By Ralph von Eppinghoven
Metro Marine Modelers Toronto, Canada
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Sturdy boat stands are a must for every fast electric R.C. boater. There are lots of ways to build them, but most are time consuming and tricky to build right. This article describes a technique that uses plastic foam packing blocks to make custom boat stands in about 30 minutes, at almost no cost! It is fast and easy and allows builders to spend time building boats, instead of stands!
1. REQUIRED MATERIALS:
One of the best things about these boat stands is that they cost almost nothing to make. The key materials are surplus plastic foam packing blocks that are commonly used to ship electronics, or other fragile items in cartons. Step 1 shows the various types of plastic foam packing blocks that are available. Again, these are simply packaging materials, so they are surplus and are often discarded with the cartons. These surplus blocks can be obtained at any factory, warehouse, equipment distributor, or retail electronics store once they are finished unpacking their goods. It should be noted that these are not common Styrofoam blocks. Styrofoam can be used, but this material is a stronger, more flexible type of plastic foam that stands up better to the wear and tear that the boat stand will undergo.
Step 1: Obtain plastic foam shipping blocks Step 2: Cut selected material
to desired shape
2. ASSEMBLING THE BASE SHAPE:
Once the foam block(s) has been selected, it may be necessary to cut the blocks to the desired size of base for the boat stand. The size of the base is determined by the overall length and width of the boat hull. Basically, cut the foam blocks and re-assemble them to form a rectangular base that is about 2” wider than the hull (if possible) and about ¾ of the overall length of the hull, excluding running hardware. It may be necessary to stack the blocks one on top of another to make the base tall enough to hold the hull and provide enough height for the rudder not to be touching the ground. The easiest way to cut the foam blocks is to use a serrated edge knife, such as a common bread knife. Step 2 shows the blue foam packing block cut apart and re-assembled to form a rectangular base. Note the two layers of blocks at the front, middle, and rear of the base that will provide the required height to support the hull.
Of course, in some instances it may be possible to find a foam block that already has the rectangular dimensions required for the base of the boat stand. In that case, proceed directly to Step 4.
3. GLUING THE BOAT STAND PIECES:
After the foam pieces have been cut to size, they must be glued together to form a rectangular base. The simplest and quickest way to do this is to use a hot glue gun and apply the hot glue to the foam pieces and assemble the blocks. This is very quick since the glue sets immediately after it has cooled down. If a hot glue gun is not available, construction adhesives used for Styrofoam wall insulation can be used. These glues typically set overnight so it is a slower process. Step 3 shows the assembled rectangular boat stand base.
Step 3: Glue foam blocks together Step 4: Trim stand to fit mono or hydro hull
using hot glue gun
4. TRIMMING THE SHAPE OF THE BOAT STAND:
Once the rectangular base has been built, it is necessary to trim the blocks to fit the shape of the hull. An easy way to do this is to make a paper template of the shape of the transom and tape this to the rear of the stand. Then trim the base to the shape of the temple using the serrated knife. The front of the boat stand needs to be trimmed to match the curve of the hull. This typically means making the trimmed “vee” narrower at the bow end relative to the stern end of the boat stand. The trimming process usually takes a few cuts to get the shape just right. Be careful not to remove too much material – it is easier to trim off more than re-glue a removed piece. Step 4 shows the trimmed stand for a large monohull model. It is recommended to trim the corners off the front of the stand to make is easy to know which end is the bow end. Steps 5 and 6 show the finished boat stand for the monohull. Note the snug fit of the hull into the stand and the required clearance for the rudder.
Step 5: Hull securely supported by stand Step 6: Ensure proper height for rudder/strut
If the boat stand is for a hydroplane model, the trimming is usually easier since the hydro has a flat bottom. The trimming usually consists of cutting the width of the foam base to match the sponson width at the bow and the transom width at the stern of the boat stand. Step 7 shows various FE boats and the different types of foam block boat stands used to support them.
Step 7: A fleet of FE boats all safely riding in their foam boat stands
Go ahead and experiment with different shapes and sizes of foam boat stands. They are easy to make and cost almost nothing, so give them a try.
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