April 6, 2012 at 8:06 am #19898
do u know how to set up sensor networks, such as Arduino controlled robots and stuff?April 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm #19899
What kind of things do you want to achieve?
I’ve set up plenty of standard computer networks and built a few of my own computers but I’ve not yet had the chance to play with the arduino (though I’ve been seriously thinking about buying one for a while now).
Given the hardware, some time, and some trial and error I have no doubt I could figure out how to use the arduino for sensor networks, and even to control certain mechanical processes. Though my forte is software (not hardware), most of the required hardware is “off the shelf” these days, so I don’t have to build it from scratch.
It should be possible to use waver power to generate enough electricity to power simple hardware like the arduino nano (designed to be portable and run on a DC current I believe), and the computer (maybe a Rasperry Pi or something similar), and anything else needed as part of the system.
I do plan to eventually set up a network on the seastead, wirelessly linked to the web, and I’ve pondered setting up an underwater camera, and sensors such as air and water thermometers, and streaming them to a website.
Considering the seastead is intentionally being designed as a reef and habitat, you could end up with some very interesting creatures being captured on camera (including sharks, etc.)
Also, any scientific data such as temperatures, etc. can be made available to any scientific group who request it (such as universities, environmental groups, etc.)
If done properly the website can become a good marketing tool for anyone who donates equipment or funds. For example a camera company might donate a camera if they are being advertised on the site, beside the streaming video.
Let me know what kinds of things you’d like to achieve and I’ll do some research to figure out what’s required.April 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm #19900
Coder – plz email me at email@example.com. i want to send u the details of the system i designed. i think it might need an actual computer, or at least a small laptop to handle the load. but what i had in mind was to use hydro-turbines which i already built and install them under my island (1/12th scale model – 5,000lbs) to demonstrate its ability to stay under the water. in order to do that it needs to sense its own depth to know when to activate the valve (to make it dive) or the pump (to make it come up). there would be many other sensors and functions as well and i want them to upload their data to a continuous graph on a web page – thru a cell tower linkup. from the same web page you can control the submersion commands, and possibly view a video of the inside (put a lizard inside and submerge for 2 weeks). i only expect to have about 250 watts to work with.
this is a pretty complex system which i already have mapped out. im talkin complete diagram and a spreadsheet with specific model numbers quantities, prices, and links to where to buy each item. but i dont have any programming ability. just email me so i can send u a link to the diagram. hopefully we can discuss it and get to work on it.
19810April 10, 2012 at 2:09 am #19972
Rich….check your inbox.
Btw I just completed another block. Should now be up to 42kg of boyancy.
I also chatted to a professional diver about it, showed him the blocks, and he didn’t seem to think the idea of setting up a seastead was too crazy.
He said if he sees a glass bottle on the sea floor which is in the way (while he’s working underwater) he’ll generally gently pick it up, move it out of the way, and gently put it back down the same way up, so inhabitants don’t get disturbed.
He also talked about how preventing oxygen from coming into contact with the plastics and metals is a key to success, because of the oxydisation/rust effect that happens. Without oxygen that can’t happen.
He figures it shouldn’t be too difficult underwater, especially if critters and plants and stuff cover the structure to help protect it.
Another thing he mentioned is how out in the ocean sometimes islands will form and bird droppings will start plants growing on them. Then the waves keep depositing sand on the islands and will continue to build them up, larger and larger.
Hopefully once I’m ready this diver can help me anchor the whole thing to the ocean floor.
CheersApril 17, 2012 at 6:11 am #20025
Congrats on making some seastead models, would love to see some pics or videos i.e. “proof”.
Glass is a very interesting medium since it’s main component sand SiO2 is so bountiful on earth.
In terms of cheap boyancy, it’s hard to beat plastic barrels.
Can set up a ton of boyancy for under $100.
I set up 400kg of boyancy for under $40
Darker ones with a raft board on top they can be protected from UV, can also be painted for protection.
I’ll be upgrading mine rather soon.
Though ya for long term concrete may be better,
in the short term plastic is cheap and easy to transport.
I’ve made several recycled plastic model boats also.April 17, 2012 at 6:29 am #20026
oh ya, and when I made the ferro-cement dinghy,
based on calculations it displaced around 2 tons,
it cost around $200 for the hull itself,
and about $150-200 for anchor’s, oars, life jacket etc.April 17, 2012 at 6:31 am #20027
er I mean not displaced was boyant 2 tons, it weighed about 100kg though, was real tough to move, and is now at bottom of the river. If i manage to locate it, maybe shall be able to haul it up with the barrel catamaran drydock.April 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm #20030
Rich, the diagram you sent me looks interesting. I can’t wait to see the data it collects.
I’m not sure my skill level in terms of electronics is sufficient for what you’re trying to do. I could probably figured it out but learning as you go takes time and runs the risk of frying components. Probably best to see if there’s someone with better electronics skills can take care of that side of things.
As for the software and website I should be able to help with that, as that’s where I have most of my experience.
I’ve just about completed 2 more blocks (one is complete, the other is almost there). So that should put me up to 50kg of boyancy.
I’ll see if I can get some photos today and post them. I haven’t joined the blocks together yet because that’ll need to be done closer to the water. The glass bottles are quite heavy when not in water.
But I’ve laid them out so they’re ‘almost’ looking raft like already.
I like the 44gal plastic drugs idea. Seems cheap too. But, like a boat, you get one small hole and the whole barrel becomes useless. Maybe fill each barrel with plastic bottles? Or even glass bottles?
Plus, large drums, etc. are more affected by waves because of the larger surface area, though I guess still nowhere near as much as ships, so it’s still viable. Whereas the glass bottles have gaps so waves can flow through.
I think there’s merit in all of these designs, etc. we’re playing with. Each with their pros and cons. It’s probably worth mixing and matching even in a single stead.
For example I picked up 2 x 20l or 25l (not sure exactly I’m guesstimating) water cooler drums. I’m thinking of using them as well and making it so I can fill them with air or release air out to help raise or lower the stead. Or have them above the water (because the plastic is light) so if too much weight is put on the stead they’ll act as backup boyancy.April 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm #20031
Err… total boyancy should be 60kg I’m not mistaken, NOT 50kg. It’s 7:30am… my brain is still snoring.April 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm #20032
One concern I have with using concrete as a construction material, while I believe it has merit, is that it’s brittle. And considering in the ocean there’s a constant resonance, as well as a constant eratic wave force, over time the brittleness might be a problem.
For example there’s a theory (I think it’s been proven but I’ve not proven it to myself) that you can shatter a brick with a glass. If you hit them hard together the glass will shatter. But if you sit and tap the brick a thousand, or a million times with the glass, softly, the brick will eventually shatter, while the glass, if not hit hard a single time, will stay in tact.
Glass does have issues with resonance (hence singers can shatter glass if they hit the right pitch) but I think it’s much harder for resonance and small repeated impacts to shatter glass than concrete.
Though glass has the flipside that one huge impact can shatter it, whereas one huge impact on concrete may not do any damage at all.
Imagine glass hitting rocks. It’ll not last as long as concrete I’m guessing. But like a ship…these steads should never come into contact with rocks.
Even oil rig builders have faced the resonance issue with their huge concrete legs for oil rigs.
I still think it has merit, but this issue needs to be managed, along with all other potential issues.
Keep up the good work with the prototyping though. We need to test all possible ideas and see how they go.April 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm #20033
Each year a bunch of palm fronds fall off the palms next door and over the fence. At the base of each frond is a flat, wide, section of really tough, really flexible timber/bark/plant matter (not sure what to call it, it’s more like tough cardboard than timber).
I tried breaking one, and ripping that flat bit off to throw a chunk of it for the dog to fetch and quickly realised there’s no way I could possibly rip this stuff.
I tried cutting it with a hand saw and it’s so flexible the saw couldn’t cut it. It just kept bending.
This stuff is amazingly strong and flexible and I’m thinking of making makeshift pots out of it, filling them with sand and organic matter, sitting them on top of the raft, and planting mangroves into that. With a few holes drilled in to let water through.
They should last at least a year or two until the mangroves get established. Probably longer.
Seems like I might have to try growing palms on the raft (when big enough) simply to have them as a construction material.
A seed pod full of seeds also fell off into the yard, so I guess I can try dumping those seeds on the raft to see if they’ll grow. Maybe I should plant them in pots now to give them a headstart.April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm #20034
Ok I’ve posted photos of what I’ve got so far:
Feedback is welcome.April 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm #20038
I just had an interesting idea.
You can buy old shipping containers for not too much money, considering the amount of boyancy and strength they offer.
Often people buy them and build homes out of them. I know someone who built a shed from one.
What if we bought some, coated them in something to protect them (maybe ship grade paint, or reinforced concrete, or something) and then used them partly as added buoyancy, and partly as breakwaters.
They could be laid horizontally as breakwaters, or vertically as pillars to lift a seastead high above the water.
They could be brought up out of the water every few years to be cleaned, repainted or recoated in whatever protects them, then put back in their place. They are perfectly suited to be moved, lifted, etc.
They could be filled with floating materials such as recycled styrofoam or plastic bottles, just in case there are ever any small leaks.
They are potentially viable as a structural component because of the strength, so long as they’re protected from the salt.
Here are some shipping containers on ebay (the big ones, not the small shipping boxes):
They aren’t the cheapest material but they would be incredibly quick and easy to use, so long as they’re protected well from the salt water.
What does everyone think?April 18, 2012 at 6:51 am #20043
They look pretty solid and when floating should provide a fairly flat surface which is handy.
My only worry (other than the bottle caps rusting out) would be the price of the cable ties. $6 per block may not seem like much, but scaling up it is a lot. You may want to look into what the bulk pricing may be or if there is something similar that is cheaper. If the price drops significantly for large quantities then it is nothing to worry about.
Try testing out the 7 connected first. It should give you a good idea of how they will act when connected.April 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm #20071
Ok I’ve done a recount and recalculation and it looks like, if I’ve not made any mistakes in the calculations (though it’s morning and my brain often doesn’t wake up till midday) each block comes out at $5.04 at current prices. I had guessed about $5.50 and rounded up.
It’s a total of 72 cable ties, if my counting/calculations are correct.
Where I’m buying them from is far from buying them in bulk, and probably not the cheapest place, but its convenient so I’d rather buy them there (at least for this small proof of concept) than wait till I can get them cheaper somewhere else.
When scaling up and buying in bulk, and if I figure out the exact number and remove the “rounding up” from the price should bring the price down a fair bit.
I might see if I can order them in bulk online.
The last time I was at the hardware shop (in another town unfortunately) I noticed they sold them in higher quantities than I’ve been buying them, but didn’t see the price. Hopefully I can get cheaper bulk ones there.
Also if I can find longer cable ties I won’t need to join them together, so it’ll halve the number I need to use, even if they’re slightly more expensive per tie it should bring the price down.
One thing I like about this approach is I can go spend $10-$15 at a time, which is not much money, to get a stack of cable ties and build a few of blocks.
If you add it all together over time it might cost more than one single large concrete structure, but because you can build them with minimal outlay it’s worth it.
After all most of us can spare a small amount of money (under $20) every few weeks, whereas many can’t afford a large outlay up front, even if the total cost comes in lower when you make the large outlay up front.
I might try connecting the existing blocks with reusable cable ties to see how they perform when bound together. That way I can pull it apart again to move it, then use normal cable ties when it’s being deployed. I just don’t have many of those reusable cable ties so I won’t be able to connect all of them at once.
I don’t want to bind it all together permanently until in, or next to, the water. Otherwise the whole thing will be too hard to move because it’ll be so bulky, and the bottles are fairly when not in the water.
And I don’t want to connect it all then have to cut a bunch of the cable ties to take it apart again.
Maybe I’ll buy more re-usable cable ties just for a temporary test. They’re way more expensive but considering they won’t be used permanently, and I can reuse them for other stuff (they’ve come in very handy around the house), it’s not like the money will be wasted.
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