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floating platform of 55 gal barrels / pipe frame geodesic dome on top

Home Forums Research Engineering floating platform of 55 gal barrels / pipe frame geodesic dome on top

This topic contains 18 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of  Anonymous 2 years, 11 months ago.

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    Profile photo of georgeberz

    Here is a concept I though of last year and drew it out in google sketchup

    drawing here http://outpostalpha.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=137

    What if you made a hexagonal platform of blue 55 gallon recycled plastic barrels about 40′ diameter, then place a 30′ pipe frame geodesic dome on top of it.

    You would have hundreds of individual floatation chambers

    Possibly lashed together with a stainless steel strap around the perimeter and a 4-6” concrete deck that would engulf the top few inches of each barrel essentially locking them in place like a jigsaw puzzle. Possibly with a bolt going up into the concrete as well for each barrel or barrels bolted together and a sheet of rubber for the top of the barrels.

    The pipe frame dome, you could use say 2” emt pipe 30′ diameter, 15′ tall with a 2nd floor inside. The whole outside wrapped in shrink wrap plastic, the type used to shrink over boats for long term storage and shipping. Or stuccoed with a cement then epoxy coated.

    No power plant, platform would be moved by boat or jetski, possibly an additional platform linked adjoining one of the faces that could be a party deck, garden and have roof of flat solar panels.

    Modular design aids linking other similar structures to eachother. Desinged for protected ocean water coves, lakes and rivers.


    Ok let me see how we get that picture george.

    The combination of dome and flat raft has a potential. Segmented raft floats have always been on the seasteading radar, the dome structure is a very economic and wave impact resistant way to enclose a living space with a high potential for mass production. The assembly of floating elements on the water also gives a savings potiental compared to precast element buildings on land due to the ease of moving floating elements…

    This has also potential to work well as a “sneak in project” you add a barril a day and keep growing on a dayly base during years growing it from a small boat dock to a floating city in a continous process moving it farer out over time avoiding friction with regulatory bodies.

    Profile photo of jtg423

    It meets the requirement of cheap building. Ellmer endorses it as a potentially viable floating structure. And it has the incrementilism elements… I have also had similar ideas but instead of using it for living on I would say it would make a great water-maker. Imagine a couple of holes (or one big one, whichever would work best) in the “deck” under the dome, make the dome without venting to create a hot-house/green-house effect, place catch tubes/trays/reserviors throughout and let the natural act of condensation take place. Just a thought… I think I may have seen similar ideas on other discussions so can not take full credit and this would most likely work best in tropical climates and then the question arises “why not just catch rain?”. If it could work in temperate climates though it would be a very good method to produce water with no energy expenditure.


    Profile photo of georgeberz

    Thank you for linking the picture correctly.

    The using of barrels creates many seperate chambers for seaworthyness

    do you all think one barrel could be bolted to the next with a bolt 2 large washers and a piece of rubber acting as a gasket waterproofing between the barrels? each bolted to the next anywhere a barrel contacts another barrel?

    was also thinking about welding up a steel frame around the top perimeter center of barrels possibly like a railroad track section to be the backbone and around the top providing more ridgity and steel for mounting to other platforms.

    Hinging multiple platforms together could be done at corners with more railroad track and pintle hook to act as a hinge to allow up, down and some side to side motion. Imagine 1 bar from one point of the hexagon to another point on another hexagon, 2 sides connected that way to an adjoining platform supplimented by cables going diagonally to limit side to side travel. I’ll try to draw that concept later.

    Platforms could be housing, greenhouse, open space decking, open space decking with solar panels. they could be hollow in the center only a ring of barrels, with netting in the middle to be used for fish / shrimp farming pods as well.


    I would this see as a great method for a self builder start up as discussed in the Seasteader outpost Belize thread under the leadership of Pastor Jason. It is a method where you can get a housing space equivalent of 60 squaremeter apartment on the water quickly building it with your own hands. The dome could be a tent more than a building with walls – especially in Belize while building a floating colony in a protected lagoon.

    What do you think about having the honeycomb platform in concrete elements instead of plastic barrils. Kind like the picture above of our test platform in cartagena.

    The dome structure would also go nice with a plate float – the dome would keep water out of the plate and enclose the living space in a economic and efficient way.



    Profile photo of georgeberz

    I al all for keeping costs as low as possible.

    Politically I believe we are all slaves having to pay rent someplace, this is why I really want to get some form of seasteading going NOW, I see seasteading as homesteading on the sea.

    Basically anything the floats will work as a base but the things I worry about

    Concrete the torsional twisting and heaving of the waves, concrete is pretty brittle It would scare me to have 1 single plate crack and sink nearly immediatley.

    Concrete boxes or honeycombs have potential, but Im still scared about the torshion and waves cracking them across a 40′ x 40′ or so platform

    I like the dome concept with pipe frames as it disrtibutes the weight very evenly with not much point loading

    Ala back to the interlinked barrels, virtually indestructable, will not crack or split open, they are designed to hold400+ lbs of water and be dropped x# of feet to a hard surface and not leak per shipping regulations. so they are a hardy structure, a structure that could flex a bit and not have problems, witha geodesic dome on tim and a hexagonal platform the domes weight loading will be distributed evenly.

    I feel in any case multiple chambers are needed to help assure security.

    What is that black bowl in front of the concrete square platform?

    Another structure idea what about melted plasic bottles recast into a spiral deck or plate like the guy is standing on?

    There are some instances with a guy making a floating island type thing with plastic boibbles and bags, but I dont think it will hold up in a severs storm

    Profile photo of Chucker

    Instead of barrels what about the 275 gallon sqaure water totes you see at construction sites with the metal frame. http://www.arizonabarrels.com/275_gallon_totes.html (link is just an example)

    The frame gives you something to fasten together.

    But if barrels are what you want fill them with foam (AeroMarine 2# Density polyurethane) (which is not cheap) 2700USD for 500cubic feet of foam. Foam will allow failures but help with survivability.

    Profile photo of shredder7753

    Chucker wrote:

    Instead of barrels what about the 275 gallon sqaure water totes you see at construction sites with the metal frame. http://www.arizonabarrels.com/275_gallon_totes.html (link is just an example)

    that was another interesting idea. my objection is just that the metal will corrode quickly in seawater.


    My Work II

    “Leadership and do-ership are not the same thing”

    Profile photo of Mad-Dog-Tannen

    I bring us back to industrial plastic appications. Somewhat more expensive than your typical trash steel, but much more survivable in oceanic envrions, and with comparable service figures.

    Profile photo of drew23

    If we’re talking about hexagonal platforms on which to place a dome, why not a hexayurt?


    There was a project a few years back that I cannot remember the name of – it involved shippable geodesic domes made of folded
    bits of corrugated plastic that fit together and strapped to one another with zap-straps… I’ll try to remember the name.

    – Drew.

    "Analogies are dangerous, Amanda, because life is like a sandcastle..."
     Technomad blog: http://disengage.ca
    Profile photo of drew23

    Aaaactually, while we’re on the topic…

    (On second thought, rather than hijack your thread, I’ll make a new one instead.)


    - Drew.
    "Analogies are dangerous, Amanda, because life is like a sandcastle..."
     Technomad blog: http://disengage.ca
    Profile photo of Chucker

    Mad Dog Tannen

    can you point me to where you were talking about industrial plastic appications?

    Profile photo of Mad-Dog-Tannen

    I was first made aware of plastics for meatlic-product replacement when reading about a group who had broken the then land-speed record for small vehicles by building an engine for a geo-metro made entirely out of plastics. The article, which I belive was in Popular Mechanics around a decade ago – I cant find it anymore – mentioned that they used “industrial plastics” due to their high thermal-insulation, lighter weight, and purpose customization. I was curious, and did a bit more looking around, and found that there were quite a few different groups (companies, universities, etc) who were replacing metals, from steel to aluminum, with plastics.

    This introduced me to “structural polymers” which is the term used to refer to the introduction of natural or artifical polymers into structural devices. This ranges from simply adding fibers to a traditional structural tool, to replacing a traditional structural tool with a polymer entirely.

    Here are just a few links I pulled off google searching “structural polymers.” Im sure you could find articles, abstracts, research papers, and much more with some more time invested.






    has anyone thought of using bamboo as the floats they come in sizes up to 65mm dia and could be aranged in any shape you want and layerd at right angles as many times as you want .Cheap and easly repairable and forever sustainable and you could even find a saltmarsh bamboo and grow it at sea and never have a shortage of building material again just need to find a way to join them maby some sort of strapping or pinning them together maby im all for the geo dome though makes a lot of sense am in the process of making a mock up modle will post this when finished

    Profile photo of

    Bamboo which can grow in salt water would be great, or even in brackish lagoons, but growing a renewable building material in open water would be fantastic. Do you know of any species? I’ve had a long interest in using bamboo for geodesic structures and trusses. Timber bamboo is up to 6″ in diameter and grows up to 3′ per day. One of the members of seasteading has designed a collapsible tensegrity version of Vince Cate’s Waterwalker for Ephemerisle. It seems a floating tensegrity truss made of timber bamboo would be a very cost effective, resilient platform.

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