Introduction: Underwater Viewer

I was trying to figure out a better way for the kids to hunt crawdads, salamanders, look at fish etc., in the river.  When you flip over a rock, it is hard to see through the running water, and the mud you just stirred up.  So, I came up with this simple idea to make as my first instructable. It's simple, cheap, and doesn't take long to complete. 

Step 1: Gather Materials

For this instructable, you will need the following items:
1 five gallon bucket (had it laying around the house)
1 piece of plexi-glass or lexan, big enough for the bottom of the bucket (again, had it laying around)
1 Jig saw and blade
1 marker
1 Drill with bit large enough for the saw blade
2 small screws
1 screwdriver
1 tube of silicone or other sealant
2 scrap pieces of wood

Step 2:

Mark the bottom of the bucket, about 1.5 - 2 inches from the outside edge.  Then mark the clear plastic.  I used the outside of the bucket first, then marked the cut line between the mark on the bucket and the mark on the plastic.  You want the plastic to be a little bit larger than the hole will be on the bucket.  When you get it marked, drill a hole the bottom of the bucket.  Drill the hole to the inside of the line so that you will have a smooth circle when you get done cutting.

Step 3:

Use the jig saw to cut the bottom out of the bucket.  As you can see, there is no evidence of the drill hole.  This will make it easier to seal the clear plastic on later.  Now the hard part, cutting the plexi-glass.  This is where the scrap wood comes into play.  You want to drill a starter hole through the plastic.  This time on the outside of the line you made.  Use the scrap wood to sandwich the plastic and drill the hole.  If you don't use the wood, you will probably crack or break the plastic.  I had a piece that already had some holes drilled in it, so it made it easy to see where I wanted to drill.
Once the hole is drilled, use the jig saw to cut out the circle.  Again, sandwich the plastic between the wood.  You will need to cut through the plastic and the bottom piece of wood.  My top piece had the large hole in it so that I could see my lines.  Take your time here so that you will get a good smooth cut and not break the plastic.

Step 4:

When I finished with my cuts, I cleaned the edges of the work piece.  Then I drilled two small holes in the plastic for the screws to go through.  Use the wood, or it will break.  Then, I applied a large bead of silicone around the bottom edge of the bucket.  I centered the plastic over the hole, pressed it firmly in place, and screwed it to the bottom of the bucket for added grip.  I let it dry for about four hours before I tried it out in the river.  As you can see, it's hard to see the bottom of the river.  Using the bucket, it looked like you were looking through an aquarium.  The first rock I turned over, I found a salamander, caught it, and placed it in the bucket.  Then found several crawdads, and placed them in the bucket.  I used them to show the kids, and set them free for someone else to find.  The kids had a ball seeing fish and finding different rocks.  This project took about an hour to gather materials and build it.  The drying time was while we got ready and travelled to the mountains.  It's easy, fun to use, and can still be used to carry stuff in.

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