PVC Pipe Submarine



Introduction: PVC Pipe Submarine

Instructions to make a submarine that can move right, left, up, down, turn, and carry objects. Easy and cost effective to make. Built primarily from PVC.

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Gather the following materials:

- 10 ft. of PVC pipe (1/2' PV Pipe)

- 5 T Corner Connectors (1/2'' Fittings)

-10 Elbow corners (1/2'' Fittings)

-1 Crosspiece connector (1/2'' Fittings)

-15'' Insulation (1/2'' Fittings)

-*insert # of Zip ties here* 8" zip ties

-3 Switches (DPDT Mini Toggle center Off Momentary)

-3 Thruster motors

-Soldering iron

-Wire Strippers

-PVC Pipe cutters

-Electrical tape


-Socket cap

-40' of Gauge Category 5e Riser Internet Wire- Gray

-Ruler or Measuring Tape

-Sharpie or marker

-Wax Ring

-Waterproof Seal stickers *DOUBLE CHECK*

-Plastic motor case *DOUBLE CHECK*


- 4 pieces of 9” long PVC

- 8 pieces of 3.5” long PVC

- 1 piece of 2” long PVC

- 4 pieces of 4” long PVC

- 1 piece of 4.5” long PVC

- 1 piece of 6.5” long PVC

- 2 pieces of 7.5” long insulation

Step 3:

Grab 2 elbow connectors and put them on both sides of a 9” piece of PVC (Make sure elbows are facing the same way.)

Step 4:

Grab 2 3.5” PVC and attach 1 to each opening on the elbow connector.

Step 5:

Grab 2 T connectors and attach one to each end of the 3.5” PVC.

Step 6:

Grab a crosspiece connector and insert one 4” piece in one of the holes and put another piece in the opposite hole to the one you just put in. (The open holes on the crosspiece should be facing vertically.)

Step 7:

Insert this piece by the 4” sides in between the two T holes that are facing each other.

Step 8:

Grab two 3.5” PVC pieces and insert them in the last hole on the T connectors.

Step 9:

Grab two elbow connectors and add one on each end of the 3.5 PVC pieces you had just put on. (Make sure the elbow pieces’ holes are facing each other.) Insert a 9” PVC in between these two corner pieces.

Step 10:

On the cross piece connector insert a 6.5” PVC in one of the vertical facing holes.

Step 11:

Attach a 7.5” piece of insulation to a 9” piece of PVC. (We didn’t attach this piece until later, which is why you won’t see it in the following pictures, but it’s easiest to attach it now). Grab 2 elbow connectors and put them on both sides of the same 9” piece of PVC (Make sure elbows are facing the same way.)

Step 12:

Grab another T connector and Insert two 4” PVC in the holes that are opposite to each other. (the extra hole should be facing outward)

Step 13:

Insert the piece you just made (the T with the two pieces of PVC) into the elbows from from the previous piece. Attach two more 3.5” PVC in either side of the T’s. Attach two more elbows on the edges on the 3.5” pieces of PVC. They should be facing the same way as before (the holes should be facing each other). Attach a piece of 7.5” insulation to a 9” piece of PVC and fit this piece into the two elbows. Secure both pieces of insulation with at least two cable ties on either end.

Step 14:

Attach the second square you just made to the 6.5” PVC coming out of the cross PVC.

Step 15:

Attach two elbows with a small piece of PVC. Attach a 2” piece of PVC inside one of the elbows. Now, you should have a hook.

Step 16:

Attach a 4.5” long piece of PVC to the other elbow and attach this hook to the cross PVC.

Step 17:

What you have now should look like this image. You have completed the frame for your submarine!


1. Make 6 wax balls the size of a quarter using the wax from the wax ring. You will need 2 wax balls per motor.

2. Put one wax ball on the top of the motor and one on the bottom.

3. Press motor into plastic casing.

4. Do this for each motor.

5. Strip the wires at the bottom of the motors (you will attach the switches to them later).


Attach the motors where they're shown in the picture. Position with zip ties and secure with electrical tape to keep in place.

The two left and right motors were attached as shown in the close up. Take a small piece of PVC, loop a zip tie through it, and secure the motor in place. Secure with electrical tape.


For each switch:

1. Take a piece of wire and about 1 1/2" down, cut slightly with scissors and pull off grey exterior to reveal the wires inside.

2. You should now see four pairs of wires in brown, blue, green, and orange. You will only need three of these pairs, so wrap one of them around the gray part under the exposed wire (we chose orange, but the color doesn't matter).

3. Untwist the three remaining pairs so you have six wires, three solid colored and three striped.

4. Using your wire strippers, strip off about 1 cm of the colored plastic on each wire to expose the colored wire underneath.

5. Bend each individual copper wire to form 6 hooks.

6. Hook these through the metal holes at the bottom of the switch.

7. Plug in your soldering iron and wait until it's heated up.

8. Soldering the wires to the switch will act like glue to hold everything together. To solder, hold the soldering iron up to each place where the wire meets the switch, and dab the solder at the area. This should cover the whole area in melted solder that will harden quickly.

9. Twist together the wires at the bottom of one motor to the wires at the bottom of one switch. Solder the point where they meet to hold them together. Make sure the first switch works, then do the same for the others.

10. Drill three holes the size of your switches in your scrap wood. Insert the switches in the holes.


1. Cover all open wire with electrical tape.

2. CHECK YOUR BUOYANCY. This will differ depending on where you want your submarine to work. The submarine should be able to float but should still be able to go down when you move the switch. If your submarine will not move down, you will need to experiment by removing insulation and drilling holes in the top PVC as needed.

3. Make sure the sub moves! If not, you may need to rewire or just enforce the open wires with more tape.

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