Single family ocean base - comfortable home and jobsite - interference free - oceanic business alliance

(Wilfried Ellmer) #1

Single Family floating island | Single family floating business | homesteading at sea | small starting point | poor men’s floating island | size of the starting point | modular jointing | small scale technology | practical approach |

In the threads it has come up repeatedly that one angle of seasteading (some say the only true one) is to take the word literally and tackle the matter as a “oceanic homestead” - a kind of family with limited financial means - going oceanic and independent - making a better future for itself and opening the ocean frontier in the process.

In this thread i want to explore the feasibility of such a concept - how it could look like, on which technology and which business models it can be based…

As always it is a good exercise to start with the most simple the cheapest still feasible technology of “poor man’s floating island” (ref. 49)…and the business options a few floating square meters are opening…

Richi Sowa Spiral Island | Floating Neutrinos | Tanka | Uros | Sea Gypsies | modern floating building sites |

Maximum depth | tubular concrete structures | hydrostatic load | spheres | oceanic business alliance
SeaSteading City Theory….Why The SeaStead Prototypes are Doomed to Fail
Special purpose seasteading | floating laboratory | logistics service | floating industry | oceanic business alliance
Bob Ballard | family seastead | low road | small starting point | oceanic business alliance

You want us to give you ideas, which you can package and sell to investors?


One question to ask, is where (or in what circumstances) this can be:
(1) safe,
(2) economically feasible.

The answers may help figure out what and where the biggest bottlenecks are.

One that occurs to me is that, until we’re well past the bootstrapping stage, our floating homes, whether officially boats or not, will have to be built on land and launched from shore (and thus regulated) facility.

For many of us, even if we knew what we wanted to build and had the money, we have no place to build or launch it. If enough interested people are in the same geographic area, perhaps some sort of cooperative could help. But (as some here have pointed out), land-based neighbors can (to put it kindly) really put a crimp in a would-be-seasteader’s productivity.


The way I see it, any ideas I mention are fair game. Until we all live in that perfect worker’s socialist paradise [[queue the sarcasm here]], there’s no sin in trying to make either a decent living or (of you get it just right) the big bucks.

I’m not afraid of anybody taking any idea I mention on here and running with it. It’d be nice to be offered a share of the action, but it would also be nice if I found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

There is a problem that some (would be) inventors have, namely that they’re so sure that somebody will steal their great idea, that they never discuss it or seek collaborators to fill in the aspects outside the would-be-inventor’s skill set. So their “inventions” often remain stillborn. (I’m still seeking better ways to find other kindred souls – or at least those who are willing to talk tech/ideas. Suggestions welcome!) Note: I’m not saying that anyone must share or discuss anything they choose not to. (And trust me, I’m not posting my non-seasteading ideas here; I still have hopes of that pot of gold.) Though “holding one’s cards too close to the vest” does sure put a damper on collaboration towards seasteading. These forums (fora?) have a private message function, and likely for good reason.

Personally, I’d rather toss some ideas and a little analysis around, without requiring praise or $. (Praise and $ are still welcome though :wink: – if you’re feeling generous. It beats watching network TV. Maybe somebody will get lucky. IMHO, it’s not a zero sum game here – or rather, it ought not be.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #5

@LarryP in the first phase the question of a building site / launch site is definitly one of the most important “show stoppers” in my pilot projects i found that part of the solution is to build on the water launching a floating “nucleus” of just a few squaremeter and expand the build afloat. Things like | Richi Sowa | and the | Floating Neutrinos | Tanka floating Villages | may give a general reference - but there is certainly “room for improvement” created by new cement composite technology in those concepts…their weak point : the lack of transition capacity


Ok, i’ll bite a little bit…

With the 1/4 inch steel plate i already have, i can make a 20x32ft deck, and for ~$300 each, i can put 6000lbs of floaties under it. (Not my preferred method, i’d prefer to spend $700 each and do submerged floaties.) I have a bridge crane, can can make more of them. I have generator power for the arc welder and other power tools. I can gear up to make floaties and decks, and even small boats, at sea.

But for two problems, one of which you mentioned: 1) I am not at sea already, and all the seaside is taken, there’s issues in getting from here to there, especially with the non-standard weight of material to build a large deck. 2) I’d need a supply chain to keep me working: someone carrying food and building materials to me, and dragging floaties to customers they have found.

So i am going a way round-about path to just get there, and i have not secured a marina with a crane, so getting heavy material from truck or trailer to the water may be impossible this year.


As it happens, I’ve been thinking about what might be done differently, to make modular building out of concrete easier than currently. Many smaller pieces is often an easier logistics problem than one huge item.

One thing that would help (with that issue) would be a better way of joining concrete modules together in a way strong enough to be seastead-worthy, in the engineering sense – AKA, will this hold up well enough/long enough that I’d be willing to both put money on it and sleep on it. Ideally, I’d want both a strong and watertight joining method, but there may be cases where tackling those two key aspects of a connecting system are best tackled separately. When I’ve got something worth reading, I’ll post it to the open concrete discussion. OK?

I’d love to build a 10-meter diameter sphere, and I think that’s more likely to happen if the pieces can all be moved by truck. Am I dreaming? If so, what harm. And if some ideas catch on… IMHO, that’s exactly what I came here for.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #8

maybe the whole idea of “modular” and “joining modules together” needs a bit stepping back and view it from a different view angle.

Yust think about a “matrix printing process” ask yourself the question “how is a new droplet joint to the others” … if you "make the modules small enough the whole “problem of joining” starts to disappear…


If this is another thread about concrete spheres, i am outa here.


I was just using a sphere as an example. I think I’d be more interested in entirely different geometries. I’ve been musing about hexagonal prisms of a particular aspect ratio. Any guesses what ratio, or why? Honestly, can forget I mentioned it above, please.


My idea is to build downward, from a floating platform, so I create a spar-buoy structure, then put the living space on top, using the Basalt rebar (light-weight, flexible, comes in coils, thermo-plastic, so reshaping can be done) and geopolymer, using ferrocement techniques. First, build the floating wet/dry ‘dock’, build the stern section, with drive system, build the bow section/living quarters. Lower the stern through a central opening and start building and slip-casting downward, using seawater as ballast, until I reach the point of attaching the bow. My goal is a F.L.I.P.-like vessel, that can be a spar-buoy, and low-powered when vertical, then blow ballast and go horizontal, with power, for storm avoidance, if necessary.

It’s one of the reasons I feel the need for a landing-craft, so I can bring supplies out, then go back and get the car, as a floating camper, while building. An Ephemerisle gathering would be a nice distraction, while I do the rest, but, ultimately, I plot the pieces that are liable to show me the most advantage, for the entire concept. I need a trailer to haul supplies to the nearest place to launch, then convert to landing craft, load, deliver and return for the car, or just camp on the landing craft, if parking is free.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #12

@LarryP… practical approach to a small scale cellular floating honeycomb shell building site

This light weight cellular honeycomb shell piece made in fiber cement composit material in Cartagena shows the way. It has only 5 mm wallthickness is as light as the glassfiber resin boat in the background.
see more about building method groups

After building and float out something you can step on the next step would be to create some kind of room out of it…

picture it just as more cells comming up and enclose a room…

you would end up with something that looks like a floating dome home… based on a honeycomb skeleton with a thin outer skin over it - very light, very tough, very affordable to build, unsinkable…

for practical reasons you would keep it open on one side and tough and wave impact safe on the other side

over time it may grow into something like this…

we call it a “ramform home”

This is a “comfortable base on the ocean” for a single family that would allow to engage in a wide variety of water based business from tourism to fish farming…if ramform is “not your thing” you can build any other light floating shell based on the same building principle…

Special purpose seasteading | floating laboratory | logistics service | floating industry | oceanic business alliance

No, “we” don’t call it that. Or i am not part of this group. And i asked for your proof of how to attach those 5mm panels last week, and you have not shown “us” or me or anyone else how that’s done. So you may have used silicone or Ellmer’s Glue, but i call “non-structural” and “non-supporting” all over that.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #14

for those who do still not understand please read the info provided here…especially the part “understand the role of fiber components” (in a composite material)…understand the physics of tension strength in general, understand the role of overlap in rebar placement, understand the role of overlap in joints in general…your comment strongly suggest that you have a hard time to understand how you can join elements WITHOUT loosing tension strength…i will neither spoon feed you those basic principles (while boring the auditorium who wants to hear about “Single family ocean base - comfortable home and jobsite” ) nor allow you to dragg my thread off topic…just for the record i have been there i have done that - there is no problem that has not been solved as your “poison negative commenting” suggests…should be obvious for everybody by now…(going to just ignore you as long as you do not catch up and read the stuff you are obviously missing and resort to “competent, nice, socially and scientific adequate commenting”)…


So you are NOT using panels, you will 3D print the entire structure, with chopped fiber in the cement? Are you telling us that you had people build that structure one drop of cement at a time?

The spray stuff does not address the adhesion to the surface of the cement, or the integrity of the cement when the stress is on the spray material. The videos of dropping stuff off the roof doesn’t show if the material inside the sprayed on shell is still intact and capable of performing to spec after the impact. If you have a T joint, and the perpendicular section is in tension pulling away from the long side, you are not showing that the spray-on won’t simply peel off the surface of the cement, likely damaging it in the process (and i have said this more than once).

(Larry G) #16

I’ve been reading up on ferrocement sailboats. I haven’t seen any advertising basalt fiber/rebar construction yet. I’m wondering if construction could be simplified by using the monolithic dome company’s air forms. They apparently use a shotcrete method and it seems like ferrocement boat builders do a pour.

Monolithic Domes is getting an excellent compressive strength on their domes, so that makes me wonder about the compressive strength difference between the techniques in terms of the PSI ratings they each get.

The two things relate in my mind because of some study I did of ancient castles some years back, and a tour I took of Ireland’s castles a few years after that. In many cases, the roof and floors of these are gone, which wouldn’t lead one to have great confidence in their construction, until one is informed why. They deliberately removed the roofs due to taxation by the English on numbers of roofs on their property- it was a deliberate means of forcing them into poverty and to get them to ruin their fortifications.

Anyway, the roofs and the interior stories were often built by boatwrights, and the few that remain (or traces of them) show the same kind of construction used in boats, only turned upside down. Obviously, a boat is supporting against pressure from below, and a roof is supporting weight from above, but the shape doesn’t care about it’s orientation, only that the load is on the correct side.

An arch is an arch, of course, of course. It takes some skill to hold the arch in place until the keystone is placed, but then it tends to stay put.

So if monolithic domes is successful at roofs with their technique, could they not also be successful at (upside down) hulls with their airform/shotcrete technique? And since the great benefit to their technique is reduced labor and quality control needs, might not that benefit also extend to making hulls (perhaps with some thoughtful adaptation of the technique)? Perhaps even enough to make it affordable for the DIY builder on a small budget without a lot of experience? After all- they sell home kits to DIY builders with some instructions and people are successful at it.

Maybe even for spheres.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #17

@thebastidge monolithic and their “branded air forming methods” certainly are good for forming domes built in a land based assembly line with a high machine component - for all other uses i tend to prefer freeforming methods - especially for a single handed small scale family based building site…what is efficient and what not needs to be tested in parallel pilot projects comparing total project costs - it can not been decided in theory…i have seen cost figures and methods better than the ones proposed by monolithic…and certainly teste out a lot in my pilot projects…but at the end it is not a either or of building methods it is a “altogether” and get the best from all worlds…keep materials in place until they cure can be done in millons of different ways - i do not consider monolitics a “specificly elegant and easy handling” one…at my current stage of knowledge…

Picture by Matias Volco @Matias

it may be a valid asset for a dome cluster seastead to pop up those domes in a rate of one per week … who knowns ? before testing it out…


My understanding is the method of placing the cement matters much less than the quality of the cement, assuming the layers or spatters or globs of cement applied mix/interlock/adhere well, and that there’s enough area so bonded. The impact of shotcrete assures bonding. One of the issues with 3D printing is that lack of shotcrete force, that the drop or line being deposited may bond only a small area of the circumference of the bead/line/droplet, and the fibers in each drop do not enter the previously laid down material (losing the benefit of the fiber).

(Larry G) #19


Costs depend greatly upon local labor and facilities costs.

Well, to correct a minor point, while there are some equipment costs, they are not really building assembly line stuff. Each project is a custom project. They do use mechanical mixers and spraying equipment. Largely because cost of hand labor in the USA is much higher than the cost of equipment. Which goes to the next point:

[quote=“ellmer, post:17, topic:1046”]
for all other uses i tend to prefer freeforming methods - especially for a single handed small scale family based building site[/quote]

I would be most interested in whether that hand forming method is necessary for making the structure itself safe and long-lasting, or if this is primarily a cost-saving measure (for the reasons I state above about variable labor costs vs equipment). Because a 33 meter concrete dome or even a 50’ concrete boat is a pretty large DIY project for someone who doesn’t have a team of low cost workers at beck and call. Most DIY boat builders take months or years to build a boat, not days or weeks. And many of them have half-built (to be charitable) projects listed for sale with no way to ever recoup the sunk costs or time. I do not envision being able to take the next two years off from money-making activities to experiment with a concrete boat or platform.

Edit: I am primarily talking about the HULLS to be clear. Not about putting up domes for shelter on top of a structure. Using shotcrete spraying techniques to form a hull over an air form to reduce labor of building forms and placing rebar/fiber tensile elements.

The mixers and sprayers can be leased, or purchased and re-sold for a large percentage of value retained. I would have to have a really good reason to try to do it by hand rather than investing in equipment.

(Larry G) #20

That might be mitigated by adding vibration. The WWI and WWII ferrocement boat builders used vibration for ensuring consistent density and eliminating air pockets, also used in modern large monolithic pours.

In cob/adobe construction, the straw fibers are chopped pretty finely. Generally to about 2". They’re not used like rebar. The benefit of using finely chopped fibers is that they form a 3 dimensional matrix with much more interlocking fiber/cubic than rebar does in concrete. The individual “cobs” are pressed together to form that interlocking mixture you’re talking about to ensure bonding, but the only reason that is done is so that individually-sized cobs can be picked up and placed by hand by one person. There are some alternate techniques of continuously (more or less) pouring a looser slurry into a slip form, but it requires more equipment and most cob builders are off-grid (often hippies) on a budget that don’t want to use equipment. The major proponents of cob are also pretty much all hippies that advocate for being more “involved” in your home construction, so there’s a bias there too.

This matrix of smaller fibers would be an obvious major benefit of using a basalt fiber cloth as well. The woven material could be layered and forms a matrix rather than one simple line of tensile binding. Spray a layer, add basalt string or mesh, spray another layer before it’s all cured.

The way to get around the prejudice for requiring rebar in concrete is to label this technique “stabilized mineral aggregate”.