3D Modeling the Springer Towboat           Return to Lew's Model Boats
This is a new page (Feb. 15, 2017) and is under develompent.

     This site is devoted to making available parts and accessories for those wanting to add details to the Springer towboat model.  As the specifications for the Springers that anything above the deck is left up to the builder, this allows the builder to add details.  In doing so the builder will not only have a towboat built to compete with others in the same class, they now can be detailed with a limited amout of time spent by using 3D generated parts.  Parts available will be listed below.

About the Springer Towboat:

     The Springer towboat (also referred to as a Springer tug) is a fictitious model not based on any particular towboat.  This design was created by the Northwest RC Shipmodelers club.  The intent was to create a "one-design" model towboat, that is a design which if follows allows competition between boats because the basic design must be followed.  Those features controlled by the specification includes hull shape and dimensions, push knee dimensions, single shaft, propeller size, motor voltage, and rudder surface area.  (More specific below.)


Specifications (paraphrased from the Northwest site):

     The Basic Springer specifications are very simple. The basic boat is to be 18 inches long and 8 inches wide with a flat bottom. The other specifications are: A 6-volt battery shall power the motor.  The propeller shall be 3 bladed and no larger than 40mm in diameter.  The rudder shall be a maximum area of 4 square inches.  The cabin and other features on deck will be left to the discretion of the builder.

Hull: profile to conform to original Springer profile
Beam: 8 inches +/- .062 inch
Length: 18 inches +/- .125 inch
Rudder:  4 square inches - maximum single piece construction (salmon tail allowed)
Drive: single shaft, direct or reduced drive open propeller (No Kort nozzles or Z drives allowed)
Propeller – 3 blades, maximum diameter of 40 mm
Motor Type: builders option
Motor Battery:  6 volts maximum
Gearing: builders option

Specification Comments by Lew:

     There is no scale to this model.  Virtually any scale between 1/16 and 1/25 could be used.  To consider anything larger than 1/16 scale would make the hull too smaller and anything smaller than 1/25 scale would make the hull too large, both in proportion to real towboats.  The scale here follow the lines of small or truckable towboats. The following popular scales relate to a full size (prototype) boat:

Springer hull with different scale figures1/16 scale = 24 foot long 10.67 foot wide prototype
1/20 scale = 30 foot long 13.33 foot wide prototype
1/24 scale = 36 foot long 16 foot wide prototype
1/25 scale = 37.5 foot long 10.67 foot wide prototype

     As 1/24 and 1/25 scale are quite close (72-inch figures are 3.00-inches and 2.88-inches), a 1/24.5 scale could be used in their place.  A 1/24.5 scale figure would be 2.94-inches tall.  Other scales can be made within this range (1/16 to 1/20).

     A number of accessories and figures are available in G-scale (1/22.5).  This might be a consideration when making a model.

     Is  a 1/20, 1/22.5, or 1/24.5 scale good for you?

Example of a Real small (truckable) towboat:

     First, look at a real truckable towboat.  This one (right) is a good example of a small towboat.  Although it has two engines and drive shafts (looks like Kort nozzels), it is about the right size.   The numbers are as follows:

Truckable towboatLength: 25-feet
Width (beam): 14-feet
Draft: 6-feet
Weight 33,000-pounds
Deck house: 8 X 8 X 7-feet (front access)
Pilot house: 4 X 7 X 7-feet (16-feet eye level)

     The dimensions fall very close to inbetween the 1/16 scale and 1/20 scale.  The width (beam) is too narrow for the 1/16 scale as the foth the deck house and pilot house would have to be narroved by about 3.3 feet maknig both cabins too narrow.  The walkways on both sides should be maintained as there might be some OSHA standards the the real boat conforms with.

     A better choice would be 1/20 scale as both cabins would need to be narrowed by about .33-feet (less than 2.2-inches at 1/20 scale).  !/24.5 would work out very well as the cabin could be widened and lengthened a bit.

     To model something like the one at the right but as a model built to the Springer rules and specificationss is quite feasible.  Even the twin stacks could be used as "dual exhausts" when asked about the single prop.

    So this is the starting point for some 3D printed parts...  1/20, 1/22.5, and 1/24.5 scales!

3D Parts for the Springer towboats:

Marine Winch (manual):

      Some smaller towboats, like the Springer might have manual winches to tighten the cables to the barge(s) to keep them in place when turning or reversing.  This winch [link to winch on Shapeways] is a typical design.  Even though this winch is non-functioning it can simupate an operating winch by runing the cables through the slot and down through a hole in the deck.  There the cable can be attached to either afunctioning winch or to extension springs attached on the other end near the back of the boat.  The tension should be zero when the loop end (for the barge) is sticking out of winch for a bit.  The loop end of the cable goes around a spool sheeve then out to the barge.  Instructions for this winch can be found at XXXXX