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What do you think?

Cool project!
58 (87%)
Eh, whatever...
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You go out in the sunlight?!?!
9 (13%)
 
Total votes: 67
 
JavaDog
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The Great Underwater ROV Project of 2005 - More Videos!!

Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:55 pm

Ok, so we just got back from vacation. Every year we take a week off of work and go downstate to my Fiancé’s camp, which happens to be on a nice man made lake. We don't leave the camp (which is on an Island to boot!) from Saturday to Saturday. With the Family up there as well, it is always a blast.

Now, my Fiancé’s Brother (Felix on here) and I are geeks. We're not ashamed. :P Being the geeks that we are, we always come up with some sort of project to bring up to the lake and play with. This year, two weeks before vacation, we decided to build an Underwater ROV. For those not familiar, an ROV is a Remotely Operated Vehicle. Generally "real" ROVs cost anywhere from $8,000 up to Millions of dollars. We had two weeks and a $100 budget. Usually they have high-resolution camera systems and high powered thrusters to maneuver. We had two weeks and a $100 budget. However, the results were pretty good. :wink:

Ours isn't a true ROV because we didn't have the time/budget to do Thrusters. So, we call ours a Towed Remote Observation Vehicle or tROV. Our tROV is equipped with a basic B/W Camera, capable of Night vision with IR Illumination as well as a secondary Color Camera. The frame will be made from PVC and the Camera Tube will be made from 1/4" clear Acrylic with 1/2" clear acrylic end-caps. There is a 100ft Umbilical (Tether) which provides Power to the cameras as well as video back to the surface. Using an external video capture device and a laptop we could monitor and record the video in real-time. We had to cut some corners to get it done in time, but it still needed to be waterproof and work!

Without further delay, the build log:

Thanks to PhotoJerk.Com for the Hosting!!
Last edited by JavaDog on Sun Jul 31, 2005 1:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.
 
JavaDog
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:56 pm

First some pictures of all the bits and bobbles we bought. 95% of the parts came from Lowes and Home-Depot.

General overview of the parts:
Image

Here you can see the clasps (that we didn't use) and the thimbles for the tether:
Image

These are some handy little PVC bits we found at Lowes. Not sure what their real use is, but they will be a perfect addition for our frame:
Image

Here you can see the camera tube with the raw 1/2" end cap. Also, you can see the rubber-lined clamps and locking carabineers we will use for tether attachment:
Image

Multitude of PVC Connectors and Elbows for the frame:
Image
Last edited by JavaDog on Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:04 am, edited 3 times in total.
 
JavaDog
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:01 pm

Frame Assembly!

Here we are starting to cut the straight pieces for the frame:
Image

Test-Fitting as we go, also needed to get measurements for the cuts:
Image

Another shot of the dry-fitting showing the frame and our hand tools:
Image

This shows the frame dry-fitted with the ballast-tanks zip-tied on for the photo:
Image

The ballast tanks were made from some 3" PVC with end-caps glued on. On the back of the ballast tanks we used a rubber screw-type plug to seal the ends. That way we could open them and add weights/water to adjust the weight of the tROV.

Front shot:
Image
Last edited by JavaDog on Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
Felix
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:12 pm

Felix wrote:
Time to start gluing up the frame! Great part about PVC is the fact that it
is super easy to cut, cheap, and stupid-simple to glue up.

Glued the bottom first (to keep it flat and square) then we started to glue
up one side:
Image

Now the top (and we completed the other side):
Image
Last edited by Felix on Sun Jul 31, 2005 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Felix
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:17 pm

Felix wrote:
Once the frame was glued, we let it sit for a day - then it was on to
painting!! Now, when painting PVC Pipe, make sure you scuff it up with some
fine sandpaper (don't gouge or scratch it though) and it really helps if you
shoot a coat or two of primer.

First coat on the Ballast Tubes. We will be doing a 2-color pattern:
Image

Once the black was dry, time to tape it up:
Image

All taped up and the top coat being sprayed:
Image

All done! It doesn't look like it, but the pattern is even and the two
tubes match:
Image

Now, onto the frame...
Last edited by Felix on Sun Jul 31, 2005 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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JavaDog
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:18 pm

Who is that fat bastard?
Image

Whoever he is, he shot a good primer coat:
Image

Now the top coat. As you can see, we chose the ever popular Yellow (It's the new Red dontcha know):
Image

All finished and looking good:
Image

Random Milk crate!!
Image

Random Milk crate Carnage!!
Image

Ok, so not so random. We wanted a floor for our tROV frame, and the bottom of the milk crate was perfect (after we shot it with a coat of black paint as well). Where do you get milk crates, you ask? Why, you steal them from behind convenience stores, of course!
Last edited by JavaDog on Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
JavaDog
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:19 pm

Now onto the Camera Tube. This would be the most complicated part.

Here are some pre-build ideas we rendered. The Green part is the removable camera sled:
Image

Render shot with the end-caps:
Image

Time to start building! We had a friend with a lathe help us out (since we didn't have a lathe!).

Here he is truing up the camera tube:
Image

Sexy Lathe Action! Just taking a few thou off to get a nice true end for the gasket (did both ends):
Image

Now he is turning the end caps. One half will fit tight into the tube; other will sit over the tube:
Image

Like this:
Image

Two parts:
Image
Last edited by JavaDog on Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
JavaDog
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:20 pm

Now that we have the end caps done and the tube all trued up, we need to make a way to mount the cameras. To make our life easier we wanted to have the camera and electronics mounted to a removable sled.

In order to make the sled, I cut a piece of acrylic to the right length and width. Then, I set it into the tube to mark where it sat. Then I used some acrylic triangles (used for mounting things) to keep the sled in place. With some electrical tape on the slides of the sled (keeps it tight, and doesn't scratch) it was a perfect fit!

The finished sled:
Image

Front view. You can see the front end-cap that is permanently glued in place (and water-tight!):
Image

You can also see the logo we printed up. Apologies to the Kalamazoo Hornets, it is their logo we modified.

The sled with the B/W Camera's mount bolted in:
Image
Last edited by JavaDog on Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
Felix
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:23 pm

End cap plug and internal wiring.

On the back removable end cap there is a waterproof electrical connector.
We went with the 400-Series Buccaneer from Bulgin.

Here is a good diagram of how the connector works (and it shows the
panel-mount socket we used too):
Image

The B/W camera came from Harbor Freight
and was on sale for $29.99. Best part is that it was
designed to send video/audio and power over an RJ11 cable, and it comes with
an 80ft cable. Now, we didn't care about the audio (nothing much to hear at
the bottom of a lake!) so we decided to send the video from a Color
"Spy-Cam" that I had bought off of eBay a while back over the audio line.
Everything was RCA, so it was just a matter of clipping the audio lead
coming from the camera and replacing it with the RCA video from the color
camera. All we needed was a donor RCA cable and a junction block.

Here is the completed block:
Image

The RJ11 jack goes into the socket on the B/W Camera, and the male RCA plugs
into my Color Camera. The other end is wired with the socket-pins that go
into the Bulgin panel-mount socket on the back cap.

Sockets:
Image
Last edited by Felix on Sun Jul 31, 2005 1:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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JavaDog
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:30 pm

Now came time to put everything in the tube and seal her up for the maiden voyage!

You'll remember those clasps I mentioned in the beginning (the ones we didn't use), well those were originally intended to clamp the back cap closed and keep pressure on the gasket. However, we ran out of time when making the blocks to mount them on the tube. So, an alternate solution was needed. So, late on the last night we had we came up with this idea.

I had some clamps, which we decided would be perfect as both a clamp (duh) for the end-cap and a mount to hold the tube to the frame. Amazingly, it worked excellent. We clamped the end-cap with gasket, and then ran a bead of clear silicone (which can be peeled off) as some extra protection. Water tight as a ducks ass!

On the first run we ran the B/W camera only.

Here is the camera mounted in the tube. You can see the front of the clamps:
Image

Side view, you can see the bead of silicone at the back:
Image

Now, for the second run we also stuffed my Color Camera and electronics into the tube.

B/W and Color Camera:
Image

Another view:
Image

Side view showing all the electronics:
Image
Last edited by JavaDog on Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
JavaDog
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:32 pm

Now for some general overall views... :D

Front shot, shows the clamping system for the camera tube pretty well:
Image

Another:
Image

Fresh out of the water, you can see the end of the tether and the mounting chains we used:
Image

You'll also notice the high-tech fish attracting glowstick on the front of the frame. :lol:

Another:
Image

Last shot for now, shows the cooler we used to hold the 100ft of tether:
Image
Last edited by JavaDog on Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
Felix
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:42 pm

Coming Soon!!

Soon we will have the video all edited (with spiffy music, no less!) and up.
Also, working on some pretty wall-paper type pictures that will be done
soon...
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mattsteg
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:42 pm

Nice. What sort of imagery could you get?
...
 
JavaDog
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:48 pm

mattsteg wrote:
Nice. What sort of imagery could you get?


Depended...some of it was blown out (too much sun in the shallows), but a lot of it came out pretty good for a cheap camera.

Nothing too amazing on the bottom of the lake that our camp is on, but got some good video of the fishies. :D

I am working on a location which will (hopefully) yield some really cool video... :wink:
Last edited by JavaDog on Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
steelcity_ballin
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:48 pm

Geeks you, cool that is. Nice work! Can't wait to see some vids!
 
Usacomp2k3
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:03 pm

That is great 8)
 
bhtooefr
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:07 pm

Hmm... now I have to make one, don't I?

Similar idea, but this time with two motors, like this:

 FRONT
 _____
/     \
| M M |
|*   *|


M being a motor, * being a propeller - the motors are at a 30 degree angle to the body. That would give decent handling, yet good forward speed. Turning would be as simple as slowing down the engine in the direction you want to turn, and speeding up the one in the opposite direction.
Image
 
JavaDog
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:51 pm

bhtooefr wrote:
M being a motor, * being a propeller - the motors are at a 30 degree angle to the body. That would give decent handling, yet good forward speed. Turning would be as simple as slowing down the engine in the direction you want to turn, and speeding up the one in the opposite direction.


Yeah, that would be a pretty good way of doing it. A lot of homebrew ROV makers use small Bilge Pumps and thier thrusters. A lot of power in a small package, plus decent sized ones are only $18 each! :D
 
bhtooefr
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:00 pm

Wow... now I have zero excuse whatsoever to NOT build one (wait a minute... it costs money that needs to go to other things - like, if I can actually somehow get in contact with this one girl, and successfully ask her out (well, try again, anyway - it was a while back that I failed, and there were other circumstances), I'll need the money for that).

And, I've got a 1.5 acre pond to play with it in, too... That WOULD be pretty cool...
Image
 
FireGryphon
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:17 pm

ROV's come before girls, pal. You should be ashamed...
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monts
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:01 pm

FireGryphon wrote:
ROV's come before girls, pal. You should be ashamed...


Not if she's into building one of them with you!


Its looks like an awesome project :) :)
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bhtooefr
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:05 pm

Ah, ROV's come last.

Unreal Tournament, OTOH, comes immediately after girls. Preferably DURING, though ;-) (and, somehow, that sentence seemed WRONG...)
Image
 
Scorpiuscat
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:26 pm

Wow, that is really cool. 8)

I hope we can see some imagery soon.
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mattsteg
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:58 pm

bhtooefr wrote:
Unreal Tournament, OTOH, comes immediately after girls. Preferably DURING, though ;-) (and, somehow, that sentence seemed WRONG...)
Wrong game, perhaps Rez would be more appropriate.
...
 
steelcity_ballin
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Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:25 pm

mattsteg wrote:
bhtooefr wrote:
Unreal Tournament, OTOH, comes immediately after girls. Preferably DURING, though ;-) (and, somehow, that sentence seemed WRONG...)
Wrong game, perhaps Rez would be more appropriate.
\

im getting my girlfriend into videogames, if guildwars aint her thing, im sure i can get her to play rez.
 
bhtooefr
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Wed Jul 13, 2005 12:46 am

Hmm... Rez would require a PS2.

I have a feeling that that would cause this girl to like gaming even more, but...

Good ol' blood and guts FPSes are my genre of choice, and besides, I actually have to get in contact with this girl (not easy - I've said somewhere else that e-mail - VERY slow - and calling her ex - someone I try to avoid - are my only ways to contact her right now. Considering one of the reasons that I'm trying to get in contact with her is to possibly ask her out, that leaves the first option.)
Image
 
mattsteg
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Wed Jul 13, 2005 12:52 am

bhtooefr wrote:
I've said somewhere else that e-mail - VERY slow

She have an RFC 2549 net connection?
...
 
bhtooefr
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Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:04 am

No, she's got a "get in her car between work and sleep and drive to the library" connection.

Besides, RFC 1149 is more easily implementable ;-)

I think she can only find enough time to get in once a month, so that her Hotmail account doesn't do the whole wiping out all of her e-mails and contacts thingy. (I've tried to get her to move to GMail, but no go...)

That means that she should be on by the 24th (a month after her last e-mail)... And the last e-mail I sent (she only reads the last, FWIW - but this time, I did go into Sent Items and replied to the e-mail I already sent so that it's text was there) said to call me (for a totally different reason. I decided to try again AFTER I sent that e-mail.)

And, I think this is a successful threadjack ;-)
Image
 
SpotTheCat
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Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:58 am

I've heard of someone building a remote controlled one that used two car batteries as balast and to power what at the time I saw it was 3 bilge pumps (two forward thrusters and one reverse thruster poorly adapted at the last minute)

I love these projects, and I'm very impressed at how little you spent to get a nice looking working model
 
JavaDog
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Wed Jul 13, 2005 7:20 am

SpotTheCat wrote:
I've heard of someone building a remote controlled one that used two car batteries as balast and to power what at the time I saw it was 3 bilge pumps (two forward thrusters and one reverse thruster poorly adapted at the last minute)

I love these projects, and I'm very impressed at how little you spent to get a nice looking working model


Yeah, I've seen similar on the web too. I would rather have the batteries up on the surface. We used a small flat slab of cinder-block to weigh this down, and with that small piece it sank as fast as I could dole out line - with two car batteries it would weigh a ton...

Thanks! Glad you like it! :D

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