Rescue Barge

 by Ralph --- SSBN 598 

Last time out with my Akula II submarine, I ran it so long that the BEC cut main power to the propeller motor.
There was no wind that early in the morning.
I had no where to be that was important so I decided to just sit it out until the boat came to shore.
The real question was which way would the wind blow when it came.
The boat was about 150' out from shore but if the wind blew off shore, the boat would go across the lake and it was about 3/4 mile around to the other side.

I got lucky because there is an aerator out about 175' out from shore and this causes a very slight current moving sort of towards shore at about 90 degrees from where I was using the park bench.
Using trees on the far side of the lake, I could see the sub moving about 10' every 15 minutes and in the right directions.

Then I noticed the leaves on the tree above me where starting to move slightly.
Good news, the wind was in the correct direction so far.

From the time I lost main power until I could reach my sub with the antenna I removed from the Tx.
It took about 1 hour 45 minutes.
Got to sit in the park and enjoy the morning. (A bit of stress)
Everything turned out just fine.

This would not have been a problem if I had taken a second boat with me. 
I did not.
I also was running alone because this was not a group day to run.
So there where no other boats of any kind to help push the sub back to shore.

While sitting there watching my sub slowly drift towards shore, I thought I needed to bring a second boat every time I go out.
Also thought I might build a rescue boat for just this sort of thing.
Have it with me for me and any one else who might need rescuing.
There have been others that have gotten stuck off shore and needed a push. 

I posted this adventure on Sub Committee and got a response from Greg with attached photos of his rescue barge.
Very simple design and much like I was thinking sitting in the park.
A cement mixing box, square in shape and rounded up are both ends.

Greg made me an offer of a hull like his that I could not refuse. 
It arrived with in a few days. (Greg, Thank You)

So here is where the build will start.
The building of a Rescue Barge. 

November 14th =================================================

I looked through my parts box and I think I have everything but a propeller the size I want to use.
I have spare sub propellers but they are either to big or too small in diameter.

I have ordered parts.
Couple of propellers and a couple of dog bone universals. (spares)

I have thought about it.
A propeller with 2 rudders or a Pod hanging below the hull with the motor in it.
The steering linkage is simple.
I can get about 100 degrees from a 60 degree servo using 2 wheels with notches and cable.

I am going to start building a propeller pod.

I have a brushless motor that has lots of torque and is small in size.
It will fit inside a 1" plastic pipe connector.
I do have to grind out the inside about 3/32" to get it to slide in.

Here is the brushless motor.
The mounting bracket that came with the motor cut down to fit inside the connector and mounting screws.
The 1" plastic PVC pipe connector.

Before grinding on the PVC connector.

After grinding.
I made a shoulder for the mounting bracket to sit on.
I will epoxy the bracket to the connector.

Bracket pushed in to check fit.
Took a couple times to get it down to size.

The motor is currently in backwards because the wires are pain to get in the connector and through the bracket.
The wires will come up through a 1/2'" brass tube.

Motor mounted on bracket. 
Pushed in to connector to check fit.

I will clean up the inside of the connector with sand paper. 
Then I can epoxy the bracket in place.
Something to do tomorrow.

I have also cut a bunch of 1/16" plastic sheet square to make the front of the pod and the rear shaft section of the pod.
The have been cemented up and are in the table vise.

I need to get a cup seal out of the parts box so I know how big to make the tail of the pod.
I will actually wait until the propeller gets here to make the rear section.

November 15th =================================================

I am going to turn the front of the pod drive.
Yesterday, I cut the plastic sheet squares and cemented them together.

Today, I drilled a hole through the rough center.
Put a bolt through the hole and put a couple of nuts on it to keep it from spinning on the bolt.
Put in my drill press and got after it.

This is what I have after spinning.
There is a shoulder on the bottom of the part to slip in to the PVC connector.
The rest was rounded to give it a better look and cut through the water a little better.
The hole has been filled with glue and is curing.
I will continue shaping once the glue cures.

Here the front part is pushed in to the connector.
It is a tight fit so I may need to sand it a little more.
I want a slip fit and will put it together with a little silicone glue.
If I have to work on the motor, I can twist and pull these a part.
I marked it for 3 small screws as well.
Might use the screws instead and use silicone grease.

The connector is long and will be cut after I get all the parts made and fitted.

The motor mount bracket with the motor on it have been epoxied in to the connector.
I have plastic shims holding the motor centered in the connector.

I am using 1 hour epoxy so I will have to let it cure as well.

November 16th =================================================

Making up the plastic part to turn a tail cone for the motor pod.
This will be in two pieces so I can get to the cup seal..

Making is so I can get to the motor, the seal cup and propeller shaft is the fun part.
I have how to do this in my mind.
Thought I would try to make a drawing.
A PVC connector for the pod body.
The blue is the brushless motor.
The red is the motor mount.
The green is the seal cup.
The gray are the pod body parts held together with stainless screws.


November 17th =================================================

Progress today.
I made the tail cone for the pod.
Even got the under cut curve I wanted.

While spinning the part in the drill press, I used my Dremel with a 1.5" grinding disk.
Then I used 200 wet/dry sand paper to smooth the curve out.

Next I will make the spacer between the pod and the tail cone that will hold the cup seal.

I did not get to the space because I had to modify the nose piece.
After sitting over night, I guess the plastic cooled and shrunk a little.
The pend of the nose that slips in to the connector is now very loose.
I built up the edge and will return it after it cures.

After looking at the pod test fitted, I did not like the look of the nose.
It was too blunt, so I added 2 layers of plastic to the front so I could reshape the nose a little.

I really don't know what it will look like until the propeller gets here and I can place it on the shaft.

I looked through my wood pile and found some 3/16" thick plywood.
I will set it on the hull and see if it will make a good deck.
I will have time in the shop tomorrow.
Hope to get more done. 

November 18th =================================================

Today, I worked on the tail cone spacer until it fit the tail cone and connector correctly.
I took the nose piece out to the shop along with a Dremel, Exacto knife, couple drill bits, several small files.
When I got in to the tool shed, I didn't have the nose piece. ? ? ? 
I looked in the shop, the tools shed and the path from the shop to the tools shed.

That nose pieces is nowhere to be found.
I looked for 10 minutes.
Okay, that is enough.
Cut some more plastic squares and glues them up.
I will turn the piece again later in the week.
Put this in the small vise.

I thought about cutting the plywood deck to size.
I made one more trip to the scrap wood pile.
I found a piece of 1/8 plywood that was 2 long and 3 wider than needed.

I have measured and cut this to size.
Rounded the corners to fit in to the hull.
The hull is a polycarbonate electrical box cover.
Photos of that later.

I glazed the deck to get rid of the wood grain.
I want a smooth deck look.

I cut some ¾ pine board to make a 1.5 extension to the stern to get the motor pod will get in to clean water flow.
This extension will have ¾ bottom with 1/8 wood sides to match the hull.
All the parts are cut and the gluing has started.

While the parts cure, I did a quick layout for the servo and steering post down to the pod.
I plan to make plastic 2 pulley wheels to make the 60 degrees servo move the steering post 190 degrees. 
I have plenty of room to make this happen.

Remember, I need 1 Rx, 1 servo, ESC, motor and battery pack to make this work.
I will have a second servo and hope to make some sort of crane devise to get around the rescued boats.
May not be needed but time will tell.

I have foam to fill the hull leaving pockets for the equipment.
More than enough to keep the barge and even a rescued boat from sinking should the barge hull flood completely.
I also am still working on the Gato cylinder cap.
I am filling a hole in the cap so I can re drill the bolt hole that was in the wrong place.
This is slow going because I fill about 1/8 at a time and let cure completely.
Then I add more glue.
I think I am on the 4th fill.
Hope this is the last.
More barge parts.

I have glazed the tail cone and spacer.
I have sanded the glaze down with 220 wet/dry sand paper.
This got rid of the cutter marks.

Making propeller shaft bushings to go in the tail cone.
Cut to length and roughed up so the glue will hold.

Here are the tail cone and the tail cone spacer.
The cup seal will go in the tail cone and the spacer will squeeze the cup seal slightly.

Changes to the pod.
Room in the pd has become an issue.
I had to move the cup seal back in to the tail cone.
Shorten the front of the pod spacer that goes in to the pod body.
This is required because I need more room to make a connector for the motor shaft and the propeller shaft.
I left room to drill a bigger diameter recess in the spacer.
This is why the bushing is short in the spacer.
(gold color represents shaft bushings)

At this time, I am not sure there is enough room.
Got to make parts to see what I can do.

Already tried to drill 1/16" wheel collars to 1/8".
Fail because I could not hold the wheel collar tight enough to keep it from spinning with the drill bit without crushing it.

November 19th =================================================

Before going to the big city this morning, I was out in the shop.
Did a little more work on the stern addition that will hold the pod/rudder through tube and the servo to control the pod.
This is a wood structure about 1.5" deep by 1.75" llong and 9" wide.
I have 2 of the 3 sides glued together and will do the 3rd side in the morning.

It will be fitted to the back end of the hull I have.

After completing in town stuff, I drove over to the hobby shop.
I picked up stainless 1/8" rod for propeller shaft.
Found a brass tube that will slide tightly in to the short test piece of tube I took with me.
Got more 1/16" & 1/8" wheel collars.
A bottle of CA glue.

I am good to go once the propeller gets here.
I need it with the pod to determine where to put the pod and how deep to put it.
While driving to town, I thought about how to hold the deck on the hull so it can be easily removed.
Either bollasds or cleats down each side of the deck.
These will turn 90 degrees and hook under the deck in to wood beams with slight notches in them to receive the latch piece.
I will see if I can find some already made before taking on making 8 of these. 

November 20th =================================================

I am working on the deck and it's frame.
Deck cut and fit.

Sanded the deck surface and then applied glaze to get rid of the wood grain.

Re check deck fit.

Sanded the glaze smooth.

The begining of the deck support frame.
I want the deck flush with the top edge of the hull.
Main frame is shown in the hull.
I need to make a few shims to raise the deck up about 3/16" to be flush.
The shims will go under the frame seen here.
Maybe 3 per side and one centered on ends.
The corner shims will support both the sides and ends.

Deck fitted before shims added.

The shims and long frame pieces are cut to size.
The shims are being glued to the frames.
1 in each corner and 1 in the center.
All clamped together to cure.
Of course there is always this curing time.

Not to waste the time I have left in the shop.

I knew when I started I was going to detail the deck a little.
I thought 4 bollards on each long side would look good.
Found a photo I could scale and made dimentions for the bollards.

About 1/60 scale.
That happened because the 1/72 scale looked to small and the 1/48 scale was too big.

Works out for the size of brass tubing I have in the parts box.

I got my wooden milk crate over by the bench and started cuting 9/16" long pieces from the tubing.
Need 16 of them little . . . . things.

Tomorrow, I will drill each tube for the 1/16" cross bar per pair of tubes.
I will make the 8 bollard deck plates. (plastic)

Found some bronze nails out in the tool shed that I can use the head to top off the bollast posts.

Tomorrow, I can work more on the deck frame pieces.

November 21st =================================================

Made a jig so I could drill the 16 bollard tubes.
Cut bronze nails to tops and 1/16" brass rod for cross bar.

I am not sure I like the bronze nails on top.
The problems is they are not all round or centered.
If after I get the bollards completely assmbled so I can handle then after the glue cures, I will see if I can fit the look.
If not, I can take a pair of pliers and twist them out.
Fill with epoxy and sand flat.
Here are all 8 bollasrds with glue in side tohold the cross bars in place.

I probably should have made the deck mount plates before assembling to hold the bollard post straight. 

If I get 6 good bollards, I will go with that.
I can always make more later.

I have also worked on the wooden under deck frame.
Cleaned up the parts I made yesterday and made a couple of new parts to add to it.

Worked on the stern extension some more, then realized I was going about it in a way that was far more complicated than necessary.
I was building a box to add to the back of the barge.
I had made the bottom and 2 sides.
This morning I was going to make the top/deck part. when I realized I made this more work than needed.
When I measured the needed depth I only needed to add 1/2" to the bottom board.
If I had made the bottom board 1/4" longer I would not need the sides and I could just add 1/2" thick board on top of it.
This would make the stern extension solid.

Okay, out to the saw and cut 2 boards.
Glue then together.
The only thing I will need to do is shape it. (all straight lines)
And drill for the rudder post.
A big DUH! at this point.

I prepard the deck for primer.
I have not decided if I want the deck red primer or light gray.
Got to look at more barge photos.
Continuing today, I cut the plastic bases for the bollards.
Drilled them.
The glue I use takes 17 hours to cure and 24 to harden completely.

So, I took 1 bollard at a time and slipped the base on to the two posts.
This gives me the distance between the post.
With the glue still workable, I moved the cross bar to make it centered between the post.
Did this 7 more times.

Moved on to the deck.
Looking it over, the bottom needs some glaze work on the cut ends. 
Not much but enough to stop the wood from splintering.

Glazing done.

Took the pod nose out to the tool shed.
Did a little more turning on it to get a better looking shape.
Finished that and then filled the centering bolt hole with CA and baking soda.
This will need a little filing tomorrow.

looked a barge photos.
Still not sure to go red or gray.

Simple fix is this.
Prime with the red so I can see it.
If I don't like it, then I can paint gray.

Time to start looking at barge pusher cabs.
While going through photos, I saw a crane barge.
It has a small cab at one end but it was two stories.
I think I will make a simple cab out of cardboard and look at it.

I have an idea for the push bars and aort of crane on the deck.
Needs to be easy to work with a single servo.
Or I need to come up with a Rx with more channels.

November 22nd ================================================= 

Started working on bollards.
Cleaned the excess glue off and found that the glue is not completely cured on some of the bollards.
This glue expands so, I will have to clean them again after they do finish curing.

Sized the mounting bases.

Set them on the deck for a look.

A side view which also shows the plastic electrical box cover being used for a hull.

I cut wooden blocks for the extended stern.
Cut to finish size and then drilles 1/2" holes to lighten the block up some.
Made sure I left sections for screws or bolts to mount the block to the transom.
Glued the 3 parts together and put them in the vise with a couple of clamps.

Beings I was working on the stern, I measured for the pod location and how deep it will extend down in to the water.

I want a rudder spacer above the pod to help with turning when the motor is not running.
I did this mostly to get more surface to glue the pod pvc connector to the rudder turning tube.
1/16" is not enough to hold for very long.
The rudder piece has been ground to fit the connector.
The gray part is also PVC so the glue will bond the connector to the rudder.
The brass rudder shaft goes in to the connector to hold it in place and centered.
I cut the shaft hole in to the connector where the motor wires with come up to the hull through the shaft.

I put the pod parts together on the shaft with the rudder for a look.
For size, the shaft is 1/2" and the PVC rudder is 3/4" thick at the shaft.
I cut and ground the rudder out of 5" diameter solid PVC rod.
This is the stuff I turn end caps out of and this part was made from a rejected end cap.

I may shorten the rudder but I am waiting for the propeller to arrive before I do any finishing on the pod.
I may make the back like the front.

For size reference, the rudder is 2" tall, 2.125" long by 3/4" thick at the shaft.

More info. I cut the rudder in my metal band saw
Then I shaped the rudder using a belt sander turned up side down (belt up) in my outside big vise.

November 23rd =================================================

The bollards where cleaned up again this morning.
The glue had cured.
Bollards are now painted flat black.

Worked on the stern extension piece.
Had to make a little change to it.
The block of wood for the extension was cut with squared sides.
When I dry fitted it to thehull, it turns out the hull has a lsight angle to it.
Made the beveled cut and all is good now.

I sanded the deck again and primed both sides.
Used Red oxide.

After letting the prime dry for an hour, I taped off the top to give the deck a 5/16" wide red sripe aound the edge of the deck.
I also taped of 8 spots where the bollards will be mounted.
I got the first coat of gray on the deck.

Now I think I will go back out to the shop and sand the gray and get a second coat on it.

I was in town earlier and at the post office was a package with parts and propellers for the barge.
While I type this, I was thinking I should order batteries for the barge and the Tx it will use.

With the propeller(s) in hand, I can finish the motor pod.
I am sure I will need to go to the hardware store tomorrow.
I better make a list of the stainless bolts and screws needed for the pod and deck mounting.

I also need more flat black and gloss black.
I think I need some white as well.
Building submarines does not require white so there is none in my paint locker. ( a little Testor bottle maybe)

I hope to get some photos while out in the shop this afternoon. 
Now this afternoon.

I was in town and stopped at the post office.
Parts I had ordered arrived.
The propeller(s) are here.

I sanded and got the second coat of gray on the deck.
Cleaned up the propeller flashing.
It is a plastic propeller.

Th ere is no set screw.
There is a slot on the front of the hub for a pin through the shaft.
I am not going to try drilling a 1/8" stainless steel shaft.

My fix for this was to take a 1/8" wheel collar and remove material on each side down abour 3/32" leaving two square bumps.
I files on these until they fit in to the notch in the propeller hub.
I also filed on the hub notches a little to square the notch and widen it.

Finally it all fit together.

The propeller fits on the 1/8" shaft very tight.
I had to tap on the shaft to drive it through.
A second wheel coller is used on the back to hold the propeller tight between the two collars.

Here is a photo of the deck in plalce, the bollards sitting in place and the motor pod on the deck.

I have to make the propeller shroud and mount it to the pod.

I have other items to make to put on the deck to dress it up a littl.
A deck house.
Some sort of crane or boom. (maybe 2, one on each side)
Maybe some coiled rope here and there.
Couple of pusher stands on the bow.
Don't know until I start making these parts.

I think next will be making the electronics tray for the Rx, ESC, Rudder Servo.
Wait, it that all there is?
This will help me figure out what the deck house looks like.
I plan to bring the rudder shaft up through the deck and put a pulley above the deck.
Same with the Servo pulley.
With pulleys of different sizes, I should be able to turn the motor pod to turn just past 180 degrees.

November 24th =================================================

I made it to the hardware store this morning.

I think I got all the stainless screws and bolts needed to mount the deck frame, the deck and the pod shroud.
And I got the pvc connector to make the shroud.
With the Dremel and a 1/2" drum sander, I opened up the inside on one end for the propeller.
Then I turned the connector on the drill press by putting electrical tape on the chuck until the connector slipped on with a lot of effort.
I turned the connector outside down with an Exacto knife and files.
Then sand paper to get the outside taper.

Measured and drilled all the holes in the hull for the deck frame screws.
Still working ont he stern extension.
Currently glazes and will be sanded tomorrow.
The holes have been drilled in the frame and stern extension so I should be able to sand it, glue it and install the 2 screws. 

The deck frame pieces have been drilled, glues and screws installed on to the hull.

I did not get to the aluminum stuff for the electronics tray.

Looking at this photo, I have to go out to the shop and remove the deck.
If the glue expands up, it will glue the deck in place and I do not want that to happen.
I want the deck to be removable. (maybe some of the deck will be glued in place, later)

November 25th =================================================

In the shop, I worked on the stern extension.
Yesterday, I glazed the stern extension.
Today, I sanded it down, ready for paint.
Then I installed the rudder post through tube.
There will be more sanding around the post.

I drew out the disks needed to make the servo turn 60 degrees and the rudder 180 degrees plus.
I cut some plastic sheet pieces and started working on the two pulleys needed.
Rudder is about 1" and the servo is about 3.25".
I can modify either one to get what I need once the electronics tray is installed.

I sanded the inside and out of the hull.
This hull is clear polycarbonate or something.
I though about leaving some of the bottom unpainted for a camera.
Thought some more and decide I wouldn't do that.
So, I sanded it all and painted the inside light gray.

Painted the top 1" of the outside light gray.
The outside will be gloss black when I am done.

My plan is to put 1/2" vinyl letters on the 1" sides to cover the gray.
Then paint the black and then remove the vinyl sitckers to show the gray through the black.

Before I can do that, I had to glaze over the 8 stainless screws that went through the hull sides in to the wooden frame pieces. 
3 on each sided and 2 on the front. (in photo, bow is to the left)

I cut the aluminum sheet for the electronics tray.
I sanded off the sign paint on one side and the factory coating on the other.

I cut the hole for the servo to mount in.
I will be making the servo mount so I can adjust tension on the cable between the 2 pulleys.

Dug out the servo, Rx and ESC to see how I might arrange them on the electronics tray.
The black lines on each side are the bend lines to fit inside the frames and to screw through in to the wood frame.