AFF Above Finished Floor.
AFG Above Finished Grade (Ground).
API Application Programming Interface. Used in conjunction with Open Source, this means that the general population has been given access to the programming language used in the application and are allowed to create smaller pieces of the application (known as add-ons, scripts, or mods) that run inside the larger application. The purpose is for adding new features and functionality, created by the users, that are not in the original application.
BASIC Beginner's All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. One of the early forms of programming language.
CAD Computer Aided Drafting (Design). Also known as CADD.
CMU Concrete Masonary Unit. Commonly known as "Cinder Block".
CPU Central Processing Unit. The chip in your computer that does all the work.
DIY Do It Yourself.
GUI Graphical User Interface. Windows is a GUI. It refers to have an icon driven OS as opposed to a pure command line environment.
ISBU Intermodal Steel Building Units. Commonly known as "shipping containers". See one.
Kerf The width (thickness) of a saw blade. Many folks don't stop to think about it but all that sawdust equals lost length of wood. Take an 8' piece of lumber mark and cut 1' at a time and the last piece will not be exactly 1'. It will be less, based on the width of your saw blade multiplied by the number of cuts. Typical Kerf is about 1/8".
OC On Center. The spacing of wood framing is typically measured from the center of one piece of lumber to the center of the next.
Open Source It means that the application creator(s) has given the general public access to the programming language (Source Code) used in creating the application, and typically allows modifications of the application. It is very common for the more successful mods created by the community to become integrated as standard features in subsequent official releases of the main application. This is the best kind of software. It evolves based on real world testing and generates a very dedicated user base.
Render The process of a computer converting the stored mathematical values into visual elements. In other words, drawing the picture. Because displaying a very detailed model or image can take considerable time, it is common to work in a mode that displays less geometery, textures, etc. Then the finished model or image is "rendered". This implies that you sit back and wait for your computer to generate a highly detailed image. In the early days many of my projects would take all night to render. On my current rig, 5-30 minutes is average.


Offsite Links: These links will open in a new tab/window.
Adobe The download page for Adobe Reader. Another web site built by Austin (owner of this site).
Clivus Multrum Manufacturer of composting waste systems.
JaFarm Kennels Family owned dog kennel.
Hypercosm The download page for the browser based 3D model viewer used on this site. This is the official site for all things ISBU. These folks are doing what I only dream of. They have tons of resources and models that put mine to shame.
SketchUp Landing page for Google's SketchUp.
SteelMaster Manufacturer of steel arch building systems.
SoundBlox The site is "The Proudfoot Company". The product is an acoustical reducing CMU called SoundBlox.


ISBUs Quick Facts:
Shipping containers are officially called ISBUs (Intermodal Steel Building Units) . There is a growing movement across the globe for using these units as building components for houses. (Google it)
An ISBU is one of the strongest pre-fab structures there are. Each corner is a thick steel square column, and the horizontal elements are steel beams also (See it). Because of the steel beam structure, free spanning open areas is not a problem. ISBUs are engineered to be stacked 5 high fully loaded. Due to the global standards of uniformity, these things stack together like a Lego set. Just Stack 'n Go - I'm going trademark that :)
This standardization also means there is already a transportation infrastructure in place. These units can easily be shipped by boat, plane, train, or truck.
An item you may question is, because these units are a standard 8’ wide (exterior measurement), the rooms that can be placed in them is limited to less than 8’. The answer is the walls of an ISBU are not structural (not much anyway). They can be removed and still retain structural integrity of the overall unit. This gives much more latitude in design than you might have expected.
There is currently a global surplus of these units due to global economic drop. These units are used to ship goods around the world, so with less goods being shipped they are sitting defunct in ship yards by the millions. There have been a few websites popping up recently that are acting as the middleman in obtaining these units. They have access to purchasing these units from shipyards and are then selling them to the public, plus a profit of course.
Here's some numbers to contemplate: Average price for a 40' ISBU is around $2000+/- delivered*. A 20' unit averages a few hundred less. That's retail price mind you, buy in bulk or direct (if you can find out how) and I'm sure you could get them a lot less. Let's just round it all up and say $2000 each. A 40’x8’ unit yields ~ 320 square feet. That’s’ $6.25/sq ft. Compare that to the current "plastic and glue" houses prices. Of course this is not the whole cost of a completed house, but it is a complete structure. No matter how you look at it, using ISBUs is a creative, economical, and green way of building an extremely solid home.
Speaking of plastic and glue, which structure would you feel safer in? With the proper placement of anchor bolts in the concrete slab you would want to place the ISBUs on, these units are extremely strong and not very likely to be affected by anything less than an earthquake. My designs also take advantage of the fact that the structures are steel. So when I have multiple units adjacent to each other, the idea is to weld them together. I lived in a mobile home that had the roof literally ripped off by simple high winds. I sincerely wish I could have had one of these homes, because in the end I had none.

As a closing note, I want to mention that I seriously would love to start a business designing and building these things. That's actually the concept behind this domain name of ScottPod. I have the dreams, the skills, but no capital. Any investors out there? ;)

*Those prices are very generalized and are from 2009.



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