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 AeroKits Sea Urchin

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PostSubject: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:31 pm

This time around i'm building the Aerokits Sea Urchin, which is now produced by Lesro ( who ave upgraded it with lazer cut parts and i expect simpler construction) and sold through Vintage model boats. 
http://www.vintagemodelboats.com/ at a quite reasonable £60 with shipping.

To finish the model will require the purchase of all the running gear so i will make effort to source what i need as and when.

This model will run a Brushed electrical system this time around as its not huge and is not a speed boat, but i'll leave options for upgrades later if required. 
There will be Minimal modifications to this project to keep it as authentic to the kit as possible, although some customization will be added to keep it unique, such as working tiller/rudder linkages and a few other details.

I'll do an honest review of the kit so you can see what sort of quality and issues you face should you decide to do one of these newly refurbed kits.

Opening the pack all seams fine and all parts are lazer cut in birch ply and some uncut sheet materials for the side and lower hull panels, a few lengths of strip for chines, and a length of brass rod for the finishing touches, a instruction booklet and i think its a full size plan, although not that it would matter the plan is detailed enough for you to work out what goes where.








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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:40 pm

Today i've built up the keel with its rebates as per the plan, and broken out the prop shaft slot.

Now i must point out that the break point for the shaft makes the entire back end very flimsy once removed until the bulkhead is fixed in place, this is due to the lazer guide lines cut in at this section, ( the instructions say to remove this much later in the build but the tags holding it in place are very thick, snapping it out is near impossible once the skin in on!) I have found a few of the lazer cuts very deep in places, such as the transom, (the markings on each part in places are all the way through sections, so filler will be needed to seal the gaps).  I've had to improvise to not snap the keel in several places between bulkheads with reinforcement 5x5 sections, which has also aided in me keeping the bulkheads square.

This isn't a huge deal once the bulkheads and chines are installed and skinned the whole thing will become rock solid, but a warning to those at this early point that the keel is very fragile until progress is made!

i should point out that the ply is a little wavy on the keel after all the pieces are joined. there isnt much you can do about that for now, i am hoping that it will straighten out as i get the lower skin on. if not sanding and filler will be needed to correct this.

the superstructure makes up a lot of the form of the boat so dry fitting in place then adjusting for square is needed then i've just run glue down the seams to make each joint permanent. 

i will also make a slight modification at this early point by adding a 5mm strip between bulkheads for the deck level to fix more securely then butting up against the cabin sections, this ensures not only strength but water tightness..  butt joints are 'ok' providing you get a good glue joint but adding extra support would not go amiss here.

as you can see from the photos is a very fast amount of progress that is simply due to a lot of the superstructure being part of the frame and support work.










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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:32 pm

More progress today, i've added the brest hook which is the under plate of the deck fitting, which is part of the gunwhale stringer.
 I've yet to fit the bottom chine stringer..

This should have been done by now, but there is some discrepancy to the plan and the way the parts fit in regards to the brest hook...

The hook according to the visual plan shows the hook butting up flush to the first bulkhead, however the parts cut slot wants to fit cleanly further forward to the bow, the 1st photo below shows the distance in the discrepancy, should i have fitted the hook tight to the bow it wouldn't have any support even with the gunwhale chine fitted now would it meet with the bulkhead as indicated, in fact i do recon that if i had fitted it this way when it comes to tapering the stringers it would have snapped clean off messing up the top completely forcing an ugly repair.

So I've followed the drawings forcing the brest hook to meet with the first bulkhead which leaves me to chamfer the over handing 5mm to allow for the skins ( which would have needed doing anyway, but i've had to remove more material then you world normally) and also to now fit the bottom stringers correctly.

This will only decrees the boats length by around 2mm if the plan is correct over the lazer cut part. however it is a lot of work to pull the ply back with 80 grit. but the end result will be much better to keep the contours correct for the skin, this also gives me a better scope to inset the chine stringers in the correct place, if i had put them on earlier before sanding the joints holding the bow in place would have become very weak with the removal of so much material.

its hard to say if this is correct or not, but i've used best judgment to to fit the parts to make what is now a solid section rather then something floating about, this may leave me an issue later when fitting the deck with material removal but its better to remove then to add if the lazer cut was incorrect!





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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:01 pm

At this point I've abandoned following the written instructions and only following the visual diagrams for a guide. 

Simple reason is it suggests fitting the hull panels after all the electrical installation is done, this sadly isnt the right way to go about building this boat and leaving the frames and chines exposed to damage at this point of which will reverentially ruin what could be a nice model. 

its not really the correct way to true up the bottom chines until you know where the side panel is to be fitted, as this also needs sanded to clean up after fitting, its far easier to do both the bottom chines and the side panel together, this way you get a perfect fit of the bottom panels, as well as not wasting your time doing it twice or sanding back more material then you should!

I have trued up the chine rails to now take the side skins only at this point using a large sanding block and 120 grit.

There is also a small issue with on the central bulkhead, that is actually to narrow either side by 2mm!

If you set the side panel to flow naturally against the hull (as you should) you find a gap opening top dead center, this will need to be addressed with some reinforcement later. Now i did check both sides ( just in case i had messed up somewhere in sanding) its Exactly the same either side, so be aware that if you do fit tight to this bulkhead the side panels will take a bow inwards, which you wont notice until you sand back the deck layer much later! giving you wavy sides ~~~

I've had to make up a template to cut the side panels out of the ply, i do suggest to make up templates rather then attempt to fit with the sheet, this will remove upcoming mistakes!

its some credit to the design and its construction that the side template fits perfectly both left and right side as well as the rear deck slots in perfectly with out the need to adjust the boat. this also means its dead square and there is no slant in the boat, a common issues when building off a base board!

I've fitted the first side panel, so it fits flush to the bow stem, leaving the 2nd panel to overlap, i do this apposed to making each panel meet dead center as you end up with a better glue surface for them as well as ensuing no gaps and a straight bow. This is also a bit of a lazy cheat but its one that aids in stopping panel;s popping off much later.

The other panel will be fitted later and may require a couple of pins to keep it pulled in place ( this is common practice )

I've also used another cheat and what i call ''3rd set of hands'', which is to actually drill a couple of small holes and screw the bow section into place ( with the aid of glue) then glue and clamp the remaining panel into place. this ensures that the panel dose not slip during gluing, aids keeping the bow square and not bowed ( by adjusting the screw tightness) they can be removed once the glues set and filled later, giving you a perfect bow and not worrying its going to pop out at any moment while the glue drys ( a really bad common occurrence!) 

Not all those methods are the 'correct' way to go so i might get a few frowns. but with out the aid of my old man's hands at these stages being 300 miles away, my lack of dedicated workshop, and the fact that making a jig for the purpose is just un-necessary waste of time for this single job, these cheats work just fine and won't effect the final outcome. 







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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:40 pm

Now both skin sides are glued on, and the bow section overlap is straight, there is a minor gap in the center, I think this is from the sanded edge, but nothing to worry about that a bit of filler can't fix but on the whole a solid joint.

I'll leave all this to cure for a full day allowing the wood to settle then i'll crack on with the bottom skin.





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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:55 am

2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup  Looking good so far.  2thumbsup 2thumbsup
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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:31 am

Hi RR,
         I must say that when building the "Fast Patrol Launch" , a boat from the same stable as this one, I did as per instruction and fitted the electrics before the sides but the bottom panels were fitted, it did make it quite easy with my fat fingers to do. I made sure all could be removed with a few screws from where the access points will be and I did remove all electrics before fitting the sides.

I guess there are many ways of skinning a cat as they say, I made sure all was square when fitting the sides and bottom panels and it all turned out fine.
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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:28 am

You're right here, there is no set way to do this part, the written instructions say to start at this point, where as my experience tells me to do things after the hull is stable and a stand can be made  for it.

Honestly if I looked at a newbies point of view when building this, leaving the sides off is a big help ( although won't help in maint or repairs) and that gives a great scense of encouragement. 

This boats cabin roof hatch is a measly 12x10cm to access I know some ppl would struggle to work in that space, and this boats floating rear deck is very low and drastically reduces what you can fit there. 

Odds of fitting a stick pack are very much none existent given the height of the floor, although there is nothing to say you can't raise it higher, this leaves very little room to fit the electronics.

My plan is to fix the motor, esc and battery into the cabin. I'm using a D type 3 blade brass prop with a 385 15v motor which in turn will run off a 12v minature lead acid battery which I'll mount to one side of the cabin( again need the floor skin on to make the mount for extra support) thus leaving just the servo to mount at the back, this also leaves me the opportunity to glue down the floating rear deck as it will no longer be needed as an access point for anything, practically stopping water getting into the hull completely.

I could have opted for a lipo at this point, but I will leave the Battey space open enough to be changed later if a brushless setup is needed.

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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:16 am

Roadrunner wrote:
Honestly if I looked at a newbies point of view when building this, leaving the sides off is a big help ( although won't help in maint or repairs) and that gives a great scense of encouragement. 

After fitting it out I did take all parts out through the hatch spaces and refitted it all again just to make sure it was easy to maintain 2thumbsup  then took it all out before fitting the sides. I know it was long winded but it has given me more confidence on the other two builds, which I do plan to continue soon.
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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:30 pm

I ran into a few issues....

after fitting the side panels the keel line was still very wavy... i've no idea why this is, everything in the boat is square and there are no twists in the hull, i can only assume its the ply....

now this caused me one major headache fitting the hulls bottom panels, in all honesty i wish i had fitted those first and slipped the sides on last... but that still wouldnt have fixed the issue i was faced with, after making up a template of one of the base panels sides, i could not get it to sit correctly into the hull ( thats the wavy keel pushing sections out as i tried bending the front in) then once i finally got clamped into place, i couldn't for the life of me get the tip of the bow to glue to the sanded chine rail, even after steaming the panel for a couple of hours setting it in place, letting it dry several times,....

by Wednesday i had had enough of literally messing around with it so i straightened out the keel with 10mm ply and a lot of clamps, then gluing a hardwood strip down down the entire length of the keel from bow to stern, then cutting the base panel out to meet the all the bulkheads accept the curve leaving me basically a full flat section to glue up which was easy....

The bow section i did try to use the off cut of the bow sheet and see if i could again get it into place this was a fruitless effort as it wasnt going to conform to the hull shape given most of the panel is needed to keep its form, so have opted to plank the front of the bow with 2 layers 4x1mm lime strip (diagonally planked, which actually makes this the strongest part of the boat right now!!!) , and then using some decent filler leveled off the bow in shape giving the correct profile and then sanding the nose of the boat to give a decent round profile ( as it should be via the drawings this is not a hard angled stem) 

I have also cut open the brest hook to allow access to inside the bow so i can reinforce the inside with some GRP filler just to be on the safe side, this will also allow me to fill the section with foam to stop the boat sinking should the worst occur.
the brest hook will then get the deck cover on later which will hide all the unsightliness of this.

fortunately this fix to get the boat right hasn't cost anything in looks or security to the boat, its just annoying me that i couldn't do something as simple with a single sheet this time.

Not a pretty fix until the paints down but its soild enough to take years of pounding and with the added hardwood stem it defiantly will be able to take a few knocks!

oh and good news got the nice shiny prop for it today in the post along with the stainless 6" prop shaft.

on another note this boat may yet leave my dining room table with a brushless setup rather then a brushed now.. possibly running a smaller 900kv 12amp esc on 2s.





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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:25 am

after my endured battle with the bow, i've now started on the stern more specifically the rudder.

There is no mountings for this part with the kit, the plan states to use brass eyes and L shaped brass to hook the rudder into place. 

Honestly thats umm yeh....... first knock and thats rudders screwed, 

MY plan......

slice out + section and insert 2.5mm stainless rod sections which hang of some spare brass grab rail (normally used for handrail)

i'll have to do a little bit of reinforcement on the weaker top section with a little bit of GRP and cloth but other then that the rudder will be a nice solid fixture which simply unbolts through the hull for maintenance. 

The rudder still needs its overlapping lamination fitted to clean it up for final sanding but you get the idea of how this linkage was created to be a strong working part of the boat. 


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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Sun Jun 26, 2016 2:32 am

2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup
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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:11 pm

yesterday i finished up the rudder it will still need some GRP tape over the pin joint edges and some filler to tidy it all up to reinforce them but they are pretty solid held in with body filler as it is, better safe then sorry..

then mounting holes drilled for the hinges to sit in.

Note here the transom has a mahogany panel fitted over the original, this was for only a single reason. the lazer etched transom wording on the inside in many spots had cut all the way through, so i oped to seal the entire back end rather then use a ton of filler to repair, this will be painted over in the end, it was in fact the only material thin enough i had scurrying around to repair this way, i would have used ply if i had a cut off in 1mm.

i can now go back and cut out the transom slot for the rudder linkage ( but will have a serious think first before committing to gaping a hole in the rear like that as well as seeing if there are better methods, the linkage for the rudder needs to be affixed to the weakest point of the rudder at the top thinned stem, this may be avoided with GRP on the rudder. a couple of hours to think before committing.

I was hoping to use the rudder tiller arm but its again to flimsy to hold up for any length of time, but will work find if mounting a mans arm to it should that be your choice in decoration.





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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:46 pm

Today I've added the false transom to the boat alon with some reinforcements, these should have been used as part of the transom hatch, however I don't like how much of the opening the hatch gives being so close to the edges of the boat, it's simply asking for water intake so I will look to alter how the hatch works to gain access to the servo.

I've looked into the workings of the rudder and have decided to remain faithful to the plan by opening up the slot and allowin a length of carbon fiber rod to me made up as the linkage, I may swap this to a stainless screw, but I'll have to wait for some parts to arrive as again using roller linkages will give me the correct motion with the servos position.

I've also fitted on the false transom the edge for the fore deck to be mounted to, I still have to added the remains around the boat to finish this job as I am still feeling as to have this deck as a fixed peice rather then removable as with the electrical setup a small 2s lipo can fit securely into the cabin thus allowing as much water proofing of the boat as possible. 

That said I will have to take a look to the rudder linkage slot to reduce water intake through this section which maybe a simple job of a peice of leather with a slot in which will act like a seal.


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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Wed Jun 29, 2016 6:38 pm

Slow progress at present as I'm waiting for additional parts to arrive, but my new tin of bridging compound arrived today so was able to start the bow reinforcement, if you haven't used this before it's very similar to using p38 just in a polyester glass fiber mix. 

Working time is about 15mins and it goes rock hard in 30, this is an alternative method to glassing the inside of a boat, I would suggest using the normal glassing process rather then this for reinforcing your boat as the penetration to the wood and cloth is more extensive then this paste.
In this case this happens to be the easiest, less messy and less expensive option. Cost of the can is about £5 and will support the small section totaly waterproofing and adding strength, it's also a good joint filler.

Right tool for the right job, this can also be used for moulding, my dad has used it for moulding detachable skegs, 'p' frames, 'a' frames  and other high maintenence areas on boats subject to salt water conditions.




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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:55 pm

My linkages have arrived today so I've made a start on getting the servo into place which requires a mock up of the linkages, this space as you can see from the photos is very small to work in so some real thought went into planning how to get the rudder working correctly, the linkage is made up of 2x m2 20mm stainless screws, the first screw runs through the rudder and onto a ball linkage, the servo arm has been drilled to accept a bronze swivel type linkage which has been re drilled to accept the other 20mm screw, it's locked off with m2 stainless lock nut then the other ball linkage screwed on the end, both balls then have been bolted together.

As you can see even after using he smallest parts available the linkage is still a tight fit but does give me a couple of mm in clearance, all I have to do is make up a servo tray/support and screw it down, then I can test the throw and make adjustments if needed.



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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:50 pm

Plan A failed.... After making up the first linkage and then a servo tray. I found the servo arm was barly giving me any throw, this turns out to be the limited space when mounting the servo upright with the longest arm I could fit.

After a bit of thought about how to extend the servos throw I opted to use the largest arm provided which mounted flush with the underside of the false transom and he linkages swapped around this gives me a more then decent throw. Now however I can no longer fix the rear deck down permantly as the servo will now have to sit under the deck this also means I need to make up the transom hatch almost to the orginal size ( something I drastically wanted to avoid doing.

Oh we'll never mind Embarassed I'm sure I can come up with something. confused



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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:18 am

Its been a couple of days since my last post, truth be told last 48 hours I've not been feeling to great so progress has been very slow.

I have however fixed the servo tray issue with a new mount, which allows the servo to hook in and out easy enough with the entire linkage attached, which means for simple maintenance of the rudder i simply have to undo the linkage screw and the two brass nuts to detach the rudder completely from the linkage and the hull.

The servo is then in turn held in place by a plate to keep the servo from pushing back which is held down by two servo screws. 

As you can see from the video it works fine, but dose need a bit of tweaking in the linkage lengths to get it to move equally port and starboard but overall i'm happy with the outcome and should prove simple and effective. ( you can also see in the video my simple method for reducing water from jumping in through the slot which is a simple piece of 2x3mm mahogany trim shaped and glued below the linkage slot)




Sadly my option to permanently mount the rear deck has had to be scrapped which although sucks in terms totally water tightening that section forcing some extra work to make up a new seal for it dose allow me to swap the electrics around a tad by giving extra space for some slim line 3s lipos rather then a tiny but heavy LA battery which was originally planned, the boat itself will remain a brushed setup for now as all the original planned parts were purchased, but besides the battery which was the change to the plan ( costing only £6 to which i can use for other projects so no real loss) I've made adjustments for the boat to be able to take a 28mm brushless outrunner at a later date should the current motor not be up to scratch ( i fail to see that will be the case as the motor is rated for 14,000 RPM @ 15v and a 3s lipo should give approx 10,545 on a D type 3 blade prop Providing the motors specs are correct)

I've also started to make up the motor mount and trays to hold the esc and receiver as well as making allowances for a brushless setup should it be changed later.

I'll finish the equipment trays over the next week and i should be in a position to add the front window section and start final sanding ready for deck laying. 

//There will be a slight break in between now and then as on the next good day i'm going to finish up the row boat with Paint as i'm tired of it sitting on the shelf looking untidy when that's all that pretty much remains to be done to it.//

photos so far

The linkage if anyone's unsure what it is, its a micro flex linkage 2.3mm to M4 thread ( 44mm long) available from ModelboatBits, which is where the adjustment can be made for fitting a brushless motor depending on the size (length) as this coupling can be swapped out to a shorter solid coupling or if its a similar short motor then the linkage can be re drilled to fit the new motor spindle.







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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:05 am

But of an update, I've finished the internal electrical placement supports and fitted the windscreen, it's been reinforced by some small lengths of 5x5mm and then screwed through, I don't think the sides can be held in by glue alone as the ply is not very flexible on two axis. I will remove the temporary screws holding the window in place and find a method of adding some extra strength down this joint, reason for this concern is the roof doubles up as a hatch so over time is can be subject to damage and a pulled joint.

Photos for now.




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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:00 pm

Quick update to where i am now, i've sanded the boats top to allow the creation of a subdeck to which the planks will glue too, and also come up with a new hatch to access the rudder screws and the linkage. 

The sub deck is from a 0.5mm sheet of ply and the rear hatch support is just a bulk of scrap material, the hatch cutout is dead central, however the support structure is a little off as i had to allow clearance for the vertical linkage its only going to be noticeable when the hatch lid is off but other then that the hatch is perfectly central. 
The deck has been glued down and requires sanding to shape before i can commence with planking.

Planking this time will not be my normal mahogany style, this time i'm doing something a little different so i hope you guys will enjoy some variety. 

have taken a short break for a day to paint the row boat.... work will resume asap.







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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:11 pm

Since my varnishing has been put on hold to finish two other models due to the pisspoor British weather, I've resumed construction of the urchin.

 So yesterday i trimmed up the subdeck edges, and put a big of filler on the bow area to fix some of the marks, dimples etc, I've found with a bit of research some of these kits do require a fair bit of filler so it makes me feel less worried that it's just me!

I've also started to mark up the center line and spacing's for the deck planking, to ensure that planks will be even each side, i'm pleased to say that the deck is perfectly symmetrical to the center line so i should have little issue when it comes to planking.

now i'll spend the day marking up a rough design of the planks onto the subdeck to give me an idea of what i'm aiming to achieve as the finished article, this time round i will be using lime and walnut, keeping the boat appearance very light rather then my usual style of mahogany, this should add a more antique look to the boat, as well as making it look more authentic for a boat of this style. given that when varnished the lime will take on a dull tanned appearance, and the walnut will simulate an oak effect.

as you all know planking is my favorite part of a boat build and really sets of the boat, so i hope you guys will enjoy this coming event as much as i will doing it!



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Last edited by Roadrunner on Fri May 12, 2017 11:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Fri May 12, 2017 12:22 am

I should have updated this a while ago but I got to the planking stage and got a bit glue happy!

So sadly you guys have missed a fair bit, which includes the planking of the deck, my decision to not paint the cabin instead I've veneered the whole thing with walnut including the working deck...

Made up a brand new roof ( since the old one really was junk IMO) and build up the rear deck with a sail boat seating style along with a door .

The whole things been given a couple of coats of epoxy to seal while I go back and work on the final hull sanding....

Get ready for the photos....








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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Fri May 12, 2017 2:28 am

Nice.  2thumbsup Thumbup 2thumbsup Thumbup 2thumbsup Thumbup 2thumbsup Thumbup 2thumbsup Thumbup
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PostSubject: Re: AeroKits Sea Urchin    Fri May 26, 2017 11:46 pm

Little more progress on the urchin.

I've given the roof a couple of coats clear coat, topped with some primer, then given a sand to ensure no imperfections. Painting will commence once I can get to town to pick up some paints.

The hulls had its final shaping done, only a few spots to fill and fair up along the keel.

I've also had to recess the rear servo hatch screw flush to the side to allow the fore deck to be removed without fouling, which has lead me to making a modification to the rudders tiller arm as this has some free movement vertically but not enough to allow me to get the deck hatch out, so I'm in progress with making the tiller arm removable so it sits in a block ( similar to old style rudders) allowing me to remove the tiller at will.

And finally I've swapped out the mfa 385 motor for something better. 1200kv brushless, another overlander ( my only trusted brand).
I've also swapped out the flexi coupling as the rubber insert is just to misaligned for smooth running at the rpm the brushless can put out for a standard UJ. £30 spent here but well worth it.

In comparison to the brushless the MFA motor requires 15v to give you a max 8000 rpm, considering I can only get a 2 or 3s Flight pack Lipo in the boat I was never going to get 8000rpm, and experience from when I built the classic using the same motor and voltages gave me Whoopsie Daisies poor performance.

Fortunately I was able to utilise the motors mount and have a spare flexi coupling for another project down the line.









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