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Oyster Yacht by iMack - 1:40 - CNC/CAD/3D Print

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In the process of creating a 1:40 scale model of the oyster 885 for my university project. I've been working from some rather basic plans but I feel I've achieved to get the shape close enough. I was busy the past few weeks modelling it up on CAD and have it running on the CNC machine at the moment. Blue foam tester below. 










Edited by iMack
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Very nice and very high-tech..... Quite a change from the traditional methods of construction seen on this forum.

I am glad you can share with us some of this leading edge technologies.




Cheers. Last year I used the traditional POB method to make the HMS Pandora. So I thought it would make an interest project to make another boat using a completely different material and method. The plan is to use the CNC to parts of the hull, 3D print many small details and do some investment casting. Any other metal work for capstans as such will be on the lathe. 


If you have any questions ask away. I'm learning the process of using a lot of the equipment as I go. 

Edited by iMack
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Whilst this CNC is busy maching the parts it leaves me free (for the most part) to work on more detail on the CAD model. Here's what she looks like at the moment. Modelled in Rhino3D and rendered in Keyshot. I'm hoping to use these as part of my portfolio along with an animation of her sailing somewhere in the caribbean. I'll get that done closer to the time. I have a few more images of the CNC process which I'll get up soon once they come off the machine. 


If anyone is interested I generally keep my blog/journal page up to date on uni projects and there are some high-res images thrown up there too. 












Edited by iMack
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Cheers guys. I can't take credit for what Keyshot does. Magic program! Here's some more CNC-ing. 


As the CNC we have is 3-axes I have to flip the model around. If it was a 5 axis CNC machine I could do this without moving the model. Each cut requires a 'roughing' pass which looks like the image below. After that you run another file which is the 'finishing'. For flipping the model to cut the deck I had to make sure that it would line up exactly in the center which is why I had the image printed and stuck onto the piece of MDF. I'm using yellow-foam for the testers here. It's great stuff and cuts just like butter. My final will be done in chemiwood which is much more durable. This foam tends to dent very easily. 



















Edited by iMack
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Very interesting indeed.


3D printing will eventually also become a big part of our hobby, I can foresee tremendous applications; sculpturing very accurate "gilded figures" then using gold foil as a 'topping'. Or for fabricating large complex stern galleries...potential applications are so many (correct cannons as well) and on and on.


Eventually retailers will make available the software needed for the printers to fabricate the needed parts. Very cool !!!


Your work in this area is an inspiration and mind opening. Thanks for sharing.


PS: Love that yacht.



Edited by md1400cs
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@yvesvidal: Thanks. Well they are both very different approaches. I attempted a scratch build POB model of the Pandora and it required such skill. I am in awe of the work people produce on here. Inspiring.


@michael: It's a fascinating way of producing models and it's the way it's done in industry for luxury yacht models. Some modelmaking companies will usually do architectural and marine models together. Very often if they are wanting multiple models they'll create a silicon/fibreglass mould so they can churn lots off. They would fibreglass the hull or brush in a polyurethane resin and use expanding foam to make it solid. 


@md1400cs: Thanks. I agree whole heartedly with you. It's already beginning with the arrival of that carbon3d printer. I have invested in a form2 to use for this project as some of the small details will be printed. I was in fact thinking of 'renting' out this printer. Means it's not idle when not in use and is considerably cheaper than 3d print websites. I printed a series of canons on another thread you may be interested. 

Edited by iMack
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Very nice work. I was in school for 3D design a while back and I fell in love with the possibilities of 3D printing in model building. I have not used it on any model ship builds yet but while I had access to a 3D printer I did make many custom parts and even a few people for my HO scale railroad. I have been thinking about buying a printer myself and trying it out for making many of the decorative sculptures on the stern or even some of the extremely small details such as hinges. I also think it would be a great tool for making sailors in the wide range of scales that we often work in and are not readily available in stores.


The printers are fast becoming more affordable and it is really rather easy to learn the programming to make them work. Design can be a bit more challenging but for some it may be easier to learn to design on a computer than carving or sculpting the parts by hand.

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@dgbot: They are fantastic machines but your right at their cost they are too expensive. You can find small CNC machines for a few hundred dollars but the size it too restrictive. I've heard many people convert 3D printers into CNC's as it uses the same principles but a drill bit rather than extruder. 


@EJ_L: The prices will continue to drop for 3D printing until it becomes affordable. The printers are perfect for model railways. I am in fact running some testers for a friend of n-guage model carriage prints to see how they come out. HO scale is still a bit large for the printers currently as the price and time is still relatively high. I would fully recommend investing in a 3d printer, as you say - with the cad know how you have no boundaries on your creativity. 


The final boat parts have been on the CNC for the past week cutting away. A much slower process because of the density of the material, but the finish barely needs sanding. You can see from the images below that the spindle stepdown for the first 'roughing' pass is much more shallow. Cutting to fast - or too much at once the machine screams like a cat! I had some trouble with the part moving, so I had to drill a screw through the side of the hull to keep her steady. The only negative thing with this machine is the amount of wasted material cut away; which is why 3d printing or additive manufacturing is so interesting to manufacturing companies. The image below is how she will be cut in three separate parts. I've sliced the model near the waterline - as a clear acrylic sheet will represent the water on the final mode and fit right on the hull. 















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@WackoWolf: Cheers Wolf, I'm glad you guys find the process interesting. I'll keep you up to date. 


@texxn5: Crazy isn't it? The CNC machine itself is already very dated. 1997. 


@dgbot: It's what they call chemiwood. It's a mixture of fine wood shavings and resin meaning it has virtually no grain. Perfect for all scales. The stuff isn't cheap however. 

Edited by iMack
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Here's a few images from friday. The chemiwoods been cut and is off the machine. Working on some sanding and filling jobs around the edges of the hull. I used a very thin and tall spindle to get the best details on the boat on the CNC. The downside is the height of the spindle means there is some vibration sometimes at tough corners and leaves the edges not quite as crisp as you want. So straight out the CNC machine the model is by no means perfect. Getting her to fit together perfectly won't take long. Hopefully should be done this week. 


Otherwise I've invested in getting a 3D printer. Not the plastic printers but a resin based one. Much higher quality detail and I'm truly impressed by the machine. It's Formlabs second generation printer Form2. With this technology you must print at an angle. The way it works is - the laser shoots up into a vat of liquid resin, it cures a thin layer and then does a 'peel' mechanism separating the print from the vat. The build plate then moves up very slightly and proceeds onto the next layer. Models that are solid and very large tend to fail because the amount of tension is too much for the peel process. This print is the front of the cabin and I've hollowed it out (2mm wall thickness) so it uses much less material and becomes very light.











Edited by iMack
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So I've had a chance to fill and sand the most part of the model. I've done a first coat of primer to check for any missed area. Fair to say there is still plenty more sanding needed. Double sided together at the moment. Next job after sanding is to search for some metal rods which will help brace the keel. 









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Looking good. I have been enjoying watching your build come together as although it is not an unknown way of building a ship it is still rare to see someone building this way at home. That just may be a large part of the future of model ship building and although I do not think I will completely stray from wood ships, I see the huge potential to aid us in wood models with detail work such as sculptures and fittings that are very difficult to carve from wood. 


Looking forward to seeing more!

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Thanks EJ_L. After trying a traditional POB last year it certainly has it's differences compared to this build. Luckily the university has great facilities meaning I can use a lot of equipment that I would never be able to afford otherwise. I believe the two halves can have a very positive effect on the hobby.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been working on getting the decking correct using thin lime wood veneer. Having the CAD model means I can laser cut the decking out and it should fit perfectly. However it doesn't always. There are so many lock points with the hatches some of them are out by just under 1mm and it can be quite noticeable. The idea was to have the hatches flush with the deck - like they are in the real thing. I used paper prints to start off to try and scale it closer - and then tried the wood. I'll have to buy some more lime in and give it another go. 


In terms of using the Laser cutter we have 3 Trotec machines in the studio. These have just been added and no-one is sure of what settings to use so there was a fair bit of testing to get a perfect engrave and cut. Another problem I have run into early on was because some of the lines had not been joined in the CAD file it meant the laser would hover over a certain point for a millisecond longer leaving a brown dot. Check the images below. 


Half a dozen paper samples printed to scale. 



Paper samples on the model. Quite a bit of tweaking was needed here and there. 



First laser cut tester piece that came out with the dots. These lines on the CAD model have since been joined and solved the problem. 



Coming out of the machine



Here she is to date with the wooden decking just slotted in. This will be glued in at a later date once I've sprayed the model. 











You can see here the hatches not quite matching up. They are only very slightly out by maybe a mill. 





Edited by iMack
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This whole process is amazing (at least for me). I can see some potentials and opportunities for kit manufacturers, using these technologies.


Laser wood cutting, as well as water cutting, has been around for a while and is not really new.


On the other hand, creating the hull and other small parts the way you are doing it, with 3D cutting machines should allow to decrease the price of kits and improve the quality of the parts.


There will always be a traditional way of building wooden model kits, but for modern boats I really like this approach.



Edited by yvesvidal
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Wow, Iain those decks look superb, are the decks more accurate than the foam? if that is the case could you not set the hull up in the cutter and remove the area and make a new part out of foam to drop in? The other thing that this brings to mind is of course the order of cutting, which I am sure has already occurred to you.


I am really enjoying seeing this application of the present state of this technology, and just think about what is next.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Cheers guys. 


@micahel: The chemiwood is much denser and slightly less accurate than the foam. The reason is the spindle when cutting tends to vibrate and leave a bad edge - whilst the foam is much softer. The machine is generally accurate to 0.1 of a mm. 


It's been easter break so I had some time off. This week I've been back at it working double time to catch up. I have designed and printed the keel along with the dual rudders. Deck has been re-laser cut and finally fits perfectly. I have had the boom 3d printed (first on a FDM plastic printer - the kind that splurges out plastic from a nozzle - and then the final with an SLA printer. It cures liquid resin with a laser) and soon ready to assemble. 


Preparing for a quick primer spray. 3D printed keel with a 8mm hole ready for a tapped hardened steel rode go through and into the hull for extra support. I will have the model sitting on it's keel on the base





3D printed boom tester piece just attached with a piece of elastic. Carbon fibre mast has been added and placed. The mast is hollow but I've filled it with a resin to help give it that extra strength. Also means when the boom is attached I can insert steel rods attaching it to the mast. Black vinyl has been laser cut and just placed on the windows. Won't glue them in until the paint job has been done. 




View from the under side. Twin rudders placed and holes drilled. Reinforced again with metal rods. Start of the rudder is in the works in this image as well. 



A side perspective of the yacht. Those hatches are looking spot on finally! I'm enjoying the elegant design of this yacht. I'll be going for the same colour scheme as I've done in the computer renders. You can just seem the in the image below. 



How she is looking at the moment. 






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