Team : Gonzalo Auger, Alba Llevadot

Project repository : Floating belt


A simple floating structure made with cheap materials to save house objects and transport them on the water.

Project Summary

We are doing an object that is going to be used during the rescue period.


Our project consists in a simple circular PVC structure that gives rigidity to the whole object. We will have a floating belt that is going to surround this structure and that will help to make the object float.

The principal intention is to give the families the opportunity to save all the house objects they want to bring with them at the moment of the flood. But this structure is not just working as a place to save things, is allows people to grab the object and to have a reference point during the flood, a place to be « save » when the water has come.

When talking about saving these important objects, we achieve it in two different ways depending on the families belongings:

  • Using the simple circular structure: we add a garbage bag around the floating belt where they can put all the objects inside.
  • Adding two equal pieces to the PVC structure to achieve an elevate position where they can put any kind of bag they have in their houses. On this way they have more flexibility to use bags with different sizes. We do this due to the fact that we know that people there won’t have the same type of plastic bags and we don’t know if they all can afford having the big garbage bags of the first option. Like this, they can use any plastic bag they have in the house, put the things inside and attach it to the elevate structure to take it away.


STL 3D MODEL: click here to download the file

Producing process

We will use the FabLabs to cut 3 objects:

  • The circular structure that gives strength to the floating belt.
  • The two equal small pieces which are going to be attached to the circular one to achieve the elevate position if needed.


The floating belt is going to be a simple pool float which will be already produced and bought in big quantities. We will just have to fix it to the circular PVC structure.

Our idea is to produce at list one for each affected house. To do some time approximations we’ve considered the 2.000.000 people affected. We’ve seen that each family has, more or less, a total of 6 members in the house. That means that we will have to produce, at list, 300.000 pieces.

Doing some prototypes we’ve seen that the production of it lasts about 2 minutes, which means that to do all of them in one FabLab will last about 416 days. But if we take into account that there are 22 FabLabs which can produce it, it will be a total of 19 days to do all the production. The fact is that the FabLabs just have to cut the pieces and distribute them, the union of them can be done at the moment in the house if it is necessary.

The materials we want to use are simple, cheap and easy to find:

  • PVC for the rigid structure.
  • Pool float for the floating structure.
  • A garbage bag or any kind of plastic bag they have in the house.


Dealing with the calculation of the price, we’ve been searching the materials and asking for some prices sending emails to plastic PVC sheets companies. Each sheet of 200×100 cm would cost 4,38 € and we’ve decided to produce 6 pieces of 3 different sizes in every sheet to take advantage of the leftover material (2ø1m, 2ø0’84m and 2ø0’68m). So it would be 0,73 € + 0,20 € (of each pool float) = 0,93 € per piece. Which means a total of 279.000 €.




A simple floating structure made with cheap materials to save house objects and transport them on the water.

Principal objectives

From the very first moment, the objective we decided to solve was to find a solution for the families to transport themselves or the most valuable objects they have in the house when the flood come.

We are aware of the fact that what we create must be cheap, easy to manufacture and fast to be done.


First idea

When we started thinking about the project we thought about how to do an structure where people could be save and stay during the flood. We talked about floating shelters and the principal idea was to make a folding structure that people should have in their houses to be used in the moment of the flood. This structure was going to float on water, as a kind of boat.

After this first approximation, while searching some information about past floods and talking with some people, we realized that people may not want to have this in their houses and that almost all of them, when the flood comes, would just run away quickly from the house to the public shelters so they wouldn’t use it.

Then we realized too that, before thinking about all these projects, we must know for how many people do we have to produce it! And comparing various webs we arrived to this approximation dealing with last Kerala flood:

1.000.000 people affected 100.000 residences destroyed 400 people died

Second idea

When we saw that when the flood came people was running away instead of using the objects from home, we arrived to the conclusion on making and object with different kinds of uses and that they would be able to use in the public shelters in different ways: as a table, a chair, a bed…

The idea was to have this object and use it home and when the flood comes, bringing it with them to the public shelters where people stays in really bad conditions.

The object consisted in a simple structure made of triangles that they could move and adapt to have different shapes and make different kinds of furniture like this.

At the end we found that we were changing completely our idea, we were losing our essence of making a floating structure and acting at the time when the flood comes, not after the catastrophe, so we discard this idea too…

Third idea

We were approaching out final idea when we decided to do a kind of boat. We recuperate our first ideas and objectives when we decided to do a kind of boat. The idea was to help people to transport and bring with them their most important objects in the house.

« What would you bring with you if you have less than one minute to take things from your house? » Jewelery, pets, religious books…

We found this one a really good idea but we realized that the shape and the materials we were giving to the structure weren’t the best ones to produce and fabricate… So we continued fighting for these but improving these factors!

Fourth idea

Dealing with the last idea and all the problems we found, we tried to keep the goals reconsidering different shapes and structures till we arrives to a final one: an spheric object.

STL 3D MODEL: click here to download the file

The idea was to have this sphere, half of it under the water and the other half in the surface.

We made an easy and regular wood structure, which could be perfectly produced in FabLabs in a fast way, covered with an impermeable material and surrounded by a float in the middle. The inside was going to be completely empty to put all those house objects they want to save and bring with them or even pets, kids, people with mobility problems, ancients…

Another good thing we found while producing this shape was the fact that it helped people to grab and manipulate the object while floating on water. They could use the surrounding float to fix themselves and stay all together.

As we were almost sure this was our final idea, we reviewed again our objectives to see whether if we were dealing with them or not:

1- An object to save important house objects for them to not to be lost or damaged.

2- Make the object float to be more comfortable to transport on water.

3- Produce a shape easy to be attached for people to produce a group displacement system.

After having these clear goals, we started searching for the best materials to be used. We decided to use cheap materials and easy to find. We wanted to buy them in big quantities to achieve a cheaper price.

  • PVC for the resistant structure
  • A pool float surrounding the structure
  • A giant balloon as an impermeable skin

We made some prototypes to be aware of the construction process and to see if the structure was efficient and simple enough.

The fact is that we weren’t convinced at all about these final solution. We still thought we could improve it. After doing some calculations we found we were spending too much time and that material to do it. We will have to do a lot of these objects so we needed something easier and faster to produce in the FabLabs. We must simplify the idea!

Fifth idea

We had to find the way to simplify our object so we started thinking: Which was the most difficult part to produce? Which was the worst shape to do?

We arrived to the conclusion that we had to simplify the sphere.

We started thinking about replacing these sphere for a house object they would all have in their houses. As they use a lot of kitchen material and big pans and pots, we thought about replacing the sphere for a pot that they could put surrounded with the pool float. It was a really good idea but the problem is that there are a lot of different sizes of kitchen pots so it was difficult to do the same module for all the houses.

Final idea

After all these thoughts we arrived to a final idea. We thought about more materials or objects we could easily find in a house or that they could easily found and we arrived to the conclusion that almost all of them if not all have bags in their houses; PLASTIC BAGS. They could use from a big garbage bag to a supermarket plastic bag, it doesn’t matter the size.

The fact is that we continue with the floating belt and we suppress the sphere for a plastic bag which can be attached in two different ways depending on the type of bag and the size.

In the final project web we will explain you these final idea in a more detailed way…