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USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

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USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:20 am

Hi all!

I just joined the club and thought I would share a project I am starting, scratch building USS Greenling (SSN-614). This will be my first ever scratch build attempt so it’s likely to be a long bumpy ride. It will also be a long one as I am both busy and am in the middle of converting a 350 scale USS Missouri to USS Wisconsin.

The inspiration for the model comes from my friend, Travis Coley, who served on Greenling in the early 70’s. I have looked at several options, the 1/700 JAG WL kit, the 1/700 OKB Grigorov Thresher class kit, which I bought, and the 1/350 scale Micro-Mir Thresher, that I am considering buying. I first considered a diorama with USS Fulton (AS-11), but Travis wasn’t too crazy about the Fulton so he didn’t really want a dio with her. I then considered recreating an 11” x 17” print of the Permit/ Thresher class subs, in 3D using models. I still have not ruled this out, but I am really getting into the idea of scratch building Greenling so the 3D print may have to go on the back burners.

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The option to scratch build Greenling became a reality when I acquired a good set of plans for Permit. Even though Greenling is 13.75’ longer than Permit, and has a larger sail, I think the Permit plans, with some modifications can be used to build a decent Greenling. The advantage of scratch building is that I can make it whatever size I want. Travis has indicated that he would like the model to be about 2’ long. If I build it in 1/150 scale, it will be just under 2’ long, which I think is a good size, not too big, not too small. The disadvantage of scratch building is that I think it will be a lot of work and I will definitely be doing something I have never done before. Still, I think it will be a fun challenge.

So, here is what I have done so far…

I started by importing the Permit drawings into AutoCad, and scaling them. I then traced the “Hull Sections” and copied them to the corresponding stations on the plan view. The alignment was good, so I traced the hull and sail outlines as well.

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Since Greenling is 13.75’ longer than Permit, I then “stretched” the Permit hull by clipping it just aft of the sail and moving the end to 292.25’. I then adjusted the hull sections as needed and reconnected the hull outline. I left the sail as it was for now.

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The next thing I did was import the Thresher/Permit print into AutoCad and scale it. I then copied the tracings of Permit and Greenling over the top of the corresponding sub on the print. Note that the length of Thresher matches pretty well, even though the alignment is slightly off due to the print not being square. The sail is spot on, as is the Thresher, which is really encouraging.

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Now, since whoever created the print got the ship lengths correct and got the sail on Permit right, I assumed that they also got the sail on Greenling right. I therefore traced the sail on the Greenling print, and copied it to the Greenling plan.

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The next thing I did was make templates for the “spine” and “ribs” for the hull. The spine has 1/8” slots cut in it at the hull section stations, to accommodate the ribs. Similarly, the ribs have 1/8” slots in them to fit onto the spine.

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I’m not yet sure what material I will use for this, but it could be either 1/8” plastic or wood. I am also still unsure what material I will use for the shell, but I am currently leaning toward styrene.

More to follow soon…
rdutnell
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:34 am

UPDATE 2
With the preliminary hull design completed, I turned my attention back to the sail. The only dimension I have found other than on the plans is the height, which was 13.5’ on Thresher/Permit, and 16’ on Greenling. I also learned that the width was increased, but I don’t know by how much. I assumed the increase was more akin to the height increase than the length increase. Using the sail dimensions obtained from the print, I copied and scaled a picture Tom Dougherty sent me of Gato (SSN-615), that had the same hull and sail configuration as Greenling, and overlaid the traced sail. The alignment was great, so I used it to determine the sail plane dimensions and location. For comparison between the two sails I also overlaid Permit’s sail (in yellow).
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Now comes the fun part…

A friend of mine has access to a stereolithography (SLA) system and said that he could use it to make the small parts for me. Too bad he can’t do the hull too. ;o) The SLA method uses an ultraviolet laser that solidifies a thin liquid photopolymer resin. After one layer is solidified the SLA elevator platform is lowered 0.05 mm - 0.015 mm (0.002” – 0.006”) and the process is repeated. This continues until the whole part is completed. The advantage of this is that the parts can be generated straight from 3D AutoCad drawings, which I have recently learned to do. My buddy said that I could do the sail with the planes as one part, or do them separately and assemble them.

I decided to do it as one piece and really had fun doing it and I think the sail looks pretty good as you can see in the photos below. The last picture shows a comparison with Gato. You can also see where it’s hollow as I designed it to be 1/8” thick.
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Stay tuned, there’s still more to come…
rdutnell
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:30 am

UPDATE 3

I met with my friend with access to the SLA system and he told me that he could probably do the whole ship if I divided it into smaller pieces, and recommended that I construct the entire ship and then “slice” it. So that is what I did, and boy was it fun. In the pictures below, parts in red are removable and will be SLA’ed separately. The blue is one solid piece that I will subdivide. The last picture shows the aft end “exploded” so the detail of the parts can be seen. The upper rudder is out of view.

Enjoy!

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I know that it seems more like a virtual build at this point, but that makes it even better, sine I’m really getting to build 2 models.

CHEERS!!!
rdutnell
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby salmon » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:43 am

Wow, great work there! Talk about jumping in with both feet. I really enjoy the explanation and the thought process for areas you are not sure of.
If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:29 am

UPDATE 4
Thanks Salmon! I have a tendency to do that. Sometimes they get wet. :o)

I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Here’s the latest update, although it took me longer to post than I thought it would, both because I got busy, and because I struggled a bit with AutoCad on some of the parts. In any event, it was a lot of fun taking apart the “ship” that I had put together with one set of pieces to generate another set of pieces so that I can build another “ship”.

I started by segmenting the ship into seven segments, because my buddy said that he could do parts up to 4” long. With seven segments the largest piece is 4.0” x 2.5” at 1/150 scale. Based on advice I was given that 1/144 is a more common scale, I’ve decided to build her in 1/144 as opposed to 1/150, so the largest piece will be 4.2” x 2.6”, which is a little long but I don’t think 4” was an exact limit. If it is, it shouldn’t be too hard to change. There are 13 parts, with 3 of them being duplicates.

I should perhaps mention that my buddy said that the parts couldn’t be solid, that they had to be hollow. We agreed that 1/8” (0.125”) would be sufficient. Increasing in size to 1/144 increases this value to 0.13” when I scale the model as is, which I will do, because to do otherwise would mean essentially redoing it. Again though, this small increase in length shouldn’t be a problem.

Below are pix of the parts, beginning with an exploded view of the model with the individual parts identified, followed by close-ups of the individual part so the detail of each part may be seen. Having put her together, I had to “paint” her, so the last few images show her “painted” in the proper colors. All of the design was done using AutoCAD Civil3D. The “Realistic Visual Display” option (using default settings) was used in all of the images.

After segmenting the ship and hollowing it out I decided to provide a means to align and provide support to the pieces. I did this by adding a ½” wide strip at the ends of each piece, in which I “drilled” 3/8” holes through the center of to accommodate a 3/8” rod down the middle of the hull, which may not be necessary. I also “drilled” small holes on the aft side strips and put slightly smaller extrusions on the forward side strips for aligning the parts readily. I put two on each side, but probably could get away with one.

Because of size restrictions, the sail had to be a separate part, so I cut it out and extruded some small knobs, which fit into holes drilled in a plate I attached inside the hull. The knobs probably aren’t necessary, but they look cool.

The tail section and to a lesser degree the diving planes took the most time to complete due mostly to me not taking the right approach to doing it. An interesting thing about creating parts in AutoCad is that there is usually more than one way to make a part, and some are better than others. In hindsight, there was a far easier way than the way I did it, but such is life.

I put the “painted” model over a light blue background and I think it looks pretty cool. I’m sure if I knew how, I could change the defaults to make it look better, but the intent here was not to build a virtual model, but to create the parts for a real model.

ENJOY!
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rdutnell
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:12 am

UPDATE 5
Sometimes one picture can change everything. Such is the case when I found this pic:
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It intrigued me, so using the picture, a diameter of 15’, as reported on the same site as the picture, and a width of 2.66’, determined from the plans I have, I made one in AutoCad, and it came out really good.
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I had to put it on the “painted” ship too, and I’m a likin’ it.Image
CHEERS!!!
rdutnell
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby Vepr » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:54 pm

Excellent work on figuring out the sail dimensions of the later Permits! :D I really like the model that you made of its screw, but I do have one suggestion. On the scythe-bladed screws that the Thresher and all subsequent US subs had, the blades are swept back slightly, giving the screw an overall "cup" shape. Your drawing shows the blades not sweeping back at all. Here's what I mean, illustrated visually:

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This is a minor issue, but I thought you'd like to know. Also, the mushroom anchor is missing from your diagrams, but I don't know if you've gotten to that yet. Here's a picture of that in case you need it:

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Hope this helps,

Jacob
Under Construction
1/350 Yasen
1/350 Delta IV
1/350 Oscar II
1/350 Skipjack
1/350 Sturgeon
1/350 Permit
1/350 Flight I Los Angeles
1/350 Flight III Los Angeles
1/72 Type VIIC
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:08 pm

AWESOME VEPR!!! THANKS!!!

I really appreciate te information, even if it does mean that I will have to redo it, although I may be able to simply trim it. I know one thing, and that is that the geometry with it swept back is a lot more complex than what I have. Oh well, I have become used to changing things that I have already done because of information I gain after the fact, becaue my other project is modifying a USS Essex to USS Bennington.

As for the mushroom anchor, and all of the finer details, I haven't gotten to that point yet. I'm going to have my buddy make a couple of pieces before I go much farter, but when I get there I will surely appreciate your advice on what all I should add.

CHEERS!!!
rdutnell
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:52 pm

UPDATE 6
Thanks to Jacob (AKA Vepr) I learned that I didn’t quite have the screw correct, so I redid it. Here are some images of the new one together with the drawing Jacob sent for comparison.
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It’s not perfect, but it’s better than it was.

Happy Trails!!!
rdutnell
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby Vepr » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:11 pm

That looks awesome! Very nice.
Under Construction
1/350 Yasen
1/350 Delta IV
1/350 Oscar II
1/350 Skipjack
1/350 Sturgeon
1/350 Permit
1/350 Flight I Los Angeles
1/350 Flight III Los Angeles
1/72 Type VIIC
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:27 am

Thanks Jacob,
I owe it all to you for taking the time to tell me the first one was wrong.
rdutnell
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:16 pm

UPDATE 7

The first 2 parts were manufactured on the SLA on Tuesday and completed Wednesday. We decided to start with Parts 6 and 7, because Part 6 is the most intricate part and Part 7 matches with it. This will allow us to test both the detail provided and the fit between the parts. My buddy took a video of it on his i-phone while they were being made and sent it to me. I did a screen capture of it while one of the pieces was being zapped by the UV to solidify the liquid resin. The blue glow on the right side is the part being zapped.
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Unfortunately, my buddy had to go out of town, and won’t be back until Friday, so I have to wait until then for pictures and for him to mail them to me. :( Even if the test pieces prove to be perfecto, they will need to be redone, for two reasons. First, the details have not been applied to the surface yet, so we knew before the test that they would have to be remade. Second, I changed the design.

When I did the original design I was thinking that I needed to have a spine down the middle of the hull to strengthen it, so I incorporated plates on the ends of the pieces to accommodate the rod I was planning to use for the spine. I put tabs on the plates for radial alignment. After further thought, I decided that the spine wasn’t necessary. My buddy not knowing the thought process behind the design asked me why I designed it the way I did and offered a better way to connect them. Because it is a better design, since the spine is not needed, I redesigned the model to incorporate my buddy’s recommendations.

For those of you with AutoCad experience, here’s a little tip. When making the hull pieces in the initial design, I made two pieces, one smaller than the other, and used the “Subtract” command to make the pieces. In the new design, I used the “Shell” command, which my buddy says is a much cleaner way to do it.

On the new design, I eliminated the plate and modified the rims of the hull pieces so that they slip inside of each other like you see in some pipes, with one end being “male” and the other being “female”. To align the pieces radially I incorporated keyways. The male and female parts of the keys are the same size, so I don't know if they will mate or not. I may need to make the males slightly smaller, say 95%? I won’t know the answer to this question until we perform our next test.

I also changed the way the sail attaches to the hull. When I redid the sail I made it taller than it needed to be, so I could more easily attach it to the hull. When I was making the hull part that mates to it, I put it in place and subtracted it. When I then moved it and saw the nice cavity it created in the hull, I just decided to mate the parts by simply sliding the sail into the cavity. Again though, they are the same size, so I don't know if they will mate or not.

Enjoy!
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So, to this point, things are going well and I am having a blast doing it. Like I have said before, It’s like playing a computer game and scratch building a model at the same time.

On another note, it has been suggested that when I finish I could use the parts to make resin molds for making multiple parts and selling them as kits. Is there any interest out there? Would anyone like to have a 1/144 scale resin model kit of USS Greenling (SS-614)? If so, let me know.

CHEERS!!!
rdutnell
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:51 pm

UPDATE 8 – 12/7/2012

HIP! HIP! HOORAY! My buddy sent pictures of the completed parts today and they came out great. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting the plastic to be opaque. It gives a weird effect, but I think it looks cool.

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Since this test came out so well, I’m going to go ahead and start adding detail, starting with the Mushroom Anchor. If anyone has any pictures or advice, it is most welcome.

CHEERS!!!
rdutnell
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby salmon » Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:56 am

That is really spectacular! That clear finish is cool effect.
If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.
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Re: USS Greenling (SSN-614) Scratchbuild

Postby rdutnell » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:54 pm

UPDATE 9
Thanks Salmon! It sure is coming together batter than I had anticipated thus far.

Anyway, the first step in detailing went well, as I have added the Mushroom Anchor. This essentially involved drawing a sphere of the correct size and putting it in the right location. Once again, the plans came in real handy. In the attached images, the Mushroom Anchor is green, the rudders are cyan, the diving planes are yellow, the screw is orange, the screw shaft is red, and the hull is a shade of blue.
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The next things I am going to try to add are the so called Zincs (see below), whatever the heck they are.
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Using the plans once again, I was able to locate the Zincs (Magenta in the image below), but I haven’t seen a picture of them yet, so I don’t know if they are supposed to be recessed (I assume) or raised from the surface.
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Does anybody know what they are for and/or what they look like? Pictures would me mucho appreciated!
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