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wefalck

S.M.S. WESPE Armoured Gunboat (1876) of the Imperial German Navy by wefalck – 1/160 scale, when first commissioned

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Eberhard, I just caught up with this work. The ventilators are a work of art, beautifully executed. I also like the soldering pins and the plex work.

 

Michael

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Thank you, gentlemen, for your kind words !

 

@Pat, some ten years ago I did dabble with home-etching. I wanted to develop this technique for me into an ad hoc workshop technique, kind of chemical machining. Rather than developing A4 sheets of dozens of parts, I wanted to do parts as I was going along. I am not working from a pre-prepared set of buildings drawings - there is a set developed by a very good modeller and professional ship-engineer, Wolfgang Bohlayer, but it was drawn some 30 years ago and since a lot of new information has become available. Rather, I develop the bits and pieces en route, interpreting original drawings and photographs.

 

In addition, messing around with large volumes of corrosive liquids in a rented appartment is not necessarily something one wants to do. So, I worked with (large) stamp-sized masks and in old film-containers with say 20 ml of solution at a time. With some experimentation, I got the processes reasonably right. The main challenge, however, was the quality of the masks. I never really managed to get the black sufficiently dense and I tried all sorts of printers, laser as well as ink-jet ones. I gather my parts were also rather ambitious, trying to get the most out of the technique with surface etching, rather than simply 'cutting out' parts. Thinking, that for small parts a simple UV-lamp would be sufficient didn't get me very far. Results improved, when I bought a proper exposure box (as used by electronics amateurs for making printed circuit boards).

 

So, this time I will leave making the mask and the actual etching to some professionals. This means I have to make a lot of drawings in order to fill at least an A5, if not an A4 sheet to make it cost-effective. Still it will be a challenge, as I will be getting to the limit of the technique. For instance, the minimum width for parts is the thickness of the sheet-metal. That is why the wire-mesh can only be surface-etched. Originally, the bars in the grilles would have a diameter of around 5 mm or so, which translates to around 0.03 mm. Another advantage of the home-etching is that one can choose sheet-metal of different thickness for different parts. For cost reasons I will have to settle on a single thickness of 0.2 mm and am designing the parts with this in mind.

 

Below is a picture of what these gratings look like on one of the russian-kloned Krupp-guns in the Suomenlinna fortress:

 

https://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespe/suomenlinna/082126-72.jpg

 

Quite flimsy parts at 1:160 scale ...

 

@jdulaney, I quoted that site at the beginning of my post and the original drawing of the gun originates from there. Indeed, the site points to WESPE-page on my own Web-site.

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Jdulaney, thanks for the link, to that specific part of Eberhard's website. I am familiar with his website but I have not visited all the areas I have mostly concentrated on the tooling and watchmaking parts.

 

Eberhard Tell me you are using some eyesight magnification, because you are working at the Swiss watch level of modelwork! Most impressive Sir.

 

Michael

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Michael, the link was to an external Web-site that has some drawings on it that came originally from the Admiralty's archives in Berlin.

 

Well, being short-sighted, I have sort of built-in magnification +4, but that is not good enough anymore at my age (62). I am no using various types of protective glasses that are also available with magnification. For normal bench-work I have plain set that has some loup-inserts at the lower rim. Another pair, for smaller work, has overall a magnification of +3 and for even smaller work I have a set of head-band visors with something like +5 magnification. On the lathe I use a loupe with a light built in for delicate work, which is mounted on an arm like an architect's lamp.

 

I also own one of those pair of spectacle-frames with little +20 microscopes mounted on it, like the ones surgeons use. While it sounded like a good idea, it turned out to be impractical for bench or lathe work, at least in my configuration. The microscopes are designed for a working distance of about 50 cm, which is ok, when you are standing over a patient in an operating theatre, but too long for working seated at a workbench - here 30 cm or so would be better. Also, the field of vision is rather small. In consequence, I have never really used it.

 

A few months ago I acquired an antiquish binocular microscope on a pivoting arm that is clamped to the work-bench. The original 20x magnification was too much and I got another set of 10x oculars, which give a better balance of field of vision and depth of field. It is a nice piece of old-time British instrument manufacturing, but I still have to get used to it and find the right adjustment for the eye-pieces. Some people use these also for lathe work, but I think its main use will be for assembly- and detailed paintwork. I wanted to use it together with my micro-milling machine, but somehow I can't get it into a useful position without breaking my neck.

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Hi Eberhard and Michael, as with most of us, the aging eyes do struggle at times. 

 

I have just invested (still waiting for it to arrive) in a digital microscope (battery powered and no external connections required) that has a viewing screen incorporated (and not that expensive).  I am hoping to use this with a swing arm etc., and also hopeful that not having to have my eye glued to an eyepiece or distracted looking at a separate PC monitor, but rather adjacent to the work I am doing, that it will allow me to work more comfortably and with a little more precision.

 

This is to be a Christmas pressie, so I will let you all know how it goes once I have set it up and trialled it (and after the Admiral lets me open it :) )

 

cheers

 

Pat

Edited by BANYAN

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21 hours ago, wefalck said:

 

 

Below is a picture of what these gratings look like on one of the russian-kloned Krupp-guns in the Suomenlinna fortress:

 

 

Perhaps these lattices were made quite recently, but the real ones could have a different look.

D-1.JPG

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@Pat, I have been thinking of a similar route for the mill/lathe. When I looked at this a few years - technology may have evolved since, the 'shutter speed', i.e. the number of frames per second, was a bit to slow for machine work. You get the image with some delay. That would not matter though for inspection work or slow manipulations.

 

I also had at some stage a screen projector, i.e. a microscope that projects the image onto a screeen. I thought of using it in the same way as the mentioned digital version. Perhaps it was not adjusted well enough, but in the end I did not find it very useful, also because it took up a lot of bench space. So it was sold again.

 

@Valeriy, you are right the grating in your picture looks quite new (where was this taken ? There must be other places with Krupp-klones or original Krupps around the former Russian Empire). This particular one looks like a restoration. However, as one of the few detail pictures of the WESPE-class guns shows, this is the original pattern:

 

https://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespe/Laverrenz-39.jpg

 

This pattern of grating can be also see on the large-scale instruction model that was made for the Danish navy at about the same time:

 

https://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespe/124507-72.jpg

 

Krupp was happy to sell his guns to Denmark who has been in war with the German states only a dozen years earlier. The Danes armed one of their first armoured battleships with these 30,5 cm guns. The good thing about this is, that the Danish archives in this way preserved some material on these guns. The lower carriage, however, is different from that of the WESPE-class, because it was housed in a revolving turret, rather than in an open barbette.

 

@paulsutcliffe - thanks for your kind words !

 

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I've just found this build and have to say it's very impressive. You've got a very nice machine and tooling setup too

I'll be keeping this build for further reference.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for your kind comments !

**********************************

 

After weeks and months of drawing parts to be etched, I felt the need to apply my hands to something else then the keyboard. Also, I accumulated lots of little parts that at some stage need to go together. A step that I have been procrastinating, thinking that certain manipulations are easier to do, when everything is in pieces. When building a ship from scratch, deciding on the sequence of assembly can be crucial.

So, the first step was to glue on the main deck, which had already been prepared a long time ago from a piece of bakelite. The holes for the various fittings where marked out over a drawing and then drilled. The translucent property of the bakelite is very helpful for marking out. Once glued on, the deck was carefully sanded to the contour of the hull.
I spent a lot of time deliberating the best way to make the plating of the hull and the bulwark. The shape is quite simple, as the sides are vertical from just below the waterline (probably to facilitate the production of the armour plating that needed to be curved in only one direction). The original idea was to cut the plating in one piece from brass shim stock. This would have resulted in near scale thickness of the bulwark plating. I considered this too flimsy, even if the handrail was soldered on. Another option would have been to use 0.13 mm styrene sheet. Again I considered it too soft. Bakelite sheet of 0.1 mm thickness would have been closer to scale, but rather brittle. For practical reasons I decided to use 0.2 mm bakelite sheet.

The layout of the freeing ports, the location of stanchions, the ash chutes, toilet drain pipes, and port-holes were drawn onto an expansion of the bulwark that was developed from the original drawings. The drawing then was laser-printed onto an overhead projection foil (remeber these ?). This foil was taped to a piece of bakelite sheet and the drawing ironed onto it, using what is called the toner-transfer methodwespe-progress-203.jpgBakelite sheet for the hull plating with layout by the toner-transfer method

 

The plating was cemented to the MDF hull using cyanoacrylate glue (CA). I am not very fond of CA glue, but it forms secure bonds with bakelite.

wespe-progress-202.jpgHull plating attached

On the prototype, the bulwark plating was attached to the hull by an angle iron (8 cm x 8 cm) running along the top of the hull. I simulated the vertical part with a 0.5 mm wide strip of self-adhesive aluminium sheet into which a row of rivets had been embossed. The horizontal part would disappear under a thick layer of tar-based paint that was mixed with sand and onto which sand was dusted to provide a non-slip deck.

 

To be continued soon ...

 

Edited by wefalck

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Thanks, Johann ;)

 

*******************

 

And a little speed update: the hawse pipes were made from some 2 mm x 0.5 mm brass tube. First the angle with the hull was cut and then an oval ring from 0.4 mm copper wire was soldered onto this surface. The part was then taken into a collet on the watchmakers lathe and drilled out to 1.7 mm ID. Finally, the funnel shape was formed with diamond burrs and polished with silicone burrs. The hawse-pioe then was cemented in place and the end above the deck ground down in situ flush with the deck. The cover on deck is an etched part I made already several years ago. It was cemented on using CA and then another funnel was shaped with diamond and silicone burrs.

 

https://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-204.jpg

Hawse pipes ready to go on board

 

https://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-205.jpg

Hawse pipes installed, but still some cleaning up needed

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Thanks, Keith ;)

*******************

Again, small increments of progress. At the bows the fairleads for mooring hawser etc. were installed. These were milled and filed from 0.8 mm thick sheet of Plexiglas®.

http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-208.jpg

Fairleads installed at the bows

Then the rails on the bulwark in the rear part of the ship were installed. The rail also serves as a rubbing strake and continues to the anchor-pocket at the bows. At first the bulwark and rail (0.4 mm x 1.7 mm on the model) caused some head-scratching and concerns for the stability of the arrangement. I though about cutting a longitudinal slot into some rectangular styrne, but finally decided to make it in two, with the half glued inside and outside to the bulwark that have been designed higher for the purpose. In this way a 0.4 mm x 0.7 mm styrene strip could be glued all the way to the outside of the hull. A similar strip was glued to the inside. The half-round profile was shaped using a scraper made from a piece of razor-blade and held in pin-vice. The profile was shaped after attaching it to the hull, because it was easier to clamp the rectangular styrene strip while glueing. The glueing was effected by infiltrating CA into the joint between the styrene strip and the bakelite bulwark.

http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-140.jpg

Scraper used to shape the rails

 

http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-209.jpg

Rails cum rubbing strip installed around the ship

 

Arrangements varied somewhat between the different boats of the WESPE-class, but there was a WC for the officers in the deckshouse on the starbord side and a WC and pissoir for the men and petty officers on the port side. Each had a half-round evacuation pipe rivetted to the outside of the hull. The pipes were protected against damage by a wooden fender. After a few years of service, a strong wale/rubbing strake was added to the boats that also widened to a kind of sponson at the stern to protect the screws. However, this did not exist at the time for which the model is represented.

 

http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-210.jpg

Evacuation pipes for the toilets protected by fenders

 

To be continued soon ...

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Great workmanship and nicely made parts Eberhard; some very nice progress since I last looked in.  I have been away for a month and was delighted to see the updates.

 

I am sure you are more than up to the challenge of pulling the wires in the mesh as the level of workmanship in some of your finely detailed work was probably harder for you?

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Eberhard - I was reading back through some of your machining work - very nice and quite informative. The hull looks smart.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, gentlemen :)

**********************

There are two jacob-ladders on each side of the hull, a wider one underneath a door in the bulwark and a narrower one a bit forward. The steps probably were made from wood and had slots towards the hull to prevent the water from collecting there and to prevent the wood from rotting.

http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-211.jpg

Milling of the steps for the jacobs-ladders

 

The steps are made from 0.8 mm thick Plexiglas® and the slots milled in. The sheet then was sanded down to the width of the steps and the ends rounded. Then individual steps of the right thickness were cut off on the lathe set-up with a mini saw-table.

http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-212.jpg
Steps ready for fitting

 

Unfortunately, the steps could only be cemented to the hull using cyanoacrylate glue, there being no positive locking. A bit of cellotape provided a guide for alignment. Nevertheless, the procedure was a bit nerve-racking.

http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-213.jpg
Jacob-ladder on port

http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-214.jpgJacob-ladder on starbord

 

Further, fairleads for the aft mooring hawser were installed. These were made from oval rings of copper-wire. The rings were formed over two 1 mm-drills taped together, cut off and closed by silver-soldering. The rings were sanded down to half their thickness and one each of these rings cemented to the inside and outside of the hull. The hole was drilled out and filed to shape.

http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/wespemodel/wespe-progress-215.jpgFairlead for aft mooring hawsers

 

To be continued soon ...

 

Edited by wefalck

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I just caught up with your build. These are great tutorials on miniature machining. It seems like it is hardly possible, and yet you do this with exact precision!

 

Mark

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Very fine work Eberhard, especially noting the scale you are working at.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Posted (edited)
Hello Eberhard,
that is very fine model making.In this scale with this precision to produce the details, deserves all respect.
 
 
 
 
Edited by archjofo

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On 6/14/2019 at 3:41 PM, wefalck said:

The steps are made from 0.8 mm thick Plexiglas® and the slots milled in

Eberhard,

 

Question what are the advantages of plexiglass instead of wood. I like the idea and it seems it may be more forgiving and easier to work with.

Educate me on plexiglass for dummies.

 

Thanks

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First of all, thanks to all of your for friendly comments ;)

 

John, there are a couple of reasons in general for using plastics and not wood:

 

- I think metal in models is best represented in models by, well, metal, of course, and by plastics, because they don't have any surface texture that needs to be covered up

 

- similarly, at this small scale any wood grain, whether painted or left plain (varnished) would be grossly out of scale.

 

- while I appreciate that some people manage to get very clean and sharp edges out of wood, this is much easier for small parts in plastics or metal; turning and milling leaves a surface that requires little further manipulation.

 

- plastics are homogeneous and don't split or rip along any grain, though bakelite as such is rather brittle, particularly the thin sheets.

 

- styrene and acrylics can be glued, or rather welded, nearly without any trace using dicholormethane

 

- it is extremely difficult (for me at least) to get really high quality hard-wood and then confection it to sizes that are useful

 

- plastics don't dust when worked

 

Each of the plastics has different properties, making them suitable for different parts or applications:

 

- Plexiglas and bakelite (hard paper) are so called duro-plastics, meaning they do not contain plasticisers and are very stable over decades, if not centuries. They are also very stable against UV light.

- Styrene is a thermo-plastic and contains plasticisers that will slowly diffuse out, making the material brittle over decades. It is also less UV stable.

- Plexiglas is easy to machine and you get very clean and sharp edges; it files and sands well; it is of medium hardness; unfortunately, it is not normally available in sheets of less than 0,8 mm thickness; otherwise one can get sheets, blocks, rods etc.; the best quality is the one cast from monomer, not the extruded one.

- bakelite is the hardest and stiffest of them, but brittle in thin sheets; owing to this it is more difficult to machine, but it sands well; it can be obtained in sheets down to 0.1 mm thickness and sheets up to several cm thickness; other formats are generally not available; rods that are on the market are reenforced with fabric (e.g. Novotex), rather than the one with paper, I am using.

- styrene is the softest of them and dents easily; it is difficult to machine cleanly and does not sand very well; it is commercially available in a wide variety of dimensions, very thin sheets, rods, strips, and other profiles.

 

I hope this sufficiently explains my materials choices.

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