Piles of Aluminium: Update week of April 30–May 4, 2018

Piles of Aluminium: Update week of April 30–May 4, 2018

The changes this week may not be as visually obvious from the progress on PGL (Project GoldiLocks) this first week of May 2018 but it was a very productive week none the less.  This was our 2nd four day work week in a row as May 1st is Labor Day in Turkey and the EU countries.  The most visible progress you’ll see in the pictures below is the separation of the thousands of individual pieces from the AL plates that we covered in last week’s update.  Less visible is that the deck plating has now been tack welded in place on the jig as this is readied to soon receive all the vertical transverse frames or ribs as you might think of them, along with the longitudinal running stringers which run underneath the deck plate.  I’ll let the photos below do most of the talking and there is also a set of video clips compiled into a summary of the week at the end.

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IMG_20180430_121441Let’s start by zooming in on two of the aft deck plates to show how edges of AL plate that will be butt welded need to be beveled like this.  It is a simple manual process done with a grinder and these 45 degree bevels form a nice deep V groove where the weld will go and enables full penetration of the weld for maximum strength.

If you look closely at the plates in this and the photo below you will see the reference line which has been etched 20mm in from the outer the sides of the deck plates.  These are used to help line up each plate and then be used to help trim these edges into the long sweeping curves of the deck before the hull plates go on.

On plate this thin (5mm) it is arguably unnecessary to put these grooves in so they are relatively minor here but on the thicker plate it is very important to ensure complete penetration of the welds on both sides.

IMG_20180503_160702_thumbAs the hull is initially built upside down, the surfaces you see here are the undersides of the deck plate so these will form the “ceiling” of the spaces below.  None of these surfaces will be visible once the boat is built because all surfaces will be heavily insulated with various thicknesses of EPDM rubber.  EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is a type of closed cell synthetic rubber with excellent insulation properties, zero water vapor absorption,  0.2% water absorption, highly UV resistant and odorless.  and is that black spongy feeling closed cell rubber foam you may have seen this material surrounding hot water pipes refrigeration systems..  We will use EPDM around hot and cold pipes as well but we will mostly use it for creating a hull that is like a Thermos bottle; completely insulated against hot and cold.

These underside welds will be left as is and the welds on top of the deck we walk on will be ground flush.

IMG_20180426_101831_thumbRemember those piles of AL that used to look like this?

IMG_20180426_101835_thumband this…..

IMG_20180503_181202_thumbNow they look like this……..

IMG_20180430_121503_thumband this…….

IMG_20180504_183050_thumband this

IMG_20180504_183043_thumb1and this,

It may look a bit chaotic but there is a method to this madness as the parts have been sorted into piles with a common purpose or location to make it easier to find as the assembly begins.

IMG_20180502_171936_thumb1Each part requires some amount of preparation for assembly and welding from smoothing off the tabs that held the parts into he plate for shipping or rounding over edges where pipes and wires will pass through or putting on those bevels we saw on the deck plates earlier in this post.

You can also see quite clearly in this picture that any areas which are going to be welded have been lightly ground to remove the layer of hard aluminium oxide that naturally forms on bare AL plate.  You can see the clear contrast of the darker and duller AL oxide and the brighter silvery areas that are fresh aluminium.  The oxide layer can interfere with getting good clean welds and hence the removal.  But over time all the surfaces will have their protective hard oxide coating and blend together into the beauty that bare aluminum has, at least to my eyes.

IMG_20180502_120744_thumbThis is the inevitable scrap AL left over when all the individual parts are removed from the 6m x 2m AL plates they were cut from.  Once all the parts are removed and all the scrap is left it will be sent back to the AL supplier to be melted down and rolled into all new panels for someone else’s boat.

One of the major features of building from aluminium I appreciate is that it is perhaps the most recyclable of all materials.  In the case of aluminum cans for example, every gram or ounce you put in the recycle bin gets recycled and ends up back on a store shelf in just 60 days.  . Recycling of aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from its virgin source. One ton of recycled aluminum saves 14,000 kilowatt hours (Kwh) of energy, 40 barrels of oil, 152 million BTU’s of energy, and 10 cubic yards of landfill space.

And so we also have a growing modern art sculpture forming outside, which has grown from this …………………

IMG_20180504_183354_thumb…………… to this so far.

it doesn’t get talked about too much but it is a growing problem figuring out what to do with FRP or fiberglass boats that are scrapped and even more so with the newer composites such as Carbon fiber and Kevlar.  I read that there are inroads being made to cut these up into small pieces and be able to recycle some of them but it is currently very labour intensive and expensive process.

No coincidence then that Baris and Dincer named this company and shipyard GreeNaval!  I come back to the many other ways we have focused on maximising the efficient use of energy overall in not only the building of Möbius and this new line of eXpedition Passage Maker or XPM boats, but also with optimised efficiency after being launched.
IMG_20180502_172143_thumbThe more significant change this week though is that the construction phase of the hull has truly begun now with the deck plates being tack welded to the jig in preparation for the individual deck panels to be fully welded together.

The layout is based on the centerline and here you see Enver, the Master Welder in the foreground with the laser sight line tool in the middle of the aft deck area from which reference marks are then put on the jig and deck plates to line them up with this center line or CL.

IMG_20180502_172128_thumbThis is Uğur in the foreground, our main man on the workshop floor, using the red line projected by the laser to precisely mark where the CL of the very aft end of the deck lies.


Up on the front deck it is the same procedure of working from the CL out to accurately line up where to plates butt together and to precisely position them on the jig.

Using the reference marks and the jig the deck plates are pressed down firmly against those concave curved edges of the jig underneath and then tack welded together so the deck plates accurately follow the curve of the jig edges which were precisely CNC cut from the data in the 3D model.

Here you see Uğur providing more than enough weight to push the 5mm deck plates against the jig while another one of the welders is underneath tack welding the deck plate where he is standing to the jig.

IMG_20180504_182956_thumb1Once all the deck plates are all tacked in just the right position the transverse seams where the individual plates butt together will be welded together which takes us full circle from the V grooves we saw at the beginning of this post.

With the deck plates tacked in place this shot looking across the aft deck to what will be the aft Starboard (right) corner, you can how the plates have again been lightly ground to remove that oxide layer wherever welds will go. 

The transverse (side to side) lines you see here are where there is either a seam where two plates will be welded together or where the edge of one of the vertical frames will be welded to the deck plate.  The longitudinal or lengthwise ground lines are where those  stringers we have talked about so much in previous posts will be welded to the deck plate.  You can appreciate how this grid of vertical AL components will make this a very rigid deck and boat.

IMG_20180504_183056_thumbAnd one last indication of the progress this week, these “Weapons of Mass CONstruction” have been brought into our bay ready for the action they will soon see in assembling and building the hull.  These are now sitting where that big stack of AL plates sat just a few days ago, so as you can see, another very productive week thanks to the great crew here at GreeNaval Yachts and all the members of Team Goldilocks.

Stay tuned for more folks, we’ve only just begun!

As always, here is a video compilation of clips I shot through the week to give you another perspective of the work.  A bit longer but some of you have been asking for more details so here you go.

Thanks for joining us on this adventure, hope you are enjoying it as much as we are.  Wouldn’t be the same without you.

Piles of Aluminium: Update week of April 30–May 4, 2018

Hull Frame Prep April 16-20, 2018

A quick update of the work this week of April 16-20.  Most of the time has been spent sorting and cleaning up all the parts from the small first shipment we received which are made from  8mm AL plate while we await the arrival of all the the majority of the parts of various thicknesses.

As will become my practice I think, there is a video summary of the week at the end of this post as well.

PGL sketch 67Most of the 8mm parts are for the skeletal framework which you can see quite clearly in this quick rendering we’ve shown you in previous posts. 

Hull structure details AnnotatedTo help keep terms straight you can clearly see the difference between the transverse FRAMES and the longitudinal STRINGERS and these are the parts that have been worked on this week.  Cleanup involves some light grinding to remove any roughness along the edges cut by the plasma CNC cutter to they are safer to handle and ready to weld. 

PGL sketch 12

In this phantom or X-ray view you can see how the shape and size of the frames changes very rapidly up in the bow area as it widens from a point with zero width at the stem bar plate which is the very front edge slicing through waves and water and then widens out which each successive frame as you move aft. 

It is a useful reference that each frame is spaced one meter apart so you can use this to get a sense of scale.  The frames are also numbered from bow to stern so that first one you see here furthest to the right of the illustration is about 1m back from the stem bar edge and each successive frame is 1m aft of that.  I will be referring to frames by their # so you will know were that is located in the boat.

AluminumWe started with this pile of parts I am getting to know here, still on the pallet they where shipped on.

Hull plate cutting 8Each part has its unique name/number etched into it during the CNC cutting so there is no confusion and there are also other alignment marks, labels and instructions where needed to assist in the assembly.

This made it a relatively fast process to sort though them all and stack them in groups.

IMG_20180418_175736IMG_20180418_175746This pile on the left will form the window frames which wrap around the entire pilot house or SuperSalon as we are calling it to provide 360 views even when we are inside. 

On the right here is a pile of the rectangular tank access cover plates.  For both safety and capacity almost all the volume inside the hull below the waterline is tankage.  Approximately 14,000 liters or 3700 US gallons of fuel and about 5300 L / 1400 USG of water.

IMG_20180418_150445By the end of the week the team had lightly cleaned up areas for welding as you can see in this stack of pieces that will form the bottom portion of several frames.  These are stacked upside down right now so the point at upper middle of each of these will sit along the very bottom centerline or keel of the boat.  That large slot you see at this point is where these frames will allow the 25mm thick keel bar to pass through and be welded. 

Extending out from this large center line slot you can see the smaller slots where the stringers will interlock in place with their corresponding slots.

This shot also shows quite clearly how the shape of the bottom of the hull varies along the boat’s length.  The foremost frame in this picture is frame #3 which stands in stark contrast to Frame #12 closest to the wall.


Keep in mind that the parts in the picture above are just the bottom side of the frame and they will soon have their side and top parts welded in place to become a true frame. 

Frame #2 pictures here is narrow enough that it can be cut whole within the width of the AL plates so it will serve as a good example of the basic form of completed frame.

Frames FwdThis is an old set of drawings so there have been some changes since but this set of frames 1 through 12 will give you a good sense of how each frame varies. 

As promised here is a video compilation I have quickly put together of 3 videos I took during this past week.  The audio is a bit rough in the middle as there was a lot of grinding going on but I hope this will give you a better feel for the work that has been happening this week. 

This is a long weekend here for National Sovereignty and Children’s Day here in Turkey so we have a shortened work week this coming week.  However we also expect the big batch of almost all the rest of the aluminium parts to arrive by truck from Istanbul which will make for another exciting week.

Hope these posts are helpful and PLEASE let us know with your comments what about these posts and videos works well for you and what does not.  And add any suggestions on how the blog could be improved to be of more value and enjoyment. 

Piles of Aluminium: Update week of April 30–May 4, 2018

Let the Building of the REAL Möbius Begin!

Things are a bit more subdued with the building of Möbius here at Naval Yachts this week as we await the arrival of the truck that is bringing the aluminium plates for the jig AND the first set of AL plate parts for the hull.  All the aluminium is coming from Istanbul which is about 800 km north of us and the current ETA is tomorrow or Thursday, April 11/12 so we are now all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first batch of AL parts.

In the meantime, we were VERY excited to receive some photos (thanks Burak) from the AL supplier/cutter in Istanbul of the first set of plates coming off the CNC plasma cutter and wanted to share some of our excitement with all of you who are equally patiently awaiting the start of actual building.


As per the title, the cutting of the first plate of aluminium means that the building of the “real” boat has now officially begun!  I say “real” boat because for more than two years now we have been very busy working with our fabulous designer Dennis Harjamaa at Artnautica Yacht Design in Auckland NZ and essentially “building” Möbius as a very complete 3D computer model.  While never completely fool proof this process of building a virtual boat allows us to work through most of the design and building challenges before any physical materials are cut or purchased which is a huge savings in time and cost.  And by having a very detailed 3D model of Möbius which includes everything from all the many systems, electronics, controls, lines, anchors, down to all the wires and pipes and even our clothes and cutlery, it has been possible to run computer simulations of the boat in the water to determine everything from hull efficiencies to roll and pitch characteristics in different weather conditions to the boats reaction to a full 360 degree roll in the water.  I will no doubt bore you with much, much more of these fascinating details in future posts as I go over the whole design process so stay tuned for that, or maybe keep your finger close to the Delete key!


Hull plate cutting 8If you click to enlarge this picture you will be looking at the first set of AL parts from the first sheet of 8mm plate.

To help understand what you are seeing in these photos you will notice that in addition to doing the actual precise cutting of the AL plate, the CNC plasma cutter is also able to just lightly etch the plate to “print”  text names and alignment marks.  Thanks to Dennis’ hard work, each part has a unique name etched/printed on it to ensure that we can pick up any one of the hundreds of pieces in this giant 3D jig saw puzzle and know exactly which part it is by name and how it is oriented within the hull.  If you look closely at the picture on the left (click to enlarge) you’ll see the first 2 parts are Bow Stringer #6 and Side Deck S9.  Look a bit closer at Bow Stringer 6 and you’ll see an S near the bottom of the photo and a P at the corner above it.  S for Starboard (right side of the boat when looking forward) and P for Port side so there is no question which side is up and how it fits into the hull.  Looking a bit closer you’ll see two small tabs that have been cut just above each of these letters and these fit into matching rectangular slots which will be cut into the AL frame #1 to lock them into just the right spot and then be welded together.

Hull plate cutting 4This part is one of the transverse (side to side) plates down on the bottom of the hull which forms the grid of plates which become all our massive integral tanks for fuel and water.  For added safety and long range pretty much everything below the water line WL is tankage and therefore even in the highly unlikely situation where something manages to pierce the thick AL bottom plating of the hull, it only penetrates one of the many integral tanks rather than breaching the interior of the boat.  I’ll go into much more detailed discussions of all this later but to put it in perspective we have a total fuel capacity of about 14,500 liters (3800 US gals) and total fresh water capacity of about 5300 L (1400 USG).  While you can’t see the ID lettering in this photo as it is up and off to the sides, you can see two other important features of the CNC cutting process.  At the bottom center you can see one of the many rectangular slots which matches up with a notch in the thick (25mm) vertical keel plate which runs the entire length of the boat and locks them together in just the right spot.  Beside this center slot you will see a series of rectangles have been etched into the plate indicating exactly where the longitudinal stringer ends are to butt up and be welded to this transverse frame plate.  In most places on the hull these stringers run the entire length of the hull and so these rectangles would be slots for the stringers to interlock with, but in places like this where the plate forms the end of a tank on one side and an air “void” on the other side, we don’t want the stringers to penetrate the tank and thus eliminate any chance of a leak where these stringers attach.

PGL sketch 68In most cases throughout the hull though, where two parts intersect they do so via precisely cut and matching slots, half depth in one part and half in the other such that they interlock and automatically align with each other.

PGL sketch 67I will be able to show this to you much more clearly next week or so with photos as the assembly of this giant Erector Meccano set of a 3D puzzle starts to go together.

Hull structure details Dec 14-2017For now these quick screen grabs from the 3D model version of Möbius will give you a good idea how this works.

Hull plate cutting 6Here is the Rudder Shelf Top plate, or part of it, and that large precisely cut hole is where the thick walled AL tube will be welded in place to hold the very robust 128mm rudder post shaft.  The smaller two holes in the upper left of the photo are two of the 4 holes for mounting the Stbd steering hydraulic cylinder.

I mention these seemingly minute details because the intent of doing such a thorough 3D modeling of the boat is to have the CNC cutter do as much of the cutting as possible and thus minimise the amount of hand fitting that needs to be done during the build.  As you can imagine and will see more and more as we progress through the build, the savings of time as well as the increased degree of accuracy throughout the boat is dramatic.

As you follow us through our process of designing and building Möbius you will see how this focus on efficiency permeates every step of our journey so far with Project Goldilocks.  The examples above of achieving efficiencies with time and costs through computer modeling and CNC cutting are what emboldens us to take on this immense project.  And as I will cover in future postings, efficiency dominates our whole approach to this project to make it as affordable, safe and comfortable as possible to build, operate and maintain our awemazing new floating home.


For today though, the first Aluminium plate has been cut and the building of the real 3D Möbius has officially begun!!