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Meridea by Walter Biles - RADIO - 34" Scratch CAD of boat at USN Severn River Repair Station ca. 1969

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Original boat estimated at 38'......   Scale 1:13.3   ............Model length 34.2" 


         This is from a hand scaled drawing I made from the seawall at Severn River Repair Station about 1969.  About 1990 I began entering it into my DesignCAD program to try to preserve the disintegrating grocery sack drawing, always thinking it would make a nice RC sailboat.  Having worked around those boats for almost 1 1/2 years by then I had seen many of her type both in and out of the water.  I liked her lines and the way she looked sailing.  Her sail booms and mast were made of what appeared to be plywood on both sides with filler planks across the narrow cross section.  They were finished in marine varnish. Her hull and decks and cockpit and cabin were all done in fiberglass.  She had mahogany handrails along the top of the cabin, mahogany 2.5" toe rails around the edge of the deck.  Her masts were guyed with wire cables.  She did have cleats for adjusting the running rigging.  I don't think she had a motor, because she always dropped the remaining sails as she got close to the slip and coasted in slowly. 


My Meridea original was a fiberglass mold hull, coupled with a fiberglass deck, cockpit, and cabin, but I can not make moulds to do that type of structure.  Because of this, and the fact that I had always intended my model to be radio controlled, I have built it as accurately as possible, but had to make concessions to the fact that I had to make a frame that could hold wood to bring out the shape.  Then due to structural integrity, I had to strengthen parts of it by adding bulwarks to make someplace to hold the railing stanchions where they would not be broken off the model too easily.  There was actually only stanchions with plates bolted through the fiberglass deck, with a small toe rail with water slots cut through it next to the stanchions. 


I think, she was a prototype, to try out optimal handling designs. I had never seen rectangular masts of wood, and her running lines disappeared down into the masts, most likely, to below deck electric winch controls.  You could say that my prototype model imitates her.  I would like to try to make my model try to achieve in a model that which Meridea was doing as a boat:  One person handling. 


My prototype model varies considerably from the real boat.  But I felt these concessions were needed to give a knock-about model the strength I needed.  Once I have gotten this prototype built and can do considerable testing to determine what is necessary for the RC version, I may be able to make a more realistic actual scale model that would be more historically accurate.  I still strive to be historically accurate, but I have to work within my medium, wood, for now.  Later when I get a shape I can build a mould of, then I may be able to seek to atain historical accuracy.  Even that will be illusionary, since I was never on the actual boat and can only go by what I have seen of how such a casting of fiberglass would have been done back then.



          This will be the realization of a life long dream I had back then of seeing if I could do a sailing model of her.  I will begin with a few pictures of the plans I have drawn on CAD in 2 dimensions of her. 

Edited by Walter Biles
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Hi Walter. 

Click on "More Reply Options".  Down at the bottom of the reply window, is the Attachments.  You have two choices... either the Basic Uploader (files are uploaded one at a time) or Advance Uploader (lets you do a massive upload).  Once you click browse, just find your photos on your PC and upload.


Hope this helps.  If there's any questions or if you need more help, put a post in the site suggestions and problems area.

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Thank you Mark.  These drawings are not totally correct.  I have some of the former lap cutouts for the keel
in the wrong place for a true fit.  I found this out while I was doing my wood cut pieces as I was assembling
them.  I have to go back over the cad drawings making sure all the corrections are there. 
I did 3 cardboard mockups of this thing finding mistakes here and there each time.  It has been a long road,
but the wood one is coming out close to fairable in both the hull and deck planking shapes.  I will not start
any final assembly until I have all the part matching entered in CAD.
The full group of drawings all to the same scale.
This shows an extended cabin option as well as the original cabin.

The Hull side and sail plan.

The Deck plan
The hull side plan with the former positions
and cutouts for the keel former and the
deck and cockpit deck and seat shown.

I still see some of the working part companions on the
bulkheads that need cleaned up.


These plans are no longer valid.  They had to be redrawn much fuller to provide the lift to hold the hull up on the waterline.  July 20, 2014  The test float left the waterline almost 1/2" below the water surface.   I will repost these drawings when I get the new float test done, which may be several months from now due to my distraction from my wife's health concerns.  


See Log page 10 for amended All plans 9/4/2014

Walter Biles

Edited by Walter Biles
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This next set of pictures will be of my work shop which is also

part store room.



On top at the back of the cabinet is 53" cardboard "Titanic".

Left front is plastic Aircraft Carrier 10 "Enterprize"

At it's stern is my Balsa POF Spanish Galleon

(Cat ravaged when I was in the navy. Built 50 years ago in High School.)



My storeage cabinet and light stand next to my work desk.





My other work bench.







This shows my old Stanley jig saw in the little table I made

to put it in so I could do scroll cuts back in the 1970's.

The motor on this 50 year old tool finally fried itself

last week.


The 3 wheel 10" Craftsman bandsaw that I have had for a long time

will not stop jumping the blade off the wheels. I believe it is

the tires on the wheels. I need to save up for another set of

parts or else get the Scroll Saw that I think will be

more reliable, if I can get the money together.


Walt Biles

Edited by Walter Biles
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These are the pictures from the first Cardboard mockup I did

of the hull. After I got them all cut and fitted, I let my little

neighbor boy come over and "Help me build the boat frame". He's In

kindergarden or first grade this year, and was thrilled to be thought

of for the job. It didn't take long for his part, and I'm going to add

some cardboard "planking" and give it to him, if he wants it.














I learned more about 3D interferences doing these mockups. I did 3

through the hull framing, learning about where the interferences were.



This ends my posts for tonight. Walt Biles

Edited by Walter Biles
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(A bit of mental musing to decide proceedings from this place.)(I am actually using this build log as a tool in planning)

I have shimmed the assembly slots on the bulkheads to bring the deck into line on the keel frame. The fairing is in close condition but untried by planking strips (Just Eyeballed). In earlier versions in cardboard, I assembled them in double thick corrugated cardboard, and cut them out with the plan pasted on them to check the markings. Where necessary I adjusted or replaced any bad fitting frame parts. Then I cut out the bottom keel part and found that I was not allowing enough material between the keel and bulkhead cuts, so I re-did a new set with more space between. It was a juggling act to get it to work. Finally I started it in plywood. It is coming along although I did not get the right depth on some of the notches, they were close enough to shim. Now I am going to have to go back to my CAD and make the adjustments there. Then if I am satisfied with CAD-Wood frame fits, I can proceed to true up the frame with blocking after I get a jig made to hold the keel straight. At that place I will be ready for more pictures.


If I do CTRL-P I can only get the first printed page. Even if I do curser select then CTRL-P, it still only gets the first printed page. I'd like to check if my mind shows continuity in the presentation. ie. a good report for the readers.

Walt Biles

Edited by Walter Biles
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Thank you Michael. I am slowly working my way through getting everything to fit together correctly. I would also like to have the CAD plan drawings correct so if anyone would like to build her, I can supply a set of reasonably accurate plans. The real one sailed very nicely.


Walter Biles

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I have been brainstorming on the build progression:    I am going to have to build both sides of the lower keel on the plan over wax paper.  I will epoxy those together on a flat board.  .  Once I have a flat straight keel I will build the keel jig and put it all into it on the board.  Due to the long multicurved shape, I am going to have to make one that will follow the curve.  I will use the cut away part of the sheet for the track bottom, with pine board on each side screwed through it.  I have a good 1/2" birch plywood piece big enough for a working board,  and will attach the keel jig to that.  I will use some 1/4" plywood for a front and back brace well squared at the front and back.  I will have to cut some more upright braces for temporary use until I can get the bulkheads in with blocking of some kind below the cabin and deck floors


(ALL SUBJECT to revision)

Walt Biles

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Now the editor is working with high colored icons again.  Prior to the last message I had edited, then printed out, then saved my build to my computer with the bottom Icons.  After that it went dim, and I wrote the last message.  Now after being gone some hours, the icons are high color again.  I don't understand every thing I thought I knew about these editors again.  Oh Well!!!



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  • 1 month later...

I have been hard at work lately.  I have made a whole new model of Meridea.  I was not satisfied with my former one, and could not correct the fairing of the hull shape sufficiently.  I cut a new keel former, and re-drew the hull formers from my original body plan.  I am not sure why my earlier ones had gotten mis-shaped, but every one of my previous builds would not come out the same.  I had to go back to the drawing program, and re-do my plans.  Here is the side view of my new boat. 




This next one is is a not too good picture of the fairing as seen from the aft of the boat.




This is of the aft deck foreward. You can see only the foreward and aft bulkheads of the cabin, I will build the roof framework tied into them to fix the bracing of the sheath for the mast which will allow the mast to be inserted and held upright. Later I will only cut away portions of the cabin roof to provide access for controls installations.  I am using a 1/4" cabin floor of plywood so I will have good screw attachment. 


Only the foreward part of the cabin from the mast sheath to the front of the cabin will be permanently attached.  I will make screw on covers for the after parts of the cabin.  I will need to have access to the keel area until the ballasting is completed.  Before closing that up, I will have the inside waterproofed, and foam compartment filling to do. 


I only have one concern.  There is not a lot of room for any rudder control arm.  The placement and shape of the hull are pretty tight there.  I believe I will need the space beneath the cockpit seat to have room for the arm movement, so that may be enlarged enough to make enough room. 




So far I have only glued two places.  the mast foot filler blocks are added to the frame. 


I have the side of the mast sheath from the foot up through the deck cabin roof, with enough to trim to fit the roof. 


I am planning to add some outer deck stringers where they join the side planking due to there being attachment points in the deck at the edges for the mast stays and the hand rail stanchions. 


I now have the floors approximately faired into the shapes of the hull formers.  Most of the formers are fairly close to being faired.  I now think I have a hull frame which can now be worked into shape. 


So far, I have only slipped things together, and blocked or trenailed things together enough to make it where I could work any part that I needed.  After seeing it to this point, I believe it is close enough to build. 


I will now dis-assemble it one last time and scan the final shapes of the formers into my CAD for the final adjustments.  Then I can have some fun with the glueing and blocking and actually building my boat after all this time.  YAY!!!


Walt Biles

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Thank you Michael, Bob, and John.


I had not been very satisfied with the shape of the former build.  I kept finding discrepancies that I thought had been corrected.  I decided to go find some of my original body plan drawings and compare them. Thank goodness I had an archive file.  I think I must have been distorting the shapes with lift and drag or something.  I just took copies of all of the shapes and drew new formers and scaled them directly to my current build dimensions as a whole drawing.  Then I cut out new ones with the last of my plywood in that size.  I had wasted a lot of it on mis-shapen drawings.  Anyway, I am glad I now am close to the right shapes.  I want to preserve the faired shapes to the final drawing.  With that I should be able to make a boat of any scale that I may want from that plan in the future.  I have learned a lot about the difficulties in design and getting it to comply with how the materials are going to work when cut to that plan.  I am glad I have taken the time to go through all this. 


Walt Biles   

Edited by Walter Biles
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