Aluminium boat out of one piece - self casted, one big mold...

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by congoriver, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Well, I have noticed that..........

    ...and I have right from the beginning mentioned that they easily could be scaled up to some extend. As I have mentioned that that would most probably free of charge, when our well reputed NA´s are convinced it is for a good reason.

    But even if they are too small to fit every purpose, they are a good start for some small businesses. (the net, not the fish, you know)

    I still don´t grasp your problems, and I still doubt your real intention.

    Sorry to say so, but I am frank, straight and unpolite on purpose.
    Seen too much, heard too much, fead with it.

    When your problem would be transportation, you would have given the FAO approach at least another thought...............

    Must I repeat? They could be upscaled to a sensible extend with no problem, at no cost, by some of our well respected members, if helping the poor was the intention.

    You have had no problem with discussing the most idiotic idea of boatbuilding I ever came across, but you obviously have a problem to discuss appropriate approaches.

    May I ask why?

    (do not make the mistake to ask about my experience in third world countries, you might get a real annoying reply)

    Regards
    Richard
     
  2. congoriver
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    congoriver Junior Member

    Ok, so why is the idea of a single piece cast boat "idiotic"? The U.S. Navy has done it to produce the most successful boat during the Vietnam War, single piece roto molded plastic boats are common place, and the world's best boat builders are doing it today with carbon fibre.

    It's not because it sounds awkward that an idea is stupid. Alright?

    If these guys in Congo can make a cooking pot the size of a large bath tub, then I'm sure that with some help they can turn out a boat.
     
  3. pedalingbiped
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    pedalingbiped Junior Member

    Cut to the chase

    Richard,
    According to the revised "Rules of Hyperbole" you can not cut to the chase,
    apparently you didn't get the memo.

    Trying to reinvent a national infrastructure is beyond any individuals capability.

    CongoRiver, you say commodities market doesn't give the farmer ownership then you say a farmer is willing to sell at a deep discount before his crop rots.

    The largest FAO boat, 8.5M (32ft), can carry 500kg of cargo. With a 8hp motor it can do 7kts

    Trying to get crops to a market over 1000 k away is too far.

    How far apart are the markets that a farmer can make a profit?
    Empower the farmers, let them form cooperatives.

    You then come by in your 8.5M boat and pick up the crops at already a guaranteed price and take it to market, preferably downstream at first.

    Or build the boat and sell it to each co-op with a motor and they can do it them selves. Once local markets are tapped, then a bigger boat can take surplus to markets that are farther away.

    Or use your power boat to gather the catamarans the farmers have build from 2 pirogues to put their crop on. You could probably pull (or brake?) a large train of them if going downstream. Sell the food and then pull the empty pirogues back up stream (or just sell them if the farmers can make them cheap enough)

    If you can put a system that works, you will then be copied.

    If I may add an addendum.
    After WW II the developing countries tried to catch up with the developed countries.
    Most Asian countries decided to offer education from 1 - 8, then later 1 - 12.
    With more education, the people started their own businesses and then when they needed better help, they built colleges to train the new managers.

    Most African countries went with building colleges. The problem was that after graduation, most college graduates were unemployed. There were no jobs available because the infrastructure had not been built.

    I think you need to make bricks before you build a brick wall.
     
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  4. Marco1
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    Marco1 Senior Member

    True yet completely irrelevant. I am talking about the fact that unless a person or a society is able to face the reasons that lay within themselvs as individuals and as community that has brought them down to the present situation, they will never come out of it.
    Nice words or political correctness don't change reality.

    The altruism and generosity of people outside the situation that try to "solve" it are in fact part of the problem or aggravating it.

    Clearly the argument needs some space for debate with an open mind and would be outside the scope of this thread, the points of the debate would only be academic and would not change the Congo situation anyway.
    However I repeat what I said at the beginning, if a country has no boats to take produce to the market, it's problem is not one of transportation nor one of poverty nor one of past wars, colonialism, or any other external factor.
    Best wishes for your enterprise. Repairing existing boats may be the way to go for now. You may be able to resurrect the woodworking skills of the locals.
     
  5. rickinnocal
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    rickinnocal Junior Member

    I am new to this forum, and have just read through the whole thread. I think everyone is looking for a solution to the wrong problem.

    From the agricultural 'heartland' of DRC to Kinshasa is several hundred kilometres. Boats, however cheaply they can be produced, transporting the produce of a single farm (or even a small group of farms) over this sort of distance are just not economically feasible. Yes, FAO boats, or scaled up wood pirogues, could be inexpensively produced. The cost of fuel, though, for let's say a 1,000km round trip to market, is utterly and completely out of the question for a farmer or small cooperative.

    There is a 'reason' that the urban population of Kinshasa buys food that has been shipped in on ocean-going ships from overseas, not food brought down the Congo from the hinterland - the domestic produce cannot compete on price.

    There is no field of human endeavour where the term "economy of scale" has more effect than in water shipping. A small cargo craft such as a converted landing craft uses something like 600 kJ per tonne kilometre to carry freight, while at the top end of the scale, the biggest supertankers use less than 100 kJ per tonne kilometre. A large pirogue with a converted tractor engine would probably be close to 1000 kJ per tonne kilometre.

    What the Congo needs is a fleet similar to the "Irawaddy River Flotilla" that traded succesfully in Burma (Now Myanmar) from the mid 19th century until nationalization in 1948. At it's peak IRF had over 600 ships, and carried over 9 million passengers and millions of tonnes of cargo every year. Here... http://dlxs.library.cornell.edu/cgi...de=sea282:1.8&frm=frameset&view=image&seq=144 is the Mail steamer "Beeloo" around 1920.

    The IRF ships were flatbottomed, shallow draft, paddle wheel power vessels, each typically paired with two similar looking unpowered barges. These were perfect for transiting the meandering and shallow Irawaddy and its tributaries. Similar ships would be the answer to DRC's transport problems.

    The reason there are no such vessels in the DRC is simple.... politics. The government of the DRC is regularly listed in the top dozen most corrupt countries in the world. No corporation with the capital to invest in such vessels would even consider doing so unless the whole political culture of the country were turned around.

    Aid groups, the UN, and other NGO's could guarantee loans for the capital for a few such ships, making it possible for Congolese farmers to get much fairer prices for their produce, but they are never going to do so, because the people who choose to work for such groups are, almost exclusively, left wing "progressives", and they would rather carry sacks of rice from the eastern border to Kinshasa on their heads then see a... *gasp*... "profit driven" enterprise allowed to fill such a necessary niche.

    The bottom line is simple. Only big ships (By river standards) can get produce from the farms to market at a price point that makes it competitive with ocean-borne imports. Farmers, or farmers co-ops, cannot afford such ships. (And if they could they could not operate them, or have anything for them to do after their harvest was in) The DRC government is structurally and economically incapable of providing such a fleet, and the government and the NGO's are culturally incapable of allowing a corporation - which would of necessity be a foreign corporation - to do so.

    Richard
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
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  6. bearflag
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    bearflag Inventor/Fabricator

    Frankly, for these developing countries, even a "Steamer" is not a bad idea. It would be relatively painless to convert a big tractor engine to run off of a gasifier. Then wood and woodgas could be used as the fuel.

    Building a paddle wheel type boat using a traction drive along the perimeter and an old tire (like carnival rides), is about the most trouble free and simplest systems possible, and is well within the design capabilities of a developing nation and being constructed with local materials and agricultural level of tradesmanship.

    If I were to suggest, I would say, a paddlewheel "locomotive" style tug boat, and then some flat barges or just a long train of small, privately held flat boats as before. Lash them all together. And tow them to market. Burn wood, coal, tar, or anything else you can find for the price of nothing.

    What many people don't understand about the developing world is fuel costs are a disproportionately high percentage of their income. (up to a third or more).
     
  7. rickinnocal
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    rickinnocal Junior Member

    Some quick googling showed up diesel prices of around US$1.5/ litre for diesel in Kinshasa, and twice that or even more in the hinterland. This in a country where the per-capita income is $171 a year.

    Richard
     
  8. Pierre R
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    Pierre R Senior Member

    I addressed this question earlier in this thread and could not make it work ecomomically in the sizes that were being discussed. I said I doubt you could beat the floating villages for overall costs. I think you would need a shallow boat on the order of 120' or more and at least 150 tons of cargo.
     
  9. rickinnocal
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    rickinnocal Junior Member

    I agree completely.

    When I was a cadet I sailed under a captain who had been born in Burma where his father had been a captain with the Irawaddy River Flotilla. He had several photos of the old river steamers on his bulkheads, and was making a wooden model about a metre long of one of them. Their family returned to the UK when the Burmese government nationalized IRF in 1948 and began forcing out all the ex-pat officers.

    It was always his contention that Burma's slide from one of the richest countries in Asia to one of the poorest was largely a result of the decline of internal transport that followed the nationalization and subsequent ruin of IRF, which had run not only the ships, but the river docks that made loading such vessels on a shallow swampy river possible.

    Richard
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  10. kerosene
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    kerosene Senior Member

    Its a bad idea because the scale of a boat that carries its own fuel and significant cargo is not possible to "cast" - with sensible costs and quality if at all.

    - aluminum is expensive
    - aluminum corrodes
    - casting such shape would unlikely feasible even in top notch western facilities
    - there are much more robust, more easily fixable and available materials

    what the hull is made off is relatively minor part of the dilemma. The logistics is much bigger challenge.

    Also you have failed to engage in any kind of discussion on smart suggestions in this thread.
     
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  11. kerosene
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    kerosene Senior Member

    wood gas is extremely inefficient way of fueling anything. huge waste. Better of to farm for palm oil or something or buy the diesel than just burning forests for carbon monoxide.
     
  12. congoriver
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    congoriver Junior Member

    Diesel currently costs FC 950, which is around $1.1 per liter.

    Per capita incomes used to be lower than US$ 171, so there's some progress in the country. But this number doesn't mean anything in economics. You have to look at the GINI index, to know what's going on. It's estimated to be around 60. Nasty, that is. A few people earn millions (perhaps Kabila already makes billions), whereas the vast majority makes virtually nothing.

    The yearly farm income of the farmers with who we work is US$36 per household.

    Many don't even make money at all. They just subsist, outside of the monetary economy.


    So those who said "they should get together and build big boats themselves". Please go tell them to do so. With them earning $36 per year.
     
  13. jonr
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    jonr Senior Member

    How practical is a wood fired/steam boat or barge?
     
  14. bearflag
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    bearflag Inventor/Fabricator

    It all depends on who you ask, and what you mean by efficient.

    With steam/woodgas turbine waste heat cogneration it is one of the most efficient raw material to useable heat/power. (45 to 75 percent depending on what you use it for, not all of that is useable for spinning propellers, but esp for applications where you need heating or refrigeration, you can get some additional thruput.

    Wood or other biomass doesn't have a very good weight/volume to power ratio though.

    But on the other hand, esp in the developing world. the fuel is manyfold cheaper or even free.

    if it is free, then that almost makes it infinitely more efficient right?
     

  15. congoriver
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    congoriver Junior Member

    Well, for those who thought I was an idiot, take this: yesterday, at 2.00am local Kinshasa-time, our 6m aluminium boat was cast successfully. This came after 3 months of trying, scaling up the model in successive steps.

    Photos will follow soon.

    The boat was cast with 150kg of scrap aluminium, in a sand and clay mold. 5 teams each pouring 30kg of aluminium succeeded in casting the 3mm thick shell.

    Total cost of the operation: US$ 275.

    The boat is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, shining brightly and solid. We will now test its river-worthiness.

    We're also talking with the ONATRA (the Congolese Agency for Transport) on a program to mass produce cast-aluminium pirogues (canoes).

    Thanks for all your advice, it certainly has helped.
     
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