Introduction: BTS-Silhouettes Submersible

How to build our sub

Step 1: Material & Cut List


Soldering iron

Pipe cutter

Measuring tape


Permanent Marker

Wire strippers

Latex Free Gloves


7/32 drill bit

Driver Dremel tool

1/8 drill bit

1/2 in hole saw bit


1x 1/2 in. x 10 ft. PVC Sch. 40 Plain-End Pipe

4x 1/2 in. Schedule 40 PVC 90-Degree Elbow

4x 1/2 in. Schedule 40 PVC Tee

2x 1/2 in. PVC Sch. 40 Socket Cap

3x Momentary switches

1x 80 feet CAT5 wire

3x 2 feet CAT 5 wire

4x 1-foot red and black double core wire

1x Your choice of small rectangle tupperware container with lid

1x Roll of electrical tape

4x clear plastic film canisters

1x Lead-Free Solder Wire

1x ring of toilet bowl wax

4x Small 12 Volt DC Motors

4x propellers

2x Disk magnet

2x 1 in. Wood screws

1x 12v dc power cord 10a

2x 1 by 4 by 5 block of wood

10x Zip tie

Cut List:
2x 12 in. pvc pipe

1x 11 in. pvc pipe

4x 3 in. pvc pipe

2x 5 in. pvc pipe

2x 2 in. pvc pipe

Step 2: Cutting the Pipes

  • Using the measuring tape and permanent marker, put lines in the stated places.
    • Choose one end of the 10ft ½ in. PVC pipe to start from
    • Put the end of the tape measure on the chosen end and extend the tape to the 62 in.
    • Using the permanent marker make a clear line going perpendicular to the measuring tape at the 12, 24, 35, 38, 41, 44, 47, 52, 57, 59, 61 in. marks of the measuring tape. *Make sure that the line is straight and clear to see
    • Using the pipe cutter, put the pipe between the metal holder and the blade. Before you start cutting make sure that the blade is lined up in the middle of the pipe.

    • Once have the pipe in place close to the two metal prongs together until stopped then release and pull apart. Then repeat until the pipe is cut.

Step 3: Building the Frame (part 1)

  • This is the body or structure of the submersible. This will be composed of the cut PVC pipes and the PVC pipe fittings.
    • For the first part of the frame, you need the 2 12in. Pvc pipes, 4 3in. Pvc pipes, 2 tee PVC fittings, 4 90-degree PVC fittings.
    • Once collected those materials, take one of the 3 in pipe and attach it to one side of the tee pipe fitting. Make sure that it is not the one that is coming out from the middle bottom of the fitting.
    • Then connect another 3 in. pipe to the other end of the fitting. Make sure that it is not the one that is coming out from the middle bottom of the fitting.
    • Then using 2 of the 4 90-degree fittings attach those two to the ends of the 3 in pipes, so that the two 3 in pipes are in between the tee fitting and the 90-degree fittings.
    • Next, connect one of the 12 in. pipes to one of the 90-degree fittings. Do that again just for the open 90-degree fitting. From looking down it should like a “U” right now.
    • Next, add one 90-degree to one end of one of the 12 in. pipes. Do this again just for the other 12 in. pipe.
    • Next, add the two remaining 3 in. pipes to either side of the 90-degree fitting, so that one of the pipes goes to one of the fittings.
    • To complete the first part of the frame add in the last tee fitting connecting the 3in. Pipes together.
    • Should look like the photo above (able to make minor adjustments by twisting the fittings in the right direction)

Step 4: Building the Frame (Part 2)

  • This is the body or structure of the submersible. This will be composed of the cut PVC pipes and the PVC pipe fittings.
    • For this part of the frame, you will need 2 of the PVC pipe caps, 2 5 in. PVC pipes, 2 tee fittings. This will be making two of the same so to build the first one you will only need one of each.
    • Attach the PVC pipe cap to the end of the 5 in. pipe.
    • Attach the tee fitting to the other side of the 5 in. pipe. Make sure that it is not the one that is coming out from the middle bottom of the fitting.
    • Repeat these past 2 steps to get
    • These will give you two B pieces like the picture given

Step 5: Building the Frame (Part 3)

  • You will be attaching the two pieces that you created before.
    • Attach the 11 in. pipe to one of the b pieces so that the open part of the tee fitting perpendicular.
    • Attach the other b piece open side of the 11 in. pipe.

Step 6: Building the Frame (Part 4)

  • You will be attaching the rectangle frame to the other frame piece.
    • Using the two 2 in. pipes attach them to the tee fittings that are open.

Step 7: Setting Up the Motors:

  • Using a 1/8in drill bit and a drill, drill a hole directly through the center of the base of each film canister
  • Next, make 8 spheres of wax about the diameter of a nickel or a quarter (your choice)
  • Now take your wire strippers and strip both ends of the double core black and red wires enough to give about two centimeters of copper showing
  • Then make hooks on both the black and red ends of copper wire
  • Now you’re going to put the copper hooks you made onto the aluminum hooks on the motor, match the red wire to the side with the red dot and the black to the side with no dot
  • The next step is to hold the soldering iron on the copper and aluminum for about 15 seconds and then add solder to the wire, the hot wire will melt the solder and create a strong bond between the two metals (repeat wire stripping and hooks and soldering for all motors)
  • Now take one ball of wax and one film canister and insert the ball into the canister ( repeat that for the rest of the canisters)
  • Next take a motor and push it through the end, into the wax, and have the shaft of the motor come out of the hole you drilled earlier, and push it all the way through.
  • Now take another ball of wax and put it on to the other end of the motor and canister and spread it evenly
  • Then take the end of the double core wire and stuff it through the hole of the cap for the canister, and bring the cap all the way down till it closes (last 3 steps for all motors and film canisters)

Step 8: Creating Motor Mounts

Attach the motors based on this photo using wooden motor mounts. To make the mounts you take a 1x4 piece of wood, about 5 inches long, on one end of the wood drill a hole using a ½ hole saw, that hole will go on the pvc. For the other, take a hole saw that fits the size of the film canister and drill a hole that size on the other end of the wood, now all you have to do is slide the mounts over the pvc on the sides of the sub, and insert the motors and adjust it accordingly.

Step 9: Soldering the Motors to the CAT 5 Wire

  • This will allow the motors to get power and attach to the switches
    • Strip one end of the CAT 5 outer layer of non-conductor
    • Then there should be 8 wires in the outer layer, separate all 8 of the wires and strip them all
    • Now take one matching set of colored wire (orange, and orange and white, blue, and blue and white, brown, and brown and white, or green, and green and white), and pair up the solid color wire to the red wire on the opposite end of double core wire, and the white and colored stripe to the black (do this 3 more times only using different colors each time)
    • Then solder up each individual twisted joint so that the solder covers
    • Should look something like this

Step 10: Setting Up the Switches:

  • This will be able to give the user a controlling tool to manage the direction of the motors.
    • Take a switch, and a stripped 2-foot section of CAT 5 cable, and wire it according to the top picture of this step and solder ( repeat step for all switches and all 2-foot sections of CAT 5 wire)
    • For the other end of the switches you wanna strip 6 wires (the other two can be cut off, they are not being used) and you want to pair up the opposite corners to each other, so in this case green with blue and white, and blue with green and white, the middle 2 aluminum hooks are going to be power (repeat that for all the switches)
    • Now that the wires are paired up, one pair will be for the red wire off of the motor (or whatever color it turned into after adding the CAT 5 wire) and the other pair will be for the black
    • Pair the red to one pair and the black to the other, and solder those individual joints, if you want one switch controlling more than one motor, just twist and solder to two or more motors rather than one.
    • Now it’s time for the power, in my case all of the switches have orange as a power and orange and white as a power, so I have to bring all the orange wires together from each switch, and twist all 3 solid orange wires with any power wire from the dc power cord and solder those together
    • Then I have to bring all of my oranges and whites together, and the other power wire, twist those together and solder them.

Step 11: Controller

  • This gives the switches an organized spot that gives ease to the user of the submersible.
    • Cut a rectangle out of the plastic container using the Dremel tool. The rectangle should be 2 in. by 1 in. and located at the bottom of the container.
    • When the container is sitting its original form drill a hole using the 7/32 drill bit in the back side of container and ⅔ of the length to the right.
    • Then on the lid of the container drill two holes using the drill and the drill bit 7/32 at the middle vertically by at ⅓ and ⅔ of the length to the right.
    • Next on the three switches twist off the bolts from the top of the switches. Feed the switches through the rectangle and put the right motor switch through the right hole. Put the left motor switch in the left hole and the up and down motor switch on the backside hole.
    • Once you can see the toggle for the switches screw the bolts back on so that the switches are secure to the container.