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How to CNC machine an RC model submarine

Anderboat creates scale model submarines that can really 'sail'

While for real size shipbuilding DeskProto might not be a suitable tool (as this involves mainly 2D sheet metal cutting), for creating model ships it is perfect, as shown in this example project.
Anderboat Models in Benicia (CA, USA) is the company of military ship modeler Tom Anderson, who's specialty is creating scale model submarines that can really 'sail'. And sailing includes all options: the amazing thing is that these radio control ('r/c') model boats can indeed submerge during sailing !!

For modeling the boat hulls Tom uses Rhino (in his own words he is 'a Rhino fanatic'), for toolpath calculation DeskProto and for machining a ShopBot milling machine.

The actual boat
Rhino screenshot
Left a Russian Victor III submarine, right the hull of the Victor in Rhino.

The boat hulls are machined from solid blocks of wood or mdf, using the ShopBot's rotation axis to machine the hull from all sides. As the hull needs to be in two halves anyway (in order to reach the inside parts) it could also be machined in two separate halves on a three axis machine, either port and starboard or top and bottom.

DeskProto screenshot with toolpaths
Machining the hull
Left DeskProto toolpaths (rough), right machining the sub's hull on the Shopbot.

One of the exciting applications of these model submarines is movie creation. Anderboat's Los Angelas class r/c submarine Columbia was used in the Keanu Reeves movie "Sweet November", released in Februari 2002. In this film the model is not used to simulate a real size submarine for special effects: instead it is used as a model submarine for some bad guy's plan.
More information on this project can be found in the article Sweet November by Tom Anderson, published in modeling magazine The SubCommittee Report. You can download the file Sweet November article.pdf (400 Kb): it makes fascinating reading stuff !!

The resulting boat model
Tom, Keanu and the Columbia
Left a Swedish Sjoormen class sub, right the Columbia with Tom Anderson and Keanu Reeves

The photo below shows an actual working r/c submarine model of the Swedish Sjoormen (Sea Serpent) class boat. Boat was on patrol in the casting ponds of the San Francisco Casting Club in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California. Every year a model event takes place there, called the Military Model Ship Regatta. It is jointly sponsored by the SubCommittee and the San Francisco Model Yacht Club.

The submarine in the water
Swedish Sjoormen (Sea Serpent) class boat on patrol in San Francisco.

In case you are interested in this type of modeling:
Modeler's associations are: the SubCommittee (USA) and the Sonar e.v. (Germany).
Commercial vendors are: Scale Shipyard and SubTech. Both vendors include Anderboat models in their product range.