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




The missile deck, bollards & emergency buoy:

The missile deck is pretty tricky to make. The width needs to be just right, and the degree of sloping needs to be right as well. The missile deck is made using the same method as the bow and aft part, and is worked into shape afterwards.
Make a template of the cross sectional shape, and work your way like you did with the bow and aft sections.
Make the deck without the crack between the edges and the main hull, and without the precise sloping at the aft and bow area, then afterwards file away the resin where the crack needs to be etc. Making it all in one move would be too difficult.

 
First, get hold of a piece of expanded polystyrene, and mark the piece prior to raw cutting it. Then cut the raw shape. Remember to cut it "small", as the layers of the resin and fiber cloth will build up so you end up with a missile deck with the correct measurements. Glue the expanded polystyrene on to a board or similar to give it mechanical stability, carpenters glue ("Wood-glue") is fine for this task.
 
Now file into shape using a coarse file. Hold your drawing up against the model repeatedly, still remembering to make it a bit smaller than what you want to end up with. (App. 2 x 1/4")
This IS a messy step, and the small white balls will soon fill up your entire home unless you keep your shipyard clean. (Just ask my cat...)
 
Now cover the entire mock-up with duck tape or similar. Expanded polystyrene cannot endure resin if directly introduced, it simply vanishes. This also allow the mock-up core to be removed upon completion.
Ensure to make it as smooth as possible, just like when you made the bow and aft hull parts.
 
Now apply a layer of pure resin, then a layer including fiber cloth.. repeat again and again, remembering to wet out the cloth completely between layers. Slowly build up the missile deck, and try to correct any errors along the way.

The overlapping of the fiber cloth in each layer should be altered, so that all of the overlaps are not all in one place. This would weaken the structure, and why do that when so easily avoided?

Making a template helps you a lot! By adding a pair of tracks for it to slide in, makes it even better. Now you can get the entire middle part perfect, leaving only the very bow and aft end to be done by artistic hand work.
The masking tape prevents the resin from destroying the template too soon, and allows you to "wipe" the middle section in
to shape.

It's getting there! The wooden template shows me where to focus, and it shows how much resin / fiber cloth still need to be added before the missile deck has got it's final measurements, as mechanically copied from the blueprints.

And "yes".. the entire missile deck IS 'higher' than it's supposed to be. Reason for this is that this gives you a clean cut when it's later reduced in height. Trying to mold a perfect, final edge right away will fail... don't try.. it set me three weeks back. 

Now we're down to the rough sanding, after applying a layer of thick resin with colloidal silica (West Systems # 406) mixed in. First I used a power tool for sanding the roughest sanding, and I tell you... THAT is a messy step! The entire room was covered in a fine thin, white layer of resin dust, but I got the job done. I then went on to sand by hand, using a piece of wooden board.

Using a long board with sanding paper on it (See image) gives a more even sanding, and prevents making "flat-spots" that are later hard to get rid of again.

Upon sanding with finer and finer grade, we get a surface that's smooth enough to reflect light. It's not supposed to be completely glass-like, as the later applied paint must have something to bind to. Leave the surface smooth, but still a little dull.

Cutting the missile deck from the mock-up, was done using a saw, as shown. The blade was angled 90 degrees, and was pretty easy, and the blade could easily be guided by the wooden board on which the entire mock-up was placed to start with. A cutting disk melted the resin, so no power tools could be used..

Here you see them separated, the mock-up now stuck inside the up side down missile deck laying behind the wooden base.

Now comes the interesting part... can I remove the mock-up as supposed to, according to my theory?
The same kind of mock-up is used inside the bow and aft part on the main hull, so I *really* hope that I can..

YES! The mock-up was very easily removed, when cutting it a bit using a knife, before digging it out by hand.
The duck tape let go real easy of the resin as well, so all's well! This also gave a very smooth and fine inside surface.
The thickness of the missile deck is a little less than 1/4", and is strong!

Again and again during this project, I'm reminded that the best tool I've got, is my own two hands. It's amazing how flexible these multi-purpose, ultra accurate, fine but still strong tools are.. and we even got them for free!

I simply HAD to test fit the missile deck, and the sail, giving an idea of the finished result. The missile deck will now need to be further filed and sanded to match the main hull, and the sail will need to go partially into the missile deck.

Still, it looks right so far.

Placing the missile deck up side down, and using the home made tool shown in picture, I could draw a line where the missile deck needed to end along the side of the sub. This approach ensures a straight line, even on both sides.

Once again I used the saw from before, and
a file, leaving a fine, straight edge all along the side. (This is the "crack" between the missile deck and the main hull.)

Now the missile deck has been filed and sanded to match the main hull, but cannot be fitted just yet. First I have to "Z"-cut the hull, and then fit the missile deck on the upper part of the main hull.


Engraving the missile deck, and cutting the hole for the sail, is also complete, so for now, we're done with this part. (Please see the chapter on engraving for details.)

 

Mooring (Bollards):




This is the Robbe bollard,
stock no. 1349.

 

The Ohio hull has several points of mooring. The front most are just next to the middle blow vents, the middle ones are just behind the sail, and the rear most ones are at the very back of the missile deck. Please check your drawings for precise locations. Though it is possible to buy finished bollards from places like Robbe, they are easily made your self. I found that the things normally used for curtains are great for the job. Though they do not look like real bollards, they are safer. Nothing can get stuck in them, and the mooring can't fall off.

 


   The one to the left is as they are directly from the box. The material is very strong nylon.

The one to the right has been cut. Matching holes was drilled in the missile deck. The total height of the bollard is so that the pins stick out on the lower side, allowing a secure fix with resin. 

   A picture of the mounted bollards. I put six in the back, and six in front. Though hard to see here, it looks rather good.
I filed a few contours in them prior to fixing them with resin, so the resin could 'bite' a little harder. Pulling as hard as I could in the test I made first, proved that it takes more than 10lbs to pull them apart! 



Emergency buoy:

   As described in the section about things that you might choose to include, you can read about an emergency buoy. This is it.
Here it's situated in the normal resting place: Rear most personnel hatch.

I took a cup drill and cut a hole about the size of the personnel hatch at the location, thus disguising the mechanism. Don't mind the black circle drawn on the hull, it's an old leftover. The hatch has been painted, but the missile deck is still to painted shortly.

   Here's a look inside the silo, where the app. 20ft (18m.) of line will be coiled up. The aluminum ring is the resting point for the buoy. Note the red line going across the bottom of the buoy, here the locking spring will secure and lock the buoy during operation. The strong nylon line will be tied to the eye on the bottom of the buoy, and to the adjacent bulkhead within the hull.

The buoy was filled with foam before gluing the disk cut from the missile deck on top of the modified plastic cylinder.
(Old candy container..) Multiple drain holes was drilled in the silo, ensuring no entrapped air.

   Here's a view of the locking pin, that holds the buoy down as long as there's power in the batteries. When surfaced, and sub turned off, it'll of cause withdraw, but by then the whole mechanism is above the waterline, thus leaving the buoy in position any way. If power is lost while submerged, then the buoy and line will float to the surface.
(Yes, the line I found actually floats as well.. I call it a free bonus. :-) )

The silo will be painted dark orange like the on / off panel incl. recharge access hatch. 

   This is the inverted missile deck, exposing the locking pin mechanism, and the bottom of the silo. The small electromagnet will 'push' when energized, but using only very little power. The spring (From a coffee-machine e.g.. stainless..) will ensure that the pin falls back, and releases the buoy.

When the buoy floats, it will flip, so the dark top will be facing down. This ensures that the yellow / red surface is on full "Sub sunk here"-display. :-)





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