Conversion: Older import wood boat - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Jul 27, 2012, 09:51 AM
Registered User
Build Log

Conversion: Older import wood boat

So this is my first build log here. Have some questions to go along with the initial post, and probably will have more along the process. Hope that's allowed.

So being new to the RC boat, and being interested in scale models, more so than the go fast types, I figured I need to develop/hone some skills before I move onto the more difficult details in the future. I have a springer started, but only the hull so far, and I would like to make the superstructure detailed and nice, but don't have any experience with that yet. So I thought this kind of project would be a good one to start with.

The base of the project is an imported toy boat of some sort. I an not sure of the wood type. It could be balsa, or another one of the softer, light wood's like Paulowina. It actually started out with a motor, and a rudder, as well as a little light, so it should be pretty easy. I think the tough part is going to be turning the existing tube for the prop shaft into a stuffing box.

Below are some pictures of it as I got it. I think it was a home to a mouse for some time. Unfortunately, the "life preserver" on the top deck is missing. The other issue is that the deck is off center from the hull. I don't think it was done on purpose as there is some cracking in the paint at joints in the front.

So my to do list is as follows:
  • Reset the deck in the center of the hull
  • Turn prop shaft tube into a stuffing box
  • Install new prop and prop shaft
  • Install new motor/esc/rx/batt
  • Modify/replace rudder
  • Install steering servo, pass linkage through transom
  • Replace on deck life preserver
  • Update lights to correct scale-ish Red/Green front, all around white rear.
  • Repair windshield so its seated properly
  • Repaint - new paint scheme

So my plan is to update this thread as I move through the different steps, asking a million questions from you experts in the process.
Last edited by scolba; Jul 31, 2012 at 11:13 AM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Jul 27, 2012, 10:06 AM
Registered User
So the first thing I had to start with is the tear down. In order to address the deck being centered, as well as to give myself more room to work, I needed to take off the deck. To separate it, I took an exacto to the seam. Thankfully part had already been split from age here and there, so it gave me an easy place to start. It wasn't all sunshine and lolly pops though. The wood is soft enough, that I was able to veer off with the blade, and get into the hull too much, rather than right at the joint. So I will have some sanding down on the bottom of the deck, and top of the hull to make it flat again.

Next came taking out all the bits that were in there. The old motor was held in with a couple of brass screws, and the battery tray was tacked down with the smallest nails I have ever seen!

All in all, it wasn't too bad, and I haven't damaged anything badly....yet.

The motor itself is interesting. It's pretty small. I haven't done any major leg work yet to find a good replacement, but suggestions are certainly welcome at what might be a good replacement. I have a small motor that is a spare for my Champ airplane, but am thinking that would be too small. The coupler on it is neat too. Just a spring with set screws on either end.
Jul 27, 2012, 06:28 PM
derk's Avatar
neat project! are you going to make the prop have a more parallel thrust line than the old one? the old one looks like it would just lift the rear if you gave it any power
Jul 27, 2012, 10:15 PM
Registered User
Lol, I thought it looked like it would do that too! I'm currently torn on what I'm going to do about that. Trying to decide how far I want to take it. Part of me is thinking of doing a new strut, new curved tube, and flex shaft. But at the same time, it's not a hull ready for speed, so I don't want to go too nuts. What I find at a hobby store in the morning will tell me what I'm going to do. Lol

I am sort of leaning towards a servo motor for the propulsion. I figure with the right prop it shouldn't be too slow.

Didn't get much done tonight. Sanded the top of the hull and the bottom of the deck. Nice and flat now. They should join back together nicely. After that I had band practice and now the wife haranged me into watching the opening ceremonies.
Last edited by scolba; Jul 27, 2012 at 10:31 PM.
Jul 28, 2012, 02:32 PM
derk's Avatar
a flex shaft would work, or you could also go with a small dogbone, or flex coupler to a straight shaft. if you wanted to keep the prop under the hull, then flex shaft would be best bet to get it level. if you didnt care as much to keep it there, you could go out the transom with a straight shaft instead.
servo motor would likely push it, but not very fast. it would likely not make much of a wake if any.
Jul 28, 2012, 05:45 PM
Micro Boat Forum Founder's Avatar
You can use a 7mm pager or even two. Just mount them in the water with the props directly on the motor shafts. They will be safe.
Jul 28, 2012, 11:03 PM
Registered User
Hmm, I hadn't considered straight out the back. I think I have some research to do on that still. Ultimately it will probably just come down to whatever i find for a decent price first.

It was actually a little frustrating today. I went to the next town over to go to a hobby store there that has kind of a lot of NOS stuff and odd ball boat parts. As well as bins of parts that I can dig through for inspiration/scheming fodder. Well turns out they are moving and are in the middle of the move. A lot of their junk is packed up and ready to move. So that stinks. We tried to find a new place, thinking we made the trip, might as well see the other ones....well...not a one to find! Google yielded a couple of names, but they were either gone or the big distributors. The city is Champaign/Urbana....which I sort of know as the center of the RC to Horizon, Hobbico/Tower, etc. so I didn't think there would be a lack of stores...but we really struck out!! Ok, rant over. lol

I did make a little progress on the motor idea. I got one that is the power for the Losi Micro-T. It was only 2 bucks, so I figured I could come up with the ESC/RX combo or a different ESC that would work with it. I got a small servo for steering, too. All these parts came from a computer store, of all places, that sells some horizon planes/copters.

So back to the boat. I started making the mounting setup for the servo. I started off with balsa, but because the wire coming out of the servo, I would need to make a hole in the side piece. Every time i tried to drill the balsa, it kept splitting. So instead I used what I had on oak!! lol, def strong enough.

After finishing up the servo mount, I started to fiddle with the layout. I have a spektrum compatible Orange rx in there now. I'm guessing that this boat is going to be touchy when it comes to balance. Thankfully it seems that the rx and the servo/mount are within about 5 grams of each other, and everything else can be centered.

Next I started work on the stuffing tube. Since this is really for learning purposes, I decided that I wanted to try to make it myself, since I likely would for future tugs, etc. I still have a ways to go. I am not entirely clear on how to make it, but what i did, was slide the inner tube into the outer tube, and then attempt to solder it.. Then I cut the extra off with a hack saw. It worked ok, but I didn't get solder to seep into the gap well. Or I just cut too much off, because you can clearly see the gap. But it does look pretty good with the inner shaft passed through. So we'll see how i remedy it next. I have no idea if the outer is even bonding with solder, so it may just be an exercise in futility.
Jul 29, 2012, 01:36 AM
Registered User
Amp Abuser's Avatar
Need to change the prop drive line You will just push the nose up and waste amps and scrub your speed down.
Last edited by Amp Abuser; Jul 30, 2012 at 03:12 AM.
Jul 29, 2012, 03:39 PM
Registered User
Yeah, we were talking about that before. The thought was to use a flex shaft. The problem I was finding though was coming up with a strut that wouldn't be too big, or move the rudder too far back.

So ultimately I gave up on using existing tube and pulled it out today. I replaced it with a 5/32 tube, and lined that up near the bottom of the hull. So my HOPE, and I'll need you guys to tell me if this will or won't work, is to use a .098 flex shaft with a 1/8" prop shaft (Link) without a teflon liner, and the tube would work as its on strut? Its my intention to glue it down, and then sort of fillet the gap with filler. Does that seem like it would work?

I think I have decided on the rudder as well. This One is a pretty good size. I think it will work pretty well.

I did a basic float test, and the previous layout won't work. It makes it waaaay to rear heavy. So I will probably end up with lipo, once I learn about that too. The servo and rx will now be at the rear, and batt(s) will go forward.

Made a motor mount today, as well. Got kind of lucky, really. I started with the aluminum plate that comes with those Radio Shack project boxes. The counter sink for the screws ended up being perfectly sized for the collar of the motor! So I cut it out, and bent the mount from it. Coming up with small enough screws to mount the motor could end up being a trick, though.

As usual, pics below.
Jul 29, 2012, 05:32 PM
Registered User
Another question...the output shaft of this motor is 1/16". Is there a coupler/shaft converter deal that I could get so I can use a 1/8 to flex coupler?
Aug 05, 2012, 09:04 AM
Registered User
Wow scolba, what a cool project! I've been wanting to do exactly this for a long time now, but can never get a good deal on the boat. If I ever get mine, I'll be referencing your thread. So have you decided on an ESC? For a coupler, you could use a piece of Nyrod for that. Drill out one end a little if it won't push over the shaft. Or, possibly get a micro universal, and drill out one of the ends? Keep us posted on how this goes, I can't wait to see how it runs!
Aug 05, 2012, 09:13 AM
Registered User
Tim B.'s Avatar
No matter what, she is greatly improved already, and SAVED which is what matters here.

I wish we had a tab here for "refurbs" or "rescues".

Good work.
Aug 05, 2012, 08:18 PM
Registered User
Hey thanks guys!

I think I am going to end up doing a brass sleeve. I ordered some parts last week that should get here tomorrow, so have been waiting on those to keep going. Got a rudder, flex shaft, and coupler coming. I'll be able to tell if the sleeve is going to work how I hope soon.

As for the esc, I'm kinda stuck. I was about to get a traxxas xl 2.5, but am not sure. Weight is going to be an issue, so because of that I might need to go lipo. That esc doesn't have lvd for lipo, so that wouldn't work. Also, 2 cells might be more V than I really want. So on the other hand I was looking at maybe getting rechargeable AAA cells, and do 2 on each side, then use that esc. So yeah.....a lot of words to say "I dunno." lol

I actually had to give my shop a little attention recently, so I haven't spent any time on the conversion in the last week. I ended up building the attached instead. Needed some more room, so this is actually a tool stand where the top rotates. I'll have my sander on one side, and my router table on the other. Then I can just flip it if I need one or the other. Fun.
Aug 05, 2012, 08:52 PM
Micro Boat Forum Founder's Avatar
Stop over thinking it. A 5a 2s esc and a battery between 300mah and 500mah will do the job.

Take your pick.
Aug 05, 2012, 09:17 PM
Registered User
I tend to do that. Lol.

Just ordered a gws 5a and batt. Nice and light too.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Question What company supplies really good wood model boat kits? Curtpg Scale Boats 37 Jun 06, 2016 06:33 PM
Discussion Cheapest wood for boat building? -james- Dock Talk 8 Jul 20, 2012 09:09 PM
Gallery Lake Arrowhead Wood Boat Show 2012 Kmot Dock Talk 6 Jun 15, 2012 07:06 AM
Wanted Static wood boat/ship kits GC_Dude Boats (FS/W) 7 May 06, 2012 11:07 AM
Discussion Krick Boat Plans, Parts and Wood Ben Morrow Steam Boats 2 Apr 12, 2012 08:37 PM