Vac-U-PickleTM  Development

1:13 Scale Limited Sport Hydro

 1:13 Scale N-2 Hydro

Length: 26 in.   Beam: 13-1/8 in. 

Here are some photos of the development of the Vac-U-PickleTM, beginning with the original balsa & plywood boat built by Porter Harvey for Ron Green.

Click all framed photos to enlarge.

Designed by Garry Finlay

Semi-Scale Atlas Van Lines Pickle-Fork Hydroplane

Hull Built by Porter Harvey

Outfitted and Competitively Raced by Ron Green

A Hooter's Cup Award Winner!

"Semper Fi" took second overall in LSH in her
debut at the '04 NAMBA FE Nationals, Chris Costanza took top honors in LSH and Dick Crowe was third with a record setting run of 2:11 in his final heat...
The original Finlay-Harvey Atlas sport hydro driven by Ron Green took 2nd place LSH wood in it's debut at the '2004 NAMBA Fast Electric National Championships in Sanford, Florida... Left to right.. Dick Crowe, Ron Green, Chris Costanza

A great conversation started with the suggestion that Vac-U-Boat should produce a Limited Sport Hydroplane. The "Semper Fi" was in dry-dock at the time and was offered as a model to develop the plastic hull. The wooden hull felt like a well-made violin. Light, strong, and race-proven. The challenge was to reproduce that strength using entirely different materials. Plastics are inherently flexible. Taking a tip from automobile Unibody Construction, relatively flexible materials can be made rigid by building in curves and reinforcing ribs, then bonding that reinforced inner structure to the smooth outer panel. Using lessons learned from developing the Vac-U-Cracker 1:10 scale Crackerbox, this construction technique was expanded to both the deck and hull of the Hydroplane so that, along with some strategically placed reinforcements, created a strong reproducible model with running characteristics faithful to the original. Here are some photos of that development.

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Hull mold. Smooth underside for installing air dams or tunnels to the mold later. Deck formed. Test fit of outer hull to outer deck.
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Hull formed. Black urethane sealant used to bond the hull. Seam at rear of sponsons.
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Seam at transom. Starboard Stringer (Concept) Production stringers may be aluminum 1/8" x 3/32" member bar joists with the same geometry as the black lines on this PVC prototype. Port Stringer (Concept) Pre-cut and Pre-drilled micro servo mount on one side. Receiver opening on other side. Space between stringers will be approximately 4-1/16 inches. 
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 Locating gear for Liner design. N-2 Sport Hydro. Was able to obtain a proper CG.  Really gets your imagination going! Not practical to build this one as the hull has no reinforcing liner installed. Looks pretty but its just not ready yet. Was able to get the CG in Limited Sport Hydro as well. For those who want a 1/4" right offset drive, the ply motor mount base can be easily modified to shift the motor without modifying the hull. 
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Tunnel set in place on the hull mold. This last detail makes it faithful to the original design and build.  However, it can be removed to experiment with other designs and configurations. (Later, prototype testing and designer consulting determined that the tunnel could be omitted without affecting performance.) Rough hull liner mold. Still have to mill the bed for the graphite bow- cross member.
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Trays for motor mount & flex/straight drive hull penetration. Truss mounting grooves in the hull floor.  Deck Reinforcement mold in-progress. Double grooves will secure the rear sponson side bulkheads.
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Note the necessary internal structure is minimal due to the reinforcing liners to the hull and deck. First look at the prototype stringers. They butt against a large carbon-fiber spar at the bow, a PVC transom reinforcement at the stern, and PVC sponson baffles. First Prototype Completed. Doug is installing equipment.
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No hatch cover yet. Need motor-clearance measurements from Doug to design it. Nice lines.  Rock-Solid deck.
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Port stringer has mount for mini-servo. Starboard stringer has hole for receiver.  Maiden voyage of first prototype to confirm a working setup. Unsharpened and unpainted hull. No tunnel. LSH setup. 1 MB Video.
Going in circles. 1.3 MB Video. Recommend you sharpen & paint before testing. In the water, unpainted styrene drags more than painted styrene.  1/6 mile oval at 33 mph. 3.5 MB Video. Amp-Draw of the motor tests less with a painted hull. Oval with hull tunnel attached. 3.6 MB Video.
Oval without tunnel attached. 1.7 MB Video. 8XL Brushless Setup. 1.7 MB Video. Not a P-Sport boat. Just playing... 8XL at 51 mph. 1.6 MB Video.

With our revolutionary Collision-Damage-Resistant Vac-U-SeamTM Technology.

A new boat needs a new Logo. Meet our Spokes-Pickle.

Using hand-cut wood and PVC reinforcements, several prototypes were produced for testing. Due to their popularity, several more were required.
The hatch cover design is temporary. It was the last-minute effort to cover the large hole in the top of the deck in time for the Chattanooga Invitational.
Prototype racing in Chattanooga 2007.
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Chris's Doug's Rick's
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John's Chris's w/ lighter LiPoly Batteries to compare water-line. NiMh batteries close to motor.
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LiPoly batteries farther forward Same here. Typical LSH Hardware Setup. Motor and bracket are removable from the ply base plate.
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Motor looks high but is on a low-profile mount at 15 degrees down.  A few friendly racing pics to show the ride of the kit.
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June 17, 2007 Chattanooga Invitational. Vac-U-Pickle hulls placed 1st, 2nd, & 3rd in first race. Placed 1st & 2nd in the second race. 


Final drawings were transferred to CAD to produce laser-cut ribs, transom reinforcement, and sponson baffles from hot-pressed mahagony plywood. A product that can be boiled for 3 hours and still pass a shear-test for strength. Pulltruded carbon-fiber rod was the best support for the front of the sponsons.
View toward bow and the Carbon Fiber Sponson Brace. View toward the stern and its 3/16" thick hot-pressed mahogany reinforcement. Pre-drilled servo box in port rib.
Flotation visible inside the sponson. Rear sponson Reinforcement Baffle visible through the starboard rib. Radio Receiver access opening in the starboard rib.
Photo of the real Atlas taped to hull for review. Now, had to get to work to make one. Test-Form over the "Atlas" cowl mold.
Good fit. Additional designs will follow later. A perfect motor mount was needed. This was the result. Took all of the building hardware and weighed it for the float test.
In the water with a brushless XL 540 motor, 2 nicad packs, and AA cells equal to the hardware and receiver pack's weight, as heavy as it could be built with a total load of 49.1 ounces (Not including the weight of the hull). Removing all air trapped in the sponsons, it slowly sunk. Leaving trapped air in the sponsons, it floated, but not enough.
Added two strips of foam to the after-planes. Successful test. Plenty of flotation in case the worst happens. Final flotation configuration.
Production Begins!



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