working on the human scale prototype

Martin is tweaking the first craft to improve its efficiency.  The tweaks involve a redesigned front (pectoral) wing and increased displacement in the main thrust spar (the long central tube in the water).  Increasing displacement in the main spar decreases the amount of outrigger in the water, increasing efficiency.  But increase the displacement too much, and the spar won't submerge and the boat is tippy.  The commercial version will be inflatable, making a custom fit for each rider.  

At 8 PM on November 16, 2011, Martin successfully tested displacement in the revised spar.  It was dark, 38o, and winds of about 15 mph.  Martin's 11 year old son, Dylan, was there to help get the boat off the truck, Lucy, and into the Puget Sound.  The rain letup as Martin and Dylan headed down to the dock and got Flipper-2 in the water.   It was exciting that it worked and fun to be on the boat.  A wetsuit kept Martin warm.  It was easy to get up, notwithstanding the inclement conditions.  Someone walked by on the municipal dock, heading to their boat.  They stopped to remark at Flipper and find out what was going on.  Everyone who sees it is excited and interested!  An onlooker said it looks like a design by Leonardo da Vinci -- what a compliment!

Next, the new front wing!

The sea trial of the new front wing will occur in late December, 2011.

This picture shows the prototype before the fluke ("flipper") was attached to the end of the tail.

It didn't "go" without a fluke, but was useful for testing balance and whether it generally behaved as hoped.  It did!

The basic components are as follows:

A 15' carbon-fiber mast from Innovative Composite Engineering (thank you to Steve Maier).  A 20-some-odd foot length of aluminum tube from Onlinemetals (based in Seattle), bent by Seattle Boiler Works. Seattle Boiler bent the tube 170 degrees at approximately 5' from one of the ends, with the bend radius being about 18" (forming a half-circle, with a diameter of about 3'), leaving about 8' of Al tube on the "long side" of the bend.

Martin attached the short end of the Al tube to the wide end of the mast (with fiberglass).  He then attached a 5-some-odd foot carbon fiber tube (also from Innovative Composite Engineering) to the middle of the bend in the Al tube.  Martin reinforced the Al tube with fiberglass sock from Fiberlay and built-up the mast-tube with foam from Fiberlay. He shaped the foam to something of a "wing" shape and attached a platform (thank you to Cory Roeseler) to the "long side" of the Al tube.  Martin made outriggers out of insulating foam.  Parts for the steering were obtained from BI Cycles.

Following is a short video of Martin on the prototype (without the fluke, so he is not going anywhere)

human scale prototype

Information regarding the prototypes which preceded this human-scale version can be found here and here