Introduction: How to Make an Underwater ROV

The completed ROV should be able to go up and down and "fly" around through the water.

The materials that you will need:

  • small plastic box
  • 3 Rocker switches
  • 3 DC motors
  • Battery pack
  • 20 ft Ethernet cable
  • Goop
  • PVC pipe (big enough to fit your motors)
  • various weights
  • styrofoam

Tools that will be used:

  • Rotary Tool
  • Box Cutters
  • 3D Printer
  • Soldering Iron
  • Drill

Step 1: 3D Design

The first step is to 3D design your ROV, I used Autodesk Inventor. This process is the most important because this design should be aerodynamic and small. It has to be aerodynamic for the least amount of possible resistance and it should be small because the lighter your ROV the faster it will go and more efficient the movements will be. When putting the holes in for the motors make sure you measure the motors and make the holes the correct size.

Step 2: Propellors

The next step is to 3D design propellors on Autodesk Inventor so that your ROV is able to be moved through water. The easiest way to do this is to use the helix tool. If your measurements are off slightly and the propellors are too big, like mine were; you will have to design and print an insert as well.

Step 3: Printing

After you have completed 3D designing your ROV you will want to print your design.

Step 4: Motors

After the ROV is done being printed. You will want to solder wires onto your motors and use goop and PVC to water proof your tiny electric engines. Than insert them into the holes that you made on the ROV. Than add the propellors and you are complete with the ROV. Now onto the controller.

Step 5: Control Box

The first step is to measure your switches using calipers, so that the measurements are precise, and mark out the lines on the box that you will need to cut. For speed while cutting use a rotary tool with a plastic cutting wheel attachment. If you want a clean cut drill a hole the width of your switch and use box cutters to shape out the rest of hole. Either method you use, you will need wear proper safety protection and be careful to not cut your fingers or anything else on your body. You will also need to drill a whole on the side of the plastic box so that the wires can exit the box and go to the ROV.

Step 6: Control Box Pt. 2

You will want to wire each switch to a different motor but the same battery pack the same as in the picture. Once this is complete and you put batteries in the battery pack each motor should function. You should wire one switch for each of your motors.

Step 7: Testing

Once everything has been completed it is time for testing. Once you put the ROV in the water you will want to add weight and/or styrofoam to places so that it is level and is buoyant in the water. Once this has been completed the ROV should be able to go up and down by power of motors and glide through the water.

Step 8:

These are the inventor files for my first and second design. The smaller more rectangular design, once the buoyancy was correct, was the more successful one when gliding through the water. I also included the MakerBot files.

Robotics Contest 2017

Participated in the
Robotics Contest 2017