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fnkershner

Alert Class Tug by fnkershner - 3D printed - 1:35 scale

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I have been very remiss in not posting this log. So let me make up for my omission. and please stay with me while I share my complicated story.

 

In late July of 2018 a friend came to me and said "you build model boats don't you?" And when I said yes he handed me a piece of paper with a name and phone number on it. He said "Call this guy. he has money". And with that my adventure began.

 

When I called the guy (his name is Mike) it turned out he is an instructor for a school that trains students for careers in the maritime industry. The school has a harbor tug that is approx. 70 years old and needs to be retired. They don't have a lot of money and came up with the idea of building a model of a tug as an inexpensive way to teach about a modern tug until they can raise the money for the real thing. So they offered me several $1000 to build this model and a fueling barge to go with it. They wanted a tug model that was approx. 4 feet long. As mentioned elsewhere in this site I have been learning Fusion 360 and experimenting with 3D printing. So I thought what a great opportunity to use these skills. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what happened from here. Both good and bad.

 

Thanks to this wonderful web site I already knew about someone who had used Fusion to make 6' long 3D printed Battleships. So my first contact was to get an estimate of what it would take and how long. I also knew that my good friend Dr. Per had much more experience in CAD than I have and reached out to him.

 

So I won't go into all the details. but as it turned out This school is part of the federal government and it took several weeks to just get approval on how not to spend any US tax dollars to do this project. It took many more weeks to get connected to the company that designed the Tug. And finally with the help of an attorney and an NDA. We got to spend a day on board the tug here in Seattle and received partial plans. So the non modeling part of this project took 4 1/2 months.

 

Neal was given 6 weeks to develop the CAD drawings and then we had a design review with the customer. All of this was completed 12/21/2018. And now we could start actually modeling. I should also mention that the project was being funded by donations from a 3rd party and it took a while but we got set up as a vendor to them and got paid an initial $500.00 to cover materials.

Coming to an airbrush near you.png

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I should also mention that like any other project we had a bit of scope creep. When they asked if the model could have Navigation lighting. I said sure no problem. Since I had experience with lots of sailboats and power boats. I figured a light in the cabin, at the masthead, and red & green. no sweat. That is when I was invited to attend a 2 hr. class on the phone about Coast Guard regulations. In the end we will have 16 different circuits of LEDs with several colors. It was also agreed that I would create scale model oil containment booms to go along with the tug and barge.

 

With reluctant help from the Admiral we purchased International Orange cloth and are manufacturing scale model containment booms.

 

I should mention that no one was able to come up with plans for the barge. So work on that model had been significantly delayed. Finally in January we received detail design information for a barge that was twice as big as the one described in the contract. Dr. Per has been slaving away on this part of the project. And will likely complete the design review in the next couple of weeks.

 

Meanwhile Floyd has been experiencing a very steep learning curve on 3D printing and slicing software. I would estimate that for every hull section successfully printed there are 2 failures. And did I mention how long it takes to do a 3D print? The hull consists of 15 sections due to the maximum size we can print a part. These Hull sections can take from 15 hours to 5 days to print.

Tug Bow 295.jpg

Tug Cabin a 306.jpg

Tug thruster 317.jpg

Tug Hull Fwd a 303.jpg

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So a bit of detail for this group. The overall length of the tug model is 3 ft 9 inches. and the max size of bed on all the available 3D printers is 6 inches. so we had to slice the model into 7 slices or sections and then slice again down the keel. and for the final slice (section 7) we needed a flat surface for the printer bed. So section 7 became section 7A port, 7A starboard, & 7B. So a total of 15 hull pieces. I also had some issues with under extrusion. This was solved by using Spackle to fill. Tomorrow I will be using a process called PLA welding to fill the major cracks. Then comes the spackle and sanding.

 

I found it a bit different to create a build board for a model of this size. I used some lengths of 2 X 4 and bolts as you can see below.

 

PS to make the admiral happy I created a spray booth in my garage. And I am learning to air brush!

 

 

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Ok while I am waiting for paint to dry let me provide some details about the real tug.

 

After the Exxon Valdez disaster Alaska has implemented additional requirements for oil tankers in the area. This includes what is called a Ready Response tug. This tug escorts any tanker coming into the fuel terminal. And before any oil is moved the Ready Response tug deploys a containment boom around the vessel. The Alert class tugs (there are 3 of them) were designed specifically in response to these new regulations. the Alert carries 2000 feet of containment booms on board. she also had 2 skiffs to help deploy the booms. The alert has 2 fire cannons that can dispense a mixture of foam and water at the rate of 10,000 gallons a min. She also has a built in tank that can hold 50,000 gallons of crude if there is a spill. The school decided that if they were going to have a model it might as well have these additional features to demonstrate to the students.

 

This season the Alert tugs were under bid and so they have returned to Seattle. Which allowed us the opportunity to be on board and take pictures. the pictures below are of the real vessel underway. All 3 tugs were built in a Washington ship yard.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Ok so here is the progress for today. I sanded, primed, and painted the main cabin & Pilot house. The cabin walls are white. The Pilot house trim is yellow. and the decks are Steel color. The rear mast has been drilled to accept the LEDs that will be mounted there. about 1/2 of the windows are installed. While waiting for paint to dry. I worked on other pieces like the winch and crane. They have all been primed. I also primed all the fixtures for the main mast. After the windows are completed and the main mast has been drilled. We will begin wiring. You may note there are holes in the Pilot house roof for the 3 searchlights and the mast. The fire nozzles are almost ready to install.

 

 

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Edited by fnkershner
typo

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Druxey - I ahve myself to blame for the scope creep. when they said Navigation lighting. I was sure what that meant. Well a retired Coast Guard Chief has an entirely different definition than a casual boater like me. But the good news is now I have studied the COL Regs. :)

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Posted (edited)

Ok let me take a moment to tell you about the program that will be using this model in the classroom. The school is located in Astoria, Oregon. They have 120 students in the Maritime program. There are 18 instructors. The kids must be under the age of 26 and underprivileged. They have to meet an income requirement. That is family income below a certain level. They come from all over the US. They live on campus and the program consists of 18 months of classroom and 6 months of experience. At the end of the training. They must pass a few exams. If they complete the program and get a passing grade. They get certified by the US Coast Guard and Union membership. The Union takes on the responsibility of finding a job. Currently everyone who completes the program finds a job.

 

One of the critical tests is Rules of the Road. The student must be able to look at the model,read the lights, and tell you what they stand for. He/She must also know the dispersion angle of all the lights. So my challenge is to get it right when I build the model. I don't want a student to fail just because I screwed up.

 

Besides the learning that I am doing for this project. It is nice to know that all this work is going for a good cause.

Edited by fnkershner

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So, what will you do when you hear the phrases "you build model boats don't you? Call this guy. he has money" again? My instinct would be-run!

 

Thanks for sharing this Floyd. It's been fun and interesting to hear the progress and see your work up close.

 

Harvey

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Ben - Besides being in this project. I am also the president of the Puget Sound Ship Modelers. Please PM me with your email address and your physical location. I will make sure you are invited to our events and added to the newsletter distribution. The ship yard was Dakota Creek in Anacortes.

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Ben - The tugs belong to Crowley Marine. I am told they have a wholly owned design firm and they did the work. I will send you the most recent copy of the PSSM newsletter and add you to the distribution list. Also you live in one of my favorite towns. I might have to bug you the next time I am nearby. :)

 

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Nice work! You may be on your way to becoming the successor to Gibbs and Cox! :D

 

Now that you have "done the math," have you considered taking it into production as a radio-controlled kit? I wouldn't be surprised if one of the RC kit manufacturers would find it attractive to add to their line. A three and a half foot Alert-class RC model, with working monitors and 360 degree props could be a very, very cool model. (I don't know exactly how the props could be engineered, but where there's a will, there's a way.)

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Ah, yeah. That makes sense. I believe the naval architecture/design firm Jensen in West Seattle is under the Crowley umbrella.

 

Also, I second the motion for a fully-RC version with rotating Z Drives, 16 light configurations, fire monitors, and deployable oil booms!

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So First I would have to find out if this would be a violation of my NDA with Crowley. I should also mention that R/C was discussed with the school. They declined. The thruster Pods do rotate at the clients request. But, the props do not. this was to make them student proof. And the Oil booms will come as an addition not on a spool to rotate. But that could be done. I will have to discuss this with my engineering team.

 

Frankly I am more interested in a different product. But that is too soon to discuss here. Give me a few weeks.

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Ok here is a bit of an update. In the last photo you saw the main cabin with the pilot house sitting on top. Most of those parts were not glued in place. I was just anxious to see how it looked. Well as of today I have finished painting the fire nozzles and glued the stack and furniture in place. I also finished the windows and glued the short mast in place. There is also a picture of the ladder/stairs and the life boats.  The stairs were 3D printed as 3 parts glued with CA then primed and painted. I am rather pleased with them. I have pictures of the life boats painted red & also painted white. So I chose red so they would stand out against the white walls. The fire nozzles are held in place with a magnet (nice idea Neal). The windows don't show well in the pictures, but they are there.

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Posted (edited)

The masts are made of 8 mm carbon fiber. This is not to scale but it is necessary to get all the wires inside. Once the wiring is done I will place hoods over the LED to control the dispersion angle. The square holes are for the wiring from the lights in the pilot house. Main Cabin below -

 

 

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Edited by fnkershner

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4 hours ago, BenF89 said:

Looks great! Just curious- what is the advantage of using magnets for the monitors? Just so they are free to be manually aimed as needed?

Hi Ben,   I contributed to the project a bit - the school wanted certain features and one of them was for the nozzles/water cannons to rotate -  and the thought is the magnets would allow for the 360° rotation while also being easy to replace should they get snapped off by enthusiastic students.  There's a couple of other components that were made to allow for removal and replacement (pretty much anything that was going to be actuated or manipulated by hand). 

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Thanks, that makes good sense. I wondered if easy removal was part of it, for transportation or some other reason. Easy reinstallation is just the flip-side of that. I assume these are ‘high strength’ enough so it doesn’t get knocked off easily? How thick is the plastic between the magnets? And, how are they attached to the plastic? (Sorry for the ‘20-questions’ - I just think it’s a cool idea.)

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10 hours ago, BenF89 said:

Thanks, that makes good sense. I wondered if easy removal was part of it, for transportation or some other reason. Easy reinstallation is just the flip-side of that. I assume these are ‘high strength’ enough so it doesn’t get knocked off easily? How thick is the plastic between the magnets? And, how are they attached to the plastic? (Sorry for the ‘20-questions’ - I just think it’s a cool idea.)

Hi Ben,

 

The way it works is actually only 1 magnet (neodymium) down at the bottom of the hollow column (basically a pipe), the base of the water cannon has a step in that narrows down the end to fit into the column but at end of it is a steel screw - steel screw contacts and is held in place by the 5mm magnet - two magnets might work but the steel screw is adjustable ensuring proper contact.


 

 

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