Modern Houseboat - Shanty Designs Input Plz

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by cadcam7, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. cadcam7
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    cadcam7 Joseph Sr. Boat Designs

    Hi Everyone,
    Been visiting here for years, just don't post much. So hopefully I'm doing this right...

    Working on developing some new houseboat designs using simple barge style hulls as the foundation. They are probably more shanty boats than true houseboats. The idea is to make them simple, spacious, modern, and inexpensive to build, using basic materials. Our goal is to keep them simple enough for the first time builder. The Houdini and Egret are narrow enough to be trailer-able, while the AquaPad & AquaGeo are well suited for solar panels, and lot's of them.

    We currently have 6 different ones, the smallest being a 16' shanty boat. Would love to get some input regarding everyone's favorite building materials. Plywood, aluminum, steel? They range from 16-36 feet. Small by some folks standards, but our goal is affordable.

    [​IMG]

    Ideas, suggestions & constructive input would be appreciated :)
    Thank you

    Oh yeah here they are: http://cncboatshop.com/houseboat-plans
     
  2. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    The challenge with the design is location. I would love to have a self sufficient houseboat but the problem is finding desirable locations to put it. It would sure be smart of the government to qualify zero-environmental impact homes that would be exempt from local ordinance and building codes. Floating ones could occupy flood/huricane zones. But that' not how it is. The only alternative is registering as a boat and boat rules.

    As such, all your designs are based on high drag barge hulls. It doesn't cost much to lower hull drag with a proper boat hull.

    I would tend toward the aquabox or pad. Solar panels should be adjustable because you don't know the orientation to the sun. For a few dollars more the panels could be the roof of a roof deck.

    Windows are your selling point over real boats, but beware of solar heat gain and cooling cost. The other concern about windows is that if this is in a remote location you need a way to board up the place for extended absence.

    FYI Site requires facebook sign in to comment.
     
  3. cadcam7
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    cadcam7 Joseph Sr. Boat Designs

    Hi Skyak thanks for the input. My goal is exactly what you're describing. Solar tracking racks have become more and more affordable. I plan to build a couple of them, with 12v lighting, solar panels, and composting toilets.

    It's hard to see from the iso view, but the roof over the Aquapad is divided roughly into 1/3 deck, and 2/3 with a pitch. The pitched area has off the shelf solar panels in an array on the roof of the model.

    You are correct about the windows, and their pros and cons. The house sides are simple enough, and therefore need not be lexan, it's just what I put in the preliminary models. More likely than not, I would use less of when building.

    I may consider lowering the freeboard, however after 30 years living on the waterfront, and many of those living aboard, it seems that most folks who live aboard underestimate the net tonnage required for tankage, books, tools, fuel, parts, batteries etc. I will finalize the height of the sides of the hulls once I finish the ever growing spreadsheet that I am building to estimate a more realistic weight.

    I am thinking a Gulf Coast sailing scow hull, minus the centerboard, would make a great alternative for a hull form. Thoughts?

    Thank you for taking the time to share :)
     
  4. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    I think you are right on with your direction for zero environmental impact and the hull design. I don't know if it is possible, but the last thing I would wish for is the ability to push the houseboat with the same motor that powers it's dingy.

    I know you have lots of places for shanty houseboats down in LA but it would be good to have one design capable of traveling the ICW, Erie canal.

    The tiny home/off grid movement is struggling with the building codes, ordinances I mentioned and often add wheels they don't want to be exempt. But as trailers they are prohibited from most places they want to be. And the young and hip are extremely sensitive to the 'trailer thrash' moniker. Houseboats are an interesting alternative legally.

    About windows, I sat through a demonstration of some replacement windows that were amazingly strong and had very impressive heat/UV blocking. That is the glass I would want.
     
  5. cadcam7
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    cadcam7 Joseph Sr. Boat Designs

    Here here on the earth friendly living. These are not only designs, but there is at least one that shall become our design office, and another, a guest boat, if you will. (As we live on the lake, and have room to tie a few up). Of course it is quite likely that i will be that guest.

    I love the idea of modest and frugal living, and there are some beautiful small houses and shanty boats about. For me it is very exiting. I have had so much fun with these few little boats, in between paying designs. Unlike many designs, these types of boats are very affordable.

    But for real traveling, I'm with you, I'd want more than a barge hull...

    I have lovely model of a hard chine gulf sailor, and also some lines off a beautiful Gulf Coast scow, used for hauling hay, I suppose a century ago. Between them, I believe there is a hull form that would do a fine job for these types of boats, don't you?

    None the less, if one is inexperienced, and would feel much more confident in their abilities to build a very simple way, and would grin his life away building his hideaway shanty, that would seldom leave the pilings, I believe the basic barge hull form would serve well.

    Now as for power, it would seem that we concur. A modest yet capable propulsion system. I believe that a small diesel, able to burn refined cooking oil, would feel right at home in her. What do you think?

    Perhaps I'm too anxious, but it would be a dream to use the solar system for at the least dancing about in still or gentle inland waters at a modest clip? I know I'm probably dreaming. But we are getting closer!

    At least the 12 volts could supply lighting, fans, power for the laptop. Of course I would still have to install some oil lamps. How can you have a shanty without them?
     
  6. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member


    I know I am attracted to small simple living. Not that I have achieved it, but I could be happy living in a much smaller space. In a way I do. I spend the vast majority of my time in two modest sized rooms. The rest of the house, it's what was in the place I wanted to be. I am toying with making a tiny home out of one of my spare rooms to demonstrate convertible multi-use space.

    For the hull I just want to dedicate the same attention to efficiency and low maintenance that the rest of the design demonstrates. Maybe I am a little off track -thinking of a home that can travel seasonally. I also tend to think the home will travel yearly to maintenance facilities. You have the ability to show the cost difference and drag -I think most will say "well if that's all it costs". Keeping the hull efficient simplifies all movement. Instead of hiring a tug you do it yourself when you want to.

    About energy, used cooking oil in a diesel engine has desirable qualities -high energy density, non-toxic, low smell. It could bring concerns -availability (unless you refine yourself -space) and shelf life. It could be a good fit. Your comment about extensive use of solar is another consideration. I recently checked into zeroing out my grid power use with solar panels and was pleasantly surprised. The panels are under $0.9/watt and I have my home so efficient it doesn't take many. I was surprised to find that the actual power cost was less than half my bill. If I could qualify as the installer, charge myself a competitive installation rate, the state and federal subsidies would more than cover material costs. The net yearly power production is not a problem, storage, and balancing production with use are a problem. The cheap easy solution is generator backup. If you do it right the need is so small that any hydrocarbon will do -hat is the magic of efficient living. In addition to the diesel/oil LPG could work. It would be good to dual fuel one or two of the big demands -cooking, transport, heat/cooling to reduce the battery requirements.

    Just to contribute something, I have been thinking about composting, it's a lot of space for a long time. I am considering desiccate & incinerate. It could be smaller and energy neutral or positive.
     
  7. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    I thinking I'm too old, I see the concept and it is the best....freedom, independence, etc, etc, etc.

    But, I don't see that you are offering anything but software images and hyperbole.

    Nothing looks new, it all looks the same as everything else and half are impracticable.

    The sad thing is, people suck it up.

    It has all the catchwords, inexpensive, simple, spacious, modern, and the ever popular 'solar' reference, but is backed up by anything? Any actual construction drawings? Any engineering studies or something?

    Well, you catch my drift I'm sure. I like the concept, but do you have anything to back it up?
     
  8. cadcam7
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    cadcam7 Joseph Sr. Boat Designs

    Hi Sam,

    Your view is certainly valid. I suppose there are many folks these days drawing up boats, and such!

    I do not yet have the construction drawings completed, nor what you would call engineering studies. It's too early in the design process for either. However, we design boats for Military, Rescue & Recreational use, and work primarily for 3 commercial aluminum boat builders, and that keep us quite busy, so the small houseboats project is coming along, but rather slowly.

    Currently, we are building out the 3d models of the small houseboats series, using appropriate aluminum scantlings for CNC cutting, and on another set of layers, are the scantlings for stock lumber framing and plywood. Once completed they'll go onto a spreadsheet, where I am tallying up the respective estimated weights and cost of the two most popular materials for boats in this size range.

    Likewise, I am working on another spreadsheet, that I am using to calculate actual DWL based upon the totals from the materials, adding to it the tank and related liquid cargo weights, and of course all of the things that we creatures tend to collect when living aboard. This will help determine the CG, displacement, and the resulting draft loaded.

    Once I get a solid handle on the gross displacement, then I will finalize the lwl, and
    look at the freeboard one last time before lofting everything. There will be very little in the way of additional calculations, as the boats are designed for modest power and to be used in calm inland waterways. We are planning to offer the designs as complete packages, the same as we do for our commercial clients.

    Last but not least, we have also begun the calcs for solar panels. There are many different vendors, and price points. But I am using the most common size panels and modest output values to estimate available power. This of course leads to batteries, switches, and their weight calcs as well. That then, allow me to estimate an actual cost of all things solar related.

    As for being new, I do not claim to have re-invented the small houseboat, or shanty. Nope these designs are much older than I am. I do enjoy them though, and plan to build one or two, and tie them up here at the lake house, next to a couple of skiffs and a pirogue.

    If you'll peek further up in the thread, you will see we've discussed the pros and cons of so many windows, and of course being simple flat surfaces, they would be easy to replace with plywood or aluminum.

    However for folks who want to build a modest boat of this sort, the use of 3d design software, renderings, step by step builders information, frame booklets and cnc cut files can improve quality and reduce labor costs.

    I'm tired, but I think this will make sense lol. I'll review in the morning.
     
  9. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    While a diesel is a nice concept , I think the actual miles the boat would reaveml would be better served with an I/O or perhaps even a 4 stroke outboard.

    For the finest remote cruising the boat should be able to live in tidal areas where the hull will be aground 2x a day.

    A lifting drive system is therefore required .


    My dream house boat/ cruiser would be a cat hull that had skirts to operate as a hovercraft some small part of the time, and had jacking spuds , so the boat could be lifted clear of the water in wake areas.

    In no anchoring areas , the boat would be jacked and 2 black ball rigged.

    Sorry, marine police man,were aground , not anchored.
     
  10. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Not having much to offer from the technical point of view (houseboats are not my strong point), I just wanted to say that I really like the design of Aquageo (or is it Aguageo?). The kind of houseboat I would buy if I needed or wanted one.
    Good luck! :)
     
  11. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Thanks for the explanation. I suppose for first time builders, say for the aluminum construction, the people would prepare the materials and hire a welder. Would you include a tool list, snippers, saws etc and detailed construction explanations?
     
  12. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    I think I have some doubts similar to having SamSam. I do not think those are the ideal boat for a first boat building. I miss some sailors elements, for example, anchors, bollards, chains, ropes, needed to keep the device attached to something, hydrants outside, exhaust ducts or chimneys to fumes from the kitchen , ....
    It may be asked by the stability of the devices, security in general, passive fire protection, source of emergency power, how to avoid excessive swings (very abrupt given the proportions of the helmets), finally, the many things a floating object to be inhabited by humans, must have.
    I am convinced that all that is planned but squeezes my curiosity
     
  13. cadcam7
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    cadcam7 Joseph Sr. Boat Designs

    SamSam,

    The nice thing about CNC cut aluminum, it there's really very little prep work, it's really a matter of interlocking the pieces together and leveling it all up, for the welder. I think a tool list is a good idea. We include that type of info with our smaller boat plans, which are more suited for first time builders.

    For only the smallest designs, such as the 16' Houdini, we are possibly considering a riveted version. (Many of our commercial clients build our designs using that method)

    Tansl we are planning to use Sampson posts, which penetrate the deck and go all the way to the bottom of the boat, interlocking into the sub structure. As for the other elements you describe, yes they will eventually make their way into the models as man hours permit. As I mentioned earlier in the conversation, we are slowly working these concepts through the design process, between other high priority design projects.

    If I may take a moment and thank everyone for their input :)
     
  14. Rurudyne
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    The Houdini needs a paddlewheel version. Maybe one adapted for use as a tug with the others?
     

  15. ElGringo
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    ElGringo Senior Member

    CadCam7, I went to you website and tried the contact page but all I got was a bunch of google, tweet, like, and other crap. Is there a way to contact you on your website?
     
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