After seeing a few fine mini boat examples online, like the 8ft (2.4 m)-long Little Miss Sally by Paul Elkins, Bay Area maker Josh Tulberg of Rapid Whale decided to embark on a build of his own. But he wanted his Mini Boat to be shorter than the rest, so took to sketching, modeling in Solidworks and testing a 1:2.2 scale model in a hot tub before laser cutting and 3D-printing a petite electric single-seater and sploshing it in the water. Now the teeny electric boat is being made available as a build-it-yourself kit.
Tulberg's dinky little electric boat is 6 foot (1.8 m) long and weighs just over 100 lb (48 kg). It can be transported to the water in the back of a family car (with the back seats folded down) and the motor/battery installed at the river bank. It has a flat-bottomed hull for on-the-water stability and is constructed mainly from laser cut plywood, with some 3D-printed components and epoxy for waterproofing. Internal bulkheads keep it afloat even when the craft takes on water.
A rope-tie control system runs over a pulley at the rear and connects to the chunky plexiglass steering wheel to the front. To the right of the steering wheel is a dead-man's switch and 5 forward/3 reverse throttle control, and to the left a volt meter and a power switch. And there's a small amount of storage above the dash for stowing essentials. There's a handy safety light at the front for improved visibility, too.
A removable 12 V sealed lead acid battery provides the juice (though two can be strapped in if required), which is positioned behind the thickly-padded seat and cabled to the outboard trolling motor via a four-pronged connector. The Mini Boat can take a single occupant under 6'2" (188 cm) tall and weighing 200 lb (91 kg) or less, and is reported capable of motoring along at 3.5 knots (4 mph/6.4 km/h).
Rapid Whale is making a basic build kit available for US$950, which will include laser cut ply, 3D-printed components, steering wheel and shaft bearings, and various gaskets.
Home makers will need to add about $500 to $1,100 of off-the-shelf components before putting it all together and taking it to the local lake, canal or river though, including a Newport Vessels NV-Series electric motor, one or two deep cycle SLA batteries, double-braided polyester rope and a zinc-plated pulley for the steering mechanism, a foam and vinyl single seat, and chemical foam for the bulkheads. A full materials list and build instructions are available via the source link below.
It's an impressive, straightforward build and sure looks like fun, as you can see from the first launch video below.
Source: Rapid Whale
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