Industrial designer Josh Tulberg has laser cut, 3D-printed and epoxy’d his way to creating the aquatic equivalent of a go-kart and I think we all need one.
(Update: I originally thought this would cost about $3,000 to build, but Mr. Tulberg reached out to me and explained that you could actually bring one online for much less, more like “$1,500 to $2,000” in his words. So if you got excited about getting one, now you can be even happier!)
Tulberg makes all kinds of interesting things for his business Rapid Whale, one of which being the Mini Boat. Norm from Adam Savage’s “Tested” show went to visit Tulberg, and got to see how this thing rides on the water.
Now that’s what I call compact elegance.
In the video, Tulberg explains that the vessel is made of marine-grade wood, largely shaped by a laser cutter. At six feet long bow-to-stern, it is apparently not the shortest boat ever (that award goes to a five-and-a-half footer, I guess) but it does look like it’d fit into most overhead storage bins. Or at least, the bed of your pickup truck.
Propulsion comes from an electric trolling motor, the kind usually mounted to bass boats for going real slow in search of fish, which is powered by a 12 volt battery.
Tulman sells a “bare-hull kit” to make the boat for $950, plans for $95, and writes that “off-the-shelf components... will be an additional $500 to $1,100 depending on how crafty or fancy you are.” You can pick up trolling motors for a couple hundred bucks at Wal-Mart.
I know most of the U.S. is still a little cold to go splashing in the sea right now, but if I lived anywhere near a lake I’d be pretty eager to put one of these in the water. I’ll probably stay clear of the Pacific with it, though.