Instructables

One Person Submersible from a Plastic Drum

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Picture of One Person Submersible from a Plastic Drum
(In the near future I will be attempting to upgrade to steel ballast)

TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK:
I WILL NOT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR INJURY or DEATH AS A RESULT OF THIS INSTRUCTABLE

Also, to all who comment saying that I will be sued for reckless endangerment, its not illegal to share a dangerous idea on the internet.

Many years ago, as an imaginative child, I dreamed of building my own submarine. Its been many years, and now I have the skill, and knowledge to make one myself.

Now its your turn...

This cost surprisingly little, and consists of only a few parts. Because you could probably make your own from one picture, this Intractable is more to inspire and document than to instruct.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
- a Plastic drum 50-55 gallon (about person sized)
- one or more 5 gallon buckets
- medium strength rope
- about 12 ft of 2X4
- enough cement to fill several 5 gallon buckets
- a reciprocating or rotary disc saw (dermal/rotozip)
- Plexiglas
- silicon caulking
- short stainless steel screws
- boiler valve and some fittings
- eyebolts with nuts, and washers

Step 2: Window

Picture of Window
Using the saw, cut a hole in the side of the barrel one inch smaller than your acrylic.
Drill out the holes where the screws will go in both the barrel and the window, this will prevent splitting
Before screwing the window to the hole, apply silicon glue liberally.
Screw down the window, such that all of the silicon spreads, and forms a continuous seal around the seam.
Ezava23 months ago
im working on an instructable for a home made re-breather that would go prefect with your sub for if the sub breaks you can swim up or for going deeper
simplebotics5 months ago
I don't see why people would try to sue you. "You told me to jump of a bridge, so I did. I will sue you!" Just kidding, this is an awesome instructable!
Hey how did you make it a water-tight seal for the hatch?
akelsey (author)  TheUltimateDIY1 year ago
Silicone caulk.

Cut your opening to leave at least an inch of overlap (larger windows will want more,) tap holes for your mounting hardware before you start. Lay down a thick bead of caulk, and bolt the plastic over it making sure that it spreads right to both edges of the overlap. do not tighten fully until the caulk is slightly dried, otherwise you will squeeze it all out, and you will have no seal.

...and by hatch I hope you mean window.
If it is a hatch it is a whole new kettle of fish, and I would need to know your parameters.
you can add 2 tubes with a fan and a float to help minimize some danger it still will be VERY DANGEROUS
barrycdog3 years ago
Could we try to install two holes in the side and a pair of gloves and then plug the BP Oil Spill in the gulf?
posibly.
abstracted2 years ago
dangerous dangerous AWESOME. great job, and realistically, if i were to critique all the instructables on this site, most would have some degree of danger. ppl are playing with power tools, fire, electricity, homemade bikes n sleds. the list goes on. in my next gear making ible, you`ll see my precious digits very close to my bandsaw blade...get ready to rant n request my ibles to be removed frm here LOL. to think if our forefathers did not thumb their noses at dangers how lacking in technology we would be. cars DANGEROUS, trains DANGEROUS....space travel, undersea exploration, flight...etc...the list goes on and on (suddenly kicks the soapbox out frm under the nay-sayers) lol that musta hurt falling of your dangerous high horses....awesome job man!
sillywilly3 years ago
MAN, I can't believe all the critiques out there for such a insignificant "ible"!! It's like this, a young man has floated a wash tub in a puddle 5ft across and two feet deep. It's just a puddle, not running water. When he gets in tub, waters edge comes up to within 3 inches of tub lip. Guy is having fun paddling around in his private "pond" and later wants to share the fun by telling others. He gets some good responses and some bad ones. Bad ones carry it all out of proportion by saying "you could drown", "I am a official boat captain and have years of experience in proper boats, training, etc and this is just dumb.....blah blah blah. Give the guy a break. We all experiment! If he follows just one rule of swimming and that is the buddy system, he is not going to die no matter what he does so lay off! By the way, that was a true story about the washtub and that was my experiment at 10 yrs old. It was good clean fun! ;-)
techno guy3 years ago
I made my own equation for finding the weight in ponds of the ballast.

ballast (lbs)=(capacity in gallons of inner vessel * 8) + (-weight of vessel+5lbs)
jconrad663 years ago
Hey kid, great concept on the arrangement of your ballast system. Never thought of that. I suppose this is just as dangerous as when I was a kid and stayed under the local swim tower by having friends hand me gallon milk jugs of air for about 15 minutes. Or like my friend and my underwater breathing apparatus consisting of 3 2litre bottles, shrader valve, hose with garden sprayer and snorkel mouthpiece w/purge valve. Your bell is cool.
copper tube3 years ago
so complicated...
techno guy3 years ago
How do you fit in there?
Hi. I am a certified OSHA and CSAO commercial diver air dive supervisor, level 1, and qualified Master Scuba Diver Trainer with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.
This is a very dangerous idea. You might not die, but someone else might/will/and has.
Just because there is a disclaimer there, you and Instructables will be subject to litigation. There is a reason that people need a certification to operate this type of life support equipment.

http://scuba-doc.com/ageprbs.html

"Because of Boyle's law, maximal changes in volume occur in the 4 feet (1.22 m.) closest to the surface and the diver sustains a tear in the pulmonary parenchyma with the escape of air into the pulmonary venous outflow."

I can quote other resources, such as the US Navy Dive Manual and the DCIM manual, but it's Boyle's Law, not Boyle's "kinda' might happen. I don't know".
What are you saying ? The reference you quote seems to be commenting on holding one's breath when coming up ?

I don't disagree with your comments about it being a bad idea, but there is no way that publication is an endorsement of the safety of the concept.

Steve
The way this works is:
you submerge the bell (cause that is what it is)
the air is trapped and you dive down and enter the bell.
If you take a breath of air in at 4 feet or greater and hold your breath. Very bad things will happen and you will be dead in five minutes.

If a four year old can be tried for reckless endangerment, for riding his bike on the sidewalk, then I can't see why the creator of an instructable of such an extremely dangerous piece of equipment couldn't be held liable. perhaps not in criminal court, but in civil court, for sure.
The trapped air is at the 4 feet of water pressure, presumably then, or 1/8 Bar.

Very bad things happen if you don't breath out ?

Don't you get a strong urge to breath out as you come up anyway ?
oddly enough, we are programmed to hold our breath underwater. everyone does it. even little babies will hold their breath underwater.
According to wikipedia, yes, you do have a strong urge to breathe out as you come up.
I'm sorry. Did you just quote wikipedia? Well, if it's in wikipedia, it HAS to be right.
Here, http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/contact/email.aspx. That is the contact email for Divers Alert Network (DAN), leading researchers in sport diving medicine. These Doctors know more on this subject then me or wikifreakin'pedia.

This is the last time I'll touch on this topic, so, if you're going to build and use this, you are just adding your name for the prestigious Darwin Award.
I'm sorry, I think somebody forgot to drink their "be nice" juice this morning. My point is neither in favor of nor against the project, merely that Steve is correct in his statement.

Also, while I know being snobbish about Wikipedia is hip and all, it's sort of silly to assume everything on it is incorrect. (Note that I did not say "if it's in Wikipedia, it HAS to be right.")

Additionally, Wikipedia supports the statement with this citation: Lindholm P, Lundgren CE (2006). "Alveolar gas composition before and after maximal breath-holds in competitive divers". Undersea Hyperb Med 33 (6): 463–7. PMID 17274316. Retrieved 2008-07-21.

Yes, you should be careful and evaluate what you read, but it's not exactly a controversial statement that a struggling diver has an extremely strong urge to exhale.
"Lindholm P, Lundgren CE (2006). "Alveolar gas composition before and after maximal breath-holds in competitive divers". Undersea Hyperb Med 33 (6): 463–7. PMID 17274316. Retrieved 2008-07-21." I just read this and all the things they are saying are true, but not relevant to this project. In shallow or deep water black outs, the test subjects/patients/corpses are all taking a breath at sea level (don't ask if you're at elevation, it doesn't matter in this case). As the Breath Hold Diver descends, their lungs are compressed. As they ascend, the lungs return to normal size and shape, assuming they haven't let out air during their dive.

If that diver were to take a breath from this contraption, their lungs would return to normal size while still under pressure. As they ascend from a depth of 4 ft or greater, the pressure in the lungs will increase, tare the alveoli, deposit gas bubbles into the blood stream which will make it's way to the brain, and result in DEATH in 5 minutes. I didn't write might, perhaps, or can in that extremely long run on sentence. I wrote will.

And Wikipedia is not a recognized source of information when writing technical papers due to its lack of reference checking. I'm not being "snobbish". I'm trying to use my experience and knowledge as a profession diver to SAVE LIVES, which is a pretty "nice" thing to do for total strangers.
>> I just read this and all the things they are saying are true, but not relevant to this project.

I'm not talking about the project. I have no idea whether the project is safe or not. I have no opinion on it. I haven't even read the entire thing - I was saying Steve's statement, "Don't you get a strong urge to breath out as you come up anyway ?" was a correct statement of fact.

>>And Wikipedia is not a recognized source of information when writing technical papers due to its lack of reference checking.

A) I'm not writing a technical paper,, I'm participating in an internet discussion.
B) They provided a reference, which you recognize as correct.
The discussion is about this project.
You only get the "strong urge to breath out" when the Carbon Dioxide levels in your blood get high. If you take a breath using this thing, then you don't get the high level of CO2 and don't get the "strong urge to breath out".

I recognize the facts in that were right for that particular wiki. You didn't site the reference till after I made a comment about Wikipedia. You can't just site a reference as vast as wikipedia. you need to be specific. Furthermore, it's pretty insulting to have your specific and researched references quashed in an internet discussion with the entirety of wikipedia.
>>he discussion is about this project.

...

I'm not talking about the project. I'm talking about something Steve said.

>>You only get the "strong urge to breath out" when the Carbon Dioxide levels in your blood get high. If you take a breath using this thing, then you don't get the high level of CO2 and don't get the "strong urge to breath out".

If you say so.

>>You didn't site the reference till after I made a comment about Wikipedia.

Well, no. I checked the article's citations, but for a passing comment, why would I?

>>You can't just site a reference as vast as wikipedia. you need to be specific.

I don't mean to sound rude, but you're not my professor, and I'm not writing a senior thesis. We use Wikipedia a lot around these parts. There's a particle physicist lurking around, and he uses/refers to Wikipedia all the time - it's _not_ all crap. *Yes*, you need to be careful with Wikipedia. *No*, I wouldn't cite it in a scholarly article. And *no*, Wikipedia isn't uniformly worthless. This isn't a scholarly article, simply an informal conversation on the 'net.

>>Furthermore, it's pretty insulting to have your specific and researched references quashed in an internet discussion with the entirety of wikipedia.

Eh? I have seen you cite exactly one page, on scuba-doc.com (aside from a contact page on another site, which obviously doesn't count as a citation for anything...). I'm sure it's a very nice site, and may very well be an absolutely great place for information on this, but without further investigation, I have no way of judging the trustworthiness of this site and whether it's any better than Wikipedia - it looks like it was made in 1995, for one (that has to be the single weirdest navigation panel I've *ever* seen...mad props for originality thought! :D ).

And I return to the physicist - he isn't put off by the fact that it's Wikipedia, he looked at some of the physics/science related pages and judged them to be good sources for informal discussion. If the cites are good, and its information is good, the individual article is good, and shouldn't be dismissed offhand.
Didn't think that everyone had access to the US Navy Diver Manual or the DCIM Manual ("look up, wayyyyyy up").
GpaSteve3 years ago
I agree this could be dangerous. But use common sense. There are far more dangerous tutorials on this site.
I do think this is a very cool instructable.
If I had found this when I was younger I would have one of these.

Again, no mater what the instructable is, use some common sense.
Blofish3 years ago
People have been crying Dooms Day for thousands of years.
Thanks for the insturtable.
Blofish Blofish3 years ago
Well today is Oct 10th, 2010 and it is still here. So, it goes without saying. This is a fine instructible, I see some dangers as I do in life on a daily basis. First they tell you whole milk isnt good for you now they say it don't matter because were all gonna die one day.
Blofish3 years ago
I think you would do better with a quick release pin to the concrete, instead of cutting ropes. Maybe tie the pull rope to your waist or something.
quickreleasepin.jpg
martzsam3 years ago
Dude. Your gonna die.
swilus martzsam3 years ago
hahahahahahahaha!
(removed by author or community request)
Haha. Yes drowning is preferable to living a miserable few years as a fat guy only to end with a heart attack.
lol! yep!!
akelsey (author)  martzsam3 years ago
well, I didn't. I have used it, and its easy to get in and out of, sits nicely in the water, and you can tell when your running out of air long before it becomes a problem.
Still- I agree with BIGBUG that your instructable needs a ton of work. It is stupid to say, "there is no real way of telling how much cement will be needed" when you are building a device to sustain you underwater! You should make an updated version, with proper safety instructions and warnings. If you don't, it is almost certain some dumb kid with money and incredibly stupid parents is going to drown. Your disclaimer will not protect you if someone dies. That will not stand up in court. I hate to sound insensitive, but you need to seriously consider taking down this instructable.
The fact that you haven't replied yet furthers my opinion that this instructable should be taken down.
akelsey (author)  martzsam3 years ago
I Used it in a lake... it worked... quite comfortably... And the reason i hadn't replied, is because I try to stay away from bickering with nay-sayers like you. If you don't like the idea, don't build it. Also my saying "there is no real way of telling how much cement will be needed" is because peoples heads and shoulders have different displacements. Also, the valve on top allows for air to be adjusted, so that concrete is not the variable, More concrete just means you can keep more air before you dive. The numbers i provided were simply to verify that reasonable amounts of ballast could be used to get enough air. My numbers are a minimum of sorts.
But using the same air you are breathing for ballast is an all around bad idea! At least tell me that you have some sort of emergency release for the concrete that will get you back up quickly! And by the way, I am not simply just telling you these things simply because I am a nay-sayer, I am genuinely concerned for your safety and others! There are many reasons why ambient subs such as yours have emergency surface devices and such things! How does your sub even rise to the surface? If you release to much air with that valve, the sub would become negatively buoyant, and sink to the bottom! Having a knife to cut ropes isn't going to be good enough if you are delusional from oxygen deprivation! My statement remains the same, this instructable is dangerous, and should be revised thoroughly to remove all the dangerous omissions in safety. Anyone who is trying to replicate this instructable should stop immediately and reconsider the IMMENSE DANGER of diving in an ambient sub that has NO EMERGENCY RESURFACING SYSTEM OR EMERGENCY OXYGEN SUPPLY!! I cannot stress how dangerous this is!
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