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Business opportunity: Buy (Wil's) concrete shells, transform them into homes, and sell them to end users

Home Forums Archive Infrastructure Business opportunity: Buy (Wil's) concrete shells, transform them into homes, and sell them to end users

This topic contains 20 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of ellmer - http://yook3.com ellmer – http://yook3.com 3 years, 8 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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  • #1381
    Avatar of Steffen
    Steffen
    Participant

    I have had a dialog with Wil about purchasing a concrete submarine from him. I want to be able to use it as my home. However, I would like something close to a turnkey solution. I am not particularly interested in just a raw hull. Wil, on the other hand at this stage wants to keep his business focused on providing concrete shells / raw hulls. I suppose we are both acting rationally. We are both trying to focus on what we are best at.

    To me this situation means there is a business opportunity for someone good at turning (Wil’s) raw concrete shells into something more like floating homes.

    I will use my own situation to give an idea of what sort of demand a turnkey provider could satisfy:

    From Wil I can get product details, price, delivery time etc. of a raw hull. But what I would really like to know in my decision making is product details, price, delivery time etc. of a complete solution.

    I don’t have any practical experience with submarines. A turnkey provider could let potential customers rent/try/visit a real finished floating concrete submarine to learn and get a better sense of the advantages, limitations, challenges, possible interior designs, etc. before making a buying decision. To keep costs down the turnkey provider could also use such a demo submarine for other purposes like for example someone’s home, office and/or pleasure craft.

    Much can also be learned online by the potential buyer if the turnkey provider has a good online presentation of the product. Be inspired by how modern real estate sellers present homes online or how sellers of cruising catamarans (like http://www.catamarans-fountaine-pajot.com or http://www.cata-lagoon.com/index_uk.php) present their products. The market for concrete submarines is probably best viewed as a global market. Demand will be low if potential customers cannot get at reasonably good understanding of the product without traveling thousands of miles to see the product.

    This business opportunity is both a seasteading opportunity in itself since the job can be done while floating and a way to help others get a suitable seastead.

    If anyone picks up this idea and want me as a customer please get in touch….

    #11846
    Avatar of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    Add me to that list as a potential customer. I was looking at all the items I’d need to oversee to turn Wil’s hull into an actual functional sub (like ballast tanks that can operate as low as 1400 ft below the surface which is what the hull is rated for) an engine, fuel tanks and electric banks, fresh water storage, all the household items and misc things that make it livable. Quite a project.

    I was planning on spending at least 100k on this work (above and beyond Wil’s cost for the Hull) so I think there could already be a market for this kind of business. I’m looking to commission Wil within a year or two, if anyone is looking at timelines.

    Live Well!

    -Jason

    #11847
    Avatar of tusavision
    tusavision
    Participant

    Can someone refresh my memory on the price of one of these hulls? A working submarine has a market value. A worth to the end customer. If I take W=cost of Wil’s hull, add D=diesel engine, and E=Batteries, H=hydraulics, and then F=Furniture, if the market value for a working submarine is > W+D+E+H+F that leaves room for a profit. If that profit is significant: then this business is viable, but if it’s threadbare: there’s no incentive to risk the money getting invested.

    The process of taking a hull and making a submarine is fairly simple. You have to get a DC electric motor with sufficient torque to drive your screw, and a shaft which is long enough to both penetrate the hull and couple with your diesel engine, then you commit to buying the screw because there’s no reason to invest the money in it if you can’t find a matching motor, then you commit to buying the electric motor. Then you buy the batteries, how many is a balance between how long you want to be able to stay submerged, and how long you’d like to go without refeuling on diesel, and finally: how much living room space you expect for your money.

    Once you’ve determined your top speed, dive duration, and mission duration specs, you spend the rest of your time ripping them to shreds based on cost cutting compromises.

    The cheapest batteries you’re going to get are going to be lead acid, because Silver Zinc are too expensive.

    The stuffing box/rotating shaft seal on your propeller is somewhere between a fucking nightmare and a death trap. You could go with a labrynth seal, however I don’t know which is going to give you a maximum dive depth. Suffice it to say: you need a flange mount on the tail of the submarine, and hopefully Will hasn’t engineered this as a load bearing spot or everything get’s very difficult.(external waterproof brushless motor difficult)

    The variable buoyancy fucking sucks. Fortunately: you shouldn’t be picking up many seashells so we’ll call it 500 pounds as a cost cutting measure and to eliminate the need for an air compressor-> We’ll use a log splitter for this.

    By going with a log splitter as your variable buoyancy you’ve made your life easy on the dive planes. Hydraulic cylinders for every control surface add up quickly.

    Now that the fucker moves: you’ve got to worry about electronics. A fish finder is the bare minimum, but side scan sonar is preferable.

    Periscope, and snorkel are trivial, except for the fact that they are hull penetrations, so forget the periscope, and use a waterproof camera.< -Expensive at any reasonable depth.

    You’re going to want to be able to find you ass so add $500 for IMU, GPS, and 3d compass.

    Cool, now you’ve got a really expensive and large UUV. What about life support?

    Poison gas sensors, fire extinguishers, escape hatch, life vest, diesel tank, furniture, and scuba tanks.

    Then there’s furniture:(we’re shopping at Good Will by this point)

    My guess? ~$10,000 cost of materials.($5000 for the diesel and DC motor, $2000 for the batteries)

    I could probably get the job done for ~$7,000 by reducing the dive depth to less than 500 feet, and by compromising on horsepower.

    Did I mention liability? I’ll be fucked if I would actually do this above board. If someone posts a wanted ad, maybe a mysterious benefactor behind 7 proxies would be willing to put together the shopping list and act as general contractor.

    #11850

    tuavision, relax a bit – there is no need for periscope, life support, 3d compass, scuba tanks, poison gas sensors, battery bank of any kind, electric motor, hidraulic, and anything else of the about 600 “sistems” that a military submarine has.

    What you build is a yacht interior and nothing else than a yacht interior. The only DIFFERENCE is that you go with a bilge pump that is a bit more heavy duty.

    The shaft seal and the screw (propeller) comes with the hull, so does the steering solution – the boat moves already as it comes – so you put your camping gear in and you are done with “basic outfit” the rest is luxury outfit – you can sink money in that – but it is not a must.

    All that gear that gives you “surface independent operation” – why would you need surface independent operation in a civil sub habitat ? just have a long snorkel and operate “surface pendent” – with diesel (like a yacht) with venting your boat constantly (like a yacht) . Only military subs need to operate without snorkel because this tube is a horrible radar target – visible for everybody – so it is a military can`t do – but for seasteading it does not bother you that your habitat is still visible on the surface.

    If you want to submerge below snorkel depth (maybe once in a hundred year storm) shut down the engine down close the snorkel – drift like BEN FRANKLIN.

    So in a nutshell the outfit of a submergible hull is a yacht outfit like any other – probably more economic as you do not need invest much in measures to avoid that things fly around under deck in heavy weather – coffee stays on the table – toilets stay horizontal.

    It is also more economic as you do not have to watch the floatation line – you do not need expensive sandwich panels to divide rooms – take heavy material – even brick walls are ok. For Ians 200 ton boat the interior can have a weight of 80 tons or more.

    Try to explain this to a typical yachtbuilder… you can include a big bath tube and that kind of things.

    When you are done with outfit and tankload put the REST of the ballast needed into the underfloor sand ballast compartments. You do not even need to calculate the weights – you just load ballast until the final floating line is achieved.

    Later when you load a ton of corned beef you dig out a ton of sand from those compartments and still have neutral buoancy. Leave some compartments as ballast tanks for seawater (like a ship) to finetune buoancy with your bilge pump at the push of a botton.

    The key to get a realistic perception about outfitting is to avoid this “mental submarine block” it is NOT true that just because more of the hull is submerged than it would be the case in a normal boat – everything becomes complicated, expensive and dangerous – it is still just another boat – more oriented on the “whale model” than other boats. In many aspects less complicated than a yacht.

    Wil

    concretesubmarine.com

    European Submarine Structures AB

    #11853
    Avatar of OCEANOPOLIS
    OCEANOPOLIS
    Participant

    Are you just looking for somebody to finish that sub for you, or you want to start a business?

    #11854
    Avatar of tusavision
    tusavision
    Participant

    tuavision, relax a bit – there is no need for periscope, life support, 3d compass, scuba tanks, poison gas sensors, battery bank of any kind, electric motor, hidraulic, and anything else of the about 600 “sistems” that a military submarine has.

    What you build is a yacht interior and nothing else than a yacht interior. The only DIFFERENCE is that you go with a bilge pump that is a bit more heavy duty.

    Now that you mention it: battery mode is a sonar/stealth problem. Wil is right. You can greatly simplify your life with a snorkel and a diesel powered bilge pump. Non-rotating shaft seals such as pump plumbing hull penetrations are pretty easy to do.

    Now I’m all embarassed, normally I’m the one who gets to cut the fat off of engineering monstrosities.

    #11862
    Avatar of Steffen
    Steffen
    Participant

    tusavision wrote:

    Can someone refresh my memory on the price of one of these hulls?

    The cost Wil has mentioned is 331 euro per cubic meter. If we say 3 cubic meters is roughly equivalent to 1 square meter of living area then 1 square meter of living area roughly costs 1,000 euro. So a floating shell with a living area equivalent of say 100 square meters will cost 100,000 euro.

    #11863
    Avatar of Steffen
    Steffen
    Participant

    OCEANOPOLIS wrote:

    Are you just looking for somebody to finish that sub for you, or you want to start a business?

    I don’t want to start such a business. It is outside my area of expertise. I am hoping someone else will start the business. I just see myself as a potential customer. I am not going to buy a sub until I have a good sense about how the end product will be like. In the present situation it is not easy for me to get a good sense of what the end product will be like. A turnkey provider could change that situation.

    If what Wil is saying about his product (like low initial cost, high loading capacity, plenty of natural light, built-in wave and noise protection, low maintenance, low transportation costs when moving below the waves, built-in option to avoid paying fees for a place in a harbor etc.) is true then I should think there is a huge market for such floating homes. A turnkey provider may have to target a broader market than the folks reading the forum at seasteading.org. But why not also sell to people attracted to houseboats or yachts or just ordinary land-folks who can see the advantage of a mobile home even without considering jurisdictional arbitrage? A mobile home can be used to move closer to your new job, your new school, your new boyfriend/girlfriend, closer to nice weather, closer to where one of your loved ones just moved to, etc. Or move away from things, people or events that suddenly appear and you don’t like being near. If no one with experience from the traditional boating business, home building market and/or concrete market steps into the market for turning Wil’s concrete shells into floating homes then maybe I (someone without much experience from traditional boats or concrete or homebuilding) should take it as a clue that I might be misunderstanding the potential of Wil’s concrete shells.

    #11865
    Avatar of tusavision
    tusavision
    Participant

    Steffen wrote:
    If no one with experience from the traditional boating business, home building market and/or concrete market steps into the market for turning Wil’s concrete shells into floating homes then maybe I (someone without much experience from traditional boats or concrete or homebuilding) should take it as a clue that I might be misunderstanding the potential of Wil’s concrete shells.

    The RV industry is dying. Approach a custom RV manufacturer with a proposal and suggest they take the idea to Google Ventures. They can buy out other dealerships for super low cost right now as everyone is looking to get out of the business.

    Concrete Submarines may be the new RV. Submarines are <100 year old technology. Cars have been around for longer. Give one to a celebrity and they'll do the word of mouth. How about Peter Thiel? He's given a lot to the community.

    How about TSI hires Will to build them a promotional submarine yacht, and then rents it to Peter Thiel for $1 a month. Hell: hire Peter Thiel as the interior decorator and cut him a check to work with.

    It’s a legitimate business expense, it promotes seasteading as per the mission statement, and it’ll get Will customers, and TSI more donations. What better way to increase seasteading visibility?

    #11867
    Avatar of Thorizan
    Thorizan
    Participant

    A submarine sunk a ship in the US Civil War. They’ve been around for quite a while, too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._L._Hunley_(submarine)

    __________________________________________________
    There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. Each to his fate.

    #11870

    I assume the obvious failure in the market aproach has to do with the building price – The flagship of US submarines comes with a estimated price of $78 million for 1500 ton displacement.

    This means about 52.000 USD per cubic meter living space ! – ahmm – we are building at 331 Euro (453 USD) per cubic meter living space. So i assume we are building for a “different market”…

    I admit that the Phoenix 1000 is a luxury interior, turn key boat – while our hulls are empty in “can dive / can navigate” conditions. This may answer in part Steffens original question (why not turnkey).

    We believe that there is a market for hulls in our price category – but we strongly doubt that US.Submarines will find a buyer anytime soon.

    On the other hand if a buyer shows up who is commited to spend 52.000 USD per cubic meter on interior – we will sell him a turnkey luxury boat too…

    I have the perception that we will find a customer who takes a 1500 ton boat with a pricetag of 670.000 USD (453 USD per cubic meter) much easier.

    Wil

    concretesubmarine.com

    European Submarine Structures AB

    #11872
    Avatar of Ken Sims
    Ken Sims
    Keymaster

    It sounds like these subs would be like a one-family deal.

    I’m not the pioneer type. I need a seastead with an infrastructure to take of food, electricity, waste disposal, medical care, etc. (In exchange for money or some other fair trade, of course.)

    I don’t know if that’s even realistically possible in a sub.

    I think I need something like ClubStead or a refitted cruise ship or something of that nature.

    There are probably a lot of people in the same boat (pun intended) as me.

    Note: I’m not saying that these subs are a bad idea. Certainly anyone who is suited for that lifestyle and is prepared to actually do it should go for it. Any kind of seasteading helps advance the whole concept.

    #11869
    Avatar of OCEANOPOLIS
    OCEANOPOLIS
    Participant

    the only way to make money off subs in this sluggish market is custom built. With other words, Wil, upon finding a customer for one of his sub designs hulls, can subcontract an outside company to refit that hull for the customer, and sell it turn key. But I don’t see that happening in the US, given the present market conditions. Also, there is no high demand that I know of for pleasure submarines here in the US, therefore a very weak market. I’ve been selling boats for the last 20 years in California, North Carolina, Florida and I’ve never had a customer looking to buy a sub, yet.

    The only submarine manufaturer that I know of here in the US is http://ussubmarines.com/, and in the last few years it seems that they “downsized” to manufacturing small subs and are operating now under the name of Triton submarines. http://tritonsubs.com/. They are building 4 subs (2 men Tritons) for the Poseidon undrerwater resort in Fiji, http://www.poseidonresorts.com/poseidon_main.html but other than that, their sales have been sluggish too.

    On the commercial business side, that too it ain’t rosy,…The Key West yellow sub tour business went belly up about 3 years ago. There is another one in Maui operating from Lahaina harbor, on “Atlantis” and they are still there. http://www.viator.com/tours/Maui/Maui-Atlantis-Submarine-Adventure/d671-3524MSUB. But with Hawaii tourism business down 40% in the last couple of years, who knows….

    #11878
    Avatar of OCEANOPOLIS
    OCEANOPOLIS
    Participant

    I am not against subseasteading. I just think that @ the level of SFS, it won’t work for the masses. That doesn’t mean that a SFS sub, a raft like structure and a spar one won’t be able to create a nice, symbiotic raft up.

    Now, if a sort of huge subseastead can be build, a hybrid type, that can “open up” part of its upper hull when @ the surface and spend time up as a floating island, that will be something that I will imediately sign up for and I am sure that a lots of people will do too. (imagine a convertible car with the top down) Engineering wise it won’t be imposible to built, actually quite feasible.

    This structure can spend time up to charge batteries (or produce hydrogen for fuel) by using solar and wind power; conduct trade @ the sea level, do hydroponics, engage in tourism related activities, fish, etc. Then, when all supplied and fueled up, submerge, and do wreck-treasure hunting, deep sea mining of polymetallic nodules, exploration, etc. Just by exploiting the methane sipping thru the hydruthermal vents or the oil leaking from the sea bed will turn such seastead into the richest “nation” on Earth, in no time.

    Now that will be the ultimate seasteading gig! (and a damn good SiFi movie script)

    #11879
    Avatar of Steffen
    Steffen
    Participant

    Ken wrote:
    It sounds like these subs would be like a one-family deal. I’m not the pioneer type. I need a seastead with an infrastructure to take of food, electricity, waste disposal, medical care, etc. (In exchange for money or some other fair trade, of course.) I don’t know if that’s even realistically possible in a sub. I think I need something like ClubStead or a refitted cruise ship or something of that nature. There are probably a lot of people in the same boat (pun intended) as me. Note: I’m not saying that these subs are a bad idea. Certainly anyone who is suited for that lifestyle and is prepared to actually do it should go for it. Any kind of seasteading helps advance the whole concept.

    I don’t plan to change my lifestyle much. I plan to start close to the shore. I will do my shopping for food in ordinary shops on land. I will put the food in my freezer (produced on land), my refrigerator (produced on land) or my kitchen cabinets (probably produced on land). I will get medical care from ordinary pharmacies, hospitals and doctors on land. When I go on shore I will deliver my waste, etc. I will gradually switch to better alternatives than the existing land-based if or when such better alternatives emerge. One small lifestyle change I plan is that I will get my own electricity generation and/or electricity storage. I don’t plan to design the system myself, however. I am hoping it will be part of a package solution from my so far non-existing turnkey provider :-)

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