Houseboat pontoon

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by jansenpg1, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. jansenpg1
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    jansenpg1 Junior Member

    We intend to build a houseboat using 44 x 55 gallon plastic drums for the pontoons. Can anyone tell me what weight these will support, assuming the water line will be half of the submerged drums.
    Thanks, Peter
     
  2. AndrewW
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    AndrewW Junior Member

    A 55 US gallon drum is what most of the world knows as a 200 litre drum (1 US gallon = 3.786 litres, 55 x 3.786 = 208)

    200 litres displaces 200 Kg of water, so each drum half submerged will displace (support) 100Kg so 44 of them will support 4.4 tonnes.

    Good luck with your project.
     
  3. AndrewW
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    AndrewW Junior Member

    Q, could there be a problem with the drums collapsing? Simply sealing them up on a hot day and then chucking them in a cold river will cause the air in them to contract, putting 100 Kg on top will also push the sides in, maybe they should have some pressure in them?
     
  4. jansenpg1
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    jansenpg1 Junior Member

    Thank you AndrewW for your quick responce.
    After having read your reply, i was surprised that the formula is so simple.
    Regards, jansenpg1
     
  5. ted655
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    ted655 Senior Member

    I could give a big speech here about drums NOT really being the best floats, but it's best if people find some things for themselves. Best advice?
    Build a small dock using them. Certain issues will be revealed.
    Bungs will leak eventually, no matter how you try to seal them. Faster if you plan on motorizing the thing.
    Pretend one does sink, practice replacing it. Design carefully, you will be doing a lot of it.
    Tow the dock with a boat, watch how the barrels move through the water, you'll see how much framework it takes to keep them from escaping, turning, rolling & plowing.
    .
    A houseboat is a big project! Not only building the deck part but THEN the real expense and work starts. Barrels aren't what I would place my project on.
    A simple scow hull can be built easier & at not much more cost, (less in the long run) but good luck & no the sides won't collapse. That fear is the least of your worries building on drums.
     
  6. AndrewW
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    AndrewW Junior Member

    If the drums are filled with air at an ambiant temperature of 27C and then put in water at 12C, the cooler air temperature will reduce the volume of the drums by about 5% (10 litres) if you then load 100Kg onto each drum (which has an area of 0.5Msq at the waterline) the volume would be further reduced by about 2% from that pressure, 14 litres out of 200 doesn't sound like much but the sides of the drum are going to be noticably caved in top and bottom.

    Otherwise I agree with ted.
     
  7. larry v
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    larry v Junior Member

    try filling them with expanding foam, but i do agree with ted.
     
  8. jansenpg1
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    jansenpg1 Junior Member

    Is there anyone who knows of someone who has built a houseboat using either 55 gallon plastic drums or 45 gallon steel drums?
     
  9. Matt.D
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    Location: gold coast

    Matt.D Junior Member

    Re: 44 galon plastic drums for houseboat

    Hi Mate,

    I'm currently building a Houseboat (see attached picture), I spent 5 years planning, looked at using drums as floatation but they can't handle the weight amassed when building the house on top.

    The formula given above is correct for working out displacement and 4.4 tonnes is not much when it comes to building a boat. You'd be surprised how quickly weight adds up. Eg. just the weight of fresh water alone for a boat 50/60ft long you will need to carry at least 1000 litres of fresh water, if not more. So there's a tonne already.

    My hulls are spiral welded 4mm steel, almost bullet proof and 1.2 in diameter. I've done everything possible to keep the weight down and still I'm sitting at 15 tonne. So I would highly recommend not using 44s as they are only 600 in diameter. To be honest, building in fibreglass is much heavier and whichever way you choose to go the hull and deck are the easiest bit of construction.

    I can build hulls (painted in 2 pac primer and top coat) and deck structure ready for house construction for $22,000.00 in approximately 2 months.

    As per the reasoning that the cold water will make the barrells shrink, then just fill the barrells on a cold morning so the air inside is already at a lower ambient.

    Any questions or other picks let me know. Happy to help.

    Matt
     

    Attached Files:

  10. KnottyBuoyz
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    KnottyBuoyz Provocateur & Raconteur

    Hey Matt

    Can you start another thread on your houseboat project? I really like the looks of it and would love to see more details. Thnx.

    Rick
     
  11. Dave-Fethiye
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Turkey

    Dave-Fethiye Junior Member

    Hi Matt

    Wasn't quite sure what you meant by this
    "My hulls are spiral welded 4mm steel, almost bullet proof and 1.2 in diameter"

    Are you hulls made of 1.2 meter diameter tubes of 4mm steel ?

    If so how many tubes do you have - what is there length and over-all volume.

    And any one pictures of your great home ( eg on the hull structure) ?
    Thanks
    Dave
     
  12. ted655
    Joined: May 2003
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    ted655 Senior Member

    ="try filling them with expanding foam,"===
    1 55 costs $85 US to foam here in Louisiana
    ,
    ====="Can you start another thread on your houseboat project? I really like the looks of it and would love to see more details."=====
    Ditto. Great lookung HB !
    ,
    I'm not aware of any barrel projects. Try this link, maybe someone has started one.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shantyboat/?yguid=110256330
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/houseboatbuilding/
    ,
    Im curios, why barrels? Do you have access to free barrels or are not sure you can build another type of watertight structure?
     
  13. jansenpg1
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    jansenpg1 Junior Member

    Hi, Matt
    Thank you for that Info.
    Do you build the hulls yourself, and if so, are they in sections? (I am thinking about transportation.
     
  14. Dave-Fethiye
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    Dave-Fethiye Junior Member

    I am also looking at using plastic barrels mainly because I dont want to work with fibreglass and resins. I can weld up a frame to hold barrells and the barrells will cost $15 each (where I am).

    However I also like the idea of pipes - either PVC or steel. I just have to find some pipes that are at leats 40cm in diameter ( 80cm would be better). Then I can cost it out.

    I am still hoping to see some more photos on Matts boat and learn about the hull base he used.

    Dave
     

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

    Matt.D Junior Member

    Just signed up to this and havent any idea how to start a new thread! anyone help? Matt.D
     
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