drum placement raft housboat

Discussion in 'Stability' started by gp1953, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. gp1953
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 8
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    Location: whitewater ks

    gp1953 Junior Member

    Howdy All,
    I'm in the process of designing a houseboat raft, simular to what could of been a shanty in day gone by. I have a chance of getting some plastic 55 gal drums for around 8 bucks each. Each one will displace around 450 pounds. My question is this if you were to stand them on end instead of laying them on their side would they be more stable? This raft would be around 15-20 foot wide and 30-40 foot long. I'm thinking of putting a geodesic dome on it to keep the center of gravity low. I would like to make it self contained and unflipable if that is possible under all conditions. So any advice or help in this matter of designing this will be greatly apericated.
  2. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Hi GP. I saw a raft on a trailer as I was out walking yesterday. Must have been some sort of party barge - they had done a good job with steel framing and all.
    All rafts (including that one) I have seen to date have had the drums on their side.
    I suspect that this suits the budget better, as that means less supporting structure to build around it, as it would be less prone to want to twist the drums out sideways from the restraining structure. Also, when laid end to end, a better profile for moving through the water.
    The only reason that the drums on end might be better is if you were wanting a bit more height, and wave protection. Either that or you needed maximum displacement while keeping the platform size down.
    Flipping is probably less of a problem than twisting ,if you are going to encounter any rough weather. You would probably want to make sure the supporting structure could be capable of supporting itself if only the two ends were afloat.
    It might be interesting to calculate costs over a couple of years to compare the cost of a steel space frame (not forgetting antirust treatment and maintenance) Versus a similar size barge made of cheaper ply covered in something waterproof. All that extra storage down below, and much more efficient to move through the water.....
    The geodesic bit is very sensible, low windage, maximum size for weight - ahh - i can see the balmy summer days rolling by now, fishing line in one hand ... now lets see if you can find somewhere to moor it that wont get the local water authorities upset.
  3. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Take Rwatsons hint. Forget the drums and build the shanty boat as a boat should be. Chances are that the end cost will not be greatly different and the bargelike underbody will accommodate a lot more easy living stuff. The drums will surely figure out a way to fail. The barge will allow you to inhabit the interior fo the boat but the drum arrangement will force you to live on top of the boat.

    For eight bucks each, the temptation is to design around the drums, that is understood. Try not to succumb to that temptation.

    Incidentally there is a most interesting and fun to read book out there. The name is "Shantyboat". Not sure of the author or publisher.

  4. Matt.D
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: gold coast

    Matt.D Junior Member

    Hi Gp , what ur thinking of sounds good on paper and if u were on a mill pond u might do alright. as fixing them in such an unstable position will b tricky . U may b able to weld up a set of rings say 300mm high and sit the drum in and expanding foam them in to the collar. They will how ever give u more displacement .A couple of down sides i can see, these drums (i found out the hard way) is that they r made out of recylced plastic with a high wax content and no sealent will stick to them. so sealing the bung in them is the hard bit as the rubber "o" ring will perish in salt water. (this may not b a problem for u as u r mounting them vertical. And secondly as Watsom mentioned above is the amount of weight in the steel suport framw will far out weigh ur extra dissplacment uve gained by mounting them vertical.

    450 lbs whats that in kgs?
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