Forum Replies Created
November 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm #21487
I found an interesting example of a structure made from living plants:
Basically I want the majority of the structural strength of the stead to come from living plants, with their roots binding all the bottles together. This way if any part of it gets damaged, as long as it just manages to kinda stay together, then it should be able to repair itself by the roots filling the gap.
Also it means if the cable ties deteriorate after a while (which they will one day, just hoping they last for at least 5 years, and ideally at least 10) then it won’t matter. Spiral island had huge mangroves growing after just 2 years if I recall….so 5 years should be plenty of time to get some significant strength from the living plants.November 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm #21460
Interesting idea. I think it could be really good as one part of hybrid approach. I like the hybrid idea, of using a bunch of different approaches, so if anyone one approach shows to have weaknesses then the others can take over.
I totally agree with your comment about making a stead/platform from another stead/platform. So they can kinda self replicate (with some human input).
My glass bottle stead idea would be incredibly easy to build, while already on another stead. So once the first one is deployed as long as there are enough bottles and stuff being stockpiled then more platforms could be created. No special equipment, molds, etc. are required.
Those platforms could either be separate, or be attached, or start out attached and be separated once big enough.
Have you got ideas about how one would actually build the foam/concrete structure? Would it need a big mold? Or just kinda “coat” the foam with concrete?
Would be good to figure out a way of doing it from an existing platform. If it needs a mold that could be tricky (very heavy and bulky I’d imagine).
Maybe the foam/concrete platforms could be built in pieces. So you make a whole bunch of smaller, identical pieces, then join them together.
Then if a mold is needed it can be a lot smaller. Also if one breaks the others should be enough to keep floating.
Anyway…just me thinking out loud.
Keep posting the ideas.November 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm #21459
I’m also on east coast of Australia.
I could probably give you hundreds of business ideas because I’m always coming up with them.
You’d need to filter through them and help figure out which ones seem most feasible though.
I do believe for seasteading to work there needs to be a way to get a return on investment, otherwise most people simply cannot afford it.
So seasteading businesses are a key IMO.
One of my ideas is an open fish farm. Instead of raising fish in pens, and having to feed them, we simply create floating habitats (don’t even need to be capable of holding humans, so can be pretty basic and cheap), cover them in plants, and then let the small marine critters inhabit them.
Then the small fish come to eat them and breed. Then the big fish come to eat the smaller fish.
Over time the habitat should be surrounded by fish, and actually helping them to breed and increase the population (above what would be there if the habitat didn’t exist).
Then we can sustainably harvest a small % of the larger fish and take them to market. Or just as our own food.
The key behind this principle is the idea that most of the fish in the oceans are concentrated near habitats, breeding grounds, food sources, etc.
Most of these are basically land or floating objects which are in the tidal zone.
I even say in a doco footage of a school of fish which came across a floating palm frond out in the ocean and they went berserk. Breeding, spawing all over it, until it was completely covered in eggs.
Seems it doesn’t take much to provide a breeding ground for fish.
There are a whole bunch of other spin-off business opportunities too. Such as harvesting mangroves and other plants for construction materials, food, even stock/animal feed.
I even saw something the other day about australian trees (need to look it up to recall which one it was) which are actually entirely salt tolerant. I think I recall them saying it can tolerate salt levels way beyond that of the ocean (cos it’s used to growing in high salinity soils).
So these could be grown and harvested for timber.
Another spin off opportunity is to farm and harvest oysters, kelp, crabs, even to produce high quality sea salt.
If you’re interested in discussing ideas further I’m happy to share my ideas with you, and you can use them however you like.
We could even discuss using my recycled seastead (now at 99kg boyancy for just the glass bottles, plus more for the additional plastic bottles I’m thinking I’ll add too).
I’ve also probably got enough bottles and stuff to add another 20-30 or so kg of boyancy (just need to make the blocks out of them).
While it wouldn’t hold a lot of humans yet it certainly would hold enough plants to make a pretty attractive habitat for marine animals and fish.
No additional structure is required…..just move the blocks to the water (after sealing them with marine grade silicon and/or recycled rubber)…..attach them together……..put a few containers on the top with holes in them…..fill them with sand and soil……then plant a range of plants into the containers. Then drag it into position and anchor it.
The maximum material cost to finish that off for a small scale habitat is likely about $100 (for anchors, silicon, etc.) because it’s such a cheap setup.
I’m still trying to decide whether to put my stead experiment into an estuary away from waves…..or find someone with a boat to help me drag it out into the ocean.
I’m just going to figure it out as I go.
Let me know if you’d like to discuss these ideas and/or if you’d like more ideas you might be able to use.
CheersOctober 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm #21115
I do still need to figure out the best approach for sealing the bottles though…..which will likely be either…..or a combination of both….marine grade silicon….and rubber (from old tire inner tubes) and/or pond liner plastic over the top.
Pretty sure I can get a combination of those to solve the problem.
The only other real issue I need to sort out is how to ensure each block is solidly bound to its neighbours….but I think it’ll be partly just more cable ties (using the same approach as within each block itself)…..and using the interlocking double layer….of staggered blocks….to help keep them together.
Eventually plant roots should eventually add strength…..and I figure I’ll assist that by adding coils and stuff of thick plastic cord…..which the plant roots will grow around….to help keep the entire structure together.
I don’t see any reason to think the prototype shouldn’t work. Just might need to keep adding more blocks to increase stability….and or adding extra plastic drums/bottles for extra buoyancy….which is just a matter of time and putting in the effort.October 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm #21114
Another thing I should mention.
When using the bottle blocks upside down (to provide a flat-ish platform on top) the tops of bottles are maybe a bit vulnerable if I accidentally run the platform aground (shouldn’t happen…..but the titanic shouldn’t have sank either….gotta prepare for the worst).
Plus…..I figure….while each block is solid (so solid when I dropped one on hard concrete from standing height it suffered absolutely no damage at all)…..if I connect lots together to make a platform which is wide…..the biggest issue I see is the leverage which could be gained by waves twisting the whole platform.
So…..to solve both of these problems (to an extent)….I grabbed two bottle blocks….sat one flat on the ground (necks up)….and another one upside-down on top of it.
The necks of one block fit perfectly between the necks of the other block.
This means there are no bottle necks sticking out….and both top and bottom side of the dual-layer blocks…..are flat.
Plus…the double thickness of the platform reduces the chance of twisting being a problem.
The downside is if I double up the platform thickness…..I pretty much half its total area. But I think it’s a trade worth doing.
Also….if I stagger the blocks (like bricks in a building are always staggered)…..then each top layer block helps ensure the bottom layer blocks stay together…..and vice-versa. In this arrangement, the interlocking necks seem to actually become and advantage.October 4, 2012 at 7:59 pm #21113
Thought I’d add…..(thinking out loud)
When comparing the tediousness of binding the glass bottle blocks together (it’s not difficult….but fiddly), and the buoyancy they provide, vs. that of using large plastic drums…..it could seem like the glass bottles aren’t such a good idea.
But……considering that if using plastic drums alone…..I would need to then build a platform structure on it….which would have its own issues (such as timber rotting, steel rusting, etc.)…..
I think if I treat the glass bottles as mainly a structural component (ie. they are solid and upside-down provide a good platform, without any other structure required)…..then they make sense to use.
So while the glass bottle blocks float….and provide buoyancy…..I think their main role is structure and platform. Nice to have a structure which, in itself, floats.
I figure then I’ll add extra buoyancy using plastic drums…..to bring it up to a good level.October 4, 2012 at 7:51 pm #21112
I’ve made a few more blocks now.
It takes time to collect the bottles and the cable ties and so it’s a slow process so far.
After making the last block I counted them all again….and it seems I have 11 blocks all up. (Though it was tricky to count because they’re stacked up…kinda out of the way….but I think I counted right).
So with 11 blocks, each having roughly 9kg of buoyancy each (if I recall correctly from when I tested the buoyancy of a single bottle)…..I should be at about 99kg in total (11×9 = 99).
That’s enough to handle my weight….so long as I don’t have much gear with me.
Though with only a little bit of spare buoyancy I’m guessing it’ll be unstable….if I’m anywhere except dead centre.
I also have 2 water drums (guessing 20-25litres each, so 20-25kg of buoyancy each, maybe more if they hold more), plus a bunch of plastic bottles I’ve collected (most are 2l). So I figure I should be able to get the buoyancy to around 150kg plus once I attach them.
I’m also considering getting some plastic (approx) 44gal drums to attach….to increase buoyancy and stability (they range from between 150kg and 200kg buoyancy each).
So I might not be far off a deployable prototype….which I can camp on. Still kinda making it up as I go though….so never quite sure how it’ll turn out.May 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm #20511
Sweet. He’ll make seasteading look less like an “out there” idea and a bit more normal.
He’ll be taken far more seriously than those of us doing it on a shoestring budget.
It’ll help to inspire people to copy him with all kinds of different approaches.
That’ll help us all.
Good luck to him/them.
I wonder if I can tow my stead (maybe using a kite) over there and park beside them. Long trip though.
It’s my kinda crowd. Lots of techies. Surely I can borrow some high speed internet access too 😉May 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm #20401
I think one good strategy to setting up a seastead building company is partly to build seasteads specifically for profit.
I’m keen on not for profit strategies too, but setting up some which are designed to be profitable attracts people and businesses with lots of cash.
Things like farming fish, mangroves (for construction material and animal feed), edible plants (for sale to restaurants and supermarkets), carbon sequestration (for companies to get carbon credits), power generation, etc. can all be profitable.
If we produce profitable seasteads they should be quite easy to sell….rather than ones simply designed as homes, which will be harder to sell (because people have less cash than businesses).
My goal is to start these kinds of farming on my stead before I even start living on it. Then use the funds to keep increasing the size, etc. of it. Plus if it’s really profitable I’m happy to sell the whole thing….then use that to build a larger one…then sell it…and repeat the process.
I think we should set up an international business designed to help us work together to build such profitable seasteads then invest profits/sales back into building more.
If done properly it should snowball, as each sale/profit should cover the original costs plus enough for another larger stead.May 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm #20399
Imagine getting out of the car and someone laughs and says “haha I told you so…..I told you that you didn’t need to wear the seatbelt….you fool”.
I wouldn’t be thinking “damn I wish I crashed, so I was right”.
I’d be thinking “yeah I’m glad I didn’t need it…..but I’m still glad I wore it”.
So if those people preparing for the worst never see the worst….they can still feel happy about preparing for it…and no-one can responsibly criticize them for preparing.May 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm #20398
Oh….and every major civilisation throughout history has collapsed:
mayans, incas, romans, sumarians, ancient egyptians, and the list goes on and on and on
We’re living a life of high dependence and expectation on things beyond our control (such as cheap supplies of fuel and food) so it’s silly to think that we’re immune from another collapse in the future.
Those preparing for the worst IMO are as wise as people who choose to wear a seatbelt.May 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm #20397
It’s funny how people who prepare for catastrophe are seen as lunatics…..until a depression hits….or a war….and then everyone comes running begging for food.
Preparing for catastrophe is like wearing a seatbelt. You do it with the expectation that you’ll never need it. But it’s often worthwhile caution.
Imagine people saying “you idiot…..why the hell are you wearing a seatbelt….do you know what the odds are that you’ll crash? next to nill”
The most likely catastrophe IMO is a major depression/recession and skyrocketing food and fuel prices. So if you can’t afford to buy the expensive food it’s a good idea to have a big store of rice, beans, flour, salt, etc., etc.
Most of those will last almost forever is stored right, and are pretty dirt cheap at the moment, in times of relative plenty.May 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm #20396
Rich, if you get a small computer (ideally an open source one like “Raspberry Pi” or “Beagleboard”), connect it to an arduino, and then connect the arduino to some of the first sensors you want…..then connect the computer to the web and give me remote access….I should be able to start playing around with developing software to transmit the data from the sensors to the web, and to control the arduino.
I’ll need to learn what I’m doing as I go, so it might take some time, but I’m happy to give it a shot.
I’m thinking a copy of “lubuntu” might be the best operating system (I’m biased because I use it already for my PC) but any common linux system should do it. If you need help setting up the operating system and remote access let me know.
No need for the wireless connection for now, just plug it straight into your own modem. The wireless modem can be added later. The key at this stage is developing the software to transmit data to the web, and to also control the arduino from the web. Once that works it can be made wireless.
It may be a single raspberry pi (computer board) and a single arduino doesn’t have enough power to run the entire thing, but they’re so cheap it would be better to have 5 or 10 of them running side by side, than to get a single laptop. Then if one fails the rest can keep working.
I prefer distributed approach because I’ve experienced major failures of large centralized systems, losing data, etc.
The distributed approach is a bit more complex but very worth it.May 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm #20395
Sweet. Can you record it and put it on youtube for me to watch?
Maybe you could try getting some sponsors to pay for advertising space now it’ll be on T.V.May 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm #20394
Yeah good idea about producing energy, food and fuel on the less habitable parts of the stead, including break waters.
The wave energy should be harnessed, not just seen as something to mitigate. Would be silly just block the waves and not produce power. Even simple air pressure can be directed to where it’s needed to drive pumps, etc. and then directed through simple low cost turbines as required. Rather than converting everything to electricity, then using electricity which incurs losses in energy via the conversion process.
I saw a doco about people growing and harvesting salicornia (from that article) for food (even human food), and other things.
Even some restaurants use it as a bit of a rare delicacy (rare as in not commonly eaten, not rare as in not commonly growing, as it grows all over the place).
I think the very edges of the breakwaters should be covered in oysters to take the force of the waves, as the rock oysters around here prefer to be in that location anyway.
Then just in from the oysters I think plants used to being in the tidal zone (battered by waves) should grow. The key is ensuring they have enough support to hold on and not fall over in the weather.
I do think picking the right plants, and having a decent design, should mean we can have plant based breakwaters, with oysters, etc. right at where the waves first hit, dispersing some of the energy.
I’m guessing the key is to try get stuff established and then let nature take its course and develop its own balance.
Oh and the power generation and the sun can be used to desalinate water for drinking, and for fresh water plants, and then the brine left over (the extra salty water) can be used to store heat from the sun either for cooking, or for heating water for showers, etc.
Desal plants have a bad rep for pumping the brine back into the sea, which is absurd. High salinity water is perfect for storing heat energy. That heat energy can even help distill more fresh water.
We need to focus on the holistic approach unlike many existing corporations.
Lots of experimentation is obviously required.
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