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Richard Braithwaite

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    Sailing, Ship Modelling, Software Development

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  1. I like the idea of controlling oar position with software as it allows experimentation with different oar paths and velocities...I've also been developing some rowing machinery for my trireme model. My prototype does not use software to control the position of the oars, but drives the oars (port and starboard independently) in a simple, sinusoidal, elliptical orbit which enables the oar handle path to fit within the close constraints of the trireme structure. Video of prototype in action below:
  2. Starting to plan the first of these projects... Extract of plan 26 - looks quite involved... The timber frame is covered with leather on the sides and back and has leather strips for the seat "upholstry" Would be nice to make from real leather, but not sure if I can shave it down thin enough for 1/24 sale...
  3. Working on the penultimate deck canopy section. these will complete the main structure of the trireme. Its then outfit items like the Trierarch's chair, ladders etc and then 170 oars and seats...
  4. Completed stern fairing shown alongside the relief carved beside the steps leading to the Acropolis in Athens, John Coate's interpretation (extract from his drawing No 12) and a picture of the full size reconstruction. John Coates drew his reconstruction from a number of sources (there is surprisingly little, given the impact of the trireme on Athenian civilization, and how well they documented other aspects of their life...) and managed to come up with something that actually worked and also looked (I think) very elegant. Not a trivial task given that the Athenians invested a huge effort in developing these ships over a number of generations... The geometry of the stern is quite complex, involving a number of curves in 3 dimensions coming together. Precise offsets for these curves are not provided in the design definition that Coates provided (in fact the form of the stern is shown slightly differently in each of his drawings) and so some hands on setting out and fairing is involved. So my model, inevitably, will differ from Coate's drawings (and from the full size reconstruction). The photo of my model is also difficult to compare directly with the drawing due to perspective effects.
  5. I started with a piece of wire to get an approximate shape that looked about right and then made up an (again approximate) pattern in balsawood. The vertical timber is loose, held in place with the steel square (set on a piece of balsa sheet resting on the aft platform) to confirm the fit to the first stanchion. I'm not sure how the original was made up, but I'm planning to make it rather like a grown frame pair, with overlapping "futtocks" so that the grain follows the curve and gives the fairing piece some strength. I machined a plank 0.8mm by 12mm (max depth for my fine circular saw blade) and set out the sections as shown below (I've drawn around the sections so I can duplicate the arrangement for the starboard fairing):
  6. Still planking canopy sections...10 out of 12 done so far. Embarked on another project to fill time while glue on planking is drying. The fairing piece between the quarterdeck and the stern is shown in John Coates drawing no 23 (excerpt below): In plan view the faring runs in line with the gunwale as it curves into the stern and also needs to be vertical so that it mates with the vertical stanchions supporting it along its span. This makes it quite a complex shape to lay out.
  7. Had a go at go at focus stacking to get full depth of filed down the gangway. There are some artifacts and out of focus areas. Could probably do better selecting and stacking the images in Photoshop rather than letting the camera do it automatically...
  8. Continuing with planking the canopy.... The cutting tools from my Unimat Lathe make convenient weights for holding down the planks while the epoxy dries on the current section. The gap between planks across the sliding joints is kept consistent with the spacing jig as shown. The fastenings on the last section have still to be trimmed and sanded down (which is why they look a little conspicuous).
  9. Continuing to add canopy sections. On the full size ship the sections were kept separate so as to minimise stress in the lightly built canopy as the ship flexed in a seaway. On the model I have left the outer rail continous so that alighment is maintained.
  10. First section of canopy with the planking completed, showing brass pins at base of inner stanchions which engage in brass ferrules in the deck beams and brass bolts which hold secure the outer edge. and here it is mounted on the model:
  11. Starting to plank the canopy today. Olympias's canopy was constructed from a number of sections so that the delicate structure would not be damaged by the hull girder stresses as the long thin ship flexed at sea. The sliding joint between each section is shown in the extract from John Coates Plan No 23 (Quarter Deck) below: The start of this joint is indicated by the arrow on the following picture of my model:
  12. Since this is intended as a model of "Olympias" rather than an updated attempt to model an Athenian Trireme, I shall stick to the Olympias Ram. As a parallel project, I am also working on a software simulation of the maneuvering of oared warships, which I am validating against the sea trials of Olympias. One of the original ideas was to use this model for testing to find some of the coefficients for the software simulation. Must admit that I got a bit carried away with the model. Rather more detail than would be strictly required for a tank test model... I (sort of) justified it to myself on the basis that If I built it to the full size drawings, from wood of the same density, then the weight distribution would be about right.... But there are easier ways of doing that. Probably also easier to use Computational Fluid Dynamics Software to derive the coefficients. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to see if I could build an accurate enough model of Olympias at this scale and fit a rowing machine in it. Haven't yet decided how I will make the ram... John Coates "Plan No 20 Trieres Ram" drawing shows details of the wooden structure (which I have used for my model as you can see from the whole ship picture at the beginning of the blog) but does not detail the construction of the "Ram Sheath" other than to say that is based on the Athlit Ram as described in the Mariners Mirror , August 1983. The views in the drawing suggest that it is fabricated from plate. Part view of Plan No 20: Ill need to do some more research...
  13. Yes, remains to be seen whether I can achieve the required level of accuracy. Placement of the thole pins in relation to the oar ports is critical to achieving the required length of stroke. The following photos show the approach I used: 1. A jig used for drilling the thole pin mounting blocks to ensure that the hole is in the right place and angle: 2. Some pins installed on their blocks together with a jig for installing at the correct angle in the boat: 3. Installing the pin in position using the jig: 4. The pin in position: 5. Finally, a check on the clearances to give the required stroke angle:
  14. I've used lime pretty much throughout, mainly because the density is close to that of the pine used for the full scale reconstruction. Its quite a soft wood (compared to fruitwoods such as holly or pear), but that doesn't seem to have been too much of a problem and it has a very fine grain, which is nice..
  15. A plank on frame model of the colonial schooner Halifax based on Harrold Hann's book "The colonial Schooner" and drawings by Howard Chapelle from the Smithsonian Museum in Washington. The vessel was originally built as a trading schooner in the 18th centuary and was purchased by the British Navy for conversion into an armed topsail schooner in 1768. Drawings of the conversion are held in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. The model was largely constructed fro Ash with pear used for some of the fittings and boxwood for the carved work. The guns are machined from phosphor bronze and can all be fired. The scale is 1/16th inch to the foot.
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