Today we will be learning how to engineer a submersible or submarine that is able to pick up and move certain objects.

The first image is the sketch of the design it has a 2-d base model with a long hook for picking up materials in a pool or any body of water. It is always good to have a sketch of a design to make because it is helpful to have a visual representation of what is what it will mostly look like.

The second image is the final outcome and what is the submarine is going to look like once it is finished. The image is also there to show that this design is buoyant in water and can that it can be makeable.

Step 1: Start of Building a Submarine

Material list:

10 foot of PVC

5 tee PVC

6 elbow PVC

3 toggle switches

40 feet of wire

3 socket PVC caps

3 ties of 5 (15 total)

3 RS-395 DC 12V micro motors



PVC cutters

Wire cutters


First, thing to do when making a submarine is to gather all the materials you will be using when making it. Above is a list of all the materials you need when making this type of submersible. The first photo has all the materials together we will be using the others photos are individual pictures of the materials(they are in the same order as the material list).

Step 2: Starting the Base

1. Cut two, 4” long straight PVC.

2. Connect one end to one of the elbow joints and connect the other end to a tee joint.

3. Add another one of your 4” pieces and connect that to the tee joint.

4. Connect the end that isn't connected to a tee joint already to another elbow joint.

(Make sure it is ten inches if it isn't you might need to push the structure together as tight as possible.)

5. Repeat step 1-4

6. Make sure it is ten inches long.

7. The tee is there to later connect the middle part of the base where the hook will later be.

Step 3: Finishing Up the Outside Base

Next, you will need to cut one 8 inch straight PVC pipe like the first photo.

Then cut two 4 inch PVC straight pipes and connect it with a tee (where the tee is in the middle of the two 4 inch straight pipes). This will be the other sides to the base.

Step 4: Connecting the Outside Base

Once you have created 2 sides from slide 6(the PVC pieces with the tee in the middle and the straight 8 inch pipe) then you can connect these pieces to the end elbows of the first two sides we made in slide 5(the PVC pieces with the tee in the middle and the 2 elbows on each of the ends).

Once this is finished the result should be a 10 by 10-inch square. As you can see in the photo the side has been connected to the end elbows of the other sides. This further concludes the steps to finish the outside square base.

The submarine has a square base to create an overall balance within the submersible so one end is not heavier than the other and so it can move more freely within the water.

Step 5: Center of Square Base

Now the outside square base is done next thing to do is the middle structure of the base.

Cut two 4 inch PVC straight pipes with PVC cutters

When those have been cut add a tee to the middle of the two strips you have just made.

Now attach this piece that was just made and put it in between the two tees that are facing each other.

The tee in the center will later be connected to the hook structure of this design.

Step 6: Length of Hook

For the hook cut out a 6-inch piece of straight PVC pipe and connect it with the tee from the middle structure from the center on the base. Make sure this is in tight and secure because we want it to be able to pick objects up in the future.

Step 7: End of Hook

We need this submarine to grab objects so we need to make a structure to be able to pick up things.

First cut 1 inch of straight PVC and find 2 elbow PVC.

Connect an elbow to each ends of the 1 inch straight PVC cut.

Once this is done you shouldn't see the 1-inch straight piece pipe anymore because it is only there to connect the 2 elbows together.

Step 8: Connecting Hook to Base

When you have finished the C-like structure from the last slide you can attach it to 6-inch straight PVC pipe that is sticking out in the center of the base. Once you have done this you should have an open hook-like structure as shown in the picture above.

Step 9: Ending of the Hook

The hook in the last step and picture is open if left open water will enter inside of the submersible. To create an ending of the hook to close it off you will need to cut a 1 inch straight PVC pipe. Once done attach it to a PVC cap make sure it is secure. If you are done with that it should look like the picture above. This structure will be used to close of the hook.

Step 10: Finishing Off the Hook

If the cap structure for the end of the hook is finished then add it to the open hook as you can see from the image.

Step 11: Hook Is Finished

If the past hook steps have been completed properly the hook should be closed and look like the picture above. Make sure the hook is tight and secure if you want it to be able to pick up objects. If the hook structure does not look like the picture do not continue go back and look over the previous steps.

Step 12: Start of Back Structure

Next, we are going to make a little structure on the back of our sub to hold the motors and above is the supplies needed to make it.

Materials: You will need one tee joint, 2 caps, two 1” PVC pieces, and one 3” PVC piece.

From the square base model, there should still be an unconnected Tee sticking out from the base(as you can see from the picture)

Take the 3 inch straight PVC and connect it to this tee in the back.

Connect another tee on top of the straight PVC pipe.

If you have finished theses steps the t-like structure should look like the second picture.

Step 13: Finishing the Back Structure

Place the 1 inch PVC pipes into the tee joint, one on each side of the tee.

Then place the caps onto the ends of each PVC piece.

Once you have done this you have completed the back structure. The purpose of the back structure is to place the motors on to them to help the submersible steer better and stay away from the more important structures like the hook and base.

Step 14: Finished Back T-structure

Here is an ending picture of the T-like structure with the final caps on the ends. This structure will have a couple of the motors on it later by doing this it will make it easier to steer the submarine.

Step 15: Preparing the Soldering Iron

First, acquire a soldering iron and place it into its stand as you can see in the picture above. Once you have safely secured it into the stand you may now plug the soldering iron's plug into an outlet. Since it is now plugged it into an outlet it will begin to heat up be careful to only touch the colored rubber part and not the tip or metal part or you will get badly burned. The correct way to hold a soldering iron is to hold the rubber part like a pencil and to keep the hot metal part away from making contact with your skin and body. This is very important and the safe way to handle a soldering iron if not done correctly you will end up burning yourself.

Step 16: Before Soldering

Before you begin to solder at all you must retrieve a sponge and moisten it. This will be used for cleaning the tip and metal part of the soldering iron. If the iron is hot enough slightly smear the top on the sponge until it is clean or shiny looking. Do not push into the sponge this won't clean the iron and will cause the sponge to burn or melt. Cleaning the smoldering iron is very important because it allows the heat to transfer better and will be easy to melt solder or any objects.

Step 17: Melting the Solder

If the solder has been cleaned properly and is being held right you can now melt the solder on the iron. The long stringy metal looking thing in the photo is called a solder and that is what you want to melt on top of the iron. To do this you must touch the solder to the tip of the soldering iron because that is the part where the heat is being transferred to. Once you do this the solder will begin to melt. When you have finished melting the solder wipe the soldering iron on the sponge to get rid of any excess solder. Then place the soldering iron back into it stands securely and away from anything because it is very hot and can melt excess things. Once you have done this you can unplug it and wait for it to cool off until you can properly store it away.

Step 18: Building the Motors

Material needed:

Wire cutters

Soldering iron



Moist Sponge



3 motors

3 motor plastic caps

3 propellors

Electric tape

Rubbing alcohol


Plug in soldering iron and place it on its stand.

Take the wax container and take wax and make 3 quarter sized and 3 nickel sized balls of wax.

Take the electric tape and wrap it around each of the motor's sides.

Next tape the wire cutter and the wire.

Cut about an inch and a half off of the wire don't go all the way tough this will expose a black and red wire.

Cut the black and red wire a black an inch don't cut all the way into the copper wire, though.

On the back of the motors, there should be two silver loopholes. Take the copper wire and sew it through and loop it up. Make sure it is secure so it doesn't break or come off in the future.

Next take the solder and apply it to the iron where the copper hook loops in the holes.

Now take the quarter size ball and apply it to the side with the metal stick(just stick the wax through it)

Take the plastic motor cap and put it on top of it. The plastic motor cap has a hole in it so that the metal stick can go through it.

The apply the nickel-sized ball to the part that has the wiring make sure you spread the wax around to get under the wiring too.

Then close the cap in that side of the motor.

Next tough the wiring to another power source and make sure all motors are working.

If they are all working sandpaper the metal stick until it looks lighter and feels more smooth.

The apply rubbing alcohol on to it so you apply the propeller to it.

Take glue and squeeze some onto the metal stick part of the motor and then slide the propeller onto it but leave some space between the propeller and the motor or else it won't spin.

Do all of the steps for all 3 motors and wait until the glue has dried until you can attach it to the submersible.

Step 19: Connecting the Motors

Now attach the motors. You will need the 3 motors that you just made and as many ties to make the motors securely attached to your submersible structure. Make sure they are nice and secure or else as the motors are spinning they will slowly start to slide out of place.

The first motor will go on to of the structure we just made and face straight back (look to the photo for reference). This motor will move your sub forward and back.

Then the second motor will also go on this structure and face straight on the side. This motor will turn make the turns like left and right.

The final motor will go on the front of the sub and point straight down. This motor will push the sub up in the water. Use the ties to attach the motors.

The up/down motor goes on the front and the other two go in the back with the T-like structure.

Step 20: Extra Securing the Motors

To make sure that the motors are really secure and to prevent them from sliding, wrap each motor and the piece of PVC it attached to it with electrical tape. You will most likely need more than one layer of tape to get the full effect of the tape and to make sure that it is super secure.

Step 21: Wire Coloring Types

To complete the submersible we are going to work on the wiring. You will need 3 toggle switches and the 40 foot length wire.
Cut about 1 ½ feet of wire off of the 40 foot wire. Do this so you have 4 lengths of wire, three 1 ½ foot wires and one really long wire which should now be about 35 ½ feet long.

Grab one of the 1 ½ foot wires, and strip about 3 inches off one side of the wires and about 1 inch on the other side with wire strippers. A the lowest number on your wire stripper as the wire is pretty big and to cut the wire just cut into the wire and rotate the wire stipper aroudn the wire, then you can just snap it off, but be careful while doing this so you don’t damage the wires inside. Do the same for both sides of the really long wire but 3 inches on both sides.

Using one of the 1 ½ wires, separate out the different colors. You should have 4 colors: orange, blue, brown, and green. Each of these colors should have a white wire that it’s twisted with and if you look closely, the white wire has a little stripe of the solid color that it’s with, so the green wire is twisted with a white wire that has a green stripe.

We only need 3 wires so we went ahead and use blue, brown, and orange. Just take the green wire and bend it down, and if you mess up any of the other wires, you have a back up, so don’t cut it. There should also be a string entangled with the wires, don’t cut it, just push it to the side, you shouldn’t need to use it. Untwist the rest of the wires. Do this for all of the wires.

Step 22: Wiring the Motors

Be extra careful when stripping the wire because it's easy to accidentally cut or break the copper part inside the colored wires.
Take the wire strippers, and using the 26 slot, strip a few cm of the colored covering off of the colored wires and the white striped wires. Do this on all of the wires, the three 1 ½ foot wires and the one really long wire.

Now strip the black and red wires on the motors for all 3 motors the same way.

Once that’s done, take the really long wire and take the blue solid wire and solder it to the black wire from one of the motors.

Next solder the blue striped white wire to the red wire of that same motor.

Do this for all of them. The striped color on the red wire and it’s corresponding solid color on the black that’s attached to the same motor as the red wire.

Step 23: The Switches

For this next part, grab the 3 toggle switches.

Take one of the switches and look at the bottom of it, it should have 6 flat metal rods with holes sticking out.

Take the switch and hold it so that the longer side is horizontal, the flat rods should be in columns of 3 and rows of 2.

Next grab one of the 1 ½ foot wires, and make sure that the colored wires have been stripped a little bit and the copper wire is showing without any damage.

Take the solid colored wires, orange, blue, and brown, and create hooks on them with your fingers. Then hook them through the loopholes along the first row in that order.

So Orange should be on the left, blue in the middle, and brown on the right.

Now do the same thing on the bottom row wit the striped wire, but make sure that the color on he stripe is the same one as the solid on the row on the row above it.

Carefully solder the wires to the rods and make sure you cover the majority of the copper wire and make sure you melt it on both sides of the loop hole and also make sure that no wire, or solder is touching, or else your switches won't work properly.

Take some electric tape, and intertwine it between the wires, to double make sure that they don't touch.

Do this to the the other 2 switches, with the rest of the 1 ½ foot wires.

Step 24: Wiring Switches to Motor Pt. 1

Now for the tricky part. Pay close attention here.

Take one of the wire's attached to a switch and flip it to the side where the wires aren't currently attached to anything.

Grab the really long wire as well, and we'll be using the side that doesn't have any wires soldered to anything.

Go back to your switch wire and untwist the orange, blue and brown wire and move the green aside or fold it since it isn't attached to anything.

Once untwisted, you will need to grab the ORANGE SOLID wire, and the BROWN STRIPED and twist those together, this is important. Twist the copper wires together as well.

Do the same with the BROWN SOLID and the ORANGE STRIPED wires.

Leave the blue alone for now and repeat these steps for the rest of the switches.

Step 25: Wiring Switches to Motor Pt. 2

Now we will attach the switch wires to the long wire.

Grab the really long wire, and go to the side that isn't soldered to anything. Then push the green wire to side since it won't be used. Then grab the blue solid and striped wire on the long wire.

Take the brown solid and orange striped wires that are twisted together from the switch wire and twist it with the solid blue from the long wire. Now solder this together. After the solder cools down, wrap it with electric tape so that no other wires can touch it.

Now do the same thing with the orange solid, brown striped from the switch wire, and the striped blue from the long wire.

Repeat both of these steps with the other switches but solder them to orange solid and striped and the brown solid and striped from the long wire.

Step 26: Wiring Switches to Power Source

Now to give your motors power.

Grab you power source, and go to the end with the stripped wires. Take your switch wires and take the blue solids from all of them and solder them to the white wire front the power source

Now solder all the blue striped wires to the non-white wire from the power source.

Now you should be able use motors, try testing them out and see if the switches work both ways.

Step 27: Control Box

Once all of the wiring is finished you can solder holes in old tupperware and stick the switches in it. This will make it easier to use the switches and to control your submersible.

You don't have to use tupperware it is just an option(wood is a good option too) but this submersible used tupperware as the "control box" for the submersible.

Step 28: Securing the Joints

To the submersible electrical tape should be added to the end of each joint(Tee and elbows) this will secure the joints more and also cause less water to leak throughout of them also. Only one layer of take needs to be added to the joints make sure its smooth and tight when applying the tape.

Step 29: Drilling Holes and Adding Insulation

Drilling holes:

When drilling the holes you want to go all the way through so it is easier to fill when in water and to drain when out of water.

The submarine has 4 holes in a rectangle-like pattern as you can see in the third picture.

When drilling holes don't drill them on a joint PVC pipe because it will break easier. Drill the holes through straight PVC as you can see in the first picture. Make sure it is drilling in the center of the straight PVC. Drill all 4 holes before adding insulation.

Adding Insulation:

Only very little pieces of insulation is needed between the joints of the PVC pieces. More insulation needs to be in the back of the submersible because it slightly weighs more in the back since there are more motors in the back. Longer strips of insulation will be side to side in the middle of the hook. This will be easier to pick up objects because it will be lighter if there is more insulation near the hook.

Insulation can easier be cut with scissors or PVC cutters to get a clean, straight cut.

Step 30: Ending Product

This concludes the end of the Instructables you have learned to make a submarine that can fully work within a type of water and can pick up certain objects in water. You have also learned to wire a power source to create moving motors that function. If you have finished all of the steps to the Instructables then you have engineered a built and moveable submersible.

Nice instructable! <br>Keep up the good work :)
<p>Thank you so much!!</p>

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