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Author Topic: Any ideas for a steampunk small boat?  (Read 582 times)
Shadow Of The Tower
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« on: December 15, 2016, 02:09:04 pm »

This summer acquired a small three horsepower gasoline outboard motor for the simple reason that I got a good deal on it and as an older 1970s era engine it interested me.  

There are numerous small lakes, and one very large one, 29th in country for size, within a couple hours driving distance.

The regulations are such that for small lakes 3HP is the limit on motor size, and the large lake is such that you can find yourself crossing several miles of open water to get to the interesting islands.

On both lakes you find countless small flat bottomed fishing boats with 3hp motors cruising around. They are cheap utilitarian and slow. On the large lake you have everything from kayaks to large sailing yachts and motor boats, which are fast and interesting and way beyond my budget.

What I would like to build this winter for use next summer is a small boat suitable for propulsion with a 3hp motor at a reasonable speed, large enough to carry at least two adults and a child, and which is not the same old boring Jon boat or canoe that hundreds of other people use.

Obviously there is a great deal of very excellent art concerning large steampunk/dieselpunk vessels but I've been having a hard time coming up with inspiration for a small skiff.

For general parameters I think a craft no more than 16 feet long and weighing 250lbs or less dry weight is needed.

Draft should be minimal for exploring up river and playing around in the shallows. (There is a place a couple miles from the dock at a local reservoir  that I have nicknamed 'the badlands' where the water level is only 3-4 feet deep over several acres and the water is riddled with drowned stumps that stick just barely above the water which is fun to explore and fish  that I particularly would like to motor too rather than paddle)  

But, I also want to take it on the big lake from time to time which means a bit more stability and size than the little Jon boats which are often only 10 feet long and have about 6" free board. On this lake you can encounter 2-4 foot high waves if he wind comes up, it has a surface area of 290 square miles and is deeper on average than the Persian Gulf so I need something a bit more sea worthy than a duck boat.

I am not opposed to starting from scratch but I do have a 17"  flat stern fiberglass canoe which I have paddled about on these same lakes. I do also know how to work fiberglass and it would be great if I could use the canoe as the starting point for something more interesting.  

Obviously, I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here and come up with a wholly unique style of watercraft but it seems that there should be some way steampunk aesthetic that works so well for large ships could scale down to a small boat in a practical way.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 02:16:10 pm by Shadow Of The Tower » Logged

Wormster
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2016, 06:46:45 pm »

The first thing that sprang to mind was: build a pair of pontoons out of 55 gal oil barrels, attach a 6'x4' picnic table (with Parasol), mount the outboard on the back, and away she goes................................

Table, can seat a family comfortably, low draught, not too big, (and if you got it right a place to hide the kegerator and BBQ, as well as the fishing tackle).

Toodle Pip!
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2016, 08:41:59 pm »

A quick Google search on "Steampunk Boat" gives a lot of dirrigible-type vessels.
Unless you want to have a 32 foot or more envelope above your boat, I would steer away from that thought.

What also pops up a lot are submarine-type boats. In order to make it a bit believable, one would need a covered (or semi-covered) vessel. 16 foot might be to short to pull that option off.

What might work is a propper functioning vessel with a paddle wheel on either side. A Jon boat has nice square sides, where one could mount a paddle wheel. If you want to make it more believable, you could make a faux piston steam engine attached to the paddle wheels.

The outboard motor is not old enough to pass for a Victorian engine. Making it look Steampunk would be the aquatic equivalent of a Nerf-gun. Smiley I would draw away the visual attention of the outboard motor and more towards a different, but fake, way of propulsion. What brings me back to the paddle wheels. I would go for paddle wheels.
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Banfili
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2016, 08:47:02 pm »

This summer acquired a small three horsepower gasoline outboard motor for the simple reason that I got a good deal on it and as an older 1970s era engine it interested me.  

I am not opposed to starting from scratch but I do have a 17"  flat stern fiberglass canoe which I have paddled about on these same lakes. I do also know how to work fiberglass and it would be great if I could use the canoe as the starting point for something more interesting.  

Obviously, I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here and come up with a wholly unique style of watercraft but it seems that there should be some way steampunk aesthetic that works so well for large ships could scale down to a small boat in a practical way.

Shadow, there are plenty of free boat plans available online, from the simple to the complex, worth an investigate. Fibreglass, timber and metal.

I have a project awaiting attention - build a small bilge-keel sailing boat for local lakes (one at either end of the river). I scaled up the plans from a 7' rowboat to a 9'6" sailing dinghy. So you could, if you found plans you like, scale it up and sail away!
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von Corax
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2016, 09:48:24 pm »

I do also know how to work fiberglass and it would be great if I could use the canoe as the starting point for something more interesting.  
Hey, Tower - long time no see.

Æsthetically, I'm not sure I would care for fibreglass UNLESS you could make it look like wood plank or riveted steel plate - that would be cool.

Beyond that I cannot help, as I know nothing of naval architecture.

Please keep us posted.
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Shadow Of The Tower
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2016, 12:25:57 am »

Quote
The outboard motor is not old enough to pass for a Victorian engine. Making it look Steampunk would be the aquatic equivalent of a Nerf-gun. Smiley I would draw away the visual attention of the outboard motor and more towards a different, but fake, way of propulsion. What brings me back to the paddle wheels. I would go for paddle wheels.

If I was going to go for paddle wheels I would probably just build real paddle wheels powered by a gas engine.

Of course being a boat I actually want to go boating with and the extreme inefficiency of paddle wheels, particularly on the small scale I think I will have to stick to propeller technology.

Quote
I have a project awaiting attention - build a small bilge-keel sailing boat for local lakes (one at either end of the river). I scaled up the plans from a 7' rowboat to a 9'6" sailing dinghy. So you could, if you found plans you like, scale it up and sail away!

So that canoe I mentioned is actually something I converted into a dagger board, outriggered, junk rigged sailing boat a few years ago....which is a lot of fun but I found that in practical terms its hard to use simply because there is no reliable wind in my part of the world and most of the time there was wind at home by the time I got to the lake there was nothing.  Hence by decision to upgrade to a motor.

Quote
Æsthetically, I'm not sure I would care for fibreglass UNLESS you could make it look like wood plank or riveted steel plate - that would be cool.

I agree, although I have also had the idea of using fiberglass to simulate something biological and go for the bio-mechanical school of steampunk. Perhaps I could go boating in a giant fish skull converted into a motor skiff?


Quote
The first thing that sprang to mind was: build a pair of pontoons out of 55 gal oil barrels, attach a 6'x4' picnic table (with Parasol), mount the outboard on the back, and away she goes................................

Table, can seat a family comfortably, low draught, not too big, (and if you got it right a place to hide the kegerator and BBQ, as well as the fishing tackle).

Toodle Pip!

Not a bad idea Smiley
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Banfili
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2016, 02:43:08 am »

Or just say "To hell with it" and go for oar power!
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Shadow Of The Tower
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2016, 04:22:25 am »

Quote
Or just say "To hell with it" and go for oar power!

Ha, that is where I am at now and trying to get away from. I find it hard to get up as much enthusiasm for boating when it involves miles of rowing.

Also...well, steampunk appeals to me for a reason, I'm just the kind of person that likes engines on things, even things not meant to have engines.
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Banfili
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2016, 12:04:47 pm »

My little boat also has provision for a very small motor. I noticed a few weeks ago a hand driven motor which looks like fun, but only in an emergency!
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Shadow Of The Tower
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2016, 02:14:08 pm »

So messing around on my computer I've come up with a rough idea of a build based on my canoe that I rather like.  A small lightweight craft for the hunting of medium sized sea creatures..



The controls would be relocated from the tiller system the motor has now into a small control box so that the craft can be more easily steered without the 'one hand behind your back' pose of the normal small boat operator. I lightweight sunshade protects the rear of the boat while a extended splash guard and covered prow hopefully makes it more able to handle waves. A pair of out rigger pontoons increase its weight capacity by a couple hundred pounds and make it extremely stable with a functional beam of 6'  The cut down mast that I already have can serve as the post for a small crane to make it easier to raise and lower things from and into the depths. Such as the submersible camera drone I built several years ago.  A forward mount can hold either the ships gun, grappling hook launcher, flamethrower or a large umbrella for a forward sunshade.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2016, 11:10:30 am »


The outboard motor is not old enough to pass for a Victorian engine. ]


You know what's coming.... wait for it....



Ta-da!

It's admittedly a model, but that is a steam-powered outboard engine, made in 1932 (I have seen others dating from the 1920s)... so the concept can pass even if it does have a plastic cover with 'Yamaha' or somesuch emblazoned all over it. 

For the boat itself, I've always been fond (as I'm sure most people know by now) of the steam launch type of boat.  Think like an Edwardian cabin cruiser type set-up...
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steiconi
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2016, 05:40:17 pm »

I'd like to see a steam chimney (or should that be flue?) in the center of the boat, with a fancy chimney topper like on this  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/7e/63/3b/7e633bbd71eaa529f0a1f33be158a758.jpg

And pennants fluttering along cables running from chimney to stem and stern.
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Shadow Of The Tower
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« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2016, 06:16:28 am »

Quote
It's admittedly a model, but that is a steam-powered outboard engine, made in 1932 (I have seen others dating from the 1920s)... so the concept can pass even if it does have a plastic cover with 'Yamaha' or somesuch emblazoned all over it. 

Engine cover is going to be painted....possible replaced with hand hammered replacement.
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