House boat: Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by kroberts, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. kroberts
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 318
    Likes: 12, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 210
    Location: Chicago area

    kroberts Senior Member

    Hi.

    My father and I have been talking about crazy boat ideas for years.

    One of his favorite ideas is to make a house boat using two (or even four) tank trailers for buoyancy, and then put an appropriate sized building on it, either a camper or even a trailer house if you use four.

    This discussion is usually an argument. I generally doubt the viability of this sort of thing, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask those who know more than me.

    Just as an example of what I'm talking about, this is the first site to come up in Google: http://www.stephenstankproducts.com/index.php/category/canadian/ Not pointing at this company exactly, just the general idea.

    His idea is to find some old tank trailers that are especially free of draggy junk, then cut off all the extras and seal up the holes. He figures the top of the tank is likely to be hydrodynamically cleaner, so he would flip them over. I think this would still be pretty heavy.

    The engine would be some sort of small diesel, and the tanks could open on the top for storage or other useful space provided the boat is buoyant enough.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 1,170
    Likes: 40, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 155
    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Interesting idea. Though if followed through on you may have to fight the urge to give her a punny name.
     
  3. kroberts
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 318
    Likes: 12, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 210
    Location: Chicago area

    kroberts Senior Member

    I love puns. Especially the ones that are so bad nobody even groans. It's just a 10 second dead space in the conversation.
     
  4. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
    Posts: 4,964
    Likes: 188, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1903
    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

  5. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 5,808
    Likes: 373, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2489
    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

  6. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 1,170
    Likes: 40, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 155
    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Brian and hoytedow bring up a really good points.

    Potential corrosion issues aside (if the shell isn't made of a suitable material), have you considered cutting them in two, adding framework and a keel structure to the bottom "half" (it can be more than half of course) and then using the top bits for part of your roof structure? Maybe working in your topsides and windows to maintain a sense of curvature? With a catamaran foundation you might then have two small living spaces separated by a patio. A pergola top could be in part the top half of a truss system to give it better lateral strength.

    The result would might be a bit like this http://dornob.com/catamaran-cabin-floats-complete-with-deck-crows-nest/#axzz34Rgoljs1 but maybe with an "industrial" or "art deco" style given the choice of foundation.
     
  7. kroberts
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 318
    Likes: 12, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 210
    Location: Chicago area

    kroberts Senior Member

    Wow.

    That implosion is scary. They can't be lower than 1 atmosphere, and practically speaking getting that much volume to a perfect vacuum would take a very long time. So they must have been significantly above that. Or, it's a time lapse.

    The over-the-road trailers we were thinking about have baffles in them at least, and are set up to handle sloshing liquids. I understand that might not be the same keeping them out as it is in, but never thought of that before.

    Dad was talking about using the space inside the tanks for living space or storage, but frankly I wasn't sure they'd have enough buoyancy. Houseboat pics put that concern to rest.

    I would certainly want some sort of watertight bulkheads in there, no Titanic crap if I can avoid it. The idea of splitting the tanks and increasing height is interesting, and I like the idea of a clear or almost clear deck.

    This is hypothetical anyway, I figured it wasn't viable at all or a bunch of guys would be doing it. Dad thinks old trailers aren't too expensive, but if they're aluminum I don't see how that could be true. The scrap value must be pretty significant.
     
  8. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 5,808
    Likes: 373, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2489
    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    That was not time lapse. That was in real time. A floating open hull wouldn't implode like that but the pressure on an improperly braced cylinder or elliptical tube would certainly deform it.
     
  9. kroberts
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 318
    Likes: 12, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 210
    Location: Chicago area

    kroberts Senior Member

    I'd seriously like to know what internal pressure started the deformation and what the maximum difference was. And how they generated a vacuum that fast.
     
  10. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 1,170
    Likes: 40, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 155
    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    They need not have rapidly generated any vacuum. A tank can look fine but still be stressed to its limit. A little outward pressure and "poomp!".

    I would point out that it works both ways: pressurizing a tank helps prevent implosion.

    One thing these comments reminded me of are those old steel ships where waves have battered the plates and let the ship's structure show through. If this houseboat isn't going to move much (or just keeps to sheltered waters) that might not be as much of an aesthetics concern.
     
  11. kroberts
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 318
    Likes: 12, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 210
    Location: Chicago area

    kroberts Senior Member

    Realistically speaking, this boat won't be built at all. My dad is 80 and isn't going to build a house boat at this point, and it's not my dream, although I can see if I had one available I would certainly spend a summer on it.

    The discussion was to explore viability of the idea, not so much as a real project.

    I really like talking about it with people because it adds to the discussions I have with my father, and it's a neat intellectual exercise.

    Thanks.
     
  12. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
    Posts: 4,964
    Likes: 188, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1903
    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    I added quite a few photos of some 'rafts/ houseboats over on that other subject thread today
    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/boat-design/retirement-houseboat-floating-home-23987-12.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2014
  13. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
    Posts: 2,480
    Likes: 275, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1082
    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    You could spend a year just cleaning the things well enough to suit the epa wrt discharge of oily stuff. Try DRMO, you might find a set of four 6000 gal refueler trailers going for scrap cost.

    ok 5000 gal. don't know where the 6000 gal ones are. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYvQbpSZAIY

    Seriously, after you clean them really, really, really well, I think you have all the structure you need. Just torch and weld. Maybe you could pick up a small ammo bunker to mount on it. By the way, there was an old hanger at Robins AFB with about a 60' ceiling of corrugated metal, and you can still see the image of the guy who flattened the corrugations when he failed to properly purge a tanker before dropping his Bic lighter out of his pocket into the inspection hatch. He lived, which is how we know what happened. He broke every bone in his body, but he lived.
     
  14. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 1,170
    Likes: 40, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 155
    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Buy it for the diesel and sell the rest for scrap.
     

  15. kroberts
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 318
    Likes: 12, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 210
    Location: Chicago area

    kroberts Senior Member

    My uncle died welding a fuel tank trailer. It was his job, he owned the shop. He was inside the tank. Decades of repairing trailers, odds just caught up with him. They figure the double bulkhead had a tiny bit of fuel still in it.

    Not sure I would go for a fuel tanker, if for no other reason than that my uncle died in one and the obvious environmental problems associated with them. But they haul all sorts of things with these trailers, milk for example.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.