Instructables

Fun & easy sailboat [Protei 009.1]

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We are two students from the Technical University of Eindhoven and we are currently working on Protei, an open-source initiative to develop sailing drones to clean the oceans. 

We designed and built a sailboat that could be easily adapted to different designs, we also took into account to built it using accessible materials and tools. 

We hope that we can contribute to the Protei project by designing a platform that enables people to explore different sailboat designs and sailing principles.

We think that one of the major advantages of open-source is the ability of having a large audience during the development of the project. This is the reason why  we are making an Instructable, we are hoping that you will help us in developing an autonomous oil-collecting sailing drone by contributing in one way or another. 

Check out the Protei group here: http://www.instructables.com/group/protei/

We made a short video of the sailboat in action:


And the Protei video:


We hope that you will have as much joy reading this Instructable as we had building our Protei boats.
 
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Step 1: Constructing the hull

Picture of Constructing the hull
Tools
Heat-gun
Hand-saw
Sand-paper

Materials
PVC tube (540 mm in length, 70 mm diameter)
PVC glue

Instructions
We use PVC piping since it is a very common material at most of the hardware shops in the world. The kind of PVC pipe that we are using is the kind that is used to collect rainwater. Another reason to use PVC has to do with the big collection of different couplings available. Using PVC glue it is very easy to experiment with different shapes and sizes.

To transform the PVC tube into a sleek and hydrodynamic sailboat hull we deform the tube by using a heating-gun (used to burn of paint and to isolate electric connections).

Apply the heat evenly on the tube and use some scrap wood to squeeze the soft PVC into such a shape so that the hull cuts through the water. Make sure that the hull is more or less symetrical to make sure that the ship goes in a straight line.

Watch out, the PVC it hot! Don't burn you're hands!

When the sides of tube are more or less touching use a hand-saw to make a diagonal cut (see pictures) to get a nice shape.
Use hot glue or even better; PVC-cement to fill any holes that the bow might have. Fill the other side of the tube with water to check for any leaks. We used hot-glue and got a small leak ;(. To finish the bow, sand any imperfections.

Use a PVC end cap for the stern (back of the boat), don't glue it yet!

Alternative: If you do not have a heat-gun just get a 45 degree coupling and an extra end-cap to make the bow of your sailing boat!
electro771 year ago
excellent sail boat with easy to obtain hardware.................................
zimm581 year ago
How about while heating the PVC you put the front in a vise, between to boards and squezze the ends together while heating? Gives you a more even front.
hrodriguez72 years ago
how much will this thing cost to build alltogether
This is a really interesting concept. I love the snake-like hull design. Too bad it would be difficult to scale that to a racing dinghy.

I like the idea sailing on beam reaches going upwind. It would take a long time, but you would have maximum power throughout.
wgreunke2 years ago
Another form of sail is the Flettner Rotor that could be powered by solar power or a battery bank. It has more moving parts but motors are easier to repair by oil crews than large sails. Also you can change the speed of rotation to match the wind speed.
frits297 (author)  wgreunke2 years ago
Hi, wgreukne, do you think there is an advantage of using a Flettner Rotor over just a motor that propels the ship?
A more accurate comparison would be between a sail and a rotor rather than a rotor and a motor.

Comparing the rotor to the sail, you need to calculate the power need to drive the motor and determine how you are going to create that power (solar or batteries). The advantage of the rotor is that it is less sensitive to changes in the apparent wind direction. All that happens is your heeling force and driving forces change. Also the rotor is easy to stop when the wind picks up unexpectedly. All that you are left with is the drag of a large cylinder rather than an out of control sail. Of course you may need to find a way to stow it for really heavy winds or for unattended mooring.

A motor and propeller will always be easier because all you need to control it is speed, direction and a rudder but you need much more power.

The rotor may not be the best choice but is worth a look if you are trying to use wind power to move a boat without a human crew.
frits297 (author)  wgreunke2 years ago
thanks for your insights, the rotor seems compelling to me due to it's robustness in comparison with using sails.

However, when comparing a motor attached to a screw propeller with the same motor attached to a rotor to propel a vessel we get more efficiency and are not dependent on the wind.

Maybe the rotor can be driven by wind? Or is then becoming a kind of sail?
Well done!
You might be interested in this compact control box to manipulate the sails and the shape of the hull I just made :
http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldworldworld/6918300063/sizes/l/in/photostream/
original 3d files are here :
http://protei.org/download/20120221motorblock/
keep going !!!
ppsailor2 years ago
Excellent instructable. I think it's necessary to include a RC. and use of space within the tube. - Some time ago I built a sailboat with recycled materials (Toy from trash) Annex photo

MODELISMO NAVAL DE RECICLADO:http://mx.groups.yahoo.com/group/ppnautica
File0034.jpgImagen 013.JPG
frits297 (author)  ppsailor2 years ago
Thanks for sharing ppsailor, how would you include an RC system in this sailboat? The reason why I am asking this is because I already purchased a 2-channel RC set. I'm planning to install this set and make a future Instructable with it but I am puzzled to which approach I need to take. Any ideas?
hygicell2 years ago
nice project, guys

PVC would not be my preferred ecological choice material
many less polluting materials are nowadays available, including all appendages
I wonder why people keep choosing for PVC, I suppose only because it is convenient

now go for designing a catamaran, even better a trimaran, which are much lighter, much more stable, develop more power, especially at angles less close to the wind, etc... up to you to find extra advantages

by the way: some 40 odd years ago I started studying shipbuilding at Delft University, staying at "the Bolk". Though I didn't finish, I am still proud of that
Frank
frits297 (author)  hygicell2 years ago
Hi Hygicell, we are very aware that PVC is a nasty material and I know for a fact that it's even used in some children's toys. (if somebody is interested about PVC: read 'the story of stuff' from Annie Leonard)

It's an interesting dilemma; should we use 'dirty' materials to clean the oceans but making the construction of Protei simpler to reach a wide audience?

Or should we use the 'clean' materials to construct the Protei but making the construction less accessible for the public?

Let me hear what you think!
PaleoDan2 years ago
I really like this Instructable. Well done. I need to try this for a low cost pool skimmer - need to figure out how to pick up all the bugs that float on the surface when the pump is off.
frits297 (author)  PaleoDan2 years ago
Hi PaleoDan, that's a real cool idea if you realize that the ocean is just another big pool with plastic bits floating in it!

Maybe you could build some kind of mesh mouth on the sailboat that eats all the flies?
what language are you speaking in the video? (I ask only because I really thought at first that it was Portugues, but I see that you are in The Netherlands, so I believe I can be mistaken.)
frits297 (author)  getoffamycloud2 years ago
Hi, we were speaking Dutch, we're indeed from the Netherlands! We're you from?
Brokedaddy2 years ago
I know you guys did this design for a another application, but as a father this is a great and cheap way to make a sail boat for my kids, and with everything I have lying around in my shop, welldone very nice and thank you for sharing
frits297 (author)  Brokedaddy2 years ago
Hi Brokedaddy, thanks for your comment, we tried to form a bridge between the fun of 'fathers and kids' and the seriousness of designing a sailing and oil collecting drone. I would be nice to see another PVC Protei being build from the other side of the world!
dewertsnc2 years ago
Dream Dragon, why don't you design it and make an instructable rather than ask why they "settled"? Rather pompous, wouldn't you say?
pkertt2 years ago
I can't find the pattern for the sails...did you add it??
frits297 (author)  pkertt2 years ago
Hi, I just added the template in .pdf file, can you find it?
Gr8 project!!!!!!! I'm going to try it.
what nice instrutions mates...you guys are very smart..i will try to do one of these design when i have a chance.
cheers mates....
Great, simple instructions, and a great little project. I am going to have to try and make one of these. Nice work.
Thanks,

I am very interested in your version, please share some photo's when your done. And have a lot of fun.

cheers,
Aryan
skiedra2 years ago
That is one fine instructable. Once the winter is gone I'll be making those ;) Thanks for the idea and photos
rimar20002 years ago
This is very interesting and well done.

I give you an idea, without charging you anything: if you add subtitles (specially second video), you will gain a lot of people like me, that can understand English when reading it, but not when hearing it. I can assure you that we are millions! Around all the world.
This is just fantastic! It's a great cause and a very interesting project - love seeing things like this be developed in such a community-oriented way. :)
Very interesting project, and I've been looking at the "Protei" project for some time. It's a noble cause.

I'm wondering why you seem to have settled on a fairly conventional lay out, with a sail above and a keel below. It seems to me that a sail type device under the water would make better use of the flow of water around the vessel more efficiently.