Ohio Class, Ballistic Missile Nuclear Powered Submarine, USS Kentucky SSBN737

Project description & history:

This project will tell you a little about the OHIO Class submarines, and walk you through the building of my model, illustrated and explained along the way. Many of the pictures come from various Internet sites, but it’s only a small selection of the available pictures. 
The realization of this project was started in November 2002, and is as such code-named RHH0211. All of my projects are named after my initials, followed by year and month in a two plus two digit format. Please keep in mind that this is my first sub ever, and build from scratch. Some ideas might have room for improvement, and surely this will be announced in later subs to follow.

This project will guide you through the entire construction of the sub, spanning from the hull, fittings and the inside mechanics and electronics.
You will be guided through the creation of the hull from scratch. If you chose another sub, then you might be able to find a suitable hull on the marked. Here I'd like to recommend ThorDesign.com, who comes highly recommended with his great sense of details, at absolutely reasonable prices. I had to build the hull my self as no one had a hull to offer at the time, that I could use. What you chose is up to you, but keep in mind that building your own hull takes many many hours, and requires a bit of training before the details are just right. You will be given detailed schematics, but not the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) layout as some might want to use the time required to produce real custom made PCB (Printed Circuit Board), while others might prefer to use the pre etched type with a million holes. This guide will give you the information needed to use either approach, as well as needed for repairs. While it would be possible to put every single schematic into a microprocessor and software, I chose not to. Choosing a microprocessor limits the ability for everybody to use the ideas and circuits, and I would very much like to share my findings as much as possible.

My interest for subs goes far back, and by viewing the Internet’s many sites about model subs, it became clear to me that building a model was not that complicated. It is possible to buy a kit, but wouldn’t it be greater to build the whole thing your self?  The choice fell on the USS Kentucky because I lived in this great state for two years a while back. When I decided to build an American sub, and when I decided on the Ohio class, then there was no doubt in my mind when I also discovered that one of these sub’s was named after the Blue Grass State, Kentucky.

This model is build over a military sub, a power full boomer with enough firepower to destroy entire countries, and with a size larger than a World War One aircraft carrier. However, do remember that sub’s are used for much more than just chilling war machines. Thousands of civil sub’s work with oil exploration, deep sea geological and marine life studies that constantly finds new unknown life forms, rescue- (DSRV) and scientific missions, just to mention a few. A fine example of this is the discovery and subsequent exploration of the Titanic. Without sub’s we might still have found the wreck, but we would not have been able to visit this once great ship, and finally determine the full extend of the damage, and the cause of the sinking once and for all.
Submarines comes in all forms and shapes, some are towed after a surface ship, while others are strange looking mechanical spiders that can go into some of the most hostile environments. Some holds only a very limited number of crewmembers, while others hold several hundred. Some of the sub’s in the Ohio class has been rebuild to carry troupes, bringing the total of passengers way over 250 persons. Still I chose a military sub, as the shape, size and look impresses me the most. What you chose is up to you, but no matter what you chose, sub’s are an amazing piece of engineering, and a great achievement by man. To fully understand the amazing technology that has given us the sub, please read the chapter on submarine history. This chapter covers much of the history from 1580 to 2000, both the technical inventions, and the military wartime milestones.


Project history:

Stage: Started:
Very first thoughts about building a model sub. July ‘02
Deciding to build, research, brainstorming, selection of a row model, initial list over “things / systems I want” (Incl. fail-safe systems) November ‘02
Circuit design, completion of list over things and systems, writing this book as I go along, Internet debates. December ‘02
Circuit design finished, blue prints bought, initial circuit tests. January ‘03
Building a stand, deciding to buy finished hull from Thor Design. (Hull later canceled, see October '03)
Purchasing rest of electronic components for all systems, test-building all circuits, starting on PCB's.
February ‘03
Finishing both PCB's & ALT mechanism, starting to plan / build the insides for the WTC holding electronics, motor, receiver etc. Designing engine compartment / mechanism, buying engine. March '03
Buying servos, regulator, switches, gears, ballast pump, shaft, stuffing box & getting hold of plastic tube used for WTC's / MBT's. Designing WTC1, researching watertight plugs & batteries. April '03
Buying water tight plugs & various small parts incl. bellows, building WTC1, starting to design WTC2 and air system. Work partially stalled due to delivery problems. Addressing financial issues. May '03
Testing sealing of WTC's. Starting construction of WTC2, ordering valves etc. 
Work partially stalled due to delivery problems. Addressing financial issues.
June '03
Finishing WTC2, running series of tests. Adding battery compartment to, and nearly finishing, WTC1. Looking into compressed air-tank issues. Researching transmitter & receiver. July '03
While waiting for hull and shaft for WTC1: Soldering all wires inside WTC1, researching transmitter / receiver, and air system devices. Calculating needed buoyancy, and re-designing MBT's. August '03
Building MBT 1 & MBT 2, buying transmitter, receiver, charger and 3rd. mini switch (For remote light control), fitting all R/C components within WTC1. Received final word that the hull will be delayed six month.. :-( September '03
Looking for air tank, starting to construct air system. Received word that hull has been postponed indefinitely, deciding to scratch build. Researching for hull details, and planning scratch build. Recalculating scale, and changing to 1:81 October '03
Buying air system components, and materials for scratch build hull, starting hull work. November '03
Had to move to a new place to live, so only very little work done. December '03
Resumed hull work, waiting with the air tank construction. January '04
Middle section and bow now complete, continuing with aft end, and mock-up of missile deck. February ´04
Aft end complete, working on missile deck, and control surfaces. March '04
Propeller arrived, and ready. Work well under way on control surfaces. Missile deck work temporary stalled. April '04 - June'04
Completing control surfaces, and starting work on sail. July '04
Completing sail work, redoing sail dive planes. August '04
Starting missile deck work, and work on scopes. September '04
Work partially stalled due to problems with missile deck, redoing part of missile deck. October '04
Completing missile deck, preparing to Z-cut hull, and mounting missile deck & control surfaces. November '04
Major difficulties finding a way to Z-cut hull, researching methods. December '04
No work done, busy elsewhere. January '05 - February '05
Splitting main hull. March '05
Hull now split, preparing to fit control surfaces. Re-designing bulkheads April '05
Top half cut, crtl. surfaces fitted, bulkheads (for WTC's) under construction, tons of details fixed. May '05
Fitting bulkheads in top half, finalizing the lower parts. Preparing to fit missile deck. June '05
Fitting missile deck and sail. Preparing control surface linkage work. July '05
Fitting control surfaces, linkage, making and fitting towed array housing, various hull details. August '05
All control surfaces now complete, and fitted! Moving on to air system construction. September '05
Air system complete, considering bigger tank.... October ´05
Complete rebuild of air system, and solving issues. November ´05
Finalizing new air system, and designing wet dock. December '05
Various hull details, getting various bits and pieces. Researching hull trimming methods. January '06
Constructing wet dock, fitting shaft bearings, starting periscope mechanism. February '06
No work done, busy elsewhere. March '06 - April '06
Continuing work on dock, got floatation material, and making floatation pieces. May '06
Continuing May's work, completing floatation pieces. June '06 - July '06
Tests / trimming in wet dock, research and deployment. August '06
Tests / trimming in wet dock, fitting modules. September '06
Fitting modules, modifying bulkheads and making module locks. MBT modules' brackets scrapped. October '06
Making new bulkheads for WTC / MBT's, finalizing module fitting. November '06
All wires completed, all systems / modules / wires tested OK. WTC1 upgraded with bow thruster control (RS-5). Control surfaces connected, aft light and bow thruster ports fitted. December '06
Painting lower part, fitting switches & charge plug & missile deck hatch, bow thruster pump, WTC2, MBT1 & MBT2. Connecting all hoses, making and fitting ballast pump incl. filter. January '07
Fitting WTC1, bollards and connecting prop. shaft. Fixing little things. February '07
Designing and making closing mechanism, emergency buoy, and hatch mechanics. March '07
Continuing work on emergency buoy & hatch. Painting sail and preparing lights (Fitting when sub's painted), making, painting and fitting scopes. Fitting "low bat." indicator. April '07
Making and fitting emergency buoy, building linkage to sail dive planes. Finalizing closing mechanism design (upper- lower half) May '07
Repairing a flaw in sail paint job, and making top half lighter. (For a better surfaced waterline)
Securing various bolts and nuts, preparing to implement closing mechanism.
June '07
Summer break July '07 - Sep '07
Fitting closing mechanism, preparing final paintjob on top half Okt '07
Fine-tuning closing mechanism. November '07
Awaiting time slot at the docks. December '07
Fitting and finalizing closing mechanism. January '08
Fitting foam, and researching problem with emergency buoy release mechanism. February '08
Preparing water test tank, and final trim. Working emergency buoy issue (actuator over-heating). March '08
Sea trail in test tank. Read results. April ´08
Rebuild WTC1, WTC2, parts of inside of the hull, and electronic board May '08
Completing WTC2 incl. new rubber seal! Designing new MBT, and working on new WTC1 design. June '08
Completing WTC1, and painting the remaining part of the hull. Fitting WTC2, completing new linkage, and hoses for new MBT. Cutting foam for bow and aft, and adding a zink anode to the sub. (Preventing corrotion). Constructing the new MBT. July '08
Fitting the MBT, and WTC1, prop shaft, rudder rods etc. Run tests in test-tank, and prepar sea trail. August '08
Trimming and final touches. September '08
Trimming failed, and some redesign is needed. Read results. Oktober '08
Project on hold due to low funding, and low temperatures. November '08 - February '09
Rebuild the inside wire-grid, and replacing the main master plug. Writing documentation as well... February '09
Awaiting warmer weather for new wet dock tests and (re)trimming. March '09 - ?


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