iRobot Scholarship idea : Pool Cleaner

I've seen mods for the roombas before, where the robots are water sealed, and then the wheels are turned into propellers. My idea is that I could water proof the robot in plexi glass, or something, and then a net on it, to collect all the leaves, dead bugs, and other stuff that collects on the surface of a pool. normal pool cleaners only vacuum the floor of a pool, and it takes days for floating leaves and other grime to sink to the bottom. With a robot like this, I could just set it in the pool, and let it clean everything up. What's nice is, when company is coming over, it's embarrassing to have a dirty pool...this modification would allow you to quickly clean up your pool-even on short notice. Update (for some clarification): What I would want to do, is make a case for it, so that you can simply remove the wheels, and connect the propellers/steering device to where the wheels were, then just place the roomba in the watertight case, and it would be able to swim around and clean! Also, i'm working on some sketches of how it would work. I'll post those when they are done.

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ewilhelm10 years ago
This might be a little late, but one of the tricks I know for building underwater robots is to pressurize the inside of the robot; so, if there are any leaks, air leaks out rather than water in.
Weissensteinburg (author)  ewilhelm10 years ago
That's a really neat idea, and it makes a huge amount of sense. Unfortunately, I am past that point...we're ready to add the bushings, axles, bearings, etc. today. The entire box is waterproof, except for the lid, which will still have weather stripping. Thanks for the idea though, if I ever one another one, i'll definitly try that.
Weissensteinburg (author) 10 years ago
Ok guys, so my latest design works like this:

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If that stays how it should...then the X's are water wheels, the -'s are axels, the o's are bearings. The robot will be places on top, so each wheel will power one propeller. The bearings will be used to keep the axels in place. Bushings will help keep the axles water tight...but I need help finding rubber bushings...does anyone know where to look? I'm using 1/2" pipe as the axle, which needs to fit through the bushing. Also, i'm seeing measurments on bearings such as 5x11..what does that mean?

Thanks =]
> I need help finding rubber bushings . O-rings epoxied to the case? Would need to be a relatively loose fit or you'll lose too much power from the drag. . cooblades "grease seal" might work. . > Also, i'm seeing measurments on bearings such as 5x11..what does that mean? . I used to know that, but can't recall it to save my life. It's hell, getting old. Check out the web site of a bearing manufacturer (eg, Timken) and see if they have a page that explains it.
apparently the drawing didn't hold up.
SacTownSue10 years ago
Mighty pricey! Yours is really interesting tho.
Weissensteinburg (author)  SacTownSue10 years ago
I've seen that, the thing is though, their cleaners don't clean the entire surface, like this will.
cooblades10 years ago
I've done marine robots before. If you are worried about water proofing, try a motor shaft in a long narrow tube with some grease in the middle. That should prevent a lot of water from backing into the motor. For your other connections try using Marine Goop, it is used to seal boats connections and its pretty affordable. Magnetic coupling is going to cost you some energy due to friction if you plan to use it so be careful what you choose. For floatation you can use home insulation foam boards (approx 1-2" thick). They are sold in large sheets and very cheap at Home Depot. A hot wire cutter can help you cut that to some pretty nice shapes.
. I like your grease seal, but would it have less drag than a mag coupling? The only drag to a mag coupling is the bearings. Grease can be pretty sticky. . Would the grease stay in place well enough not to leave an oil slick on the pool? If it will, your idea would probably be easier to implement.
Primarily we add a small amount grease or oil as a lubricant so it reduces friction. Whether or not it is less friction than a magnetic coupling depends on design features out of my control so I wont give you a definite answer on which is more frictionless. Regarding contamination I wouldn't worry too much about it. Oil and greases don't dissolve or mix well with water. Plus you're only using a drop and there are many safe and clear greases you can use. In the past I have used petroleum jelly from the store cause it was easy and cheap. The greased axle design is really simple and cheap. Go to a R/C hobby store and you can buy the tube, axles and grease there. Its a pretty basic technique in RC boating.
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