Introduction: One Person Submersible From a Plastic Drum

(In the near future I will be attempting to upgrade to steel ballast)


Also, to all who comment saying that I will be sued for reckless endangerment, its not illegal to share a dangerous idea on the internet.

Many years ago, as an imaginative child, I dreamed of building my own submarine. Its been many years, and now I have the skill, and knowledge to make one myself.

Now its your turn...

This cost surprisingly little, and consists of only a few parts. Because you could probably make your own from one picture, this Intractable is more to inspire and document than to instruct.

Step 1: Materials

- a Plastic drum 50-55 gallon (about person sized)
- one or more 5 gallon buckets
- medium strength rope
- about 12 ft of 2X4
- enough cement to fill several 5 gallon buckets
- a reciprocating or rotary disc saw (dermal/rotozip)
- Plexiglas
- silicon caulking
- short stainless steel screws
- boiler valve and some fittings
- eyebolts with nuts, and washers

Step 2: Window

Using the saw, cut a hole in the side of the barrel one inch smaller than your acrylic.
Drill out the holes where the screws will go in both the barrel and the window, this will prevent splitting
Before screwing the window to the hole, apply silicon glue liberally.
Screw down the window, such that all of the silicon spreads, and forms a continuous seal around the seam.

Step 3: Ballast

1) learn how to mix cement, if you cant find someone who can

there is no real way of telling how much cement will be needed to sink all of the air, but if you assume that the air takes up 2/3 of the drum, and ones head and shoulders take up 1/2 of that, than it can be assumed that there could be as many as 20 gallons of air, the buoyancy of which must be overcome.

So, math time:

Density of water = the total density of the submersible necessary for neutral buoyancy = 1

Density = mass/volume
density of cement = 2.4
(density of cement x volume of cement)/(volume of cement+volume of air)=1
(2.4 x C)/(C+A)=1 (C= volume of cement, A= volume of Air)
2.4 x C = C+A
Thus, 1.4 is the ratio of cement to air, and for 20 gallon of air, 15 gallons of cement should be needed. That means about three 5 gallon buckets full.

Step 4: Mixing Cement

 Mixed cement should be poured into buckets as molds. A bolt should be set in the cement with a washer to hold it in, and suspended in the middle as the cement dries. When dry, the bucket can be removed by hanging the block from the bolt, and tapping the bucket with the handle of a hammer.
Do this three times in a row, or all at once, if you have enough buckets and cement or whatnot.

Step 5: Mounting Ballast

 4 foot long sections of 2x4 work well as frame to suspend the weights from.
The way in which one attaches the ropes that suspend the frame is dependent on their barrel, but i used a repeating up/down pattern so that only one piece of rope would have to be used.

Step 6: Valves

 I don't have any pictures, but ill see if i can put some up later.

It would be a good idea to install a valve at the top to adjust air levels inside, and acheive neutral buoyancy

this could also be helpfull in replenishing the air supply between dives

Step 7: Safety and Accessories


if you DIE, I am not responsible, YOU took this on at your own risk
drowning is very possible in the device, I suggest using it in a pool first, using it with an adult, and doing primary tests unmanned.

SUFFOCATION IS ALSO A HUGE SAFTY RISK, limit dives to no more than five minutes, and be sure to get fresh air into the chamber between dives.

EMBOLISM: the popping of your lungs. always exhale while ascending.

for accessories, I would say: cellphone/ walky-talky in a jar, emergency air supply (compressed air in a bottle), timer fo watching dive times. goggle or mask, knife for cutting ropes and freeing weight if situation becomes dire.