Introduction: PVC Submersible 46

This is a PVC submarine build in our school, Plano Academy High. The challenge was to build a sub to demonstrate our growth in engineering and have the sub compete in a game between other teams and their subs. This build took around 2 weeks.

Step 1: Materials

For this sub design, you will need to gather the following materials.


  • 5 elbow connectors
  • 2 T connectors
  • 1 Cap
  • 10 ft PVC


  • 3 Switches
  • 3 motors
  • (1) 1 ½ strand of ethernet and (1) 80in strand of ethernet
  • Electrical wire
  • Propellers
  • Electrical tape


  • 25 zip-ties
  • sponge
  • Wax
  • Sandpaper
  • Motor stickers
  • Motor casing
  • Magnet


  • PVC Cutter
  • soldering iron
  • solder
  • Wire strippers
  • Sharpie

Step 2: Cut PVC

You will need to cut the PVC into appropriate lengths.

  • You will need 5 of the 6 inch PCV
  • You will need 2 of the 3 inch PVC
  • You will need 3 of the 1 ft pvc

You may need to cut the pieces a bit shorter than their lengths listed, as adding the end connectors will add to the length of the pipes. Use a PVC cutter to effectively cut the PVC, as it will give you clean cuts as straight as possible. Be careful with it and do not let your fingers close to the blade, as it will definitely hurt you. Cut the 1ft pieces first, then 6in., then 3in. Set aside the 3in. pieces for later in construction.

Step 3: Assemble Frame Part One

Now it's time to assemble the frame together

  1. Take an elbow connector and attach it to one of your 1 ft PVC pipes
  2. Attach another one at the other end of the 1 ft PVC pipe
  3. Take one of your six-inch pieces and attach it to your second elbow connector
  4. At the other end of the piece attach one of your T connectors so that the bottom of the T is facing down
  5. On the other arm of the T attach another 6 in PVC. You should now have an L shape with a T connector facing down.
  6. At the end of the second 6 in piece attach another elbow connector
  7. Then attach another 1 ft piece to the end of that elbow connector. You should now have a U shape, but more square
  8. Like with the other 1 ft piece, you need to attach one more elbow connector on the other side
  9. Next, attach one of the other 6 in pieces to the end of the new elbow connector
  10. At the end of the 6 in piece put another T connect facing the same way the First T was
  11. Put the other 6 in at the end of T-connector so it matches the other side
  12. Finally, attach the end of the 6 into the open elbow connector on the first 1 ft piece. You should now have a square with to T connectors at opposite ends facing downwards.

Step 4: Assembly Part 2

You're almost done with the frame, next you're going to assemble the bottom part.

  • First, at the bottom of each T-connector, you're going to attach one of the 3 in pieces
  • Then at the T-connector you want to be the back of the sub attach the final elbow connector
  • After that attach the last piece of 1 ft PVC
  • At the end of the 1 ft PVC attach the last T connector, then make sure it lines up and can attach to the other piece of 3in PVC, then attach it.
  • After that put the last piece of the 6 in in the arm of the T
  • Lastly, put the cap on the end
  • Hold a magnet to the end of the cap and apply with electrical tape

Step 5: Motors

Time to make some motors to drive your sub!

  • Put stickers on the holes of the motors
  • Role 3 nickel size and three-quarter sized balls out of wax for a total 6
  • Put the put one wax ball of each size into the motor casing, then squish the motor into the case, and put on the cap
  • Then take the electric cords, and use the wire strippers to expose 1 in of the wiring
  • After that, solder them to the motor terminals, make sure you solder positive and negative to the correct places
  • Then wire it to a power score, and sand down the shaft of the motor
  • After that take a propeller put some super glue in it, and put it on the shaft but make sure it does NOT touch the bottom of the motor

Step 6: Mounting the Motors

Time to mount those motors on the sub!

  • Hold motor at an angle outward. (so that the blades do not hit the pipe)
  • Secure with zip-tie, keep zip tie a little loose.
  • Take another zip-tie, loop around the other zip-tie, and make an X shape with both zip-ties
  • Take another zip-tie and loop it through the first zip-tie.
  • Secure with electrical tape.
  • Repeat 1 time
  • Take the 3rd motor and face it upward, away from the sub
  • Take 2 zip-tie and secure them horizontally
  • Secure with electrical tape.

Step 7: Electrical

Time to make your sub work all together!

  • Select switch or switches you will use
  • Strip the ends of the foot and a half ethernet wire 3 inches.
  • Choose one color of the 4 wires in the ethernet you don't want to use the WHOLE time
  • There will be 3 remaining colors in the ethernet, on the bottom of the switch there are 6 pins to attach the wires to. Choose one color to be the middle wires for all the switches and then solder the wires to the switches.
  • At this point the switches are soldered to the short piece of ethernet, Next is to connect the 2 ethernet strands together.
  • Strip the other end of the short strand of the ethernet and the beginning of the long strand of ethernet
  • Combine the wires across from each other in the 6 terminals of the switches at the other side. (Ex. Top left → bottom right)
  • When you combine the wires across from each other, you will also want to combine the 3 wires of the same color you chose for the middle terminal. These are the wires that transfer power.
  • The combined power wires are going to be soldered to the power brick (charger)
  • The white wire of the charger goes to the white wires that are combined and the silver goes to the selected color for the power output.
  • The rest of the combined wires will go to each color for each motor at the other end. For example, the combined blues will go with the blue, the combined blue-whites will go to the white. This will be repeated for the 2 other colors.
  • This takes the 3 switches to the short ethernet to the long ethernet.
  • Next, take the 3 colors that you have connected to the short ethernet at the other end. These 3 colors will go to your 3 motors (for example)
  • The final steps are to take the whites of the colors and attach them to the black wires of the motors. Take the colored wires and attach them to the red wires at the other terminal of the motors.
  • Test the system by plugging in the charger, and flip the switches to their according motors

Step 8: Enjoy Your New Sub

congratulations you did it! Have fun with your new sub!