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Old 19-10-2013, 22:10   #1
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Open Source Anchor Project

Opinions are like anchors, everybody's got one. Sometimes two, or even more.

In my opinion there is a place in this world for an Open Source Anchor Project and I invite those whose are interested in contributing to join me.

I imagine this project to would fall somewhere along the following lines, as expressed in five parts-

Part 1 : The Intent

The intent of the OSAP is to create and distribute the design specifications for a generic new-generation anchor suitable for fabrication from readily available materials and using fabrication methods commonly accessible through-out the world.

The intention is to produce a design whose performance can be considered acceptable given the design criteria. The Intent is not to provide all things to all people.

The intent is to distill the essential aspects of prior art while specifically avoiding the unique and distinguishing characteristics of extant Copyright and Patent protected works, so as to produce an open and unlicensed design with functional utility.

The intent is to express the fact that a freely available OSA design will disincentivize piracy of intellectual property and as such is intended to be counter-injurious to established anchor manufacturers.

The intent is that presently established anchor manufacturers would be free to produce their own version of the OSA for sale in the worlds' marketplace and that the free availability of the OSA design would encourage expansion of the existing manufacturing base to the direct benefit of the end user.

The intent is to provide for the transfer of technology to enhance the safety and self-sufficiency of mariners regardless of class or border be they fisherman, waterman, recreational boater, or world cruising sailor.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source
Prior art - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Copyright - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Patent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 19-10-2013, 22:12   #2
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

Part 2 : Why Should I Care About The OSA?

Well I can think of a lot of practical, as well as philosophical reasons, why you should care and they are all selfish.

If you find yourself in a far away port with no where to hide from a hurricane or cyclone bearing down on you, and there is a guy on the beach with a stick welder, and you can find some steel plate, and you have a set of OSA prints in your ships papers, then you would at least have the option of making a decent anchor which is larger than your largest and which would otherwise be unavailable to you.

A more everyday example might be the fact that the guy dragging down on you right now, with the undersized plough that came with the boat when he bought it, might not be dragging down on you if an inexpensive but reliable OSAP anchor were available to him.

Beyond the practical, I think there are philosophical reasons as well. A freely available anchor design which more efficiently uses materials and resources to create a better quality anchor will have a direct economic impact on the individual who needs it most as well as on the planet as a whole.

To me, the notion that I, as an American, should discard some steel, have it shipped to Asia to be recycled into an anchor shaped piece of steel, shipped back to the US where I bend it, so that it can be shipped back to the "manufacturer" in Australia or New Zealand, where it is either repaired or shipped back to Asia, to be recycled again, and then shipped back to me in the US, using a transportation system entirely dependent on the use of oil, a non-renewable resource, and a production infrastructure likely fueled by coal in a country that doesn't give a crap about air pollution, is completely insane. We're talking a lump of steel here people.

If I had the option of going to meet a real live person, who lives in my town wherever that may be, and hiring him to personally manufacture an essential piece of safety equipment from materials he has on hand, and who I could in turn trust with confidence to repair, then I could not do otherwise in good conscious. Certified welders are more common than you think and proof-testing an anchor is not rocket surgery.

I sometimes read on this forum people asking what they can actually do in some small way to make the world and the environment a better place? Well here's your chance. You as a cruising sailor can embrace the concept of production by the masses as opposed to mass production as described in EF Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 19-10-2013, 22:13   #3
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

Part 3 : Design of the OSA

As a lifelong student of both design and design-development, as a designer by trade, and as someone who has examined the designs of most all the anchors patented in the last eighty years, I can tell you with confidence that all of the fundamental design elements of all of the so called "new-generation" anchors was described in patents awarded to Peter Bruce more than forty years ago.

Barring changes in the laws of physics, or a revolution in materials and manufacturing, the fundamental design of contemporary anchors will, in the future, only change in incremental amounts at best.

You all know what the OSA looks like. It does not look like everybody's idea of the perfect or best anchor, but it might to some.

Given the relatively small fluke-area-to-weight ratio, inherent complexity, and expense required to produce, it does not look like the typical asymmetrical, hollow-shanked, ballasted point, and compound-curved single fluke of the Spade-style anchor.

Instead it probably looks like an asymmetrical, elbow plate-shanked, roll-bar-dependent, single concave fluke typical of the improved BŁgel-type anchor.

It doesn't look like a game changer. It looks simple, basic, and without a lot of bling. It looks like something you've seen before, but probably less complicated.

As important as the shape is, the materials will ultimately determine the successful utility of the design. In order to keep the design accessible I believe the material should be specified as mild steel.

For those of you who immediately lost interest, keep in mind a low baseline will allow you to build your own version of the design in either stainless steel or tool steel as you see fit and enjoy the benefits accordingly.
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Old 19-10-2013, 22:14   #4
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

Part 4 : Making It Happen

It would be a lot of work for an individual but I am confident that as a community, this project is within reach. You can help.

Here's my proposal- I am willing to front design time for production of CAD drawings and 3D renderings for use in design development discussion, as well as for final distribution in PDF form as well as vector line art in AutoCAD and Adobe Illustrator formats.

Additionally, I have access to and can program a CNC machine to produce full size mock-ups in MDF or plywood to prove the self-righting geometry and center of gravity before anything is produced in steel.

Further, I should be able to provide a Solidworks model. This would be useful if a forum member has the experience required, which I don't have, to use the software to perform a Finite Element Analysis.

Additionally, if there is a qualified engineer who would be willing lend a hand and crunch some numbers, I think it would be important to see some math behind what we're doing.

While I have experience welding and I know a number of fabricators, I personally do not own or have access to any equipment. If there is a fabricator in the house who be willing to chip in some time and effort, it would be great if the construction of a working prototype could come from within the community.

I certainly know who I would nominate to perform the testing. I hope that Main Sail would consider contributing his experience and expertise.

I believe he has stated he would only purchase his test anchors so as to remain impartial. Maybe we could help him finance having a metal fabricator of his choosing to produce the test piece? It need not be galvanized for testing and should cost relatively very little.

Of course the product of our efforts would need an outlet. Webpages tend to be out of my realm of expertise, perhaps this is another place someone could step in to contribute? I don't think it would take much, just a single page with photos, drawings, some text, and a link to download some files.

The Webpage for the OSAP is also going to need a disclaimer since I don't expect anyone wants to accept liability for use of the information presented. If anyone would like to offer council to the project pro bono, you will likely find yourself the most appreciated of all contributors.

Lastly, everyone can help by participating in a constructive dialogue aimed at seeing this thread produce tangible results and not allowing it to devolve into a tide of disdainful bickering and bruised egos.
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Old 19-10-2013, 22:15   #5
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

Part 5 : Et Cetera

This is a forum, by definition a open place where ideas are exchanged. Instead of gratifying ourselves for the sake of our own personal satisfaction, let's use this space to create something we can all benefit from.

Until someone else steps in as a design guru, trust me to listen to your concerns and respond to the best of my abilities. I have a life of my own and a boat-load of my own problems, but I will not be dissuaded and promise I will make very effort to provide as expedient turn-around as possible.

I will listen for a period of one week before I act. When I act I will make my best effort at producing a design draft that responds to your concerns and meets the design criteria.

In my mind this is likely a BŁgel knock off with a concave fluke developed from two flat plates with a centerline join. For discussion purposes the shank angle will be the incidence of the fluke at the anchor's centerline and the top line of the shank as centered on its eye.

In my mind this isn't about turning the world on its head, it's about realistic expectations. That said, if you have some ground-breaking **** to bring to the table, you can count yourself as included. Innovation is not quintessential to the project but it will not be discounted. If you got it, bring it.

I am willing to put as many ideas as are presented into line drawing form for discussion and review. However, to keep the focus on practical results, I believe design development discussions should be limited towards producing a 20kg/44lbs class anchor with the expectation that the final design will be scaled up and down.

Once the initial design draft is completed, I am hoping the project will have a life of its own. Ultimately it's up to you....
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Old 19-10-2013, 22:51   #6
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

You have given this a lot of thought,strength to your arm Sir.
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Old 19-10-2013, 23:01   #7
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

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Originally Posted by salticrak View Post
You have given this a lot of thought,strength to your arm Sir.
We can all make a difference, if even only in a small way.

Occupy the world around you and make it your world, for it is your world, not the world of others.
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Old 20-10-2013, 00:41   #8
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

great idea mate, good luck !
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Old 22-10-2013, 03:47   #9
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

I'm not the sort of person who is ever considered to be contrary but this is 'open source' but you appear to predicate the design by initially suggesting it will be a concave, Bugel derived, with a roll bar. On this basis it should be relatively easy and non-controversial, just take the best parts from Bruce, Knox, Rocna, Mantus and Supreme (ignore the enduring positive polls on Spade and Ultra). And maybe Delta, or convex, anchors are not used where you are and the long success of Fortress is simply an aberration?

Great idea 'open source' but make it 'open'

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Old 22-10-2013, 04:21   #10
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

Yes, I did suggest I expected the final product would likely be a concave fluke BŁgel type with a roll bar. I also said I was open to input.

What exactly is your input? The Spade is a fine design, but is too complicated to produce. The Fortress is a recognizably successful anchor but hardly constitutes a "new-generation" design.

If your contribution to the discussion is to suggest the OSA has a convex fluke than I am happy to oblige with a version as you suggest in the initial design draft. No problemo.
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Old 22-10-2013, 06:28   #11
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I've never used one, but folks who've had Bulwaggas seem to love them, and they look very easy to fabricate. As a bonus, they're not made anymore, and they're supposed to be great in weeds, somewhere roll bar anchors have had difficulty. Just a thought.
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Old 22-10-2013, 07:15   #12
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

Assuming your base design of a concave BŁgel, it would seem that the weld between the two flat plates would be quite critical. Perhaps a third narrow plate could be welded above this single weld to strengthen it and also incorporate the shank. Along that line, the design would have to consider less than optimal welding techniques.

Does the roll bar assums that the beach welder has access to a bending machine?

Any ideas on rust proofing. How about epoxy and (AL or carbon) powder.

Other than for emergency use, the cost would have to compare favorably with Manson etc.
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Old 22-10-2013, 07:34   #13
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

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Originally Posted by marujo.sortudo View Post
I've never used one, but folks who've had Bulwaggas seem to love them, and they look very easy to fabricate. As a bonus, they're not made anymore, and they're supposed to be great in weeds, somewhere roll bar anchors have had difficulty. Just a thought.
I actually think the Bulwagga is a really interesting design, it's sort of like a three-dimensional Danforth. It was designed by a New Yorker named Peter Mele and received a Design Patent in 1997. You can see the patent online here-
Marine anchor

Some of the Prior Art on that one is pretty awesome, which you can see here-
Adjustable anchor
and here-
Mooring anchor

As much as I like it as a source for inspiration, it bothers me that it hasn't seemingly been embraced by sailors more widely. You can get around a Design Patent by just making something look a little different as per Ronca-Supreme so the fact nobody copied it makes me think smarter people looked at it an decided the concept wasn't worth it.

However, my main objection to it is that is a bit complicated, as it is made from a minimum of nine component parts, and the way it's drawn, it require three different materials; solid round bar, pipe, and plate. Of course you could substitute round bar for pipe, bu then you would need two pipe sizes.

The OSA I have in my mind can be cut from a single sheet of plate measuring 12" x 48" and fabricated with a cutting torch and a stick welder.

Not saying you couldn't water jet it out of titanium and weld it with a dragon's breath if that makes you happy.
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Old 22-10-2013, 07:36   #14
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

Here's an open source turbo charged anchor design, without any patent infringement issues to worry about. It's called the "Platypus...." designed by committee.
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Old 22-10-2013, 08:07   #15
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Re: Open Source Anchor Project

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Originally Posted by wdkester View Post
Assuming your base design of a concave BŁgel, it would seem that the weld between the two flat plates would be quite critical. Perhaps a third narrow plate could be welded above this single weld to strengthen it and also incorporate the shank. Along that line, the design would have to consider less than optimal welding techniques.

Does the roll bar assums that the beach welder has access to a bending machine?

Any ideas on rust proofing. How about epoxy and (AL or carbon) powder.

Other than for emergency use, the cost would have to compare favorably with Manson etc.
Assuming the beach welder has a torch to cut the plate he also has the means to take a heat on a bar cut from the plate and bend it to a radius.

As far as cost goes, I think you could spend as much or as little as you wanted or depending on where you were located. The going rate for buying steel is about $0.10 per pound, so if you can find local scrap that the way to go. A quick look at an online vendor reveals a 1/2" x 12" x 48" can be had at the following prices-

A36 Mild Steel $100
316 SS $700

The original Bugel design included a spine welded to the bottom of the fluke as a stiffener, for whatever reason Wasi did not include that feature in their production version. You can see it identified in the attached image as detail number 16.
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