Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A New Project

 It seems that I have started yet another project.  Actually it's my son's idea so he gets all the blame.  With robotics season over until next September, Sean was going through a little bit of robotic withdrawal.  Then inspiration seized him!  Why not combine his two favorite past times: Sailing and Robotics and build, wait for it.... a Robotic Sailboat!  To be honest, I was sold after the words "Hey Dad, let's build a" but it seems like a fun "off-season" project for Sean and some of his team mates.

We needed a pretty big model to allow us to build in all the electronics and went with the R/C model "Independence" from Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) a boat building outfit located in Annapolis.  I've built a few of the 1:1 CLC kits and really like their products.  As you can see in the picture above the kit is mostly a bunch of wood and some plans.  The finished boat is 48 inches long and the mast is five feet high.  That's a pretty big model there should be enough room for the electronics.

The electronics is all Sean's category - he's thinking a building a GPS-based guidance system along with a magnometer to measure how much the boat heels (leans to one side) in high winds.  He and his buds are busy mapping out the system components and figuring out how much money they need to raise to fund the project.  They're also planning to install a standard R/C system to act as an override if the autonomous stuff fails.

The most complicated part will be figuring out the programming to trim the sail based on wind direction and the location of the current waypoint.  It's always fun to watch the initial optimism of a new project.

My job is to help with the woodwork on the basic hull and mast.  Hopefully, they'll leave me out of the electronics as that stuff mystifies and scares me!  It's all voodoo, you know.

The second picture is a photo of a finished model, hopefully ours looks like that but with a few extra antenna and other gizmos' sticking out.  We'll see....


The Angry Lurker said...

Good grief, I'll like to see this baby!

Monty said...

Very impressive stuff Miles!

Ray Rousell said...

Wow! Bet its fun to play with!!

paulalba said...

Ray has beat me to the WOW,
However wow is needed, this is simply briliant! This is so far out of my comfort zone. I wish I had the ability to plan and build the boat alone let alone work electrics into it!