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aluminum tiny house

 
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Hi everyone - We fabricate all aluminum lifeguard shelters and are considering offering modular on site aluminum tiny houses. These can be single or 2 story, designed for future additions, relatively easy bolt together assembly. Basically just a shell that owner would do interior. Just testing the market - looking for comments
 
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That sounds interesting.  Would the aluminum be from recycled content?  That may be a selling point.  From the tiny amount I've read on making shipping containers into houses, some issues you'll want to sort out are ventilation, condensation and insulation.
 
Dana Bausch
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Marine grade Alumnium extrusion that can be powder coated or painted. Ventilation not a problem. Can be built on slab or on aluminum platform. Platform could be elevated. Lots of possible options.
 
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Aluminum conducts both heat, and cold extraordinarily well.
Are you thinking an aluminum skinned SIP panel or just an aluminum skin?
If the latter, it doesn't seem cost effective, beyond being electrically conductive, (That is everything touching it will get a jolt if it gets a jolt!)
It mars easily, and has to be of notable thickness to provide rigidity.
I dunno current costs to manufacture, but when I buy small stock for machining, aluminum is far from economical,
I would assume that costs for breaking and welding aluminum would be equivalent to boat building, for an equivalent amount of enclosed area,
if so there is a fairly small portion of the populace buying new boats........
 
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We use an extrusion that ha a 1” air space that is an insulator itself but we can fill that space with insulation. Lifeguards tell us our shelters are cooler than wood or fiberglass. Lots of details to work out - just evaluating - thanks for comment
 
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I had the opportunity to walk through Buckminster Fuller's pre-fabricated aluminum house in Michigan. It was really neat, have you seen it? If not, you might get some design ideas and pitfalls to avoid if you read up on it. Unfortunately, they never made it to market. Maybe now is a better time.
 
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Check out this website as this may be a good audience for your product.
https://www.mychemicalfreehouse.net/
 
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dana, pictures, they are worth 1000 words
 
pollinator
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Dana Bausch wrote:We use an extrusion that ha a 1” air space that is an insulator itself but we can fill that space with insulation. Lifeguards tell us our shelters are cooler than wood or fiberglass. Lots of details to work out - just evaluating - thanks for comment



Dana, in conventional, wooden, "stick frame" construction, the framing/studs (2x4, 2x6, etc...) are a source of heat loss due to thermal bridging. Modern, "advanced framing" techniques strive to reduce this by eliminating redundant elements, and by other means such as furring strips for interior finish (Mooney wall), double offset stud walls (one side holds sheathing/exterior, the other the interior, and they don't touch), and exterior insulation.
Your hollow extrusion faces are connected by sides and/or inside webs, and aluminum is a conductor (wood is at least a poor insulator).

I'm going guess that where your structures are located (oceanside lifeguard shelters) that the environment has a lot to do with the perceived comfort of them. People go to the beach to escape the heat for the cooler "sea-breeze", which might also be carrying away heat from the shelters due to their conductive nature. They are also a shady spot in an otherwise wide-open sunny area, so that too "feels" a bit cooler.
I'm not sure I'd want to try one of these in a wintry location, unless it were blizzard conditions just to escape the wind.

Aluminum is strong and durable in the elements. As a lightweight pre-fabricated structure, it seems like a decent idea since it would be a good combination of structure and envelope, but insulation and finish would have to happen all-over the inside, I think it would be a loud and inhospitable box otherwise.
 
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Jordan Holland wrote:I had the opportunity to walk through Buckminster Fuller's pre-fabricated aluminum house in Michigan. It was really neat, have you seen it? If not, you might get some design ideas and pitfalls to avoid if you read up on it. Unfortunately, they never made it to market. Maybe now is a better time.



Came here to post that!

Good article on the precursors and inspiration to the Dymaxion house preserved in Detroit.

 
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A friend builds classic, trailer mounted tiny houses.  Stick built, wood or metal exteriors.  They take a long time to build and are very heavy.

I'd think the first challenge is to have an aluminum exterior that doesn't look like a travel trailer - there are so many of those available and they have an awful reputation.  I'd say there's no point in something that works better than a trailer if its looks like a trailer.  I think what you already build looks more like a moon lander, so that's good.  Not sure I want a moon lander though.

If its pre-insulated, you're making a SIP.  It needs some sort of way to wire electrical connections before interior cladding.  And ... I'm not sure how to add electrical to a 1" deep wall ... some low-voltage stuff might fit, but none of the 110v/220v boxes or receptacles would work.  I hate surface mounted electrical.

1" of insulation can really help reject summer solar gain, but is barely useful in winter with a (at best) R rating of 6, while a 3.5" standard cavity will have an R of about 15.  That's a big difference for heating.  Maybe allow for 2.5" strips to be married to the aluminum structure?  That would address insulation and electrical needs.

Other things to consider ... site built is necessary.  No cranes please, just ladders.  I really like the idea of a tube base ... could be really neat in areas with snow.  A modified base to be "low impact" and keep the structure elevated could be a selling point for placing (and moving) them in delicate ecologies - such as on top of my ferns.

 
pollinator
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I think the concept is interesting and worth investigation.
Remember in the past it was assumed the sun rotated around earth  until someone challenged that idea.
Plenty of caravans and builders offices are made from aluminium.
I am looking forward to seeing your ideas.
Perhaps I can add some.
- Walls in modules, full height , 1/2 height.
- not too many options to start with
- can you line up a window supplier who can have windows that just bolt in?
 
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Hi Dana,

Any update on this project? I find it a really interesting concept.

Some questions:
* Would it be easier to assemble than wooden kit homes?
* Would it be easier to do interior fittings than wooden frame?
* Would it be cheaper than wooden frame? What would be estimated price range for single storey/ double storey?

Not all of these need to be true, but most of them would make it an awesome offer.
 
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