Bringing RELIANCE to Life

Patronage on the Reliance Blog site has exceeded our expectations. We never expected the global impact our project has had. Thank you so much!

I’ve become aware that a number of our global patrons are building exquisite models of Reliance. It is humbling to see the number of people who share the beauty and immense power of this historical boat. I’ve become aware of models being built in France, Brazil, and Germany among others. This blog is about a Reliance model being built by ARTEFICIA NAVALIS GmbH (link: http://www.arteficia-navalis.com). (If there are other modelers or artists with their own Reliance Project, I’d be glad to post these efforts.)

Dr. Karsten Busch of Artefica-Navalis in Hamburg, Germany wrote:

We have the same goal in Hamburg as the Herreshoff Maritime Museum in Bristol – to build a museum quality scale model of that remarkable Herreshoff yacht and 1903 America’s Cup winner. While both of us have the same goal, we are different in our approach. Artisan volunteers at the Herreshoff Museum are building a museum-quality boat with traditional tools in grand 1/6th scale for an atrium of their Museum, focusing on the exterior and related exhibits. Ours is in much smaller 1/32nd scale built off Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawings to include all interior details and rivets

In 2003, Ulrich Meahl, a passionate model maker and professional graphic designer, asked his former client, Dr. Karsten Busch, a biomedical engineer “How can we scale down a riveted steel vessel in a 1/32nd scale model without losing the fidelity and look of the rivets all over the hull?”

This question was the beginning of a long lasting relation between the creative artist and the engineer. We started with research on the state of the art technologies in automotive, medical device development and jewelry design which was followed by many experiments like electroplating. With every step we came a bit closer to our overall goal: to make 99% accurate replicas of steel vessels of the 19th and 20th century in museum-model-scale.

All our research and trials led us to one conclusion. We had to replicate the same technology as our ancestors. This was the only way to make it look like the original. We therefore had three main tasks:
a. To make a 3D reconstruction of 100+ year old vessels in modern CAD
b. To find a technology to produce parts and plates in the thickness of 0.2 mm (0.00787’’)
c. And most complicated, to build rivets smaller than pinheads.

Example of plated and riveted hull.

Example of plated and riveted hull.

The first two tasks were quite easy compared to the riveting task. We had to build a machine to produce not only tiny little rivets but also in large quantities. It took us almost two years to develop the automatic machine.

Rivets compared to match head.

Rivets compared to match head.

Having solved the problem of manufacturing rivets smaller than pins, we moved on to the next challenges: Converting paper drawings to CAD and building of a model. Our first model was the four-mast barque HERZOGIN CECILIE, a 1902 training vessel of the German Norddeutscher Lloyd.

HERZOGIN CECILIE (circa 1928)

HERZOGIN CECILIE (circa 1928)

Windjammers of this nitrate and wheat area (1860 – 1930) were constructed with 200,000 to 500,000 rivets. (Vessels like the famous Titanic were built with more than 3,000,000 rivets.) Since every rivet is hand-placed and single crimped, 2 1/2 man-years would be necessary to complete a vessel like HERZOGIN CECILIE or New York based PEKING, a vessel of the famous Flying P-Liner from F. Laeisz, Germany.

The amount of effort for development of capabilities and to create the HERZOGIN CECILIE demonstration model made us understand that we couldn’t be successful operating as a hobby. So, in 2008 we created a limited company ARTEFICIA NAVALIS GmbH and sought investors with the goal to raise money for a model manufacturing business.

Keel and lower platforms of HERZOGIN CECILIE

Keel and lower platforms of HERZOGIN CECILIE

Since micro-rivet technology is our key capability we have also built riveted bridges. Pictured below is Hamburg’s 1888 JUNGFERNBRÜCKE Bridge which was built for a collector.

Model of Jungfernbrucke Bridge in Hamburg, Germany, built 1888

Model of Jungfernbrucke Bridge in Hamburg, Germany, built 1888

We still wanted to focus on vessels and were searching for a vessel with a world-wide reputation and a more practical number of rivets- less than 100,000 rivets. During a vacation trip to Boston, MA, Dr. Karsten Busch visited the MIT Hart Nautical Museum and saw the Reliance model displayed there. She met all our requirements: world-wide fame and symbol of the greatest racers, prestigious America’s Cup, and approximately 62,000 rivets. In May 2012, Arteficia-Navalis purchased Reliance Plans from MIT and received permission to build one model. We started with the Nathaniel Herreshoff’s offset-book. This is a book full of measurements the famous naval architect took from his hand-crafted wooden hull model. We translated the dots on each section into lines of web-frames, intercostal frames, deck and stringer lines. From this start-point we developed the RELIANCE completely new in 3D-CAD to include hull plates, web-frames, stringers, cast-parts…

Reliance Drawings

Reliance Drawings

CAD Hull Plating

CAD Hull Plating

CAD Web-frames and stringers. Since 98% of the vessel is symmetrical, we put just one side into CAD.

CAD Web-frames and stringers. Since 98% of the vessel is symmetrical, we put just one side into CAD.

All bulb-angles and struts are placed on each web-frame including the rivet holes.

All bulb-angles and struts are placed on each web-frame including the rivet holes.

Rudder and Steering Mechanism. A nice feature of modern CAD is that motion can be simulated. After completion of the rudder it was possible to turn the wheel and see the rudder swing out.

Rudder and Steering Mechanism. A nice feature of modern CAD is that motion can be simulated. After completion of the rudder it was possible to turn the wheel and see the rudder swing out.

Cast Parts. A great deal of work is in all the cast-parts

Cast Parts. A great deal of work is in all the cast-parts

In autumn 2012, we heard about the RELIANCE project at the Herreshoff Maritime Museum. We immediately contacted project manager Sandy Lee and agreed to support each other in our projects. We benefit from their local research, catalog of pictures, knowledge of Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. techniques, rigging and sailing. We can support Sandy Lee with 3D files for an accurate reconstruction of the 1/6th scale RELIANCE at Herreshoff museum. We don’t see ourselves as competitors. We are two groups working on the same goal: giving the current world a glimpse of the glory and important naval architecture history.

CAD drawing of Reliance

CAD drawing of Reliance

CAD drawings of hull with interior details (Part 1)

CAD drawings of hull with interior details (Part 1)

CAD drawings of hull with interior details (Part 2)

CAD drawings of hull with interior details (Part 2)

End of Bowsprit

End of Bowsprit

Web-Frame

Web-Frame

Martingale (Dolphin Striker)

Martingale (Dolphin Striker)

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