The Microship Project

by · February 28, 2010

This is a link to a website called The Microship Project, in which a crazed geek named Steven Roberts expounds on the construction of a very interesting, albeit very nerdy, trimaran:




The author is some kind of crazed engineer, or perhaps mad scientist, who takes what should be a straightforward idea, like a recumbent bike or small multihull, and transmogrifies it Frankenstein-like into a human-machine hybrid bristling with electronics and clever mechanical gadgetryMy composite treadmill desk.  If you are a geek like me, you will find the details fascinating, and perhaps even inspiring– Mr. Roberts’ treatise on cardboard-fiberglass composite construction led me to devise a simple treadmill desk, at which I am currently writing this very blog post (currently passing 4.3 miles).

Now, I know I posted previously about the evils of complexity.  When & if I build a boat, it will have no systems more complex than can be repaired with duct tape and bailing wire. And possibly sugarless gum.  But there is something deep inside of me  that really gets off on triumphant engineering– And this guy has done it in spades. The link I posted at the top discusses the engineering of the boat in great detail, and explains how & why everything was done.  Even if you never try to build anything as wild as this trimaran, I feel that the thought process laid out on the site is worth viewing.  The construction techniques are applicable to any boat construction project.  And the boat itself is actually pretty cool.

For a while now, I have wanted to build a boat– It’s like this continuous background noise in my little brain.  I am not quite ready to take the plunge and try and convince The Admiral to disburse funds, but the itch needs to be scratched.  One thing I’m seriously tempted to try is to build a small experimental boat using the aforementioned cardboard composite construction.  I love the idea of recycling a waste material, and the resulting structure can be made amazingly strong. Of course, I know that I’d be flying along at 12 knots out in the middle of the lake one day, hit a floating log or something, and be forced to try and make the shore before my paper boat dissolved around me. But The whole concept–  A carboard boat!  Is just too cool to resist.

I have all kinds of goofy ideas regarding my dream boat, including a mini sampan, a HarryProa, and something like Tony Bigras’ Miss Cindy. I think I could build something fairly cheaply out of cardboard as a proof of concept. Then I could take it  to a local body of water and play with it, close to the shore, until I am satisfied that the concept is workable.  Then I could remake the boat out of real boatbuilding materials (Home Depot plywood). I’ll let you know if anything actually comes out of this lunacy.  In the meantime, go check out the Microship project.  It’s some very cool stuff.







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