Herding Cats -- Catamaran Build Cooperative

Discussion in 'Projects & Proposals' started by nimblemotors, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. nimblemotors
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    nimblemotors Senior Member

    I wanted to post this here. I'm looking for 2 (maybe even 3) people who would like to join me in building a 36-40th catamaran. The key is by helping each other and build 3 of the same boats instead of each of use build own own, we can do it much faster. I think 9 times faster.
    So instead of 3 people taking 3 years to build 3 boats, 3 people working together to build 1 boat 3 times will only take 1 year. That is 9 times faster, and 3 times faster than doing it yourself. Just makes sense, and has been done before with similiar results.

    See http://www.herding-cats-coop.org
     
  2. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Yes, that sounds like a good concept. It should help to keep each other motivated as well.

    The trick will be to find a system to monitor work skills/time, finances of course.

    Its much the same as the Amish house raisings, but they have the designs/methods material requirements all worked out ahead of time.
     
  3. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Hi Nimble M,

    Sounds like a great scheme, RW has pointed a couple of things to get really well nailed down. You've used the Fusion 40 as an example of time saving, of coarse thats true, however they have made a pretty large investment in tooling & those boats still cost into the hundreds of thousands to complete. Also your projected build time savings look a little ambitious... "If we believe the previous 5x and 10x speed improvements, building 3 boats together should be 50x faster" (pasted from your site), no one should believe this, it is an occasional happening, realistically you might apply a multiplier like x.8 or similar. You're going to need a very low overhead yard to complete fit outs etc.
    All the best from Jeff.
     
  4. nimblemotors
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    nimblemotors Senior Member

    Thanks for the input. Certainly 50x is very optimistic, but 9x is a realistic figure, which means 1 year instead of 9 years to build 3 boats.
    The Fusion 40 proves the point, and indeed that is possible because they have female molds for all the parts. The cost of those kits reflects a for-profit business plan, not a cooperative.
    It does take time and effort and expense to make the molds.
    I've built many molds (not this large) they are not expensive if you don't build them to last. If we only build 3 boats from them, they won't cost much to make.
    Cheers,
    Jack

     
  5. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Hi Jack,
    still sounds like your applying a pretty optimistic scenario...........at 9 x faster, some of the "speed" is possible with the greater labour pool, a crew of 3-4 can be very effective & manageable, which your scenario gives. Easy if employed but tricky if they need to take time away from paid work to build their low cost cat.

    lets say a 40' cat might take typically 4000 hours... could be 2000 in a basic state, could be 6000 with a flash fitout... so say 2 man years on average.. x 3 = 6 man years for three boats... ok with 3 working that's two years.. ? 3x "quicker".

    Your scenario might be more valid if you represent a "structural unit",
    to be fair to each party all boats would have to progress "in parallel"

    So if you built one hull shoe mold(2-3 weeks) & molded 6(2 per week so 3 weeks) + supporting cradles(x12 so 1-2weeks), then flat panel melamine table(week to build?) molded 3 x sets(probably 9-12 at 2 per week..say 3 weeks) of connective bulkheads/beams 6 inner hull topside skins(say 2 a week so 3 weeks) & 6 x outer hull topside skins(say again2 a week so 3 weeks), 3 x underwings(say a week to build mold & 2 weeks to mold 3), 3 x cabins off melamine mold(say again week to build mold & 2 weeks to mold 3), here we are at 20 weeks or so with most outer surfaces but not tabbed & bonded, plenty of lineal meters per boat, sheers 24, shoe to topsides24, connective bulkheads4of x 2 sides x 18= @150, underwing to inner topsides & fwd deck edge 44, cabin to deck 32... probably 300 at ?70metres a day 4 days x 3 boats so 3 weeks, now at 23-24 weeks, still need sub sole tank bulkheads-week & 1/2 x 3 = 4, soles-week x 3, some stringers?, minor divisions week x 3, cockpit furniture week x 3, some localised fairing to external seams-week x 3 ......24 + 16...40 weeks now, add some manual handling of parts 2 & some F factor3, cleaning &waste disposal2... now at 47 optimistic weeks we got 3 catamaran structural units(but needing some further finishing) with 3 motivated but variant skill set self builders in need of a holiday/vacation.

    Maybe you can build/mold each major component in a day, pop it off & mold another before sundown but cats include heaps of square meters, & are generally x 2.5 the work of a mono... 2 x hulls & an in- between.

    It is "possible", with marking out & common molds across the 3 boats to save some time but please don't underestimate the time & effort required.
    Jeff
     
  6. BobWA
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    BobWA New Member

    Sounds like a great idea, but . . .

    Seems it would be hard to find three people in the same local area who want to build the same boat.

    I'd like to find one or more people who'd like to build a Dix dh 470 (47' cat) near Moses Lake, WA (for the hulls) and move to the Puget Sound area (or next to the Columbia River) for putting the projects together and launching. My project is stitch and glue.

    It seems that they would need a lot of time to work together, I get three months off in the summer (teacher), but how would this and other schedules mesh together?

    I would also guess that each team member would have to have about $100,000 in available money or credit that could be dedicated to getting the projects off the ground and fairly deep in.

    A place to build three cats would be huge, just another consideration. Building the hulls one at a time (X6) and moving them outside for storage would decrease the shop size considerably.

    Any ideas for how to make something like this work?
     
  7. BobWA
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    BobWA New Member

    One more thought!

    Maybe the coop just needs a humongous space and a lot of equipment for sharing in the build of several (or more) different cats at the same time. A group could meet for large tasks and many small meetings for sharing information about the building process, shortcuts, etc.
     
  8. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    I think the difficult parts would be

    1. Paying to house 3 boats in the same 'hanger space' for 3 - 5 years.

    2. Deciding on the primary design to build - that sounds like you would win more than the others in the CO-OP.

    3. How in the world would you incorporate the hundreds of 'change plans?'

    Would you software control the process?

    I doubt 3 people with time to spare (retired) would have as much energy as a hired hand or two .... They might be more motivated, but life happens.

    Wayne
     
  9. nimblemotors
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    nimblemotors Senior Member

    Gentlemen, the plan is to work full-time for 1 year to build 3 boats.
    If you can't commit to 1 year of building, then this coop is not for you.
    The boatyard where my existing 32ft hulls are located has room (or did) for 3 40ft cats,
    and they charge (or did) $50/month. That might change next year or in the future.
    If done today, the boatyard costs are $1,800 total, plus the cost to build a shed.

    Don't know what you mean by "I win more". We all three get a boat, we all win.
    It is a cooperative, we are equal partners.

    Of course **** happens, but you know what, wonderful happens too...when you let it.
    By making it 1 year full-time, the chance of **** goes way down.

    I'm surprised how few have even mentioned the cost, it would be one of my top questions. I don't know the costs because the specific boat is not yet agreed to.
     
  10. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Why are you surprised ??

    The whole idea is still so nebulous and lacking detail, cost is the least of your problems.

    Whoa - you drop in to say you have the winning plan, then seem to assume anyone posting will actually be interested . There isn't a single poster who has actually seriously contemplated joining you, in case you haven't noticed.


    All the other contributors have raised so many of the issues you are facing.

    To recap, long before cost comes more than 2 people who want the same boat, have enough money and time, and the skills. People who build boats have widely varying ideas on what 'good' is, and the way to do it.

    Then comes the location close to the x number of people, the method of assessing work done, the agreed 'options' ....

    I will stick my neck out and say it will never happen - I don't want to discourage the idea, or wish ill on your project, but all the signs are that its just a dream.

    Do feel free to prove me wrong - ( I will send you 2 bottles of champagne when the first two boats are in the water ) but its not going to happen without a much more serious business plan and hard facts.

    You need to start with a minimum of :
    1) The actual plan of the boat with full material costing, and firm build location with known overheads.
    2) You need to quantify the amount of savings expected by this co-operative approach, based on real experience.
    3) You also need to specify the skill level required by individuals, the building schedule and processes to be used.

    Then the real problems start ...


    Full points for creativity though, and keep the positive attitude going as you put more effort into developing the concept.
     
  11. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    Is this you from years ago saying 50k was out of your range for a catamaran? And the workload was more than you would commit to? I think materials will run well over 50k for this 'project?'

    Don't you?

    wayne


     
  12. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    Methinks someone needs to read 'The Mythical Man-Month'.

    This theory of paralleled effort and its effect on overall completion time lines has been comprehensively shot to ribbons *decades* ago.

    IOW, you are dreaming.

    Let me see, if it takes 1 woman 9 months to produce a baby, do you think that 9 women can produce a baby in 1 month?

    PDW
     
  13. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    The concept could work...not at 9 to one. perhaps two to one.

    Many homebuilders dont have the manpower or money to hire the manpower for big jobs like laminating and fairing.
    a cooperating effort will also add the economy of scale to material purchase and tooling up costs.

    The problem will be finding seriuos people with the skill , the time and the energy to work as a team.

    It might be impossible.

    Quality temp labour is availble in my area for 100 euros per day. Many of these labourers have good skills and are between permanent jobs. Not a bad way to go.
     
  14. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    The most successful effort I have seen along similar lines was a for profit operation back in the eighties. This was by Brent Martz, wherein the prospective owner of an in fashion 35' center cockpit cruising yacht would pay to work along side Brent & his professional laminator from Martz Craft molds & over a period of weeks(maybe 6-8-10-12?) layup hull/ deck, install bulkheads & bond in, hull/deck join, stringers, ballast. From memory the boats had to reach a level where they represented a ballasted structural unit I think with chainplates & toerail installed- this was to make sure they met a standard acceptable by the builder to protect his reputation.
    Space was available to rent next door or the yacht could be transported to a backyard/where ever. The firm would also build to completion & to survey standards(which were the same I think "as built" structurally but inspected).

    Similar to this is probably the best bet for success, to have an experienced supervisor/project manager employed to teach & focus effort/ drive progress from the variously experienced co-op members.

    ...... so if you come to Aus, lay down some few hundred boat units x 3, I have the premises, fitout space & tooling, I'll even set up a donga. Might even give up my present employment!

    Jeff.
     

  15. nimblemotors
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    nimblemotors Senior Member

    There is a reason this cooperative is called 'herding cats'...

    "People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
    -George Bernard Shaw
     
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