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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:23 pm 
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Hello, this is my first post here and just registered today. I searched for "shipping container" on the forum and read through some interesting posts, but so far haven't seen anybody else with personal experience building with ISBU's (Inter-modal Steel Building Units). So I felt compelled to join and share my experience so far and appreciate any feedback!

I first heard of using containers as prefab buildings about five years ago and thanks to websites like "Fabprefab.com" and others I saw some great examples (i.e. Adam Kalkin or LOT-EK). It became an obsession unlike any other I have been afflicted. Soon I began putting together interior and exterior designs using Google Sketchup and ordered just about every book on the subject of "off grid" and modular/prefab living. Then this past May, 2009 I pulled the trigger and took delivery of a 20 foot long 10+ year old corrugated steel shipping container (with shipping = $1,545)(I love eBay!) A month later my girlfriend bought herself a 20 footer and the relatively secluded corner of my Family's farm that I claimed for this project was well on its way to being transformed into The Arkhaus Initiative Compound.

Our goal is to build a semi-autonomous living solution for less than $20,000. Utilizing solar power (and perhaps eventually wind). Capturing rain water from the roof, and using a composting toilet. So far the one container (we refer to as ARK160B) is finished, and is designed to be an Art Studio/Workshop where we filter waste vegetable oil and where my girlfriend can paint and create her art. The WVO will be used for both heat in the one prototype and also to fuel our vehicle(s). The primary living unit will be equiped with a small kitchen, living space with a custom built bed that can be transformed into a couch. And a bathroom with a standard fiberglass shower as well as a top of the line "Natureshead" composting toilet. We're in the middle of plumbing right now and hope to be able to start staying overnight in "ARK160A" in six to eight weeks.

I have absolutely no background in architecture, engineering, construction, electrician work or plumbing. My Father has served as the projects "Technical Supervisor" and has helped to guide us as we essentially just make shit up as we go along! These prototypes serve as my primary tools towards building a "homestead" that will provide me with renewable, free electricity, water and to a certain degree, food. I am of the school of thought that you should try to live in your bug out location and make it part of your every day lifestyle so when/if the SHTF you can shelter in place. One of the primary reasons for our use of containers is their mobility. Sure a bunker set into a hillside is great, but you can't take it with you should you need to get the hell out of Dodge. But my Ark prototypes can be loaded up onto a trailer in less than an hour if need be and shipped world-wide utilizing a standardized international infrastructure that spans land, air and sea travel.

Some medium to long term plans include heavy duty shutters for all windows with fortress style "loopholes" from which one could safely observe or defend from within. A windmill for additional power production. More solar panels. Solar hot water heating. Compost hot water heating. Electronic perimeter security measures including infrared cctv. Fencing including dense thickets of bamboo (which I've already begun to plant). Plus much much more.

We have a website where updates on the project can be found and lots of hi-res pictures. I tried to post some here but apparently I am incompetent in that regard. I'll try again later. In the meantime if you want pic's go to http://www.thearkhaus.com ! Cheers!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:54 am 
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Welcome.

There is another thread that might interest you. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=53485

That is some nice work. Since I'm at work now I can't examine in detail, but I'm quite impressed. I will be looking at it this weekend though. Keep us posted with the ongoing results. I'm thinking about doing something like this, and I'd like to get some real world data.

BTW, when you get a chance, stop by the introductions forum and introduce yourself.

k

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:04 am 
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sweet.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:50 pm 
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lookin' good!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:55 pm 
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That's pretty cool looking. I'm a huge fan of durable housing built on the cheap.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:02 pm 
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Will your Arkhaus' interiors be capable of making the trip from horizontal to at least an angle of 45degrees? Just wondering, because when you move those 20'ers onto a trailer (or a HEMT) that's generally gonna be what happens. Well, anyways, good luck, and awesome work so far.

-fenris-

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:41 pm 
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that is pretty cool... :)

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:56 am 
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Very cool. I have had my eye on alternative housing sources for some time. I really like the attic addition and rainwater collection with it. It is something I plan on trying in the near future. I have a pre-built cabin(storage shed) on a co op piece of land now. I am shooting to buy my own piece of land and start projects similar to this.

I like the concepts of two+ containers with a roof stretched between them.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:35 pm 
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VERY cool! We are thinking about a cabin for guests and one of those would work pretty well. You have done a great job so far. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:49 pm 
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we use shipping containers that were converted into moveable offices - they have regular doors and windows.

We sometimes stack them 3 high and used scaffolding to make steps to get to each level - very convienant

http://www.modspace.com/


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:10 am 
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I lived in one for awhile somewhere sandy and far away,it wasn't horrible and much better than a tent. We also used a 20' for an office.

Surprisingly cheap housing alternative. I was thinking of buying a 20' and just putting on a trailer for storage. That way when I move I don't have to load it and unload it lol.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:27 pm 
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How's the winter heat retention and summer air circulation and cooling? How's the insulation?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:03 pm 
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That looks pretty sweet. I like the exterior paint jobs and the pirate flag, that's a must. Awesome, keep us updated.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:11 am 
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Fenris wrote:
Will your Arkhaus' interiors be capable of making the trip from horizontal to at least an angle of 45degrees? Just wondering, because when you move those 20'ers onto a trailer (or a HEMT) that's generally gonna be what happens. Well, anyways, good luck, and awesome work so far.

-fenris-


Thanks for the feedback! And sorry for my delay, haven't had access to the web in about a week! To answer your question: Yes, we designed and constructed the interior to be capable of even a 90 degree orientation and so maneuvering on and off trailers will be no problem!

razi wrote:
How's the winter heat retention and summer air circulation and cooling? How's the insulation?


It was amazing the difference from the first day we put the insulation inside the ARK160B prototype. It was during the hottest days of this past summer that we happened to be working on this issue of insulation and so we started on the south facing wall first and just having the one wall done made a difference. Without any insulation, the steel which just soaks up the sunlight, radiates into the interior hitting you from all directions with heat. Once we got the insulation in place it all but eliminated that overt radiating heat from the steel and was genuine relief from the outside heat as well. So far this Fall, although the temperature has not fallen too far yet, its been close to freezing outside and I've been sleeping in the studio box snug and warm, just sipping on propane for heat. Almost never raising the thermostat above "low" and often just running it on the pilot light otherwise it gets too hot inside and we have to crack a window. I'm confident this winter, even in the coldest of nights we'll have absolutely no trouble keeping warm between the propane heat and the diesel stove (which will run on straight diesel and waste vegetable oil).

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:28 am 
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Cool picture (the top one) here:

http://www.thearkhaus.com/search/label/Interior

Looks cozy.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:53 pm 
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great now you have me on another ring around the links. :wink: its all very sweet though.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:22 am 
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i just have to say i appreciate the creativity and ingenuity of it all. you rock.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:52 am 
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The ingenuity to think about shipping container in different way is amazing,
now i am thinking to have one as a house for my travel to the countryside.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:20 pm 
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Your comment about how hot the container was before you insulated it set me to thinking. What if you set the inside wall one inch farther in and run PEX tubing along the space between the south facing metal container wall and the insulated inside wall, just use the whole side of the box as a solar heat collector.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:42 pm 
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I am a little jealous

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:58 pm 
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Commo141 wrote:
Your comment about how hot the container was before you insulated it set me to thinking. What if you set the inside wall one inch farther in and run PEX tubing along the space between the south facing metal container wall and the insulated inside wall, just use the whole side of the box as a solar heat collector.


That just might be a damn good idea!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:03 pm 
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This is truly awesome. It is what I want to eventually do, then do an underground line of power just so i can play video games out there too lol. THen just unplug it if I need to move it. But I have a few questions.

Do you have the ability to move it alone? Or is there some kind of moving company that will move it for you.

Also, what region are you located in?

What is the Min/Max temp your area gets?

How would it handle ice?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:19 am 
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Commo141 wrote:
Your comment about how hot the container was before you insulated it set me to thinking. What if you set the inside wall one inch farther in and run PEX tubing along the space between the south facing metal container wall and the insulated inside wall, just use the whole side of the box as a solar heat collector.

That is definitely a great idea! Perhaps heat water that way too. Very interesting indeed.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:10 am 
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Slugg wrote:
This is truly awesome. It is what I want to eventually do, then do an underground line of power just so i can play video games out there too lol. THen just unplug it if I need to move it. But I have a few questions.

Do you have the ability to move it alone? Or is there some kind of moving company that will move it for you.

Also, what region are you located in?

What is the Min/Max temp your area gets?

How would it handle ice?

Thanks! I just wired up our next prototype for 5.1 surround sound and an LED projector. So I'm right there with you on playing some video games. Looking forward to some off the grid movie nights and Wii bowling tournaments!

The company that delivered our two containers is reasonably priced and is a great team of guys, and they've got a fancy hydraulic 40+ foot long trailer/winch system that allows them to pick up and slide off the containers with ease. And they'll deliver anywhere in the lower 48.

We're currently located in a southwestern extension of the Catskills, or the Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania.

But over the last few months I've been researching how best to begin solving this issue of "Transportation" with regards to the Arkhaus units being moved at a moments notice, relying on someone else to do it is too much of a liability in my book. So the question has been what kind of vehicle would we need to own that's cheap, dependable, easy to operate and relatively simple to maintain, with a winch of some sort that could load the containers onto a trailer, oh and run on a variety of fuels? Well, there was only one truck that seemed to meet all of these criteria:

A 1970 Kaiser-Jeep M35A2 2.5 Ton Cargo Truck (Winter Variant) that has had its frame "bobbed" and third axle removed making it a 4x4! Picked it up the 16th of December, has 3600 miles on the LDT-465 478 cubic inch turbo charged multi-fuel motor which was rebuilt in 1991. Now I just need to find a trailer!
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