RC Submarines – the high bar
Yes, I will advise you that if you are new to boating, or scratchbuilding, don’t start with a submarine. Start with Scuffy if you wish.
I also need to note that my two subs have unique ballasting systems in them. I haven’t seen any model submarines around with the systems I use but that does not mean the others aren’t good.
In fact I am probably the odd one out, and people generally go for simpler methods of ballasting their boats. That being said, the systems I use have multiple systems in them and you will find out how to build pump in/out systems, and how to build the valves and pumps that support them. You will also have a crash course in building pistons and also trim tanks, the latter of which are very easy to make. The issue then is that my systems have all of these components and then work best with an Arduino to automate them. You don’t have to do all this. On the Nautilus I do have a video (part 4) where we discuss simpler methods, but I have to admit, I like the way I build them. The Arduino can be simpler though. It does have a script that works with a depth sensor for depth keeping which is magic, and these systems are like hens teeth to buy! The whole addition of Arduino to boats has cost me about $40. Most of that is the sensor!
Summary of a build
The series of videos below are a must see before starting a sub. Any sub. The first summarises the process from beginning to end. This is the result of hard won experience and the thing is you build the boat, and realise you are only at step one. As long as you are prepared…
The various weights and ratio’s of the subs, and a comparison.
This video describes in detail ‘how’ the automation works and how to control the boat via the transmitter. I think it is bloody brilliant. By that I mean that in twelve months I have not even thought about changing the configuration.
A description of preparing for a sail. This is more about giving some more logic as to why the boat is constructed as it is, highlighting the need for the boat to be well maintained in downtime. Everything needs to breath and dry out during down time.
On this site I go through two complete builds, including the rewire of the U boat to include the Arduino routines. It is all there, including the frustration and shock of finding out that I need to completely reconfigure the trim if the boat is to work. It happens like this with scratchbuilt boats.
So: The build log and instructional tutorials are all about giving you ideas. I can’t imagine anyone just copying what I have done, but if you wish to do so, let me know and we can exchange notes. My next challenge is to make an easier submarine build but I just like all the bells and whistles. Maybe in the near future. I have a colleague who builds boats and sells them and he and I will be talking about a simple boat at some stage.
Confidence to start
If you follow what I have done you will have so much more confidence with what-ever build you wish to complete. Also, drop me a line!
The pic to the left is of my old Nautilus, cruising under the surface in a very deep green pond. On its first static dive here it went down like a rock and I brought it backup using the piston, but not before it nearly disappeared into the green. Not trying top put you off, but be prepared for nerve pills, and cold sweats if you take up this hobby.