Introduction: PVC Submarine

These instructions are used to create a PVC pipe ROV submersible. This submarine is designed to be neutrally buoyant and retrieve objects from the bottom of a pool. There is a hook and a magnet to pick up washers and rings from the pool.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Materials list:

  • 8 - ½ “3 way pvc elbows connectors
  • 3 - t pvc connectors
  • 1 - 10’ x ½ “pvc pipe
  • 10 - Zip ties
  • 1 - 0.6 oz stick of solder
  • 1 - 3’ pipe Insulation
  • 1 - Plumber wax ring
  • 1 - Set of motor stickers
  • 3 - 1’ 22 awg double wire
  • 3 - propellers
  • 1 - 40’ 24/4-Gauge Category 5e Riser Internet Wire - Gray
  • 1 - Roll of Electrical Tape
  • 3 - 12V DC 6000RPM Torque Magnetic Mini Electric Motor for DIY Toys Car
  • 1 - LASCO 1/2-in and 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 P-Trap

Tools List:

  • 1 - Pvc Pipe cutter
  • 1 - Soldering iron
  • 1 - Yellow Wire Cutters
  • 1 - Blue Wire Cutters

Step 2: Measure and Mark the Cuts

First, we have to build the frame so take the 2 10 x 1/2" PVC pipes, and start measuring out the cuts listed below with a measuring tape or ruler and mark where you’re going to cut:

  • 10 - 10” pvc pipes
  • 6 - 4½” pvc pipes
  • 2 - 4” pvc pipes

Step 3: Cut the PVC Pipes

After measuring out and marking all of the cuts you’re going to make on your PVC pipes, use the PVC pipe cutters and cut on all of the lines you drew.

Using the PVC pipe cutters:

If you don't know how to use PVC cutters, you're going to pull the handles until the blades open and revel a slot for the PVC pipe to go. Line up the line that you want to cut on to the blade, and start pushing the handles together until it cuts all the way through the PVC pipe. Just note that not all PVC pipes are the same, and how your PVC pipe cutter could work differently. It might be a good idea to test out the PVC pipe cutter on scrap PVC pipe if you can.

Step 4: Assembling the Frame

Take 2 of the 4½” PVC pipes and 1 t-PVC connector. Connect the 2 4½” PVC pipes to each of the top sides of the t-PVC connector. Then take 2 elbow connectors and add them to each of the sides of the 4½” PVC pipe that isn't connected to the t-PVC pipes. I doesn't matter which side of the 3-way elbow you connect to the PVC pipe.

Step 5: Assembling the Frame: Base

Take 2 more 3-way PVC pipes and 1 10" PVC pipe that you cut out. Attach one 3-way elbow to each of the sides of the 10" PVC pipe. It doesn't matter which side you use. Now, take 2 10" PVC pipes and attach the two pieces you just made to make a square.

Step 6: Assembling the Frame: Sides

Take 4 of the 10" PVC pipes and attach them in the empty holes on the 3-way connectors in the base that you just built.

Step 7: Assembling the Frame: Top

Attach 4 3-way elbow connectors to the tops of the sides you attached in the last step. Take a 10" PVC and attach 2 t-PVC connector onto them. Attach the elbow to where the bottom part is connected to the PVC pipe, and put it off to the side. From there, attach the 4 4 ½" PVC pipes that are labeled A, B, C, and D in the bottom picture. Then, attach the piece you set aside in between the 4 ½" pieces you just attached. Finally, take the 2 10" PVC pipes and connected it on the top sides to create a complete square.

Step 8: Assembling the Frame: the Hook

Take the 2 4" PVC pipes and the LASCO 1/2-in and 3/4-in Dia. PVC Sch 40 P-Trap. Take the 4" PVC pipes and attach them on each side if the LASCO PVC pipe.Then take the side with the flat edge and attach it to the base of the sub in the t-PVC that you left an empty slot in.

Step 9: Terminals

Collect your three motors and mark which terminal in positive.

Step 10: Seal Motor

Use the set of motor stickers to cover the holes in the motor. If you do not have the stickers you can use electrical tape to cover the holes. There are three stickers. One for the top and one for the bottom. On the bottom sticker point the flat sides at the terminals. The third sticker is used to wrap around the motor.

Step 11: Stripping

Using the yellow wire cutters remove 1 inch of the insulation around the 1’ 22 awg wire. This will expose the red and black wires inside the insulation. Strip about a ¼ of an inch of the red and black wires.

Step 12: Solder Motors

Solder the red cable in the 1’ cable to the positive terminal of the motor that you marked earlier. And solder the black cable to the negative terminal.

Step 13: Wax Ring

Take the the plumber’s wax ring and scoop some wax out of the ring with your fingers.

Step 14: Canister

Drill a hole in the center of the top and bottom of the film canister. One hole in the lid and the other in the bottom.

Step 15: Wax Balls

Then roll the wax into balls. Create three balls that have the diameter of a quarter(24.26 mm) and three balls that have the diameter of a nickel(21.21 mm).

Step 16: 1st Wax Ball

Place one of the smaller balls on top of the motor. Push the shaft of the motor through the ball of wax.

Step 17: Motor in Canister

Push the motor into the canister so that the shaft of the motor will go through the hole in the bottom of the film canister. Push down with some forces so that there in a tight seal created with the wax.

Step 18: 2nd Wax Ball

Push the larger ball into the container. Squish it down so that it covers the top of the motor some of the wax should still be sticking out. Also make sure that the wires are still sticking out.

Step 19: Seal Canister

Put the wires through the hole in the cap. Slide the cap all the way down and push it on tight. Push hard and once the cap snaps close there will be a tight seal with the wax. Clean off excess wax.

Step 20: Repeat

Repeat this steps three times so that you have three motors.

Step 21: Propeller

Using one of the propellers attach it to the shaft of one of the motors. Put gorilla glue on the shaft of the motor and push the propeller on to the shaft. Make sure that it's not all the way down. Wait for it to dry.

Step 22: Repeat

Repeat the previous step for all of the motors.

Step 23: Gather Materials for Wires

Make sure that part two has been complete, and that the 3 motors are attached to the sub. Start gathering the materials. Once you got the materials, start untangling both ends of the wire. Here are the materials:

  1. Yellow Wire Cutters with a 16 gauge
  2. Blue Wire Cutters with a 24 gauge
  3. 40 inch Internet cables
  4. Soldering iron
  5. Solder
  6. The sub with the motors attached
  7. Electrical Tape

Step 24: Move the Motor Wires

Take the three motor cables take them to the back of the sub. Hold all the wires together and pull it over the top of the sub so it does not get tangled.

Step 25: Cutting the Internet Cable Part 1

Use the Yellow wire cutters and cut off 1 inch of the wire on one side. You will see 8 wires tangled in groups of 2 and a white string. Cut the white string off with a pair of scissors while making sure not to cut any of the wires inside.

Step 26: Cutting the Internet Cable Part 2

As you can see in the picture, there are 4 colors and 2 for each type. Each color is wrapped together. There are blue, blue striped, green, green striped, orange, orange striped, brown, and brown striped. The team choose that the brown was the worst color so we took both the brown striped and solid and folded it downwards to leave the 3 wires left. Untangle the 6 other wired and make it clear that there are only 6 wires and not three.

Step 27: Cutting the Internet Cable Part 3

Using the blue wire cutters, cut 1cm off of each wire using the 22-24 setting. At the end, it should look like the picture.

Step 28: Motors and Wires

Every motor has a red wire and a black wire and every motor is going to use two wires of the 40’ cord and they need to be the same color. Pick the color you want for the each motor and make sure that each motor has the same colors. The red wires go to the striped and the black wires go to the solid.

Step 29: Connecting the Wires to the Motors

It is time to twist all the wires together. Take a red wire and the blue striped wire and start wrapping them together and braiding them together on the copper. Once you do this, it should be tight and be able to stay with someone pulling it. Repeat this with the other 5 wires and remember that each motor is a color and red is stripped and black is solid.

Step 30: Soldering the Wires to the Motor

The braid not very secure when it is under the water and therefore we need to solder it. If you don’t know how to solder, please watch the following video on how to solder. While you are watching the video, start heating up the soldering iron and get the solder ready. After that place, the soldering iron right on the copper of the wire and wait 10 seconds for it to heat up. Place the solder on the wire and let it melt down to allow it to cover the wire and give it a secure holding. Repeat this on each of the 6 wires. Make sure not to breathe it all in because it is very deadly.

Step 31: Tape Up the Connection

To make the final product the best it can be, you are going to want it to be even more secure. To do this wrap electrical tape around the copper opening to close it up. This also helps for when the sub is in the water and could short.

Step 32: Strip the Wire

Strip 1 inch off the end of the gray wire to expose the 8 wires inside. Have all of your switches ready for the next step.

Step 33: Wire the Switch

Pick three wire colors to use for wiring. For our sub we used orange, blue, and green. Each color has two wires. Keep all of the solid colors on one side of the switch, and the striped wires on the other. The solid green wire should be across from the green striped wire, as pictured. The bottom of the switch is has metal loops for the wires to be connected. Pull each wire through the loop and wrap it around it to keep it connected. Complete this process with all 3 colors.

Repeat this step for each switch.

Step 34: Soldering

After all of your wires are securely connected in the right place it’s time to solder. You will need a soldering iron and solder that is not lead based. The switches can melt very easily, so do not place the soldering iron on the switch before applying the solder. Place the solder on top of the wire and touch it with the soldering iron to melt it. Once a small ball of solder is covering the wire, remove the soldering iron from the switch. Repeat this step until every wire is soldered to the switch.

Step 35: Starting the Controller

You will need a 8” x 3” piece of wood for the controller. Drill 3 small holes into the wood and insert the switches through the bottom.

Step 36: Positioning Switches

Make sure all of the switches are oriented correctly. Switches have two directions, forwards and backwards. Position them all so that they are all going forwards when pushed away from you, and all go backwards when pushed towards you.

Step 37: Tape the Switches

After all of your switches are oriented correctly you need to make sure they stay in. Use electrical tape to secure them to the controller