Difference between revisions of "Floatation"

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= Floatation Research =
= Floatation Research =
This page describes various methods of floating stuff.
This page describes various methods of floating stuff. Useful for [[BYOL]].
Design constraints:
Design constraints:

Revision as of 19:32, 26 July 2017

Floatation Research

This page describes various methods of floating stuff. Useful for BYOL.

Design constraints:

  • Use materials that are as inexpensive as possible while still being reliable.
  • Favor reusable materials over one-time-use materials that will be discarded.
  • Build a platform that is continuous and relatively rigid over its entire size, as opposed to made up of free-floating segments.
  • The platform must be launchable from a boat, and therefore modules must be connected together primarily in the water. All fastening in the water must be doable from the top (e.g., no underwater bolt fastening). Also, as much construction work as possible should be done prior to loading the materials on the boat that will be used for launch (e.g., no caulking at final assembly time).

See more on Ratha's page.

Inner Tubes

60 inch inflatable innertubes are available at http://www.clearcreektubes.com/ (855) 631-4397

The 60 inch tubes can be found on this page: http://store.clearcreektubes.com/ in the Naked Tubes section.

These are the tubes used by Titan Island in 2013 and 2014 to float the Main Platform and the Bridged Deck structures around the floating hot tub. Clear Creek Tubes offers a substantial discount for bulk orders. Pricing may change from year to year so we recommend you call and speak to them directly.

When ordering be sure to include valve cores and patching kits (these kits are the same as a standard bicycle tube repair kit). "Valve cores" are the little valves that you press on (think bike tire) to let air out. They can be removed from the valve stem for quick deflation but are also easily lost. Keeping extras on hand is a good idea.

Pros: Highly buoyant, ease of storage and transportation, inexpensive, fast inflation (~3.5 minutes per tube), multipurpose

Cons: can be popped, require air compressor for inflation, must be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible, especially when fully inflated. (from personal experience we recommend 3/4 inflation rather than filling them to the full 60 inch diameter)

Military Inflatable Bridge Pontoons


Heavy Duty 27 gallon bins

Heavy duty bin after a year in SF bay

Photo is of a bin that's been floating the bay for a year. 2 years later it was still fine.

Light Weight Plastic Bins

  • Pros: Easily available, cheapest, stackable for transport, nearly industructable
  • Cons: Flimsy, can crack, may not provide enough flotation, may leak if not sealed with sealant or plastic bag.
  • Cost: 20lbs of lift per $

Home Depot Orange Bucket

Home Depot orange buckets
  • Pros: Easily available, cheap, stackable for transport, solidly built, can possibly tape buckets together into pontoons.
  • Cons: Low floatation per bucket; will need lots of buckets. Leak.
  • Cost: 12lbs of lift per $

5 gallon buckets (take 2, with gasketed lids)

  • Pros: Easily available, cheap, stackable for transport, solidly built, can possibly tape buckets together into pontoons, and they can be gotten for free. Gasketed lids ($1.25-$2.50) can used to provide a water tight seal.
  • Con: It takes lots of buckets to float a platform.
  • Cost: 30lbs of lift per $ with free bucket and lids bought in quantity. 10lbs of lift with retail home depot buckets and lids from ace hardware.

55 gallon barrels

  • Pros: Can be found for free, rock solid.
  • Cons: Big, heavy, hard to transport, will leak if not sealed, must carefully seal and test pre-event.
  • Cost: $0

IMPORTANT -- It can be very tricky to seal these correctly and we've had people from 2011 - 2015 have their platforms sink when water slowly seeped into the drums.

Modular Platform

Th Modular platform is someone's vision of replacing the 4x8 plywood and bin platforms with a modular, distributed, scalable alternative.


Someone's grand ambition here: Hexyfloat

EPS Foam

  • Pros: Can be ordered in custom sizes, no problem with leakage, reasonably priced, relatively easy to attach.
  • Cons: The BIG con is that it's very fragile and if anything bumps into it pieces or chunks of foam are left in the water. It MUST be sealed or protected somehow. $250 minimum order and i takes up a lot of space for transport and storage.
  • Cost: 10lbs of lift per $.

Ordering note - some sizes are much more expensive than others. "Our blocks are 36” x 48” x 192” so any increment that will come out even out of that such as 18” x 48” or 12” x 24” and so on. Length is in 4' sections. 'odd' sizes are more expensive due to cut waste."

Custom Stackable "Canoe" Pontoons

This is just a design idea.

  • Pros: Stackable and thus easy to store and transport. A custom design means we they can be hydrodynamic and work just as well for "boats" as for platforms.
  • Cons: There may be a lot of labor or expense for building custom "canoes".