Introduction: BTS - 33 - Submersible

This Instructable will teach you how to make a submersible with a 3 switch control.

Step 1: Materials

This Instructable should be attempted with adult supervision.

Materials: Ten feet of ½” PVC pipe

4 ½” PVC elbow fittings

3 ½” PVC tee connectors

A magnet

One screw

1 ½” PVC cap

3 motors

40 feet of wire (cat5e)

6 zip ties

2 sets of wire strippers (small and large)

Soldering iron


PVC cutter


Latex gloves


3 motors

3 motor wires

3 film canisters

Isopropyl alcohol

3’ Pool noodle


Electrical Tape


6in by 3in plywood

A drill

A saw

Thin wood

A screw

Screw driver


Step 2: Securing Magnet and Cutting PVC

Gather the PVC cap, magnet, and screw. Attach the magnet to your cap by drilling and small hole in the cap. Put the magnet on the screw and use the screwdriver to screw the magnet and screw to the cap. Make sure the drill bit used is smaller than the screw and in the center of the cap as manageable.
On the end of the PVC pipe place the PVC cap. Wrap electrical tape around the cap to keep it secure.

The first step in creating the PVC base for your submersible is measuring out seven one foot sections of the ten foot long ½” PVC. Next measure out two six inches sections of the PVC.

Using the PVC cutters cut each of the sections you previously measured.

Step 3: PVC Frame and Motors

Begin creating the PVC base of your sub by placing two elbow fittings on each end of one of a foot long pieces of PVC

Next connect two more foot long pieces of PVC to the other sides of each elbow joint creating a U shape. On the open end of the two PVC pipes you connected in step Five, connect one tee PVC joint on each open side. Place another foot long piece of PVC connecting the two sides of the the U shape.

Place two foot long PVC pieces into the open end of the tee joint. Connect one elbow joint on each of the 1´ PVC pipes you connected in step 8. Then connect one six inch PVC on each elbow end. Add a tee PVC to connect the 2 six inch PVC pipes. With the one part of the tee PVC sticking out, add the last 1´ PVC piece.

Now grab your three motor wires, motors, and film canisters. To begin assembling the motors. Mush one of your quarter sized balls of wax into the bottom of one film canister. Next place the motor on top of the wax in the canister, followed by the smaller ball of wax. Make sure the wire connected to the motor sticks up through the middle of the wax. Finally slide the cap on over the wire and close the canister.

Step 4: Motors Continued

Take one of the motors and make sure it works using a power supply. Strip the end that connects to the computer/device and there will be a white wire (positive) and a black wire (Negative). Strip them about an inch. Temporarily connect the black wire to the black wire on the motor and the white wire to the red on the motor by twisting the wire together. Plug the power supply into an outlet to make sure the motor works. If not, open the film canister and check for any issues with the wire. While powering the motor, press sandpaper firmly on the spinning axle while spinning. After about 10 seconds of sanding apply a few drops of isopropyl alcohol; Rub it on the axle using rubber gloves. Attach the propellers using a few drops of superglue. Make sure the propeller is all the way on and apply the superglue only when in the action of applying the propellers to the axle of the motor. Remove the power supply from the motors untwisting them from the wire.

Next begin attaching the motors to the PVC. Take your first motor and line it up with the bottom row of PVC, farthest from the piece sticking straight out of the sub. The motor should be parallel to the sides of your sub with the propellor facing backwards. Now begin securing the motor to the PVC with a zip tie. Loop the zip tie around the PVC and the motor and pull it tight. After you have tightened the first zip tie, place another zip tie around the motor, crossing the second through the path of the other zip tie to form an X.

Step 5: Attaching the Motors

Place another motor on the middle rung of the sub, propeller facing down towards the ground, then use your 2 zip ties to make an x shape again, securing the motor.

Place your last motor on the same tee pipe that your magnet is connected to facing left, then use your 2 zip ties to make an x shape To make sure the motors will stay in place on the submersible, wrap electrical tape around the submersible and your motors, over the zip ties.

Step 6: Begin Wiring

Now begin the wiring steps for the submarine. Take the wires connected to the motors and strip them. You do this by starting with the gray wire coming out of one motor and putting the wire in the number 14 slot on the yellow wire stripers. Leave about a inch and a half of space from the end of the wire and squeezing all the way through. Pull the gray casing off by keeping the cutters clamped and dragging the wire casing off the end. Do this with all three motor wires.

You should see a red and a black wire protruding from the gray wire you just stripped. Using the blue wire cutters on size 24, strip both the red and black wires, stripping a whole inch off. At this point the wire should be exposed. Do this with all three motors. Leave the motors for now and cut 1 foot of wire from the 40 foot long wire 3 times giving you 3 pieces of 1 foot wire. Strip the wire using step 33. You should see 4 sets of twisted wire. Untwist 6 of the 8 twisted wires and fold the last set of twisted wires out of the way. Through the next process you will not need the still twisted wires unless one of the wires you choose breaks and you need to use the last set as a back up.

Strip the untwisted wires taking about ½ an inch off using the blue cutters on 24. Once striped bend the brass wire to create small hooks. Repeat steps 36-37 on the other two pieces of larger wire.

Step 7: Connecting Switches

For this step you will need your 3 switches. Hook all 3 of the white wires down one side of the 6 hooks on the bottom of the switch and the 3 fully colored wires on the other.

Once a wire is hooked, use the soldering iron to connect the wire to the metal. Put the soldier on the tip of the soldering iron while touching the metal of the stripped wire for about 1-2 seconds. Make sure the solder from one wire is not touching another. If the wire is not securely connected you may apply more. Do this for every wire on all three switches. (If one of the soldered wires touches another use just the hot soldering iron to remelt the solder and remove it so they no longer tough.)

Step 8: Connecting Wires

Strip the gray casing off the now 37 foot wire about 7in (approx). Untwist the wires and strip about 1.5 inches off each of the 8 wires.

Take any two of those 8 wires and solder them to the wires of one motor. Do this for every motor. You are going to connect each switch to a motor through the longer (37ft) wire. Follow the directions holding the switch so that there are 3 wire connection points up to down (vertical) and 2 side to side (horizontal) on the back of the switch (where the wires are connected) as the dimensions through steps 44-47. An easy way to find what wire is what is the color. Even the white wires have a small but noticeable colored line. Find the two wires you connected to the positive (red) and negative (black) of one motor to the longer wire as they will now be what is referred to the positive and negative wires. Connect the positive wire of the motor to the top left and bottom right corresponding wires of the switch and twist them together. Connect the negative wire of the motor to the top right and bottom left wires of the switch. Twist them together temporarily so they can be soldered later.

Step 9: Connecting to the Power Source

Take the middle two wires (in the middle of the switch (the ones still not connected)) and connect one of them to the white (positive) wire and the other to the black (negative) wire on the power supply. Twist them together temporarily so they can be soldered later. All three will be connected to the power supply.

Repeat steps 44-46 for the other 2 switches and their corresponding motors (Any switch is fine for any motor just make sure each switch has its own motor. Solder the twisted wires in steps 43-45. Wrap the wires using electrical tape to the submarine so that they do not pull or strain in a spot out of the way of the motors.

Step 10: Switchboard

Cut a small piece of thin wood to act as your switch board. Using a ¼ drill bit drill three symmetrical and evenly spaced holes into the thin piece of wood. Untwist the washer on the top of the switch and push the top of the switch through the one of the hole you just drilled. Screw the washers back on to secure the switches. Face the switch in the direction you wish to use it in before tightening Repeat the last step for the other two switches.

Step 11: Finished Submersible!

Your Done!