hardware store for an eye bolt, washers, etc. and use that for towing. I have more faith in that than my non-existent brass working skills.

Other than getting the plywood in place, got the skeg, rudder, drive shaft and motor in place. Lots of epoxy curing at the moment. Pump, water pick up, and radio gear next.

Amazon says our giant rubber duck should arrive on Wednesday. With everything coming together nicely my assistant and I can work ballasting the tug, a fun bit of trial and error figuring out how to tow the duck, and bath time in a single tub of water. Planning on non-toxic shot for ballast obviously.
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 01:54 AM
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Andy, you got a PM
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Old Aug 27, 2014, 09:21 PM
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Not much progress since getting the plywood reinforcements in place, but I do have pictures of the progress.

The best news is the giant rubber duck I ordered from Amazon.com arrived. After unboxing it and setting it on the work table, I just couldn't resist fitting all the boat parts together and snapping a picture of the tug and duck.
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Old Aug 27, 2014, 10:00 PM
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Great build happy I took a look..as 4 light mask . I used stainless steel pipe and tig welded it.. but maybe your lhs or hardware store has some thin small dia copper pipe .can be built with solder iron and run wires after..
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Old Aug 27, 2014, 10:20 PM
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Woohee Yahoo, my Vac-U-Tug got here today ! ! Well actually it got here last week but the dumb post office never left me a note! They just left it with the apartment complex office and I did not know about it till the nice ladies at the office sent me a nice e-mail saying that I had a parcel to pick up.

The plastic gets cut tomorrow !!

Andre
Portland Oregon
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Old Aug 27, 2014, 10:37 PM
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The boat looks good! Keep up the good work but dont glue the halves of the hull together until you get my package. Drilling the holes and gluing the bit will be much easier with the hull not together.

Massey
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Massey View Post
...dont glue the halves of the hull together...
Still have to sort out the electronics, water pump, water pickup, and the mount and other stuff for the fire monitor. Lots to do before gluing the hull together.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 07:06 PM
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Sorry I didnt get the bit in the mail today, I was not able to fabricate it yesterday so I had to do that today and the epoxy was not totally dry by the time I had to go to work. I will get it in the mail tomorrow you should have it in a couple days!! Stay tuned for a pic of it, I have one on my iPad which is not out right now.

Massey
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