Plastic Barrel Houseboat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by WDKinley, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. WDKinley
    Joined: Jul 2018
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    Location: MB, Canada

    WDKinley Junior Member

    Hello all,

    I'm started to design a houseboat placed on barrels. From what I read on this forum.... plastic barrels aren't appreciated. However, the ones I've sorted are smaller (30 gallons - 115L) which makes them far more managable. The bungs would be sealed off with silicone in the threads and over the top of them.

    My design will probably be either 20x12 with 42 barrels of 22x12 with 48 barrels. These would provide max lift of almost 12000 lb. From my research... optimal submersion is 66% which would come to around 8000 LB for structure and people.

    The "house" portion would be somewhere between the 8x10, 10x10, or 12x10 size.. I haven't decided yet. It kind of depends on how heavy my structure comes in at when I calculate the total weight.

    The weight for the decking (pressure treated) plus barrels comes in at around 3500 lb. I'd like to keep the rest of the structure around 3000 LB including "house" and raised patio.

    Propulsion is a 10HP evinrude I've already sourced

    Attached is a rudimentary design I've put together.

    Has anyone built something like this before? Let me know your thoughts.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. JamesG123
    Joined: Mar 2015
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    Location: Columbus, GA

    JamesG123 Senior Member

    Not always using barrels. Some use big blocks of foam, and one dude built an "island" out of 1 liter plastic bottles. I've never been a fan of that technique. The barrels (or whatever) is a lot of dead mass to provide the buoyancy, and your structure can't take advantage of the volume for storage or to reduce the overall height down into the "hull". The flipside of course is that it is largely unsinkable. Web search house boat or "shanty boat" and you can find lots of info and ideas.
     
  3. WDKinley
    Joined: Jul 2018
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    Location: MB, Canada

    WDKinley Junior Member

    Thanks James, I will
     
  4. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Optimum submersion is not 66%. It is less than 50% if you are to have some measure of comfortable stability and added safety. Your screenshot shows a too tall superstructure. You should consider the aloft weight and how it will affect stability, roll period, etcetera.
     
  5. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I guess there are barrels, and there are barrels. If it is hard to get and keep a strap around them, and have them stay securely fixed, that might be a problem. And how do you keep them clear of marine growth ?
     
  6. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    For stability, brought up by messabout, I would suggest an additional row of barrels to either side that are barely in the water compared to the ones supplying most floatation, kinda like amas on a trimaran.

    Also, 66% may be a typo if they really meant 33%. That would leave lots and lots of capacity for having guests onboard as well as allow for them doing things people do ... like all stand by the port side railing.
     
  7. WDKinley
    Joined: Jul 2018
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    Location: MB, Canada

    WDKinley Junior Member

    The reason I used optimal submersion as 66% was because the guys at barrelraftboys (website is now down) had a calculator that indicated that. These two guys went from minnesota to the gulf of mexico like tom sawyer and huck finn on their home made raft. If it's not the general consensus then that's ok I'll keep it lighter. Hopefully around 6000 (50%) and add max 1000LB people and it would be more like 58% capacity.

    That's a great thought about the superstructure being too tall. I want a queen sized bed for the loft... which can be achieved still by doing a center peak design as attached in the second picture below. The center peak will affect the stability like you say.

    Thanks for your input
     

    Attached Files:

  8. WDKinley
    Joined: Jul 2018
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    Location: MB, Canada

    WDKinley Junior Member

    It shouldn't be difficult to secure the barrels using a ratchet strap that goes across the entire width. It obviously doesn't need to be tight enough to deform the barrels... just snug enough that they don't slide around extensively. Also... the way the substructure is designed at the moment... the barrels will fit relatively snug in between the bracing. Especially north/south as I'm cutting it very close for room. There's a little more play going east/west.

    I'm planning on using it on a freshwater lake in Canada that's .25 mile wide and 1 mile long. I don't expect marine growth will be a major problem. It will also get hauled out at the end of the season... early May to early November. Although I've heard of people leaving these kind of designs in the ice and when it freezes the barrels actually push up and onto the ice. I'm not ready to try it as a science experiment with 6000LB.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Something like this product may be of interest for the light weight flexibility it may offer:

    Teal Camper assembles and breaks down like a puzzle http://www.gizmag.com/teal-camper-like-a-puzzle/22329/

    Maybe not exactly that but making your own prefab panels that allow for enough headroom may be one way to go. or maybe by now he's got taller panels for use in land structures that could be used. So you would have a party boat that could be converted into different levels of shanty depending on your present needs.
     
  10. WDKinley
    Joined: Jul 2018
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    Location: MB, Canada

    WDKinley Junior Member

    cool design! I was thinking maybe a plastic garden shed would work great as well. If I could put something like that on a pony wall it would get me the height I'm looking for. But also... If I just framed the structure using 2x4's on 16" centers and then used plastic sheeting (to keep out the bugs) and metal roofing for roof and sides... I would think it would be substantially better built than a flimsy garden shed ... and only about 500lb more in the long run. Those sheds are 550 lb plus. 2x4x8's are 10 lb/each and metal sheeting is about .75 lb/sq foot. I think I could put together a structure for 1000-1100 lb
     

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  11. WDKinley
    Joined: Jul 2018
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    Location: MB, Canada

    WDKinley Junior Member

    Also.. here's a picture of where I plan on keeping it... protected from the wind from 7/8 directions ... and in 2.5 feet of water. I have permission from the landowners to use their property to access. The waves here don't get very big... and I don't go out on windy days.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Q: your location says Canada ... what are you planning where snow load is concerned? Should that make you try to have more reserve floatation available? If wind isn't an issue would an A-frame structure with a steep roof be desirable? That might give you a loft or two for a bed(s) as well.
     
  13. JamesG123
    Joined: Mar 2015
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    Location: Columbus, GA

    JamesG123 Senior Member

    He intends to haul it out when not in "Cottage Season".
     
  14. WDKinley
    Joined: Jul 2018
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    Location: MB, Canada

    WDKinley Junior Member

    Great question about the snow! This houseboat will be on the trailer before the snow hits.

    I LOVE the idea of an A -Frame. It has it's ups and downs... it's a little harder to do windows than a straight wall. But they are aesthetically pleasing to me and would solve the issue with the loft
     
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  15. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    There's something I've seen done on the lower reaches of some steeples where, discounting the often huge bit sticking out of the middle, it looks like two A-frame building intersecting at 90 degrees forming a "+" at what would be their pinnacle. I don't know what that style (without the steeple) is called.
     
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