Building a Massive Houseboat from scratch...

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Rowdy_Rebel, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. pbmaise
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 115
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    Location: Cebu the Philippines

    pbmaise Senior Member

    I've been rethinking what is the best powerplant for you.

    You are not planning on using your engine long periods of time to travel. However, you have electrical and air conditioning needs.

    All engines will drive big alternators, and almost all big truck and suv enignes have AC units.

    If you go with an air cooled diesel engine plant you eliminate the need to draw/filter water on a water cooled engine.

    Now about your welder. You can use the same alternator on your engine for that. Here are directions.

    I would seriously consider two alternators. My engine has a 150 amp and a 80 amp alternator. With two alternators one can be only for welding.

    Don't try and go with a water cooled marine fridge. Almost everyone I know with a standard household fridge likes it better.

    All told your engine is going to be sitting on idle for several hours per day to run your fridge and AC unit, so you don't want to go too big on your engine. Consider sizing your engine based upon normal conditions..and not worst case. In worst simply stay put tied to the dock or on anchor.

    I don't have that option on my boat and the former owner decided to put in a big engine that is far to big to sit at idle.

  2. GhostriderIII
    Joined: Apr 2014
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    Location: Iceland

    GhostriderIII Junior Member

    Hull Materials: 5052/6061/6063/3003 aluminum in various extrusions and sheets

    Too light - you'd need to use plate alloy and weld it.
    Better with a steel barge and add an aluminum superstructure to it. But, there are plenty of barges around. I once put a double wide mobile home on one for a contractor working in Louisiana.
  3. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Ghostrider, Rowdy said he's got to build.

    But considering the cost of aluminum vs steel I'm wondering if one of the stipulations isn't to build in aluminum? It certainly seems that he is getting a lot of support for this project -- and all the power in the world for him too for it! -- and from what I've read aluminum has added demands that must fall within the capabilities of the physical plant in question.

    For my own part: Rowdy ... woo hoo! Remember to post pictures.
  4. clamflat
    Joined: Mar 2015
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    Location: rowley,mass.

    clamflat New Member


    rowdy the best way to start is to stop talking yourself out of it. my comments are, don't underestimate the cost. i built an aluminum houseboat with a structural bottom to sit on beaches and sand bars in cape ann, mass. we have approx. 8ft tides, and its fun. However the aluminum was huge money, very difficult to fabricate. i built a monohull in the shape of a pontoon hull ( the open middle helps the boat track in a strait line when the tide is running,and the cabin is large, and wind forces are always trying to force the bout one way or another when we are under way ) someone posted that you start with a barge.i think that's a great idea. i built my hull upside down on two level wood beams that i constructed over concrete filled sono tubes in a 50 x 24 ft. greenhouse that i also had to build. the things i an concerned about rowdy is time of completion. in my case i had energy to burn in my early forties,and this was my second home made houseboat. i also am in the trades ( electrician )there are a couple of boat builders in my area that needed my services,and they didn't seem to mind me driving them nuts with questions. they saw my project as amusing i think.the boat weighs about 20,000lbs its called the beach whale for a displacement style hull ,your maximum hull speed is slow,so don't waste money on too much hp. 10hp per ton is plenty. the builder told me 5hp was enough. my bout has two honda outboards 50hp each,i have a double outboard control the motors are 9ft. apart with hydraulic steering. i have a two way oiston under my swim platform and stainless rod ( 5\8 " )that extends thru bushings in my platform to each motor with ob. drag links on each end. we have local pump-out boats in the harbor ,and its cheap so i think tour est. holding tank is way too big. if you have a pump boat near you , that would be a consideration. rowdy, be careful, don't go broke

  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    The boxlike design is OK for floating. If you think that the houseboat will get a lot of miles, the hull is not appropriate. It will have huge resistance and be limited to sheltered waters in good weather. Your specifications are reasonably thorough for an initial design stage. However, they don't include the most important criteria for a vessel: intended area of operation and sea conditions.
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