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Old Sep 21, 2014, 12:09 AM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
925 Posts
Build Log
How About a Second Zipp Tugster Build???

So, my plans all along were to have at least two of these Springer Tugs. I ordered the second kit the other day, and I got started on the build tonight. To be honest, I will probably end up making at least four of these...one for me, one for my wife, and one for each of my parents to give as Christmas gifts...they are looking for a house on a lake, so something like this would be great for them to mess around with on their dock.

Anyways, I'm to the final stages of the first kit, so I figured I'd get started on the second one. My goal was to have both of them finished so that I could prepare and lay paint only once, instead of having to worry about painting twice. So, the last coat of sealer was put on the first Tugster tonight...tomorrow will be the last bit of sanding, and the boat will be ready for paint. That means now is the time to get started on the second one.

On this build, I'll be using the things I learned on the first build to hopefully get this one together better, faster, and more easily.

Some of the things I learned on the first build:
1. Make sure everything is square. Check it several times. If it's not, the whole thing can be slightly off.

2. Sealer needs to be put on in very thin coats. Thick coats cause runs and pooling that ends up being more trouble than it's worth.

3. Gorilla CA is infinitely better than the Krazy CA I was using, so the Gorilla will be my go to CA for the build, when I'm not using slow curing epoxy.

4. Get some extra tools to facilitate the build.

The first thing I did was get some slow curing epoxy. I got some from a gentleman on RCGroups named Andre for free. He wanted me to have it so that I could do some of the parts of the build better. He sent it Priority Mail and I got it the other day...a brand new set of two part slow curing hobby epoxy. Very cool.

The second thing I did was follow Andre's instructions on what I should do for actually building the hull. The Zipp Instructions have you put the front and rear of the hull onto one side, then let it dry, before then having it glued to the other side of the hull. Andre suggested that I use a "strap clamp" to just put all four pieces together, so I ordered one from Amazon.

On my first hull, I ended up with this a bit "off" I think. It ended up making the hull seem like it was twisted, VERY SLIGHTLY. Not enough to even really measure to figure where it needed to be fixed, but enough that you could tell it was slightly off. The strap clamp should help alleviate that as an issue.

Oh, the other thing I've done is made sure that I will fill this thread with pictures by making sure the opening section has pictures. On the first build, I realized my camera didn't have an SD card in it after taking a whole slew of photos...not so much, this time!!!!


So, the first thing I did was put the double sides together. When I was doing this, I realized that the wood was VERY SLIGHTLY cut at different sizes, like a total of .5mm. If I lined up the bottom, then the top was off. If I lined up the top, then the bottom was off. What I did was line up the sides as best I could, then glued the two pieces together.

After getting them together and letting the CA set, I then sanded the top and bottom to make sure that the pieces were even. Then, to go a step more, I actually put the two hull pieces together and sanded them again to make sure that they were even with each other. The end result was two sides that were identical to one another, which means everything should go together nice and tightly, while being square and level.

I mixed the epoxy that Andre had sent me, and set it up on the indents on the sides of the hull. This is 30 minute epoxy that then takes 24 hours to fully cure. I had a good long time to work before it started to cure, so I made sure I had the ends covered in the epoxy well, then got everything nice and square. I then set up the strap clamp to make sure that it would hold everything together.

The strap clamp forces the hull to be held together at 90 degree angles. These things are used a lot in woodworking to make picture frames. They held the hull pieces at PERFECT 90 degree angles to one another, so the hull will be perfectly square.



The wax paper in the photo is to keep the epoxy from gluing the hull to my work desk. You can see the clamp in action. This thing is great. It made this part of the build infinitely easier, and it will come out much better. I was able to make sure that the hull was level as well, no twists this time. After getting it set up like this, two 10 pound dumbbells were set on the hull to keep it from moving at all in the vertical plane.

After letting the epoxy cure for a good several hours (not enough to handle the piece yet, nor to be fully cured) I left the hull in the clamp but added the bulkheads. My reason for doing this was to make sure that the bulkheads were in place without adding any angular stress to the hull that might contribute to any kind of twisting or bending. The bulkheads had their ends sanded with just a few passes of 80 grit paper, then were CA'd into place.

Here is the hull as it sits right now, just waiting and curing...



The epoxy should be fully cured by the time I get home from work tomorrow. At that point I will take the next steps in the build and add the double front and rear pieces to the hull. I'll then start sanding the bulkheads and the bottom line of the hull to get it ready to have the bottom added.


In another piece of news, I have almost enough hardware to build a third Tugster already. I just need another stuffing tube and drive shaft, and a hull, and I'd have enough to put a third boat together. I've contacted Zipp to see if they can sell me just a stuffing tube and drive shaft. If so, I will purchase another hull, the Kentucky wheelhouse, and a fourth hull. The fourth hull will be used to make a different type of wheelhouse to see how that goes.

Well, I'm done for the night. Tomorrow I'll get back to work!!
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Old Sep 21, 2014, 12:57 AM
Portland Oregon
United States, OR, Tigard
Joined Apr 2014
109 Posts
Jeff,

That is the way they should look, just perfect! That is exactly the way I would build one of Tugster's. Keep up the good work.

Andre
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Old Sep 21, 2014, 01:13 AM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
925 Posts
Thanks Andre.

This one looks a lot better just sitting on the desk than the first one did. I'm already planning on using that clamp for several other portions of the build...it should make it all so much easier.
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Old Sep 21, 2014, 07:50 AM
Registered User
Joined Dec 2012
19 Posts
They indeed are fun builds. So fun I've built 3 myself .

3 Zippkits Tugsters pushing Barge (5 min 12 sec)
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Old Sep 21, 2014, 09:56 AM
...man wants his boat
United States, MA, Woods Hole
Joined Aug 2012
572 Posts
Jeff,
Thanks for sharing lessons learned. Even those of us who have done a few (or many) builds of various types can always pick up some useful tips. I like the strap clamp and may order one from Amazon. I did a thread on a sratch-built Springer. See http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...1#post27611271
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Old Sep 21, 2014, 11:18 AM
Plures Naves Quam Mentes
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United States, NY, Westchester
Joined Jul 2011
1,814 Posts
Nice Jeff, you've learned well Grasshopper.

I started a thread on my second Tugster over on the Scale boat forum so folks could see the mods and didn't want to do it on others threads. I'll be using some of the pics I sent you.



Bill
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Old Sep 22, 2014, 12:49 AM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
925 Posts
Thanks guys.

Bill, I'll be sure to check out your thread in the Scale forum. The pics you sent me were really great.


Here's the only thing I did tonight.

I got the front, rear, and motor mount bulkheads all reinforced with the second piece that mounts to them. I used the epoxy on the front and rear, and the CA on the center.



I had to sand the front and rear down a bit to get them to fit, but basically it was just kind of "rounding" the edges a bit. The epoxy had cured with a bit coming out of the joints, so the rounding of the reinforcement edges fit them in there perfectly.

I've got to let it sit probably until Tuesday now before I can move on it anymore. On Tuesday I hope to get the hull bottom put in place.

Oh, I guess I also put together three of the sides of the hatch...but that's not really very impressive!!!
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Old Sep 22, 2014, 01:48 PM
Valiant Poultry
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United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
925 Posts
Just a quick mid-afternoon update.

I ran out of the Gorilla CA...and had to go to four different stores to find it. When I got home, I finished putting the hatch together.

The hatch went together a lot better this time around. It's more square, looks nicer, and will probably fit on the deck more easily.



These weights have been working great. My wife used to use them when working out, but then she ponied up for some of the Bowflex SelectTech weights, so these selectable dumbbells just sit in the basement. I've repurposed them for use holding these boats together. You can adjust them from like 5 pounds up to 35 pounds each or something like that.
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Old Sep 22, 2014, 09:46 PM
Valiant Poultry
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United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
925 Posts
Alright, I got some work done on this one this evening after the epoxy had been sitting for a whole day.

I used CA to get the bottom of the hull installed. You do the rear part of the hull first.

For the rear because of the way that the hull "curves," I used a lot of weights to keep the bottom making contact with the bulkheads and sides.



For the front, I didn't use weight, I just hold it in place with my hands while the CA sets. It's got less bends, but more steep of a curve, so it's harder to get weights on it to hold it in place. A good minute or two of holding the wood in place yielded good results.

After getting the front on and letting the CA completely cure, I hit the sides and front with my sander with the 120 grit on it to get the bottom flush with the sides, front, and rear of the hull. I also used the sander to make sure that the joint on the bottom where the front meets the rear was nice and flush.



After getting it all sanded, I noticed a small gap on one of the sides near the rear. I must have sanded that area down just a bit more than the other side. Nothing a bit of sawdust and some epoxy can't fill!! So, I laid the epoxy in the gap, then brushed the epoxy along the entire joint just to make sure. I ended up putting the epoxy along the joint around the entire "left half" of the hull. Tomorrow night when that epoxy has cured, I will put it along the joints on the "right half" of the hull. This will ensure really smooth transitions between the corners and the joints and such, and also act as a good way of sealing those areas.



Finally, I sanded the hatch so that it was nice and smooth on all sides, and any areas that were rough at all were evened out and made smooth. It turned out great.




So far, I'd say that this Tugster is coming along better than the first one. It's taking longer, but that's because I'm using the 24 hour curing epoxy, so I'm working on things then letting it sit. So far, though, I think it's looking better, which is what I figured would happen on the second build.
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Old Sep 23, 2014, 04:53 AM
Valiant Poultry
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United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
925 Posts
Got pretty much everything else built tonight.

Here's the upper deck...again, came out much better than the first time around.



Here's the keel. It came out about the same as the first build, however, I dry fit it to the hull and it fits on the hull better...so that's a good thing.



Finally, here's the wheelhouse. The only thing left to do on that is to sand the lower portion of the front and get it glued in place. I didn't feel like sanding it too much after sanding the hull on the other boat after my paint mishap.



So, everything is ready to be sealed. I actually put the first coat of sealer on top of the hatch. I'm going to do a bit of sanding inside that hatch before sealing the underside to make sure that it fits nice and smoothly over the deck lip.

I should be able to get the inside of the hull, the wheelhouse, the deck, and the hatch with at least one coat of sealer on them tomorrow...then I'll wait 24 hours and put the second coat on the following night. Then I can work this weekend on getting the running gear in place.

This second build has gone MUCH smoother than the first one, for sure.
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Old Sep 23, 2014, 10:55 PM
Valiant Poultry
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United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
925 Posts
No pictures of this step.

The inside of the hull, the top of the hatch, the top of the deck, and the radio tray all got their first coat of sealer. Second coat on all of these tomorrow, then Thursday I'll do the other sides of the deck and hatch, then the wheelhouse and keel.

Progressing nicely.
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Old Sep 24, 2014, 08:38 PM
Valiant Poultry
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United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
925 Posts
Second coat of sealer on the inner hull, the hatch (most of it), the top of the deck, and the radio tray.

I'll do the sanding, then the bottom of the deck and the parts of the hatch I didn't get tomorrow.

I may also do a third coat inside the hull, just to make sure.

Then I can get started sealing the other parts.
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Old Sep 25, 2014, 01:04 AM
Valiant Poultry
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United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
925 Posts
Still no pictures today, however, I did get a lot more sealing done.

The hull now has it's third coat drying, so I think the hull is good to go.

The hatch is almost done, except for a small strip on the inside of the bottom, and one of the sides. I'll try to get that done tomorrow night. The deck is nearly done, except for the bottom, which I should be able to get done tomorrow night. The radio tray is done, except for one tiny bit of wood that is being used for a clamp to hold it in place, so that should be done tomorrow night as well.

Then I will get started on the wheelhouse tomorrow, and hopefully also get the running gear all installed in the hull. Then the exterior of the hull can be set up for sealing as well.

I'm hoping to have this boat ready for primer by Monday or Tuesday of this coming week.
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Old Sep 25, 2014, 06:31 PM
Drydock Captian
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Spanaway, WA
Joined Jul 2006
1,599 Posts
I see you like these little guys just like I do the Vac-U-Tugs!! My son now also wants one of these little boats and he thinks you are pretty cool too since you have the same rocket that he does! Nice work on the boats and good thinking using the sawdust as epoxy filler. I have in the past made my own wood putty out of sawdust and waterproof wood glue. I was repairing a damaged rifle stock from a rare Glenfield. The paste I made better matched the color of the original wood and also stained the same color.


Massey
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Old Sep 25, 2014, 10:00 PM
Valiant Poultry
Gimpdiggity's Avatar
United States, MI, Jackson
Joined Apr 2012
925 Posts
I had figured the wood filler I had purchased was basically just saw dust and glue, so I figured it would work great in the epoxy.

Your son flies rockets?? I bought those because I was trying to save money over buying RC stuff all the time. They're pretty cool. Next spring I'm going to build a big one I think.



On this build, I finally have some pictures to update!!!

The third coat of sealer had nearly 24 hours to cure, it says on the can it needs 4 hours.

So, with that cured it was time to put the running gear in!!! I followed the instructions. I needed to open the hole through the bottom of the hull a bit more than before, but that's no big deal. The shaft fits in smoothly and turns with no binding, so I'd say it's pretty good.

I used the oiler tube, of course. Where the tube went through the hull I laid some epoxy to seal where the wood had been cut and to better hold the stuffing tube in place.

I also hit the joint on the bottom where the keel glued to the hull with epoxy to seal it up really good and to reinforce the joint.

I'm really liking the two part slow cure epoxy for these types of things. It works well.

Anyways, here's the hull with the motor and stuffing tube in place.



Here's a close up of the innards.



And another angle...



I should have everything sealed tonight as well, at least the first coat. The hatch, deck, and radio tray will all be done tonight, and ready to use tomorrow. The inside of the wheelhouse and the battery holders should be done tonight. That means the only thing left will be the outside of the wheelhouse, which I will try to do tomorrow night.
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Last edited by Gimpdiggity; Sep 25, 2014 at 10:35 PM.
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