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Aug 19, 2017, 02:13 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
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Build Log

Cigarette/AMG Offshore Powerboat

Sorta kinda scale. Actually it's an homage to the Cigarette style because it is not true scale.

I bought this hull in 2003. The designer builder made these as gas boats, for Zenoah type engines. I asked him if he could make me one for electric power and he said "sure". He eliminated the wood stringers inside that were for the engine, and I believe he made the fiberglass a little thinner for less weight.

At the time, all of his hulls were a single mono color. I asked him if he could make mine two-tone, to my spec's. He said "sure" and made it red and black in the design I requested.

Back around this time in 2003 I purchased a couple of Graupner heli motors (made by Plettenberg) and Graupner stern drive units. The motors were fairly new but one had been used slightly. The stern drives were also the same, one used and one sort of new. As it turned out, one of the stern drives was missing the coupler. Also, as it turned out, the QC on these units was not very good. Between the two, which should be identical, there are slightly different dimensions in length, and some of the holes for attaching screws were not drilled properly. Everything has been corrected though.

Initially I made a template, and drilled the holes for mounting the stern drives. Then I put the project aside. I do not recall why. But it has sat in a corner of a room for 14 years. A few months ago I started thinking about it, and so a couple of months ago I decided to get it on a work table and finish the project.

Several years ago, Cigarette Racing joined with AMG of Mercedes Benz in a cooperative venture to produce an AMG version of their high performance boat. Then in 2013 they did an all electric version. The electric version is pretty impressive. Well, all Cigarette boats are pretty impressive.

So I thought I would show what I have been working on. I have lots of photos and will post them in small batches. The boat is nearing completion. There have been delays, waiting for parts and making adjustments as necessary.

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Aug 19, 2017, 02:41 PM
Po' boys does w/ Po'boys ways
haxawsnavy's Avatar
Wow ,!! Learn something every day here,!(RCG) I din't know you can do FG in colors let alone 2-tone,!! All I had ever seen is White. LOOKS GREAT n sure will save on painting, just add Calligraphs n ready to go. You been holdin out on us, I'm a fan of the Cig n Stiletto type hulls also so I'll def be Tim aka Cap'n Hax
Aug 19, 2017, 02:52 PM
Grumpa Tom
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Thanks Tim!

Here are some pics from back in 2003 when I first drilled the transom for the stern drive mounting plates. The slots are to accommodate the steering rods.

Aug 19, 2017, 02:56 PM
Registered User
Tim B.'s Avatar
Originally Posted by Kmot
I thought I would show what I have been working on. I have lots of photos and will post them in small batches. The boat is nearing completion. There have been delays, waiting for parts and making adjustments as necessary.

Aug 19, 2017, 03:00 PM
Grumpa Tom
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Here is the powertrain. Everything is "old school". A Graupner Ultra 3300-7H helicopter motor is used along with the Graupner Z-820 stern drive. The motor has a cooling fan attached to the armature and blows air over the brushes and commutator.
Aug 19, 2017, 03:22 PM
Grumpa Tom
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The ESC's I purchased in 2010. They are "Hydro & Marine" brand, made in Germany. Motors, stern drives, and ESC's are all made in Germany.

But, these ESC's were DOA! I bought them from the former owner of Graupner USA. He wanted to use the big Plettenberg brushed motors in a boat, and bought these ESC's. But, he said, the project did not come to fruition so he sold off the ESC's. When I got them I found them both to be dead on arrival. I contacted him and he refunded my money and told me to keep the ESC's. So they sat in a box for a while, as I did not know what to do with them. Well at some point I decided to take a look. It turned out that they were assembled poorly, and had a couple places where solder had bridged the circuits. I cleaned the circuit paths, and re-soldered everything. I also re-soldered the cooling pipes properly. They also did not have any thermal paste applied to the components that get the copper heat sinks. And last but not least, each one came with different sized cooling pipes. Really poor QC!

After re-working them, I tested them and they functioned properly. I contacted the seller and told him what I found, and that I had repaired them. I asked him if he wanted them back, because I had not paid for them since he refunded my money. He said no, keep them. He did not want them. So I felt clear to use them as mine.
Aug 19, 2017, 03:34 PM
Grumpa Tom
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The Graupner Z-drives are pretty simple units. Aluminum castings, with brass gears and steel shafts. Ball raced throughout.

They were designed for a thin transom, however. Probably for the ABS hulls that Graupner used to make. Well, the hull I have has a very thick transom, and that created problems which I had to address. One of which was that the coupler from the motor to the stern drive was not long enough to connect the two.

One thing about these stern drives that is very annoying, is that they made the propeller shaft so darn short. It is a 4mm threaded shaft and the only props that will work on it are the Graupner's with the brass threaded insert. Trying to convert to a drive dog, even using the Graupner drive dog part, does not leave enough shaft to put any kind of prop with a nut on.
Aug 19, 2017, 04:09 PM
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sleepwalker's Avatar
Vern Kilmer, who sold his hulls under the name forabuck made some nice boats,with designs right in the gelcoat.I had a 42" Predator that he told me was made for electric ,but I was going to put a Zenoah in it,but sold it before I ever did.
His gas hulls were supposed to be a little on the heavy side and were not good race boats,but man did they look good. He used to sell one once in a while on Ebay ,but haven't seen any for a while unless it was sold by someone else.
Aug 19, 2017, 04:33 PM
Grumpa Tom
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That's the guy who made mine, "forabuck".
Aug 19, 2017, 05:01 PM
Grumpa Tom
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When I started on this project again, the first thing I did was improve the holes and slots I had drilled years before. Basically cleaned them up and also I realized the slots had to be enlarged. Then I coated the insides with thinned epoxy to waterproof them.

I also discovered that one of the drives, had a seal glued into place. The seal that goes around the drive shaft part of the coupling system. The seal was dry rotted and torn. Trying to get it out was tough, but I did it. Graupner discontinued them ages ago, so I started hunting for them online, anything that would substitute. I found some seals that were close, but they were not normally stocked in the USA (metric, and tiny) and in order to get a couple I would have to place an order for 1000. Uh, don't think so.

So I had to figure out something else. More on that later.

Another really, really big problem was that the stock coupler (which I only had one of anyway) was too short to work. When everything was bolted together, there was no coupling action. I was going to have to make a pair of new, longer couplers. Sounds easier said than done! And to make it more interesting, when it is all bolted together you cannot see the coupler or get access to it. So I had to make a best guess at the new length I would need. The stock coupler was 10mm in diameter. I went scrounging through my hardware and found the leftover head bolts from my 1989 Pontiac Firebird Formula 5.7L engine (Chevy 350) were 10mm in diameter. Perfect! I cut off the heads and then used my lathe to face them and drill holes in the center. Next up was to cut the slots in them. I purchased a slitting saw and arbor, and very carefully set up and measured everything. I had never used a metal slitting saw on my mill before. Well, long story short it all went well. The noise in my little shed was insane when it was cutting!

I then had to debur the parts and clean them up. They turned out pretty nice. Time would tell if they worked or not...
Aug 19, 2017, 05:38 PM
Boat Modeller
Lewist's Avatar
Nice - I really like outdrive boats. Looking good and looking forward to seeing more updates.

Aug 19, 2017, 06:33 PM
Registered User
Gravman's Avatar
Wow you have resurrected quite the project. Your fix on the ESC's was pretty smart. Well done. It is great to take a old project and start on it again. The years roll on so quickly but it looks like this one is gonna get wet at last. She is going to be a fine looking boat when finished.
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Aug 19, 2017, 07:57 PM
Mopar Musclecar fanatic
xx29l9's Avatar
Holy cow Tom....this boat is da cool!

Aug 19, 2017, 08:01 PM
Grumpa Tom
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Thread OP
Thanks fella's!

After completing the new longer couplers, I assembled the motors and outdrives and gave it a test. To my great relief they fit and connected and worked! But they were not without brand new issues. In order to get them long enough to make the connection, and they are just the right length now, they had to be about 1/4" longer. That dimension ended up slightly encroaching on the transom. And to get the drive shaft/dog portion to connect, they had to be very far forward on the motor shafts and also jammed into the transom. I ended up having to enlarge the holes that the drive shaft/dog's go through. This also negated using the stock type seals, even if I had had any. Well I was just happy they were spinning the props now and would worry about the other stuff later.
Aug 19, 2017, 08:19 PM
Grumpa Tom
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Although the motors have fans on them, I added cooling water tubes to the brush holders. This is what Plettenberg does with their marine motors at the factory. So my motors will have water cooled brush holders as well as the fans. Hope it's good enough!

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