Enforcer R.C. Boat Talk

An Open Forum for Enforcer RC Boat Owners and Fans


I know how us guys get excited when we get new toys, and of course it's no different for me too. About five weeks ago I commissioned a brand new Thermal Forming machine to be built for our company, and like a kid I have been looking forward to it's arrival since. You would think that after all these years that the thrill of a new machine would wear off, but that hasn't happened. 

It's more than likely because I have been re-energized in manufacturing on US soil for the past couple years as there has been so much crap sent over from abroad, and many factories have all but given up on the concept of having their products made overseas, and our back home, " where we all belong" making our goods and strengthening our economy.

At one point a few years back I watched a semi-truck leave my buildings with several CNC and screw machines that I had sold because I lost the work to China. I even offered WHH up for sale to a few select competitors a couple years back because it took me so many years to afford those machines and pay for them, to see all of my accounts sell us out for a dollar. It's probably a good thing that none were in the position to make the purchase as I really believe the tides are shifting our way, or at the very least to smaller manufacturing companies such as ours. I think our beloved US government at the helm thinks that companies that employ 200 or less our considered small? But of course that is because they have no understanding of any kind of what you and I do to make a living, but that's a subject for another day, and hopefully a solution and turn-around is a couple months away.

Back on track...My fault again. This new machine is simply awesome when I compare it to those I had ten years ago. I thought I had some nice stuff, but boy has a short time of progress changed the Thermal Forming industry. I guess with the limited orders these manufactures had plenty of time to sharpen their pencils.

To have a machine like this with an on-board computer that can store recipes for each cycle of operation means exacting reproductions run after run. It is also capable of forming both male and female molds with a mechanical assist. This means that we can be able to produce plastic hulls for "Fast-Electric" boats with razor sharp hull bottoms, that alone excites me!

Here's where you guys can be part of our company. Greg and I are the only two pattern makers in the shop, and my time is very limited as a hands-on worker these days. Rather than train pattern makers whom never made or don't understand model boats, I am offering the potential for any of you guys out there to make patterns for us. A pattern would be nothing more than a wooden hull or deck / hatch cover made to our specifications, and I'm quit sure there are many of you out there.

Of course you would be compensated for your efforts whether it be monetary or in credit , the choice would be up to you.

If you are interested please send me some photos of your past "wood" builds and then email me directly with some information about yourself and what your capabilities may be, and I will respond by email and or phone call and we can discuss the details and our planned projects for 2012 and 2013.


Tony C.

My email- whobbies@strato.net

Please do not forget a contact phone number and best time to call.

Views: 80

Comment by Skip on September 4, 2012 at 11:55am

Congratulations Tony on your new thermal forming machine.  I wish I had the talent and skills to provide you with some patterns but I do not.  My clam to fame is being a grunt idea guy.  I would be very interested in knowing more about the machine and its capabilities   ...  is it like a vacuum forming machine (sorry for my ignorance)?  It sounds like a great tool.

Comment by Tony Castronovo on September 4, 2012 at 1:00pm

Thermal forming is vacuum forming. I spent 20 years learning the trade, ( making molds and tooling, producing parts ) from just before opening WHH throughout the 90's. At one time we ran three machines here with our largest one capable of 4' X 8' sheet plastic. We manufactured some parts for our boats, the radio boxes primarily, Cracker box figures, and a series of small electric boats called, "Bagshot Boats". We had a real nice .10 powered air boat called Backdraft that we also designed and manufactured. There was a time that we made product for large distributors manufacturing thousands of parts per order. All of this was BC of course.

One of the coolest products we designed and made was The Visible V2. We made all the patterns and molds and fittings to kit them for a company well known, IMEX. It was a neat project that took almost a year from start to finish, before we went into production.

This was a 3' model rocket of the Germain V2, with one side paintable as in scale decor, and the other side clear covered showing the internal workings of the tanks, pump, and engine. The detail was excellent with a full set of metal parts to correctly plumb the engine and pumps.

By 2000 it all came to an end with China now onboard, so I covered the machines for about three years, then sold them off one by one. To tell how crappy things got as far as manufacturing in the US... I paid $65,000 for my large vacuum machine, and sold it for $5000.00. It was too large to have taking up a 15' X 30' area, so it made more sense to let it go.

I kept a small one to do our smaller parts, and the rest was history. A couple months back I decided to make an run at going back into that part of our business by making parts for the ATV industry, something we have been doing for the past year, but also because of electric boats coming on strong, starting to offer plastic hulls again. This is something we have targeted to begin in our off time this winter.

The new machine was built for us by one of the best manufactures of machines in the world, and I have known of him for over 30 years. He has opened a smaller manufacturing plant in the US after leaving the country for several years making machines abroad.

This machine is far superior than any we have had and completely computerized and automatic, and I have been teaching myself how to use it for the past three weeks...

Tomorrow we will run the first part on it, one we have designed and are making for the ATV industry, and are looking forward to that.

I will think of a couple products outside of boat hulls to make for our industry, I'm leaning towards a nice prop box, and a couple other ideas.

The beginning of a pattern is nothing more than building a wooden kit, that's it. The hull gets built first then I can make master female and finally working male molds from there. Once that is completed and plastic shrinkage is considered the deck patterns are next, followed by the cockpit. Shrinkage and reverse thinking are in order when making this type of product so each must be done in stages with allot of thought put into the process so all the parts fit correctly once the molds are made.

One day when I call it a day I will probably bring most of this equipment to my home garage and putts around making parts one's and two's to keep busy cause I don't think I am the kind of guy that can play golf... Last year I bought Pam a Polaris RZR for our 30th anniversary, this year I have a new division of my company making after market parts for the Polaris RZR's. It's a sickness I know, and I think I have learned how to deal with it? I stopped fighting it and have succumbed to the force. Hey Man, I'm a proud American Manufacturer!

Comment by Gordon T Haley on September 25, 2012 at 8:54am
Tony, have a question regarding vaccum forming compared to fiber glass. If a cowl was made 1 ea from fiber glass and styrene plastic. Which would be lighter? Would they both be legal for racing? Would this work to lighten the race boat? Just a late night thought.
Comment by Tony Castronovo on September 25, 2012 at 10:21am

Styrene would be a poor choice because it has little impact resistance, and needs to stay in coolers and refrigerators. ABS is a mixture of three plastic components that yields strength, a bit of flexibility, and impact resistance. however not a durable as fiberglass. Both plastics are much lighter than the glass in most cases unless the fiberglass laminates are thin and or pressure molded using less resin.

The benifit of plastic is the production speed, where-as it takes about 2 man hours to manufacture and fiberglass boat cowl, for instance, from raw plastic to finished part about 3 minutes maximum.

I tried making a plastic boat a few years back for gas but the quality was not up to my standards. The plastic even in color is average when it comes to appearance, and in order to make the hull sharp you have to pull into a female mold which shows any and all mold marks. The deck can be pulled over a male with no problem though.

I have had an idea for years to produce a pre-preg material that I am not wanting to disclose at this time, and unsure it will work or even be less money to manufacture. I will put some effort into it this winter.

For now we are using the machine for a product I designed ( a radio system ) for the Polaris RZR UTV's, and in original design it was made in fiberglass. The sales are exceeded our production and plastic is a perfect material for this type of product as it is not in harsh or abusive conditions.

Of course my intentions with this machine are also model boat related products in the months to come, but it's pretty nice when another product can pay for it.

I am open to all and any ideas.


Tony C.


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