Boat Building...

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  #1  
Old 05-30-08, 08:12 PM
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Boat Building...

Yeah, I know, that title is way too specific...

Seriously, though... If I was to build multiple versions of the same boat, not to sell, but each one would be improved and tweaked based on the tests of earlier versions, what would be the cheapest way to do that?

The chopper system I want costs a ton, but I'd like to "finish" this boat before I'm too old to actually do anything with it. Considering that there won't be any profit in this, except maybe a marketable design way down the road, would hand-laying fiberglass mat be significantly cheaper than chopping out molds?

Keep in mind that the final version will actually be built out of wood, not FRP. For design/engineering purposes, using FRP is much faster and forgiving than trying to build prototypes out of wood. Also, the FRP prototypes don't have to last forever, so what I'm seeking is the cheapest, most efficient method of churning out functional components. However, I have more time than money, so I can definitely sacrifice efficiency in favor of lower costs.

The boat I've been building (all in my head, of course) isn't just any boat, it's going to be pretty complicated on an engineering level, hence the need for multiple prototypes.

If you were doing something similar, what would you do to keep costs down and hopefully end up with just a boat, and not a shipyard along with it?

Any ideas, broad or specific would be awesome.

Jeffrey

P.S. At the risk of someone "stealing" my boat design, I'm gonna try my hand at some crude sketches of what's bouncing around in my head and maybe post some links to them just in case you're curious.
 
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Old 05-31-08, 05:03 AM
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You want to keep the costs to a minimum? These days they use computers to design things. Otherwise, you're going to be doing a lot of expensive hand building.
 
  #3  
Old 05-31-08, 05:33 AM
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models ................................................
 
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Old 05-31-08, 03:22 PM
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Great advice above.... computer modeling and design models after that. Building multiple hulls, regardless of the materials, is going to be outrageously expensive... Why tweak in real life when a computer and software can do it for you.
 
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Old 06-01-08, 05:27 AM
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CAD and models are great, but they aren't cheap either. I'm good with computers, and I can figure out how to use most software pretty quickly. But design software capable of doing what I would need it to do would require a beast of a computer, the software, and of course, the training to go with it. That's not cheap either.

The reason I'm going to need to build a full-scale working prototype is to see if the computer/mechanical components work. The hulls will probably be pretty generic, so there's not going to be a whole lot of design work going into them.

I forgot my scanner is dead, so I can't upload a sketch; but I put a crude (very crude) rendering I whipped up in photoshop. Here's a link: http://www.katanapg.com/picture/67436

I know that drawing looks like I intend to just nail some 2X4's to some 60's or 70's model ChrisCraft... I assure you it doesn't look like that in my head.

The concept is there, though. And I've got some ideas on how to get the contraption to "read" the surface of the water, reducing the amount of rock to almost nothing. A couple of engineer friends of mine will be helping me design that part. I just don't see any way around building one, turning it loose in the water, and testing it.

I can do scale models, and plan to; but, they're going to have to be fully functional RC versions, otherwise I won't get enough info to justify the time it takes to throw one together.

I know it will float, and I know it will move in a straight line. I just don't know if the outrigger system will function correctly and reliably. I'm not sure about the propulsion either. The outriggers won't plow as much water as those in that pic would; but their drag will probably make the boat slow to turn.

My engineering buddies can help me with the propulsion set-up using their computer sims; but to test out the stabilizing system will require a boat to get wet.

If you're familiar with computer design and such, and it would be possible to test out the systems virtually without having to pay a ton for a designer's opinion; that would be awesome. As it stands now, I've just got to figure out the least expensive method of getting something testable into the water.

Jeffrey

P.S. Yeah, I know I'm crazy... but crazy can be fun sometimes.
 
  #6  
Old 06-01-08, 05:35 AM
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Google sketchup should do what you want.
Free.
 
  #7  
Old 06-01-08, 05:52 AM
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do you have any experience in boat building or design ?

this makes me wonder
The chopper system I want costs a ton, but I'd like to "finish" this boat before I'm too old to actually do anything with it. Considering that there won't be any profit in this, except maybe a marketable design way down the road, would hand-laying fiberglass mat be significantly cheaper than chopping out molds?
really indicates to me you don't have much experience or a firm grasp of process involved
 
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Old 06-01-08, 05:59 AM
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Based on your drawing - I'd estimate, at minimum, $100K to get the hulls wet.
 
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Old 06-10-08, 09:57 PM
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-oneofamill,
thanks for the tip. I started playing around with it today, and I've already modeled a boat, a goofy looking car, and a castle. Sadly, though, it's not going to help me with the engineering aspect... Still, a 3D model is better than a 2D drawing in my situation, and apparently I can animate stuff with this program... or maybe that's just a pro version feature.

-mango man,
yes and no. I've been tinkering with watercraft since I was a little kid. My first "boat" resembled a floating pile of junk, which it was, but the key word there is "floating."

I've built complete boats for a small start-up down in Charleston, SC. Of course, I wasn't working alone, there were three of us including the owner.

We did more than build custom boats there, we designed and built new components for SeaFox's line of boats, and we even did a little work for the military by making GRP replicas of several armored vehicles. That was interesting... we were only told that they needed some full-size vehicles to test-fit new components without keeping a fleet of pricey armor in their garage. Apparently they didn't need anything the least bit functional, but they did require a copper mesh be embedded in the skin of the entire thing. Regardless of what they actually needed them for, it was a real challenge to pull off.

The point is, I can build and have built boats and can work with FRP; but, what I'm lacking most is the logistical know-how. I worked in a fully equipped shop, I had everything I needed at my fingertips. If I needed something else, all I had to do was tell the owner and he'd take care of it.

So yes, (I have experience in boat building and design,) and no, (because I don't have any experience in getting a design and build operation off the ground.)

thezster,
Probably a lot more than that to get the wood hulls wet... My engineering buddies at Clemson told me the other day that I can actually do this with scale models, but they have to be at least 10ft long to fit a lot of the mechanical/cpu hardware in. Anything less than that and we'd have to use smaller versions of the hardware, which cost a lot more to get the same functionality.


The most difficult part of this project, (the word project seems a little too weak in this case, lol.), is the mechanical/electrical engineering design. To test it in a virtual world, I'd have to create the model, then create a virtual ocean and somehow have the two interact the same way they would in reality. That's a tall order. It would end up costing more to make that happen, unless Clemson volunteers their resources (yeah, that'll happen, lol), than it would to build a few small hulls to toss into the surf. There are simply too many variables a computer would have to consider; then I'm supposed to spend several years building a wooden boat based on a design that's only seen virtual water?

The hulls themselves are easy. But if this design is going to be worth even a second glance, the three hulls have to be connected in such a way that every square foot of the boat is easily accessible while the boat is under way; also the connection assembly design can't compromise the integrity of the hulls, (meaning there won't be a cut out at deck-level or below to make room for the assembly, I'm thinking it will have to go over the sides of the hulls.); and, it has to look good too.

This forum probably isn't the place for this kind of brainstorming... I need to find a good boat building and design forum. Any suggestions? Not that I don't think you guys have the knowledge or expertise, it's just that what I'm proposing is a little out of the DIY "norm."

Thanks,
Jeffrey
 
  #10  
Old 06-11-08, 04:41 AM
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  #11  
Old 06-11-08, 02:21 PM
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Awesome, thanks!

I do have another question though, (nope, I never run out ), have you ever seen a boat that works on the same principle as my insanity-derived idea, or anything similar?

Sure, outriggers aren't new. Wide, multi-hull vessels aren't new. But a combo of the two with some "battle-bots" ingenuity for added flavor?

What's probably going to happen is I get a working model in the ocean, and the only thing going for it is a little added stability. More drag, more weight, possibly less maneuverable, etc.; compared to a pretty wide cat, or even a 40+ foot sport-fisher, that list might get pretty long.

But, maybe we'll see.

~Jeffrey
 
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