Vac-U-Cracker - RC Groups
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Oct 19, 2015, 01:26 AM
If the winds blowin, I'm goin!
CashRC's Avatar
Build Log

Vac-U-Cracker


Hi ya'll. After I finished my Graupner Ecospeed, and ran it a few times, I decided that I want, nay NEED more boats..we bought a little Reef Racer for my daughter Grace, so we can have fun together, but I'm in building mode right now so...

I wanted another Crackerbox. I had a DPI Crackerbox some years ago, ran 6-7 cells on a ROAR legal 27 turn motor..it had water cooling added and that was about it. It was a blast to drive. Not the fastest boat in the water, but it kept you on your toes, and it was fun. Dpi, however, went tango-uniform some years ago. Aquacraft has a Cracker, but it's bigger, pre-built, and not what I was looking for.

I found Vac-U-Boats website http://www.vac-u-boat.com/ after a little searching on Google, and I decided to order the full package last Saturday. I sent Phil Pace, the owner, and email telling what package I wanted, he sent a Paypal request, and a few days later it hit my front porch.

Upon opening the box I found multiple vacuformed polystyrene parts, a vacuformed stand, ply transom, all the hardware kits for the full VacuCracker kit including the drive kit, motor mount, rudder kit and trim kit. All the hardware looks top-notch as does the molded parts. PLUS, there's some clamps, sandpaper, paperclips, clothespins and an epoxy brush to help you assemble the kit. That's cool. Don't think I've seen a kit as complete as this before.
Now, the plastic this boat is molded from is not ABS, it's polystyrene. The moldings are very, very good, the corners ar molded well, nice sharp edges on the hull sides and bottom, etc. I was taken aback at the hull, it seemed a little light, but this is okay, as the kit includes a hull reinforcement and upper forward deck reinforcement that really stiffens the boat up, and makes it feel very substantial.

First order of business is to cut out the parts. Phil actually has lines drawn on the parts to help guide you in cutting and sanding them to shape. Once I was done with that, I drilled holes in the proper location in the hull liner..these holes help lighten the boat a bit, and helps with water drainage should any get in. Then it was time to epoxy the liner, transom, and hull together. The included clamps help hold the transom together, and the paper clips keep the sides of the liner and hull together as the epoxy dries. I then epoxied the deck and deck reinforcement together. Once those assemblies dried, it was time to attach the deck to the hull.
The instructions say you can use your favorite method of bonding (as long as it doesnt melt the plastic), but it's highly suggested to use Loctite Roof flashing sealant. This stuff is black, messy, and you have to use a caulking gun to apply it. Caulking guns and I don't get along. It's just me. But, I thought i'd give it a try, so after a trip to Lowe's, and after smoking a half pack of cigarettes trying to get my nerve up, I went for it. I laid down the sealant per the directions, laid the hull into the deck flange, made sure everything was straight, and taped it together for about a day and a half. After untaping it looked like everything sealed up pretty nicely, and the hull felt pretty rigid, but I still added a little CA to the flange around the perimeter of the hull..just to make sure. I'm anal like that.
I trimmed the hatch, trimmed the drivers helmet and mounts, and glued the mounts down, and test fit the helmets. Everything looks good so far, and that's where I'm stopping for a few days. Hopefully by Wednesday I'll have the hatch and hull pain ted, then we'll start installing the moving bits.
Cash
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Oct 19, 2015, 07:03 AM
The crazy Swede.....
wdac's Avatar
looking nice shall be fun to see then its done
Oct 19, 2015, 09:59 AM
Closed Account
That company has a rep for quality as I got a few items from there.
Oct 19, 2015, 11:03 AM
If the winds blowin, I'm goin!
CashRC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Manning
That company has a rep for quality as I got a few items from there.
I agree with you, kit was packed well, shipped fast and everything looks good...might have to point their website out to my wife a little before Christmas..
Last edited by CashRC; Oct 19, 2015 at 12:11 PM.
Oct 21, 2015, 02:27 PM
RELAX. You'll live longer
785boats's Avatar
Nice kit & nice build.
I've always liked the look of the Vac-U- Boats, & have used a couple of the Hydro cowlings.
The Vac-u-Vee is something I'd like to try in our Restricted Mono class.
http://www.vac-u-boat.com/Vac-U-Vee.htm

Looking forward to your paint job Cash
Oct 22, 2015, 10:10 PM
If the winds blowin, I'm goin!
CashRC's Avatar
Got some more pics, she's almost done. I leak tested the hull Monday. I taped the hatch on, then held the hull under water in the tub for several minutes, right side up and upside down..no bubbles, even when i gave it a gentle squeeze, and no water inside when I pulled the hatch off. COOL!
So, I cut the slots for the stuffing box and turn fin, drilled holes for the rudder and pushrod seal. After checking everything out, I decided it was time to paint. That's when the fun began....
I was going to use Krylon's Fusion paint, as I've used it before on other projects, Phil Pace (Mr Vacuboat) recommends it, and I had a couple cans in my stash..however, I decided I wanted a color that wasn't in the Fusion range..something brighter, kinda..Fiftyish, in a Detroit sort of way. Think 56 Thunderbird. Anyway, I went with Rustoleum's American Heritage Ultra Cover 2X..Gloss Seaside. It's almost a turquoise color, and I like it!! It sprays well, and covers good, but not as good as th Fusion paint. It dries a little slower too.
Anyway, I sprayed the bottom and sides, waited a bit, hit it again, waited for what I thought was a reasonable time, flipped her over and did the deck. USUALLY, and I repeat usually, I use wax paper under anything freshly painted just in case it's not as dry as I think it is. I used newspaper this time, and whaddya think happened? It stuck to the paint. I was able to pull most of it off, but I ha to sand and scrape the rest off, so the hull right below the prop and a little aft is a little rough. I could probably fix it, take a sanding block to it, fill it if need be and repaint, but unless she really acts wonky on the water, I'll leave it be.
So, after THAT debacle, I finished the rest of the paint and the trim on the engine and cockpit, and installed the turn fin and drive system, which I'm happy to report came out straight and bind free..in other words, I didn't muff it.
For power I'm using an old ROAR legal rebuildable stock motor, 2 channel Spektrum for guidance, Hitec HS225BB for steering, and a Hobbywing Quicrun 1060 ESC. Let me tell ya'll that little Quicrun is a gem..60 amp, lightweight, well made, and you use jumpers to set brake or reverse, lipo or nimh, etc. Easy to set up, instructions are clear, and so far it's been a good, reliable little unit. 4.9 stars on Amazon, the few detractors had a bad one out of the box, and that can happen to the best of them. Good ESC.
I made a floor of 1/32 ply to give the servo tape for the rudder servo a better place to grab, had enough room for the receiver too. My setup is a little different tha what was shown, that plus the lighter servo made the boat balance at the forward edge of the second rib back from the motor, instead of right on it as stated on the Vacuboat webpage. I might add a bit of weight to the transom, might hold off till I drive her.
She's about done, I need to add some trim, touch up the paint in a couple of spots, and install some water cooling. Then it's time to test!!
Oh, BTW, if you want to know why my "engine" has yellow valve covers, here's a hint...she's not running a Chevy..
Cash
Oct 23, 2015, 12:19 PM
If the winds blowin, I'm goin!
CashRC's Avatar
Allright, she's done except for water cooling and a little touch up. I added a chrome air cleaner and graphics this morning, going to go and try to find some 1/8th aluminum tube and make the cooling kit.
Oh..she's running a Studebaker 289
Oct 24, 2015, 05:15 AM
RELAX. You'll live longer
785boats's Avatar
Very nice indeed. And her 'namesake' too.
Oct 25, 2015, 05:02 PM
If the winds blowin, I'm goin!
CashRC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 785boats
Very nice indeed. And her 'namesake' too.
Thanks, I appreciate it, I really do. Hopefully she'll run well, don't see why she wouldn't. Soon as I get her in the water I'll post how she ran, get some pics too.
Cash
Oct 26, 2015, 05:16 AM
RELAX. You'll live longer
785boats's Avatar
Those 289 motors have some serious torque I hope it doesn't tend to twist the boat off the water.
Oct 26, 2015, 02:07 PM
If the winds blowin, I'm goin!
CashRC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 785boats
Those 289 motors have some serious torque I hope it doesn't tend to twist the boat off the water.
225 Horse, 305 ft-lbs torque!! Fun to drive with the overdrive engaged..
Nov 01, 2015, 12:44 PM
If the winds blowin, I'm goin!
CashRC's Avatar

She runs!!


Got a chance to make a test run today. My daughter Grace and I took the Studecracker and her Reef Racer to a local pond. I ran the Cracker on a 6 cell NIMH. It ran pretty good, not real fast but fairly quick. The motor I selected is not my best 27 turn motor, it's middle of the pack. Also, I added a Traxxas cooling coil to the boat, and IMHO the supplied silicone hose has a rather small inside diameter. I'll replace that with Sullivan medium fuel line, should get better flow and thusly better cooling.
Once the pack ran down to the point the ESC limiter kicked in, I headed back to shore and checked the hull for leakage..and I found none.
So...if you want a small, fun boat or 6-7 cells or a 2s Lipo, you really can't go wrong with a Vac-U-Cracker. The kit is very nice, instructions are good, hardware is excellent, and Phil Pace's customer service is outstanding.
Cash
PS..the pics of the test run were taken by Grace with an Canon A590. I think she did a pretty good job considering.
Nov 01, 2015, 06:28 PM
RELAX. You'll live longer
785boats's Avatar
Very nice indeed.
I hope she runs with that classic crackerbox 'bounce'
At a scale club I belong to our specs are a standard Johnson 540 motor 31mm prop, straight shaft.' 2s 2200mah lipo. Must have a driver, throttle man & dummy engine on the deck. But it can be a comedy figurine setup if you want. Not super fast but great fun around a triangle course.
Here's the lineup for the start of a race. The turn at the first buoy is always entertaining. As you can probably imagine.
I hope you can get a few guys to race with.
Dec 14, 2015, 08:29 AM
Registered User
I also just picked up one of these. When I took it out of the box I thought it was way flimsy, after fitting in the support and getting it together, im impressed how solid this this is! I crashed my good old DPI crackerbox so moving everything to the new boat, was running a surface setup on 3s, was a blast, ran 25mph with a huge rooster
Dec 15, 2015, 11:22 PM
If the winds blowin, I'm goin!
CashRC's Avatar
Thinking about picking up a Vac-u-vee Jr for my birthday next month. It's the same size as the Cracker, but with a deeper v hull. Might be a hoot on 3s, brushless and a surface drive..


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