LCT4 Hull Construction Page 1

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Updated 3rd December 2005

Rhino 3D model. Click on the picture to see full sized image.

Using the plans purchased from Nexus, the main structure of the landing craft was modelled using Rhinoceros, a 3D software package. The individual frames and skins were then extracted from the model and ’unrolled’ to produce a flat development of each part. Allowances for material thickness, assembly slots and beveled joints were incorporated where they were appropriate.

Frames  and decks developed. Click on the picture to see full sized image.

The ‘flat’ parts were then selected and exported as an .ai file (Adobe Illustrator) to CorelDraw for further graphics work. I have only constructed ‘half frames’, they will be mirrored in CorelDraw to form the final parts.

Coreldraw used to lay out parts for printing.  Click on the picture to see full sized image.

Once imported into CorelDraw, the images were mirrored and duplicated to form a complete set of parts. They were also carefully aligned so that slots and other edges lined up. This would allow a steel rule to be placed accurately along a series of cut lines, rather than trying to make each cut separately. This will greatly enhance the accuracy of the assembly. This picture shows the first of three A4 sized pages and includes the tank deck, longitudinal and transverse frames. Main deck, deck house and bow structures are on the next page.

Printing out the first plastic sheet.

Using an Epson C82 printer and a sheet of 0.5mm polystyrene plastic sheet, the pages were printed out using ‘black only’, ‘fine photo’ and ‘gloss photo paper’ settings, onto the matt side of the plastic sheet. I must stress this method of using the printer is way beyond its original design purpose, and if you try this out it will be entirely at your own risk!! I have only tried this out with my own printer so I don’t know if it works with other models or brands. Anyone else trying this, do let me know the results; contact me here. The image will take some time to dry, and will still be easily smudged if handled roughly.

GEPE brand Inkjet fixative spray.

Once the ink had dried (I left mine for 12 hours) the plastic sheet was over sprayed using an Ink jet Fixative aerosol. I used GEPE brand, which I bought from my local branch of Jessops, the well-known photo specialist chain of shops here in the UK. Product code is GEPIJSM300. Giving the sheet a light, even spray, it was touch-dry in 10 minutes and fully hard after an hour or so.

Fine lines preserved, tough enough to work.

The ink image was now very tough and easily withstood a steel rule being slid across the surface. The parts were then carefully cut out from the sheet. The easiest way to cut plastic sheet is to score the surface with a sharp craft blade (scalpel) and then carefully bend the sheet. The plastic will crack through giving a very clean edge. Any slight raised burr along the cut edge can easily be skimmed off with a blade used as a scraper, or with fine abrasive paper.

First parts of hull frame cut out.

Here, the main longitudinal frames have been cut out and cleaned up. Next will be all the transverse frames and tank deck.

Main frames test fitted into the keels

Most of the transverse frames have been cut out and loosely placed together. The tank deck and bow sections will be added next, and the first joints glued together.

This picture shows the structure around the bow ramp. The rectangular holes in the ramp sides will form recesses into which the inner safety doors fold during loading and unloading.

This shot shows the frames around the aft end of the tank deck. The construction is still loosely slotted together, no joints having been glued at this point.

The tank deck is cut out and dropped into place. The section between the safety door recesses is carefully bent downwards to match the frames leading to the ramp. When the deck is in place, the whole structure becomes much more rigid, but it is important to make sure nothing is strained or forced into place, otherwise the hull will warp out of shape.