Need Input

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Zombie, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. Zombie
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Braman,Ok

    Zombie Junior Member

    Greetings all:

    I am beginning a rather complicated project that has been a dream of mine for years, building a surface running scale version of a VII-C (7-C) U-Boat.

    The scale will be somewhere around 1:4 or so, somewhere around 65 feet. (For large lake special occasion use only BTW.)

    Until recently I made the project so complicated, wanting a pressure hull among other things, that it made the project unfeasible.

    I finally settled on a surface running only design since I have no intention of ever submerging the boat, at least not on purpose.

    I have many questions I pray this group can answer. I will for now stick to the two most important.

    Although I have built more than my share of house additions, sheds, garages, playhouses for the children, etc, I have never built a boat. It was always easier to buy one.

    I should have little problem designing the frame for the boat but I don’t know the first thing about or where to obtain marine grade lumber.

    Second, the hull needs to be fiberglass because of the durability and weight issues.
    I have patched holes in truck fenders with Wal-Mart fiberglass kits but I know nothing about applying a fiberglass hull to a boat or where to obtain the materials needed. And with project completion slated for summer 2008 I have a lot of learning to do and a short time to learn it in.

    I will post more later.

    Zombie
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    What do you mean by frame? A fiberglass boat may have other type of structural reinforcements. Also, as a one off build, you may be looking at about $120.000.00 in cost without labor.
     
  3. Zombie
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Braman,Ok

    Zombie Junior Member

    By "frame" I am talking about the underlying skeletal structure of the boat. This one will be completely wooden except for a few key areas where I intend to use square aluminum tubing for reinforcement where needed.

    On a side note, I am not counting labor into the equasion. The main of the labor will be done by myself assisted by my nephew. The wife, who is quite good at construction herself, will fit out the interior.

    The cost of the project will never reach the dollar figures your picturing. We will be doing all the fabrication and labor ourselves and , for that reason, the project will take an estimated 3 years to complete.

    The lumber, square aluminum tubing, fuel tank and inboard engine will cost a great deal but the cost is managable. The real cost will be the fiberglass hull. Thats the real hurdle I must face in this project since it will be a layered hull and not made by some company that wants five times the cost to build it.

    Zombie
     
  4. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    I thought you just said you wanted it running by summer 2008. 3 years from now would be fall 2009.
    A fibreglass boat is very different from a fibreglass truck fender or a greenhouse. I would start with a lot of reading, if I were you, and do something in the 15-20 foot range to get started with. Fibreglass skin over a wood/aluminum frame, for instance, is generally frowned upon by modern builders as these structures tend to rot- if you do a glass hull, you do a glass structure too, and you have to do it properly. Wooden frame, wooden hull. Metal frame... you get the idea.
    Gonzo's estimate of $120 k in materials is not at all unreasonable for a project this size.
    You appear to have your heart set on fibreglass already. I suggest you do a lot of research into one-off construction methods before you make such a decision. Fibreglass is not always a good choice, especially in one-off builds.
     
  5. Toot
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Toot Senior Member

    I don't mean this to sound "bad", but from the description, I'm picturing something along the lines of a disneyland-style static show-piece that also happens to float and look rather convincing. In other words, performance won't matter one bit, so long as it floats, moves forward, and looks cool. This could actually be an interesting project.

    If I understand this man's specifications correctly, I have this to say to the pro's out there- don't think of this in terms of building a boat. Think of it in terms of building a "prop" for a movie. Keep the specifications as simple as possible and don't be afraid to improvise. This isn't a submarine. It's not even really a "boat" in the practical sense. It's something that will safely float, look cool, and travel in a forward direction.

    Now.. with that said...

    It's not going to last 100 years. And, in fact, since it's not going to be a very good boat, it doesn't really have to last forever in the water. Eventually, people will get tired of floating around in this thing and, not being a very good boat, they will move on. But, at the same time, this could be a really really awesome conversation piece to have floating out on the water. I say it'd be cool as hell. And, at some point, I'd imagine this would wind up serving a restaurant, sitting in their front lawn as a sort of gate guard or a tourist attraction. So... Let's keep this brutally simple and plan for a life span of 10 years... at least before it needs MAJOR updates..

    I'm thinking glass mat and vinylester resin for the top. You can lay it up on a wood frame. Figure out the weight of such a contraption. Determine how much buoyancy you need. And create a raft to hold up the top structure.

    I dare say you could probably build it for less than 20 grand. Even less, still, depending on your power requirements and other such things. A small outboard, hidden underneath the fiberglass shell, attached to a raft, would get you moving for little cost.
     
  6. Zombie
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Zombie Junior Member

    Well Matt, I have revised the completion date to 2009 for certain obvious logistical reasons. The fiberglass hull surrounding the inner wood frame is where I am beginning. Every project has to start from a basic idea and go through the refining process. This project is no different. I’m quite sure there will be many changes to the overall design long before the keel is laid. The thing most people don’t understand, might be a sign of the times, is that things don’t have to cost a cow to be done and done right.

    Small example. My uncle built a farmhouse a few years ago. He wanted to have it professionally built but the estimates ranged from $150.000.00 and up. He thought as I do. “Poppycock. Ill build it myself!” And he did. This thing was HUGE as well as stunningly beautiful! It is a 3-story Victorian style farmhouse with a full basement that all the kids annexed for a game room. He did all the labor right down to the electric and plumbing and in the end the home cost him one fractured finger, 2 nails through the foot and $45.000.00 in cash.

    This is a perfect example of how in today’s world cost is often exaggerated. Once again, a sign of the times.

    Oh and to address Toot’s statement. This is no prop. When completed I intend for it to last as long as possible, maybe even to leave to my kids. Granted you can’t ski behind it the deck space would be adequate to hold up to a dozen or so people. Below deck will be a R.V. style bathroom, a galley of sorts, as well as storage. I want to power it using a small block v6 or v8 inboard driving dual props.

    When this thing is out of the water it will look like a scaled down version of the original. If I use the rudder configuration of the original, dual rudders directly behind the props, it should be quite maneuverable. It will go forwards and backwards and should be able to reach a decent cruising speed for its size.

    I intend to include the diving planes and stern planes in the design and ill tell you why. Obviously they wont be used to dive the boat but while underway they can be elevated and provide a moderate amount of lift while traveling though the water as well as increasing cruising stability.

    Fingers are getting tired. Ill type more later.

    Zombie
     
  7. Toot
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Toot Senior Member

    Oh I see. In that case, I'd like to revise my cost estimate. ;)

    Also, just out of morbid curiosity, what's this thing going to be? 3 feet wide? I'm thinking it's going to look like the world's longest canoe.

    I think it's a cool idea. I can totally see it. But I can't imagine why someone would want to own a lousy boat for such a long period of time. It won't be fast (because a planing hull would totally ruin the look). It won't be maneuverable (it'll be much too long and slender for that). It won't be roomy (too short of a beam). You've got to admit- it's an oddball sort of thing. Like owning a mini replica of a pirate ship. That'd be really cool and fun... You'd be the envy of everybody who goes boating 3 or 4 times a year. But it won't be a very good boat.

    Besides all that though, upon the further clarification, it has become clear that this project is far beyond my knowledge and probably much too complicated, even for many of the designers here to tackle. There is not any information I can provide. Frankly, I don't even think it can possibly be done as you describe without completely destroying the lines of the ship, or else spending ridiculous amounts of money and acquiring professional design assistance. And, unfortunately, most of the guys here who really know what they are doing are professional designers and will probably want to charge you $$ for anything more than 10 minutes of their time (and even that amount is quite generous, IMHO)

    It certainly sounds as though you have a lot of self-education to do if you intend to pull this off yourself. Go to Amazon.com and place a large order. Then hit the "search" function, type in some terms, and start reading!!! You're going to need a lot of advice from the people here, so don't squander their good will on questions that have been answered countless times before.
     
  8. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    It is possible to do things cheaper and of lesser quality. They will have a short life span. Also, there are regulations the boat has to comply with. Some things, like electrics, wiring, hoses, etc. have to be certified. Something else may or may not work, but it's not legal and probably not safe either. As for the weight issue, fiberglass with aluminum and wood framing is a rather heavy construction. If you want light weight it should be of sandwich construction.
     
  9. Zombie
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Zombie Junior Member

    Toot I am still in the process of calculating the overall dimensions of the boat. At 65 feet I am thinking the deck will be somewhere around 8 feet wide but that’s just a guess until my calculations are complete. I do agree I am going to have to cram like I am taking the exam of my life. In the end I think it will be worth it. Keep in mind this wont just be some pleasure craft you can wheel into your local marina, drip it in and take off. This will be more of a special occasion craft.

    Gonzo I believe things can be done for less cost without sacrificing quality if it is done correctly. I for one don’t believe that quality is strictly linked to high cost. In my day I have seen too many cases, which blow that theory clean out of the proverbial water. I agree that if you outsource any portion of a project big or small the cost can rise dramatically. That is to be expected and as far as I am concerned those who do specialty work and do it well deserve to be paid well.

    Having said that, there is too much of a get rich quick craze going on now and it is in no small way linked to the terrible economy. People deserve to be paid well but too many want more than what their time and work is worth. It is a sad but an inescapable truth and it’s not going to change anytime soon.

    As for the safety aspects of the boat, I take safety VERY seriously. If I cannot make this boat, or anything I make, 100% safe then I will scrap the project no holds barred. I have been doing some research into state and government regulations concerning watercraft. For instance I discovered something I never knew about large lake craft. Anything over 65 feet must be registered with the coast guard even if it’s just going into a tiny state lake. That was interesting. I realize the regulations are many but manageable.

    Zombie
     
  10. Grant Nelson
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Netherlands

    Grant Nelson Senior Member

    Hey Zombie, the costs and other concerns other mention are because a boat is soooo different from a house. Consider that a boat floats on water - kind of like building a house on a swamp with no foundation - you have to make it triple sturdy so it wont flex itself into peaces. And you have water trying to get in on all sides... not just passive very low pressure raind water, but water pressure that is as great as you boat is heavy (kind of), so the skin has to be very well made (thick, that cost money). Water will get in anyways, and that is kindof like water on your nice wood floor: you have to protect it on all sides with epoxy, or what, or it will rot. And, its curved - have you built a house that is curved in every direction, and then also the walls inside to fit, and the furniture? And you need an engine, shaft, tanks to store water, navigation equipment, and so on... all thing that are not found in your house and expensive.

    Someone mentioned you should start a crash reading course, and I agree. So lets help Zombie out by recommending the best intro book we can think of that will show him the need for a structure of some significance. I was thining of Gerr's The Nature of Boats to get started, but I think something with more info on structure will also be needed...

    Cheers, Grant
     

  11. Zombie
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Braman,Ok

    Zombie Junior Member

    Good points one and all. I have taken those facts into consideration. That was a given.

    Thanks for the literature recommendation Grant. I will look into it.

    Zombie
     
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