New ideas, and new materials

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Stumble, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Why is it that so many people jump on here, with little to no boat building experience, no education, and no clue what they are talking about, then procede to rail people who are actually in the industry and have real and good reasons for their views?

    Now I appreciate that you may think you have a good idea. I would even be willing to concede that industries become set in their ways, and resistant to change. I would even concede that an outsider MAY from time to time have a revolutionary new idea that really changes how an industry works.

    That being said however the boat building industry is full of small manufacturers looking for any tiny advantage, the material science guys have been working on this for thousands of years, the designers and engineers have all been to school for years, and have decads of experience behind them. If you have an idea you want vetted for feasability try to keep this in mind:

    1) NO MATERIAL IS PERFECT: From the most high tech things like carbon nano-tubes and carbon fiber to plywood, every material can have a benificial effect on a structure. If you are proposing a new material for a specific job, make sure you understand two things: The role of the part and the critical design elements, and the relative value of the old material vs the new one.

    For instance while working with a Tug company we have been discussing replacing the tow lines from steel to Dynex-Dux. There are arguments for and against the replacement, we have a list of both, and a financial impact spreadsheet of each of those differences. With cost savings and cost increases for each material, as well as indicators for when the numbers are estimated, exact, WAG's (Wild A$$ Guess). This way we can compare the real cost of ownership.


    2) It is possible but very unlikely that you have created a new design for a boat, or part that is revolutionary. However it is much more likely that there are good reasons why your design is faulty in some way. When this is the case and you ask the forum for opinions you are likely to get critical responses, with the more your design deviates from reality the harsher the responses will be.

    Now this is NOT the time to lash back at the experts on this forum, but to take a serious look at what they are saying and try to understand the faults they have identified. Then make an honest effort to change the design in order to fit the criticism, or abandon the project as either unfeasable, non-economical, or redundant with other existing products.


    The most common issues I find with the forum members is that after asking for criticism most posters will go on the offensive and attack the responce for a small number of reasons:

    1) They don't know what they are talking about. This is fair with many of the members here, but there are more than a few that are professionals in their field, experts at what they are talking about, and have the evidence to back up their statements. So be careful when trying to decide which catagory the poster falls into.

    2) The "industry" doesn't want to change because they have been doing it this way for years and have a vested interest in continuing to do so. While true in business in eneral, the boat building industry is rife with hundreds of small yards, each willing to try new things, owners with the capital and resources to experament, and enough buyers who are price insinsitive to explore new ideas as they come out.

    3) It just takes using XXXX as a mirical solution for the limitations of my new product/material. NO IT DOESN'T. If you want to use an otherwise great material, but it explodes when in contact with salt water, then it doesn't belong on a boat, and no composite made out of it solves the problem. Something must live and die in the industry on its own merits, and while composite construction is great, it is because the materials compliment each other in a significant way, not because one is making up for the deficiencies of the other.

    4) Well if it is done perfectly then it will work. I don't care how well built a boat is, how careful the workers, how precise the machinary is at some point there will be a break down in a vessel. They are to large, to complicated, and exposed to one fo the most corrosive environments to be found on earth. No part, or process, no finished product can be assumed to be failure proof. So things must be designed around the inevitable reality that minor parts will fail, paint isn't waterproof, substrates will rot, ect... Failing to do this will result in short lifespans of products, and possibly of their users.

    If you happen to be the person who discovers a radical change in what has been best practice they you will make millions, and there are people here that would be more than happy to become involved. BUT for every one good idea there are thousands of bad ones, and you need to realize that just because it sounds great to you, there are very likely some good reasons why your idea won't work in the real world.


    If your responce to a critical post falls into one of the above you are likely failing to understand or really see what the objections are and need to rethink your responce critically.






    Finally, just a few examples of ideas that people fought for that will never go anywhere, where they refused to listen to reason, logic, or reality:

    1) The 30kn motor sailor with water ballast tanks to lighten a 60' sailboat enough that it would weigh less than a comperable fountain.

    2) Bamboo in just about anything on a boat. (It does have its uses, but boat building is not one of them)

    3) A six foot boat built to sail around the world.

    4) New material XXX that solves all the problems of existing materials, weighs less, and is cheaper than everything.
     
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  2. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    You can read my mind Stumble ?!;)
     
  3. bearflag
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    bearflag Inventor/Fabricator

    Great post.

    Caveats:

    Bamboo makes great cutting boards and cabinet doors :)

    Glare or other fiber metal laminates (though Arral seems less promising): (recent post on the materials board) Is quite brilliant, has some great properties, if you keep in mind that there is no such thing as a wonder material, and that everything has its place in a well engineered product.
     
  4. tinhorn
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    tinhorn Senior Member

    "Everything that can be invented has been invented." --1899

    I've learned to take my experiments and brain farts to the river flowing past my house instead of asking on these forums.
     
  5. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    Stumble,

    Interesting read, and quite factual in its purpose, there really are a few out there that are quite convinced that their new gizzmo is the best thing since bottled milk, but the reality of it is, the sea will sort em all out.

    Thanks for expressing what many of us feel on a daily basis, but do not acctuallly say.

    Please do NOT read this as saying we are not open to new ideas, by discussing new ideas, perhaps something can be done.....maybe altered to suit, maybe changed in operation, we DO love new ideas, just not the arguements that are associated at times with them.
     
  6. bearflag
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    bearflag Inventor/Fabricator

    As an inventor/designer/fabricator by trade, and a physicist by education this not at all encouraging... :(

    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. ~ Niccolo Machiavelli

    The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes.
    ~ Nikola Tesla
     
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  7. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Fly on the Wall - Miss ddt yet?

    Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!
    Thomas A. Edison
     
  8. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Fly on the Wall - Miss ddt yet?

    America is a country of inventors, and the greatest of inventors are the newspaper men.
    Alexander Graham Bell
     
  9. MatthewDS
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    MatthewDS Senior Member

    Great Points Stumble.

    I have a method for avoiding embarrassing myself and irritating the boat design community, and it is this:

    I keep a little black moleskine notebook with me at all times, the kind with engineering paper inside. When I have an earth shatteringly brilliant idea, I sketch it in the book, and date the sketch in case it actually turns out to be a good idea. I then write down notes and thoughts regarding every aspect of the idea, how it will work, what it will do, etc. I like to spend a few days jotting down little details, comments and thoughts.

    Typically, in this period, I find some horrible, obvious flaw which forces me to abandon the idea. If there doesn't appear to be any flaws that I can think of, then I describe the idea to my wife. Depending upon her reaction, the idea either gets reworked, shelved, or I head out to the garage to build it.

    Say, that reminds me, I'm working on an idea for a pedal-powered flying submarine, is anybody interested in helping with that? :)
     
  10. bearflag
    Joined: May 2010
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    bearflag Inventor/Fabricator

    As an addendum to Stumble's post I might propose a #3???

    Ok maybe a 3*

    As Newton said, he stood on the shoulders of giants. We should never belittle those that have come before us. Our fathers, their fathers, and the men before them were no less brilliant than we. It is quite possible that the thing you have invented or the thing that you and everyone else is using is not as good as the thing your great-great-great....-great grand pappy was using.
     
  11. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Fly on the Wall - Miss ddt yet?

    There is a guy in Colombia who needs help with his. :D
     
  12. bearflag
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    bearflag Inventor/Fabricator

    Not to go too far off-topic...

    But there a human powered submarine made in the war of independence, it was called "the Turtle", way ahead of its time...

    Flying it was not. http://www.drgeorgepc.com/Turtle.html

    On a side note you can design a lot of things, if you want to do it just to "to do it". Boat racing falls into this category. As does going to the moon. Running Running marathons. And all manner of other silliness.

    If money was no object, you may very well be able to build a massively long (but narrow) submersible, with some sort of cavitation bubble at the nose (I suppose that would be considered flying) (like a torpedo) that was purely human powered (by tens or hundreds of people).

    But the question would be WHY?!?!?
     
  13. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Just to clarify,

    I think all of us love the idea of seeing a new idea develope, a new concept being worked out, and if contributing to this forum in any way helps others then it is worth it.


    However I get tired of seeing new members log on and propose something ridiculous, then when obvious and serious flaws in the design or material, or concept are pointed out the original poster responces are predictable: Apex doesn't know anything about boats, I don't know anything about the law, the rest of the forum is a bunch of scared old men, and the reason no one has used this great new invention yet is they are all scared of change....

    It gets old.
     
  14. Willallison
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    Willallison Senior Member

    Well, personally I don't think any of you know what you're talking about... you all just hang around here because you're lonely.
    I, of course, as one of the longest standing members, am a notable exception to this....;)
     

  15. Willallison
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    Willallison Senior Member

    Oh crap..! Did I say that out loud...?

    :D

    Seriously though, I commend those who present new and interesting ideas - no matter how absurd or impractical.... so long as they are prepared to accept the advice of those who understand the realities of the arena. And of course we have to aknowledge that the advice often given is just as absurd as the proposition on which it was given.... Not all our members actually know what they're talking about....
     
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