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Making the Bancroft Model Ships

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  • Making the Bancroft Model Ships

    Be in awe. These model boats involve the use of tools that no one would imagine being applied to hobby grade models a decade ago.

    Now, if you're going to pop out a hundred thousand plastic model kits, you buy some good injection molds and do it right. Of course, you better be right in your design, because you're not going to make mods to those tools!

    But what if you want to make 50 or a hundred model battleships? At about 4 feet long each? Covered in complicated superstructures and loaded with turrets and AA mounts and search lights and boats and stanchions etc etc... all the little fittings that keep scratch builders busy for years on a single build, and drive lesser mortals to avoid the hobby altogether? Well, you just can't afford it. Instead, you offer a box full of balsa blocks, and instructions on how to carve them, and what size nails to use for gun barrels. Yikes, I'm glad THOSE days are past!

    But kit makers now have tools available that allow for these short-run models to be made economically. Take the model tugboat I built recently:

    1. The hull and deck (and EVERYTHING else!) were designed in CAD. The mold master was carved out by CNC machines, hand finished, and used as a plug to make a short run fiberglass mold- pretty typical, except most cottage-shop suppliers offering f/g hulls would build that master by hand. But in this case, the hull and deck are precisely trimmed and fitted together so you don't have to... and if you've ever built a ship model on a typical "open" f/g hull, you'll see the value in this step.

    2. But those fancy bulwarks, fore and aft? They're something special. Using the same CAD design, they were printed as masters on a huge industrial 3D printer, 60cm square platform, don't ask the cost for that machine. The masters were then used to make low volume rubber molds. You can do this at home, pouring resin into the silicone molds on your bench top... but these are made in an industrial shop that can handle much more complex molds than you'd want to deal with, and can turn out the parts in a hurry. The bulwarks were then cemented into precisely molded pockets in the f/g hull, for a robust and super-detailed assembly.

    3. That same low volume process was used to make the cabin structures- 3DP master to rubber mold to complex detailed part in your model. Such parts COULD be injection molded in styrene, but the mold cost would sink the project.

    4. But since you have these big 3D printers, why not use them to make kit parts directly? Well sure why not! My kit tug had loads of complicated printed parts that no way could have been molded, such as fire monitor risers, with hollow and twisty internal passages.


    All in all, I'm elated to see these technologies being used to build high-end but low volume model ships and boats, making quality models available to everyone.

    .





  • #2
    Well Hells Bells Pat with posts like this you could turn us fixed wing folk into boaties in no time! I am truly astounded by the level of craftsmanship and detail in these models. Would LOVE to see a tour of the Bancroft factory like we did with Freewing a bit back. Truly amazing and good to have you here!
    My YouTube RC videos:
    https://www.youtube.com/@toddbreda

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    • #3
      Great post, Pat!

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      • #4
        Here's another example from the same maker, the 1:50 scale Polish SAR boat "Halny". The entire model appears to be 3d printed, with details and finish that rival anything from an injection mold... with zero tooling costs. And that means the model and many more like it can be made available, as opposed to not at all if injection molding tooling had to be procured.

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        3 pieces- hull, deck+bulwarks, cabin

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        Struts are accurate for this class


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        Includes details to accurately mount the powertrain


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        Lots of fine detail "molded" in


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        Running hardware and printed details... there's also a sheet of PE

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        • #5
          patmat2350, Do you know what material/resin is used for the prints? Best, LB
          I solemnly swear to "over-celebrate" the smallest of victories.
          ~Lucky B*st*rd~

          You'll never be good at something unless you're willing to suck at it first.
          ~Anonymous~

          AMA#116446

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          • #6
            Made in a true SLA printer (steered laser from above, platform sinking into the pool of photopolymer resin)... material is "ABS-like", a term used for several commercially available resins.

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            • #7
              SLA printed models have absolutely come a long way in recent years or even months. It seems every couple of weeks there's another detail kit or greeblie available to further detail scale models! The lure of zero tooling costs is extremely appealing, too.
              Live Q&A every Tuesday and Friday at 9pm EST on my Twitch Livestream

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              • #8
                Nice! Am looking forward to seeing more kits like this.

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                • #9
                  patmat2350 , Alpha, Very cool and I'm looking forward to finding an affordable SLA Printer. Best, LB
                  I solemnly swear to "over-celebrate" the smallest of victories.
                  ~Lucky B*st*rd~

                  You'll never be good at something unless you're willing to suck at it first.
                  ~Anonymous~

                  AMA#116446

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Really nice post. Building ship model kits is my hobby.
                    Wooden Ship Kits | Wooden Model Ship Kits

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Andrew77 View Post
                      Really nice post. Building ship model kits is my hobby.
                      A7, Welcome to "The Squawk". Great folks here, good advice, and the occasional giggle, too. Glad you're on board. Best, LB
                      I solemnly swear to "over-celebrate" the smallest of victories.
                      ~Lucky B*st*rd~

                      You'll never be good at something unless you're willing to suck at it first.
                      ~Anonymous~

                      AMA#116446

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Can you tell me what adhesive they use to put the little marker lights on the Armadale on what looks like to be piano wire. I am going to remove them and put working lights, but there is no plate. It’s directly adhered to those little spikes, that may be wire I’m not sure

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