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Boatbuilder makes fireproof/ultralight Lunar Lander, shares plans

Puzzled by the design of the Apollo lunar landers, catamaran-designer Kurt Hughes decided to build one, both as proof of concept and as a very personal vacation home on the banks of the Columbia River.

Relying on boat-building methods, Hughes avoided nail framing and created his own carbon-fiber structural insulated panels (SIPs) using his pioneering “Ziploc Space Bags”: a vacuum-bagged plywood, epoxy mix light enough to be transported from his Seattle backyard to his riverfront resort on the back of his pickup truck.

Hughes believes his ultra-light tiny home – the 250-square-foot structure weighs just 3,000 pounds – can, and should, be replicated, especially for those building tiny homes on wheels where weight is paramount. He’s working on a manual to show others how to create their own SIP panels.

Tucked between two conventional homes, the lander is permitted residential. After a run-in with an inspector who was sure the home relied on a steel structure, Hughes avoided extra electrical inspections by wiring the lighting as 12 volt (something that doesn’t require inspection). The shelter actually relies on the biaxial fiberglass used in catamarans for its structural strength.