Can paper models float?

Discussion in 'Radio Control & Other Propulsion Methods' started by mikebalcos, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    I have knowledge in amateur electronics that have enabled me to enjoy making mobile robots. I'm also a modeller, and I now plan to make a RC boat. Currently, the paper model boats are getting my interest. Is there a way to make them water proof? Or should I make use of foam instead?
  2. zot

    zot Member

    Although I haven't tried it for myself, you can make a paper hull that will work in water. I remember uncovering a WWII era Popular Mechanics or Popular Science article on building a seaworthy paper hull while doing some research at our public library. It was made by placing strips of adhesive paper over a wooden form followed by a shellac coating. The coating is most likely the key. I think as long as the paper is sealed well it should work.
  3. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Thanks. :) I'll try acrylic epoxy spray paint and then plug holes. If that works, I'll be the happiest man in the universe. ;)
  4. trekman1017

    trekman1017 Member

    you might try coating it in wax
  5. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Thanks for the wax approach. :) I'm a bit clueless, though, on how to use the said approach. What kind of wax should I use? And how is it applied(by brush, aerosol, etc.)?
  6. trekman1017

    trekman1017 Member

    ive never done this, but is seems logical. ids say parafin melted down and applied by dipping the parts u wish to seel in it or you could try a brush
  7. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker

    Tried soaking with superglue yet?
  8. Padre

    Padre Guest

    There is a thread, I think on the German site, that the builder made his remote controlled. I also think that it is in the painting and sealing. Have to add weights so that it does not turn turtle.
  9. Ronson2k3

    Ronson2k3 Member

    That would be something to consider to would be the ballast thing. You have to make sure it doesn't float to well.. That is out of the water. You would need to add ballast to make sure it sits down in the water. I'm thinking that perhaps a good approach to this idea and it seems like a cool one to me. Would to make the HULL out of something other then paper. The rest of ship could be made of paper (card). I would perhaps just to save all the aggravation make the hull out of something else.. You could then add ballast to get the ship to balance correctly in the water.

    Real ship weighs well in most cases several thousand tons so displacement is what holds it up above the water. Compared to a ship made of paper weighing in at maybe a few ounces. This is perhaps being held up by mere surface tension.

    So you need to get ship into the water to get it's control and propulsion to work and not to far that it is below the water line.. This will take a bit of work to get hull to sit right in the water. Once you have that though the ounces of paper on top (superstructure) will not effect the placement in the water all that much if any..

    I've seen a few articles on making a fiberglass hull using foam insulation. Depending on the size of the model it could be worth it to do it that way. You can check the RC boat forums for more info on that..

    I found this rather spectacular RC Fireboat model. I remember from years ago when I really wanted to build an RC Boat. It was nearly what I was hoping to build, a Tug. Take all the fire fighting equipment off and it's a modern harbor tug. In any case you will see a rather easy way to make a fiberglass hull. Lost Foam Method.

    That site and RC boat build still gives me chills to see how he did it. Straight up scratch build. Working water spray, on board video and several other features make this an RC boat for the record books.
  10. dkaniel

    dkaniel Member

    That Fireboat would be an excellent model whether done in paper, plastic or wood!
  11. zot

    zot Member

    I just found this Japanese site that shows some 1/200 paper R/C ships. It gives a brief description of how they were built.
    I linked to the origional Japanese page so it can be translated to the language of your choice.
  12. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Q: "Can paper models float?"

    Attached Files:

  13. tjblundell

    tjblundell Member

    Try using tin foil-many layers of it
  14. zot

    zot Member

    Cool photo! Unfotunately he forgot his paper pirate hat and sword:).
  15. Elliott

    Elliott Senior Member

    Ah, but he is wearing his paper PFD. :p
  16. gmontag451

    gmontag451 New Member

    Argh. I wrote a nice post and it didn't go through and I lost it. So I'll sum up:

    Check out this book, it may not be what you are looking for but it's very cool. The full-color pages are made of plastic or a paper-plastic hybrid so you can actually float them. Use water-proof glue! I haven't made any yet but they are very nice.

    The Amazing Book of Paper Boats: 18 Boats to Fold and Float by Jerry Roberts.
  17. Renaud

    Renaud Member

    seaworthy ships

    See on how "Fridulin" is making his US battleship Maine since 2006 or 2007 now. One photo shows his R/C boat in a inflatable swimming pool, and this was some months ago. Sure, his making process works out well.

    Give me your e-mail on my PM box, and I'll send you a full report on how to make water resistant boats, I downloaded on four years ago, along with a translation to English.
  18. redwolf28386

    redwolf28386 Member

    I made an radio controlled ship a few years back that was card and balsa. It had balsa formers and bottom and the hull sides and deck were card. After I finished building I sprayed a light coat of clear sealer(walmart spray can) and it lasted for 2 summers....
  19. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Thanks, everyone. :) All this input gave me this idea:

    I'll be building a paper boat from the waterline up. And then I'll be cutting some foam for the part below the waterline. I'll attach and seal the two, put 2 motors on the foam with shafts leading to the propellers(this will be diagonal so the motors are above the waterline, but the propellers are below). I'll then install a wireless interface I used in a previous robotics projects. Each motor can be controlled to move the boat in any direction.

    I think this can be done. :) What do you think?
  20. Richard Noakes

    Richard Noakes New Member

    I have been building detail scale large radio controlled warships from card for years.
    The trick is to complete the model in the green state then paint on varnish from a tin you can get from any hardware shop.
    Of course, card kits which you purchase are made from thin card and it is necessary to increase the thickness of the card internally, by glueing on 2mm card which you can buy from craft shops.
    Anyway, building r/c models, especially of ships, is a process which it is best if I describe from start to finish, so if anyone wants the details, let me know.
    I think I have the construction procedure for a Clyde Puffer which I did many years ago, which I could scan and load up for free download, however my home is being renovated at the moment and I won't be able to do anything for a couple of weeks, as my files are in temporary storage.

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