HMS Beagle 1:36 - Page 4 - RC Groups
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Mar 20, 2011, 11:26 PM
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Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Began testing which glue to use with my servos. The plan is to glue the oak dowel masts onto the plastic Futaba servo mounts. Titebond III Wood Glue and Super Glue didn't work well bonding the wood to the hard plastic. Loctite Marine Epoxy and Gorilla Glue both held pretty well at about the same strength. Decided to go with the Marine Epoxy.

Read through the Futaba 7C manual, charged batteries, synched the transmitter to the receiver and tested servos for the first time. Just now realizing you have to keep holding the controls up/down or left/right for as long as the servo is turned from neutral. So controlling three independent masts and a rudder means each hand is constantly holding a two-axis position unless you're running straight with the wind. Wondering how you control switches at the same time. I guess that's what your "crew" is for.

Started to program the Futaba 7C transmitter, setting the end points for the servo travel to its maximum amount for the masts, which looks to be about 77 degrees from neutral. I'd call that almost perfect.

Glued two "tiller pushers" onto a servo's wheel mount with the Marine Epoxy. By mounting the servo on its side directly under the tiller the rotating wheel will push the tiller left and right. Never seen anyone do it this way, but it seems to work. Since my sails aren't going to be controlled by rigging, might as well skip it for the rudder as well to keep things as simple as possible (for me anyway).

Cut two mounting disks out of 1/4 inch basswood. Drilled a hole through one and mounted the mizzenmast (5/16 inch oak dowel) through it, using wood glue to bind them together. Then mounted that on top of a servo wheel with the Marine Epoxy. Seems pretty straight, though I'm dubious it could survive a very hard hit. I'm starting to believe this is going to actually work.

Last edited by Jpop Andrew; Jul 10, 2012 at 10:13 PM.
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Mar 21, 2011, 02:54 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
To keep from having to holding the joysticks, I removed the joystick centering springs from the sail control sticks. If you then wrap a piece of fuel tubing around the stick axis, it will provide some friction to the stick so that it stays in place. It will take some experimenting to find how much friction you like. Or, for some tx brands, you can add a ratcheting bar, like on most throttle sticks (left stick up/down).

There is fair amount of force on the masts during a gust. Rather than glueing the mast foot to the servo, how about letting the mastfoot rotate in bearings (at foot and at deck). Then, run an arm off the mast to your servo horn, similar to the way you'd rc an airplane's rudder.
Mar 22, 2011, 02:35 PM
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Jpop Andrew's Avatar

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately I don't have any experience with these kinds of things. Trying to open the transmitter and replace parts would be a last resort for me. I'm afraid I'd break it and be unable to fix it.

You can program how far to turn the servo, including not turning it at all in one direction, so it seems like there should be a programming option for not having the servo respond to moving the sticks back to the neutral position. I guess I can send Futaba an email to ask.

I thought about using some kind of ball-bearing setup like you described, but I've never dealt with ball-bearings before, or ever done an r/c airplane rudder. So mounting the mast directly on the servo seemed like the most simple and direct way to go.

Good news is I can always try again if my first attempts fail, and I have all of you experienced and so-much-more-skilled people to help with advice.
Mar 22, 2011, 07:34 PM
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Brooks's Avatar
For these loads, I doubt you'd need ball bearings. A simple brass-in-brass bearing would work: K&E brass tubing, available at hobby store or (hardware/lumber stores in Bozeman), is sized to nest. Pick a size tube big enough to fit the foot of your mast (shave wood down as necessary). Then pick a tube the next size bigger. Glue the bigger tube to the keel and let dry. Slip the tubed mast into the "bearing". By using the nested tubes you get a good bearing, and you also guard against the wood swelling when it gets wet. add another bearing at deck level, and you are good to go. The deck bearing could just be the bigger tube, it's function is to absorb the leverage of the mast when the sails fill. Best would be the double brass bearing as at the foot, but you could probably get away with the simpler single brass setup at the deck.

Modifying the tx is not hard, but if you don't want to, no problem, you'll just find yourself holding the sticks over in one corner or the other as you sail. Been there done that, it's certainly feasible. On the other hand, I've never had a tx that would ignore the sticks, if you can make it work, cool.

I know you are set on rotating the masts, but really, if you get fed up with that scheme, the simple parallelogram method (pioneered by Phillip of Steele, Hutchinson, etc.) works fine and is pretty simple to setup with standard servos. See my BottleBaltimore thread. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have.
Last edited by Brooks; Mar 22, 2011 at 07:39 PM.
Mar 28, 2011, 08:12 AM
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Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Since the plan is for the entire poop deck to be able to lift up to access the electronics, I had to make a foldable boom. Found a metal picture hanger backing with a hole on either end that I was able to bend around my mizzenmast and secure in place with Super Glue. Drilled a hole through my 1/4 inch oak dowel boom. Cut the ends off two regular pins and stuck through either side, using Super Glue to keep them in place inside the boom's hole. The boom can now swivel up to allow the poop deck through it.

Secured the mizzenmast servo to the deck with Marine Epoxy. Simple, but seemed like a big step to me. I also covered the connecting wires to the servos with Marine Epoxy in the hope that will increase its waterproofing. After it had dried I yanked the mizzenmast around with some force to test how strong it was. Seemed good, but time will tell if it can hold up to wind gusts.

Drilled the painfully large hole through the poop deck to allow the mizzenmast's mounts through... painfully large... but I couldn't figure out any other way to do it since the sail servos were so tall. Not sure how I'm going to conceal it or waterproof it... but it works.

Cut my main mast from a 1/2 inch oak dowel. Cut two mounting disks out of oak, drilling a hole through one to run the mast through. I inserted two pins into the bottom of the mast to help keep it in place with more than just the wood glue.

Inserted four pins into the bottom of the mounting disk to coincide with holes on the servo's wheel. Then glued with the Marine Epoxy. Finally I glued the servo to the deck, which seemed like a huge step to me. I'll figure out some kind of wooden box/barrel/crate structure to conceal/waterproof the servo with later.

Btw the model with its electronics, masts and spars weighs about 16 pounds now. At some point I'll have to water test with some weights to see how heavy a ballast I'll need to stick on the keel. Hoping I can just glue it on... and hoping my super large keel doesn't come off lol.
Last edited by Jpop Andrew; Jul 10, 2012 at 10:14 PM.
Apr 03, 2011, 10:38 PM
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Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Made the foremast from a 1/2 inch oak dowel, same as the main. Cut two oak mounting disks, drilling a hole through one, and again used two pins to help secure the mast to the bottom disk. Glued onto my last sail servo with pins as guides with the Marine Epoxy, then glued the servo to the deck. I'll need to get an extension for its wires to reach the receiver in the poop deck.

(We had our doggie visiter Spirit again. She still loves sleeping under the shipyard.)

Cut the mainmast and mizzenmast's six remaining spars from 5/16 and 1/4 inch oak dowels. Sanded a small recess into the middle of each and into the corresponding mast connection points. Glued the spars on with Super Glue. Then I triple wrapped string with wood glue around the connections to give it more strength and a little more of a "rigged" look. I'll wager there will be some spar repair work in my Beagle's future.

Attached a line between the foldable boom and the mizzenmast to keep it in place. Now I've got to figure out how to make and attach sails.

Last edited by Jpop Andrew; Jul 10, 2012 at 10:14 PM.
Apr 05, 2011, 04:10 PM
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Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Quick question. I'm thinking about programming my fore and mainmasts to rotate in sinc to avoid the possibility of crashing their yards together (and make my first sailing easier). Do you lose much sailing-wise by doing this, since I still have the mizzenmast's sails to control independently from the fore and main?
Last edited by Jpop Andrew; Apr 05, 2011 at 05:17 PM.
Apr 05, 2011, 08:02 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
You'll kill your ability to use the sails to assist maneuvering if you slave the fore and main's together. Slaving main and mizzen is the RC way of replicating real ship practice - on real ships the main and mizzen yards are swung at the same time, crew size permitting. Handling the foremast sails separately allows you to use them to steer the bow, particularly in completing the tack. Foremast sails and jibs are on one side of the keel teetertotter (CLR, center of lateral resistance, the hydrodynamic center of the hull&keel), while main and mizzen sails are on the other side. So, you can make the hull weathervane into the wind, or anti-weathervane away from the wind.

Yard lock (the crashing..) is potentially present on real ships and models both. You just have to learn how to move the joysticks (timing mainly). It has never been fatal on my ships: you notice that the yards aren't swinging like you expect, realize what's happened (locked), and then back off one of the joysticks to free them up.
Last edited by Brooks; Apr 07, 2011 at 09:32 AM.
Apr 06, 2011, 03:04 AM
mav913's Avatar
Cool build, very nice model. John
Apr 07, 2011, 12:11 AM
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Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Thanks Brooks for the info. Independent foremast it will be then.

Guess its getting about time to hit my copy of Eagle Seamanship and practice on the Surprise simulator.
Apr 07, 2011, 09:33 AM
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Brooks's Avatar
The most comprehensive sailing manual I've seen is John Harland's "Seamanship in the Age of Sail." Outstanding book, seen it used as a manual on HMBark Endeavour.

The Surprize simulator is fun :-)
Apr 07, 2011, 11:38 PM
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Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Brooks: The most comprehensive sailing manual I've seen is John Harland's "Seamanship in the Age of Sail."
Thanks Brooks for reminding me about that! I've seen someone mention that book before, but when I checked months ago it was over $60.00. Just checked Amazon and its down to $30 something now so I decided to order it. Some of the details in the novels I'm reading by C. S. Forester, Alexander Kent, Dudley Pope and Patrick O'Brian go over my head. Hopefully this will fill up some of my missing knowledge.

Actually I just started reading a book about the Frigate Macedion tonight. Looks to be pretty interesting.
Apr 08, 2011, 08:25 AM
SCALE Sailor
JerryTodd's Avatar
Macedonian Chronicles? The was a good book, very interesting story. While I was in the archives looking up Constellation stuff I looked at a sail plan for the Macedonian that had the old frigates rig overlayed in red to compare.
My version
Apr 10, 2011, 10:03 PM
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Jpop Andrew's Avatar
Applied some more Marine Epoxy along the edges of my servo/mast connections to make the most secure cementing I can do. It's the first time I've raised the poop deck to work on the electronics underneath.

Did some stress testing on the masts, using a heavy pillowcase "sail" and high-speed fan. She tipped over and landed on her side, hitting her lower spars on the carpet -- holy crap! -- but held together. I tipped her 45 degrees to each side with the fan going full blast and kept the masts turning through their 154 degree rotation for about a minute. Looks solid for now...

Bought some Liquid Stitch and white Paint Pen for making the sails and ordered the recommended Supplex fabric from Apparently people who work at craft and fabric stores in Indy have never heard of it.

Put paper sheets up against the spars and traced the shapes for the sails, then cut the templates out of the paper. I made practice sails out of "Bounty" paper towels to double check the patterns. After almost half a year of building, it's actually pretty cool to finally see the shape of sails on her.

Official Beagle SNAFU#2: When I was measuring where the spars should attach to the masts for the mizzenmast, I measured from the top of the bulwarks (where the poop deck was). Unfortunately I did the same thing for the fore and mainmasts, forgetting the main deck was actually two inches lower than the top of the bulwarks. So the bottom spars (which I did last and didn't notice until too late) ended up being about 2 inches too low. Bugger. Since I was going to leave the bottom sails (courses) furled anyway, I guess I'll leave it for now.

My initial plan is to attach the sails onto the spars with white twist-ties that I've twisted to look like rope. This should make removing and furling/unfurling the sails fast and easy to do for now. Once I'm confident the rotating masts are going to work I'll figure out something more permanent.
Apr 17, 2011, 03:50 PM
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Jpop Andrew's Avatar
The Supplex for the sails arrived (in a Tyvek bag, the other popular synthetic sail-making fabric). Traced the sail patterns from the paper temples with pencil and cut with scissors, leaving an extra margin all around. Then folded that extra margin over and glued with Liquid Stitch to make the outside seams. Used a nail to hammer the holes in. Welcome to Primitive Sail Making 101. Attached to the spars with my twisted white twist-ties. I might use the paint pen to mark lines later. Good enough for now.

Ballast planning time. The plan is to glue a 2 inch wide flat steel bar onto the bottom of the 2 inch wide keel, about six inches below the waterline. (And maybe add an adjustable front and back piece as needed to deal with trim issues.) Did a test gluing an 8 pound iron weight onto an oak board with the Marine Epoxy. That stuff in strong.

So I finally put the Beagle back into the bathtub to test how much ballast weight she'll actually need, now that most of her final weight is installed. Looks to be about six or seven pounds, centered slightly behind the main mast. Hope that's enough to keep her other 16 pounds from being too top heavy.

Ordered a 15 inch long steel flat bar weighing 6.39 pounds. The $11.00 shipping charge was about the same price as the steel itself lol.

Then disaster struck...

So on Sunday I took the Beagle outside to get some pictures. 18 mph winds. Full sails. DOWN GOES THE MAIN MAST!

My wife snapped the picture just as it started to go, a split second before I realized it. The Marine Epoxy with metal pins just wasn't enough to hold the mast in place under that much force.

Well, back to the drawing board.

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