2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Home-Built Pedal Boat Floats On Plastic Drums
The paddleboat is fitted with a comfortable wood and plastic seat set on a plywood floor, and is propelled by pedaling a large wooden paddlewheel.
"It's built strong, is fun to ride, and provides great exercise," says Smith. "My total cost was only about $250."
Smith got the 30-gal. plastic drums from a local feed and dairy supply store. The drums originally contained liquid soap used by dairymen to wash their milking machines. He washed out the drums, then waterproofed the plugs on each drum by caulking the threads. The drums were then placed end to end with the plugs bumping against each other.
He used 3/4-in. thick plywood for the platform, which is connected to the drums by a metal framework. He bent a pair of 2-in. wide, 1/8-in. thick metal bands to go around each drum, then bolted the bands together at the top. Angle iron bracing runs at a 90 degree angle from the drums up to the platform.
The seat was made by putting together a "build-it-yourself" lawn bench that he bought at a store. It includes a pair of plastic chair ends with slots for 2 by 4's to fit through, and is bolted to the plywood floor.
The water wheel revolves on a 5/16-in. dia. metal shaft with pillow block bearings at each end. The paddles are made from 1 by 4, 3/4-in. thick boards set inside an angle iron frame that's welded to the shaft and contained inside 4 old skil saw blades, which are also welded to the shaft. A bicycle sprocket mounted in the center of the shaft chain-drives a jackshaft, which in turn chain-drives 2 sprockets connected to a pair of bicycle pedals located ahead of the seat.
The pedal boat is steered by holding onto a knob that's attached to the front fork off a bicycle. The fork runs down through the platform and is bolted to a wooden board set on edge, which serves as the boat's rudder.
"At first the back end of the pedal boat sank too deep into the water, so I moved the seat forward which solved the problem. I also added a patio umbrella to shade the riders from the sun," notes Smith.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Loren Smith, 58861 County Rd. 84, Kellogg, Minn. 55945 (ph 507 421-9996).
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