Saturday, July 18, 2015

Roller Ship

Similar to my post, Quadbike for Driving on the Ocean,  someone tried to make a large vessel in the lake 1800s that drove so fast it would hydroplane.    It was called the Roller Ship.   It did not work back then.   There is more on the history here.   I suspect that with far better engines today one could make this work with 4 big wheels.   It is interesting, but not sure it would make sense.

In the 1934 there was a Modern Mechanix article with a similar idea.  At high speed it would run on 2 big wheels, a 3rd tail wheel would touch at slower speeds.   They were thinking like 100 Mph.  At that kind of speed waves are so slow you can drive at a location and angle to make the ride easier.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ship to shore

If you wanted to leave the main boat 12 miles out, you would like a fast boat to get to shore.  If the main boat is solar it would be nice if the fast boat was electric.   This quadrofoil might be good for that.  It is electric and can go 100 km on a charge.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Quadcopters for Humans

The people at Siemens have developed a very powerful but lightweight electric motor.   With 4 of these you could make a big quadcopter that could carry some number of humans. We will see humans on quadcopters in the next few years.  The prop below is sized for a fast moving airplane.  For a slower quadcopter the blade would be another foot or two across and a little flatter angle.

   For short times you could use batteries or long times a turbine/generator.   If all you want to do is go from a floating home 12 miles out to land and back, batteries would probably work fine.  If you want to go far, then turbine/generator will be needed but cost more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Quadbike for driving on the ocean

You can take an existing quadbike and drive on water, as shown in this video:

If you used a quadbike with 4 wheel drive, bigger tires, a mud-tire tred, some safety floatation, it could work very well.  The tire below works well for pushing water.  The bike would have to be designed to withstand saltwater, which is probably the real hard part of this idea.   But it could be done and would be fantastic to drive around the ocean at high speed.   So commuting from your floating home to someplace on land could be very fast and a lot of fun.   If you are not needing to go far, a 4 wheel drive electric might be easier to make resistant to salt water.   Also, if you have a solar powered floating home you would always be able to charge up an electric bike.  

Another video with several guys doing it many times:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Development Plan

Why I want to develop the Quadmaran design

  1.  It has very stable motion while still being able to move reasonably well.
  2.  It can chain together making a train of boats.  This allows a real community while still on the ocean.  Can visit a friend, a group can work on a project, group can cross an ocean together, etc.
  3. For the size it is light weight.  The cost of a boat grows with the weight so a very stable boat with enough room that is still light weight is very nice.
  4. Plenty of room for solar panels.

Development Plan

All  versions will be able to operate alone or chain together with others of the same type making a train of boats.  We plan to build at least two of each type.  Each new type will be about twice the length of the previous type.
  1. Quadmaran-5   Robot boat for developing software.
  2. Quadmaran-10  Carry batteries for night operation.   Tow a kayak.
  3. Quadmaran-20  Big enough  to carry 500+ lbs each, so we can ride.
  4. Quadmaran-40  Big enough for trips to other islands or ferry type service.
  5. Quadmaran-80  Big enough for a family to live on very comfortably.


     This 4+ foot long model is big enough to hold a solar panel, batteries, cell phone, and motors.  So we are working out the hardware and software to do this.  See for current progress on this project.

      Crowdfunding idea for this one is to offer people a copy of our software if they donate something or to open source it if we get over some amount.  This way other people could make solar robot boats.   Could also put logos on the boat.

      We have one almost built but would like to build a second which will cost about $1,000.


    This will be able to carry about 70 lbs worth of batteries, solar, motors, etc.   It will be strong enough to pull a kayak, so testing will be fun for me and my boys.   Will try to crowdfund this and offer people use kayak and this as a tow boat for some period based on donation amount.

   This will be made from foam like the Quadmaran-5 was but we put batteries and motors inside each of the 4 floats.  It will have enough battery capacity to operate through the night.  Should be able to go long distances like across the Caribbean or even the Atlantic.   It will be covered with many coats of Styrospray and at least one of fiberglass or some other screen/cloth material.   This will make it much tougher than the Quadmaran-5.  It will be strong like a kayak or small fiberglass boat.

    Cost estimated at $2,500 each.  We want 2 for total of $5,000.


The Quadmaran-20 will be 20 feet long and 10 feet wide.   It will be able to hold 500+ lbs.  With 2 of these connected together my family could motor around.

It will use aluminum trusses for the framing.  Batteries and motors will be inside each of the 4 floats.  The floats will be foam poured in a mold and covered with styrospray and fiberglass or material as the floats in the Quadmaran-10.

    Crowdfunding people will get use the whole thing for some period of time for some size donation.  Maybe 1 hour, 3 hour, day, and week amounts.

    Cost estimated at $15,000 each.  We want 2 for total of $30,000.




The Quadmaran-40 will be 40 feet long and 20 feet wide.  It is using an aluminum pipe as the main body and off-the-shelf aluminum trusses for much of the rest.  Both of these can all bolt together quickly.  The floats will be made by pouring foam into a mold and then covering with styrospray and/or fiberglass.


This will be big enough for a family to comfortably live on.  Chained together several families can form a community for as long as they want to.  This might be to cross an ocean or work on some project, or just to get together for dinner.   If you had a large number connected together the walkway on top lets you go to the one you want to visit without disturbing others along the way.

To see more images check this site out.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Android Robot Boat Project

My boys and I are making our Quadmaran model into a Robot Boat using an Android phone.   This is now a home school project.  As part of this the boys will be writing their own blog posts to get more writing practice.   They are also writing the code for the phone using App Inventor which I am very happy with.  This new blog is at   The boys first post shows what parts we have ordered.  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Aluminum Pipe Quadmaran

I am thinking of a prototype floating house that could be large and still not too expensive.  You can buy huge corregated aluminum pipes for about 1.66 times the cost of aluminum.

They come in sections that quickly bolt together.  So it is easy to ship and only takes a few days to put together.  It comes up to 1/4 inch thick, so it can be very strong.   It is called structural aluminum plate.

There are also aluminum beams that you can put around the circumference and also along the inside along the length of it.   So you can make it very strong and also strong in particular parts.

My idea is to use make a quadmaran out of this by attaching 4 floats and then covering the top with solar panels.   A picture of a model is below. 

The floats could be attached with 4 aluminum truss sections between each float and the main body.   Two spaced well apart up high and two spaced apart down low.  All 4 coming next to each other above the float and a 90 degree turn to 4 more trusses that go down into the float.   The ends may have to be cut and welded but it would not be too much welding.

The float would have the aluminum trusses for strength and then foam and a covering of styrospray and/or fiberglass.

This could be very cheap and very fast to build.   You could end up with a living space much larger than any boat in this price range.  Solar and electric would make it cheap to operate.  The quadmaran design makes it very comfortable and stable, even when going slow.

The connection points to make a train of these would have to be strong enough too.   One idea is to have a big beam running along the floor and sticking out at both ends.  Another is to have some beams come to a point in front and behind, like a nose and tail on the pipe.   Engineering details need to be worked out but I don't think it will be a problem.

In a normal house you spend roughly as much on the land as on the house.   Here you would have this as the equivalent of the land cost and then the house would be built in/on this.   But the end result could be comparable to a significant slice of houses in the USA.    There will be plenty of people who could sell their house and buy one of these.   There should be a good market.

I am going to double check the structural engineering and if this still looks good then I think I will try crowd funding with indiegogo or kickstarter.   If you donate $100 you get to ride on it for  a day.  If you donate $1000 you get the whole thing for a day.   But if anyone wants to start donating early, I happily accept paypal, bitcoin, credit card, Western Union, cash, check, gold, silver, or wire transfer.