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Process - Planning

Planning for the TF Hydro Drag Boats


Planning for the TF Hydro Drag Boats has been to say the least, exhausting! Simply put, until now, know one has ever produced a scale replica model of this type and therefore we had no references to draw from. We knew this at the beginning so we took more pictures, more measurements and generated more drawings and sketches and just plane worked harder then we have ever done for any other project.

Researching for the Project

Research started with such questions as: Is the fan base big enough to support the market? Exactly which class of boats will we produce first? What scale will we reproduce them in? Through several staff meetings and hashing out all of the details we could think of, all of these questions were answered and the project was born.

Originally we had hoped that one of the hull manufacturers would have a measured set of drawings that we could use to produce the hull from. But we soon learned that for the current stock of competitive hulls, either no such plans exist or they are a guarded secret.

We discovered from talking to the various hull manufacturers that the hulls that are in use today have primarily evolved over the last thirty years through trial and error. Virtually every year in the effort to obtain higher speeds, better stability and improved driver safety, the manufacturers will modify one of their existing hulls and then use it as a plug to create a new mold. Once this is done a new hull will be made using the new mold. The new hull may have one small modification or it could undergo drastic changes such as lengthened, widened or the sponsons reshaped. In most cases these modifications are made without the use of any drawings. Even if a set of original drawings exist the new or evolved hull would differ greatly from these. While studying the hull designs and the manufacturing techniques, we concluded that it is definitely an art.

The task was great! Our China facility is very talented and has plenty of experience in the diecast scale reproduction of automobiles, but very little in the area of boats, let alone Top Fuel Hydros. With past experiences in using the China team we have been able to produce a good prototype model by only using pictures and a few sketches. But this was not to be the case with the Top Fuel Hydros.

It was our first hurdle and it hit us right off the starting line. Not to be defeated we did some soul searching and idea hashing and came up with a solution. In November 2004, with cameras, measuring tapes, tri-squares, and drafting paper in hand, we were off to Phoenix, Arizona for the I.H.B.A World Finals, to create our own set of working drawings.

In Phoenix we met up with the famed "Wolfie" McClendon of Watercraft by Wolfie. Wolfie was a big help in explaining all of the unique shapes that are incorporated into the design of these type hulls and how certain areas create lift and speed, while other areas are for floatation, driver safety and stability.

In order to thoroughly document every aspect Chris Kemp, who heads up the Research and Design team at Bad Ass Diecast, took hundreds of measurements and made a multitude of sketches of each and every part of the hull.

After we got back from Phoenix, Chris then used all of the information that we had gathered to create a set of working drawings. It took close to three months of drafting, documenting and photo organization before we had enough information to send to China. Just before the plans were finished a close friend by the name of Harry West (of Harry's Glass, Jacksonville Fl) stopped by and took a look at them and said "Don't worry Stan, if China can't use these plans to build you a diecast, then give them to me and I'll build you the real boat from them". After three months of what seemed like no advancement this was definitely a morale lift and a real boost to the ego.

Next: Mock UpNext: Planning

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