In my last post, I showed how the Model Shipways Bluenose kit’s provided laser-cut pieces for the main rail at the bow and stern didn’t fit. After reviewing everything, I think the pieces are fine, but I’m having a problem because of how my hull differs slightly from the plans.
Today I worked on making my own custom bow and stern pieces for the main rail, tailored specifically to my physical hull.
Since I’m primarily a tech guy, my goal was to get the actual hull size/shape into the computer, then use software to draw properly sized templates. I’m sure there are many ways to get the actual size/shape into the computer, but I came up with a fairly simple method.
I started by putting some double-sided tape on the bow and stern.
Then I stuck some card stock (really heavy paper) on top of the tape.
Using a fresh knife blade, I trimmed this down to fit the shape of the hull. I only focused on the outside edge. The inside was left with some extra card stock.
Once this was done, I pulled the card stock off the hull, leaving the tape on the card stock, and stuck it to some paper. Next I used my dividers to transfer the various dimensions onto the cut-out. Since the outside shape was accurate, I used that as a reference.
I repeated the process for the stern. This gave me a sheet with the outline of the bow and stern.
Next I scanned this into the computer. I scanned at 300 DPI (and noted that, since I need to maintain the same DPI throughout the process to ensure I stay in scale). This gave me a digital ‘plan’ to work from, showing the actual shape of the bow and stern.
I also scanned in the appropriate parts of the plans, so I would have 300 DPI versions of the laser-cut pieces from the kit.
I imported all this into Adobe Photoshop, and added the drawings and laser-cut outlines into a single document. The first step was to verify that I see the same sizing/alignment problems here, which should verify that I have everything at the right size (and accurately reflecting the problem I saw on the actual hull.
Then I carefully repositioned the laser-cut pieces, cut them up, and re-built them in the software so they fit my ship. I was careful to keep the ‘width’ of the rail the same ( I didn’t scale that). Once I had these to my liking, I cleaned them up, and looked at how my new and old pieces compared.
Once I had everything looking good, I turned off all the extra layers and created a clean ‘template’. I printed this at 300 DPI (same as what I used to scan).
Before I start hacking away at wood, I decided to cut up the page and use the paper templates to verify everything looks good.
I added the bow and stern pieces, using the paper templates.
Next I printed off another copy of the templates, and stuck it on some 1/16″ basswood sheets using double-sided tape. I did a couple quick cuts to make the pieces more manageable.
Then I started cutting! There’s actually a number of very straight edges here, so I used a 6″ ruler and my X-acto blade to get those straight. Once the pieces were cut, I did some quick sanding while I still had the templates attached.
Once I had everything cleaned up, I removed the paper templates, and was able to compare my custom pieces to the kit’s laser cut pieces.
Final step is to test-fit the actual pieces on the ship.
I’m not gonna say “perfect”, but those are pretty perfect.
I’m still days (or more) away from actually installing the rail, so I’ll wait to do final cleanup on these pieces until then.