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Oct 23, 2008, 02:28 PM
SCALE Sailor
JerryTodd's Avatar
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Well, I found a radio. A NIB Spectrum DX6 (mode1) was BIN for $89 + shipping on ebay - under $100. It includes 4 S75 servos, AR6000 rx, batteries, chargers, etc.

Before I went for it I searched the net for reviews, prices, and references to boat use. A couple of model yacht clubs raved about this radio, there was a Model Yacht magazine with an article about putting it in your boat, and a flew blogs where people have picked one of these up fairly cheap and have been pleased as punch.

So - that should solve the radio issue - and leave something in the coffers to get some hunkier servos with.

Now for a model to put it in.

I've been working on the quarter galleries on the plug this week - no pics yet, but I'll get some this weekend.

The real Constellation sports a new paint job now. They've painted her gun stripe through her head as she had it until the 1880's.
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Oct 23, 2008, 03:21 PM
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I got to see Constellation this summer while visiting Baltimore for a Red Sox-Orioles game. I was impressed with the restoration and the fact that your could go below the berth deck as well as view all the officers cabins and sick bay. It's a much better exhibit in some ways than Constitution, which allows you only on the spar deck, gun deck, and berth deck and but no other access.
Oct 29, 2008, 10:48 AM
SCALE Sailor
JerryTodd's Avatar
Thread OP
The two sticks control 4 axis of operation one of which will control the rudder and the only one that needs to self-center. Two others will be controls for the foremast sails and the main & mizzen sails and need to stay where they're put. The attached image is one concept for controlling those sails with one stick. I'm goin' for some intuitive ergonomics here

So - the stick in the upper left corner is close-hauled port tack, lower right corner is close-hauled starboard tack. Upper right is boxing to port. Lower left is boxing to starboard. Dead-center is all yards squared.

When tacking, say from starboard to port tack, The stick is at the lower right, the helm is thrown a-lee and as she passes through the wind's eye the stick is slid from lower right to upper right bringing around the after mast's yards. Past the wind's eye the stick is slid across from right to left to bring the foremast yards around. Tacking then a matter of sliding the stick up or down, then across. The heads'ls, drivers (Constellation has three fore-and=aft drivers), and stays'ls are on another channel or two.

While the plug is still being detailed out in preparation for making a mold - I intend to make a basic mock-up of the rig up to the t'gallant trees to test and fine-tune braces, jib sheets, etc.
Last edited by JerryTodd; Oct 29, 2008 at 11:19 AM.
Nov 09, 2008, 02:49 AM
SCALE Sailor
JerryTodd's Avatar
Thread OP

Sails Servos and Power

Stella's 17 sails are cut out and the main tops'l is partially done.

Her 1854 sail plan doesn't show stays'l, instead she has a fore trys'l and a main trys'l (gaff headed, loose-footed). These will operate just like the over-lapping heads'ls as they have to cross over the forestays of the mast behind them.

There's also no indication of stuns'ls on either the 1854 or 1888 sail plans. But Simone's paintings of her show stuns'l booms so she'll be setup with fittings for stuns'ls. She'll probably get a full suit of stuns'l, a main t'gallant staysil, and a mizzen topmast stays'l once she sailing.

Some of the servos arrived as well; 3 HS-815BB sail servos, 2 HS-785HB winches, and an HS-645MG for rudder control. Some of these will be going into another boat.

Got a 6v SLA battery last Thursday as I just happened to go by a Battery Warehouse store on the way somewhere else.
Last edited by JerryTodd; Dec 15, 2008 at 08:59 PM.
Nov 13, 2008, 12:28 AM
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I will watch your build with interest Jerry. A great subject for a model
Nov 13, 2008, 09:20 AM
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DanL's Avatar


You are obbviously an accomplished ship modeller, and I'm really pretty new at this, but I've been working with a simple ropewalk and getting some good results. Would you be interested in a post on your thread on the ropewalk, materials tested and used and dimensions/characteristics of "ropes" made?
Or would you prefer I post it on the brig thread?

note - Gutermann polyester upholstery thread has been the best tested so far
Nov 13, 2008, 10:13 AM
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JerryTodd's Avatar
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That would be great - post away! The brig thread ought to be focused on the SC&H models and I didn't want to detract from that - between the two threads though, we should be able to start a square rigger cult of some consequence.

I found a thread on another forum about a vertical ropewalk. The advantage to that is many folks don't have room horizontally to do long runs, but do have vertical space available - for instance in a stair way.

It's also a slightly simpler machine. The strands are connected to the whorls on the mechanism at the top, to a weight at the bottom, and the cone/shuttle uses gravity for tension and if made hollow can be weight adjustable.

I have a number of spools on fine stainless wire left-overs - maybe 20-30 feet each. I want to lay up some 3 stranded wire rope from that, then use that as a core for some shroud-laid line for, well, shrouds.

Last night I was playing with sail cloth scraps on my sewing machine, trying to get the tension set, but the stitch line done diagonally to the weave broke easily when the cloth was pulled slightly. I need to get better thread.
Nov 13, 2008, 11:12 AM
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DanL's Avatar

Sail Thread

Again, claiming no broad expertise, but recent work with many different threads leads me to these thoughts -
- I think Gutermann polyester upholstery thread would be great for sails

- for outdoor use, polyester upholstery thread seems best
- nylon is not highly resistant to UV
- nylon can absorb moisture
- polyester is better on both counts
- Coats & Clark makes a UV stable outdoor polyester thread
- very strong, makes great rope, almost as good as Gutermann (below)
- Gutermann makes polyester upholstery thread in great rigging colors
- the Gutermann thread makes excellent looking rope
- excellent definition of strands
- no fuzz at all
- nice working texture
- very strong
- minimal stretch compared to rope from other threads
- nylon ropes much more stretchy than Gutermann polyester
So far, only polyester upholstery thread by Coats&Clark and Gutermann have given me the results I want in small diameter spun rope (up to 2mm). For larger diameters (2mm and greater), crocheting nylon is more practical because of availability of larger initial thread diameters. The polyester threads are very fine and it takesa lot of strands to build up larger diameters.

I simplified a ropewalk design and run it on the floor, starting with 10-12ft of thread. Usually get about 70% yield (10ft initial L yields 7ft rope).

Biggest challenge has been getting an array of desired rope diameters. Seems that initial thread diameter and number of strands is key determining factor. Adjsuting ropewalk tension etc has little impact. So initial thread choice and number of threads per strand is key to final diameter.

Also, all twisted rope has more stretch than the braided nylon previously used. I am prestretching alll rope before use.
I'm leaving shrouds as is - very low stretch nylon braid - since so much work into ratlines - initially done with black braided nylon.

Will post pics and details later.
Nov 13, 2008, 12:57 PM
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DanL's Avatar

Ropewalk info

Here's a diagram and some pics. I put it all together fast, using hot glue, etc, but it works fine. Modification of a really nice (but more complicated) design that is shown at the link below. Note - "thread" in pics is heavy nylon braid to show up in pics. Typical fine thread wouldn't show.
Unit has four gears, but originally I had only three. Four strands wasn't worth playing with, other than to get some different final diameters. I use three of the four and unit works fine.
Tension is adjusted by weights (batteries) in the small plastic dustpan, made into a weight "sled".
Swivel must be very free. I used a ball bearing as shown. The additional fishing swivel helps too. It is unhooked after spinning a rope and hooked to a stationary hook to "harden" the rope - a very important final step. One end on a swivel, pull the other end and then relax tension. Repeat until the rope no longer swivels on a pull/relax cycle.
Rope will unravel. Knot or CA each end to secure strands.
Keep records to be able to duplicate different rope diameters, color, etc.

Coloring rope: best bet is to get the right colored thread - I'll post colors and pics later. If need to color, I've tried a lot of stuff. Best results so far with Minwax water-based wood stains. Easy to do, waterproof after drying and doesn't stiffen rope like oil based stains, acrylics and other approaches. Archival pigmented acrylic inks also work great, but hard-to-duplicate color blending is necessary and they are expensive to use.

Links for ropewalk info:
Nov 13, 2008, 02:37 PM
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DanL's Avatar

Thread and rope info

Here are the results of the ropemaking I've done so far. I need lines in the diameter range of about 0.7 to 3.3mm.
The Gutermann polyester thread gives by far the best results. Info I looked at indicates that polyester is as strong as nylon, more UV/weather resistant and has much less stretch.
The small "pin" in the thread pic is a device used to measure diameter. Wind the "rope" around the dowel to the 20 or 30mm mark. Divide the mm by the number of turns to get the avg diameter. Works slick.
Published results for polyester threads. The Coats and Clark upholstery nylon also spins well, but is stretchy. Good for non-working lines.
Nov 16, 2008, 09:47 PM
SCALE Sailor
JerryTodd's Avatar
Thread OP
The plug was built on a particle baseboard that sat on a table. Today I gave it legs of it's own.

After that I began framing the quarter galleries and began cutting out "copper" plates for the bottom.
Dec 05, 2008, 06:22 PM
SCALE Sailor
JerryTodd's Avatar
Thread OP

Visit to the Ship

Made a visit to the Constellation today. Learned a lot of details many of which I didn't know.

I got to handle an original bronze hing strap that supported her folding bulwarks, and learned a lot about how they were made and how they worked.

Went over plans for her 10" shell guns and the pivot carriages they were mounted on, as well as the plans for the Parrot Rifles and carriages that replaced the 10" guns in 1861.

The folks at the Constellation also gave me some bits of live oak from the ship that I'll incorporate into the model, probably as some deck fittings; capstan, catheads, pinrails, mast steps, something like that. A nice touch to connect the model to the actual vessel.

Actually got a lot of useful research done - great day.
Last edited by JerryTodd; Dec 29, 2008 at 09:04 AM.
Dec 05, 2008, 11:00 PM
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DanL's Avatar
How very cool to have actual live oak from the prototype. Will make your Constellation very special. Anxious to follow your build.
If you are interested in a firing gun(s) (flash/bang/smoke - NO projectile), let me know. I can give you some info to look at on the system I'm using. Even one gun for a salute would be neat.
Dec 06, 2008, 12:07 AM
SCALE Sailor
JerryTodd's Avatar
Thread OP
I have this idea for a semi-auto system that uses a 10 round clip of 27 cal cartridges for a Power Actuated nailer.
Dec 06, 2008, 08:48 AM
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DanL's Avatar
Is that for assembling or for "disassembling" the target ship?

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