Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Revised Mark V design, w/cost list

I figure if I'm going all out, I should add another room up top. This way it has horizontal and vertical tunnels. I *believe* (not sure) that the number of ballast pods shown will be sufficient to restrain the added volume of air, I'll have to run the numbers again to be sure. If not I can always add another ballast pod. Here's the cost list, allowing for a 3 or 4 enclosure final build, and either 4 or 5 ballast pods depending how many are ultimately needed. It's possible to get slightly lower prices for some items but not from trustworthy sites. Total dry weight for the 4 module version is around 53lbs.

(All prices include shipping)

Otterbox 9000 x 4-5 = $61-$74

Lexan Drybox X-Large x 1 = $49

Otterbox 3500 x 2-3 = $41-$57

Acrylic tubes x 1 (cut in 3 inch lengths) = $17

5lb Lead block weights x 8-10 = $224-$280

Nuts and bolts: $3

Custom metal plate: $???

So, metal plate aside the final pricerange is $395-$480. That is to say $395 for the original Mark V design with only two additional rooms, or $480 for the revised version seen above with 3 additional rooms. Any parts not accounted for in the price list are items I already have on hand. The big question mark here is how much a custom milled steel plate with a waterproof coating is going to cost.

Bonus madness you never asked for:

To put things in perspective, the conceptual monstrosity below (aka Hampture Ultimate) would cost around $2,000 assuming the component prices listed above. I sometimes do "what if" designs like these which assume no limits to funding and access to a private pond or swimming pool. At a dry weight of 350lbs I'd need either 3 strong friends (each capable of lifting 87lbs for moderate durations) with scuba gear to help deploy it, or a small crane. Like it says, this would be a permanent city, not intended to be surfaced.

And so long as we're going nuts, let's give 110%. Hamlantis is a permanent underwater world for hamsterkind inside of an 8 foot diameter transparent acrylic dome mounted to a round metal 'dish' with a hole in the center where a human diver can surface to manually transport food, water and additional hamsternauts to this awe insiring waste of money. I cannot even begin to calculate how much this would cost although I do know that a 5.75 foot diameter dome runs $617. I couldn't find the place I inquired with before that sold 8 foot diameter domes but sufficed to say the prices were banaynay. Worse yet, the total amount of lead ballast weights needed to keep this retard's fantasy from floating is 1.1 tons. This would require a boat trailer, removable floats and several friends with scuba gear to deploy in a lake.

This would be large enough to comfortably accommodate one cat, and (uncomfortably) one human being provided he lay on his side. With a dually redundant set of electric automotive air compressors, this shining monument to obscene first world decadence could be deployed a full 25 feet deep, with the "moon pool" (open floor hatch) at 21 feet, the limit before which saturation doesn't occur, and decompression will never become necessary regardless of how long you stay there. And staying there would be a foregone conclusion, due in part to the immense difficulty of ever removing it from the lakebed, and also because there would never be any need to. While not strictly self sufficient ( I experimented with plants and ran into mold problems) it could be supplied with dry food and water sufficient to last a year. With so much space and their instinct to shit in just one specific spot, waste buildup wouldn't become a concern for months. And cleaning up that spot, or delivering more food/water, or adding/removing hamsters (I estimate this thing could sustain at least 100) would be as simple as swimming down there with scuba goggles and a micro scuba bottle (aka Spare Air 3.0cf) and a watertight case holding whatever I'm transferring to/from the dome. And yes, that's a heat lamp suspended at the end of that boom. It's their miniature artificial sun.

This could be done. It is absolutely possible. SHOULD it be done? Under no plausible circumstance. But if anyone out there is rich and has a burning need to witness Hamlantis or Hampture Ultimate brought to appalling, ill-advised fruition, I'll do it. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hampture Mark V: If you fund it, I will build it.

Well, I know I said I was done with this project. But no matter how I reassure viewers that the existing habitat is not constraining (on account of the exercise wheel) the most popular demand seems to be "add more rooms connected by tunnels!"

The difficulty of doing this with the existing habitats is that they are separate and individually weighted. So if I connected them with rigid tubes, then tried to pick all of them up, they would shift relative to one another and crack the glue/plastic where the tubes pass through the habitat walls.

My solution to this is a partial return to the Mark 3 approach: One gigantic, single structure. To prevent stress on the tubes, all three enclosures are mounted rigidly to a metal platform that I'd need custom cut/milled for this purpose, with holes in the correct places for the screws, and some type of coating to prevent corrosion. The four ballast pods are attached to the bottom, as shown, for a total of eight 5 pound lead block weights, totaling 40 pounds. You can begin to see why I resist the pressure to build bigger and bigger habitats. This is about the absolute practical limit for a habitat intended for use in a fish tank. The Mark 3 was even heavier.

Anyway, this would be amazing to build and to witness in operation, but it's purely optional. The Mark IV (Hambase Alpha) is entirely sufficient in size for three hamsters, with submersions of one week at a time. This larger habitat would be tremendous overkill, and sufficient for deployments of many months at a time due to the dedicated rooms for food storage, and "waste", which would solve the only design concerns that limit the current model. You could leave the Mark V underwater pretty much as long as the food and water held out with no hygenic concerns and certainly none for the space available as it would at this point be far beyond what the animals actually need.

I will only build this if you want it, and I can only afford the parts if you fund it. This project would cost between $300 and $500 dollars in total. So far donations have been $5 here and there, with a very few generous $10 or $20 donations, and a single surprising $100 donation (many thanks, you know who you are). While deeply appreciated, this rate of donation won't support the construction of the Mark V. I have no way to rally all of you towards this funding goal as Kickstarter refuses to approve this project, so it all more or less hinges on whether any one specific reader decides to foot the entire bill, or most of it. If one of you does this, I can guarantee that the Mark V will get built, as proven by the long line of earlier habitats completed so far. It's all down to how badly you guys want to see a colony of this scale.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bioshock Guin-finite

One of you recently brought my attention to this amusing comic tribute to Hampture by the guys over at Nerd Rage comics. I like how it was a hilarious crazy punchline for them, yet at the same time something I'm actually planning to build, probably unbeknownst to them.