This project is a personal project, inspired by the MATE robotics competition I took part in during high school. ROVs are extremely important in ocean exploration and deep sea equipment maintenance. An ROV was used to cap the BP oil spill well. An ROV was used to explore the remains of the Titanic shipwreck. Today, "drones" get most of the attention, but an ROV is simply an underwater "drone."
The high school version of this ROV included single pole double throw switches to operate bilge pumps that had been modified to act as underwater DC motors, fitted with propellers. Cheap, eBay pinhole cameras were submerged in epoxy to waterproof them, and the power and RCA video signal traveled up a CAT5 Ethernet cable acting as a tether. Desired natural buoyancy was obtained by very tediously inserting and removing small amounts of Styrofoam into the ballast tanks. This process needed to be repeated for each new body of water the ROV would be operating in, as each body of water has a slightly different density.
After completing my Mechanical Engineering degree, I have obtained quite a bit of knowledge that I would like to incorporate into the same basic PVC framed ROV.
This project is in the early stages and is still being planned in SolidWorks. One problem with creating PVC structures (or any structure that uses structural members that are manufactured via cutting a full length to size - PVC, wood, steel pipes, etc.) in SolidWorks is that each member needs to be extruded to length separately. This is a time consuming process, as each individual length needs to be a separate file. Using the design configuration feature of SolidWorks, I have created a workaround that includes each ID and OD for SCH40 PVC pipe, in length ranging from 1 inch to 12 inches, in .25 inch increments. The single file can be added to the design library, and when dragged into an assembly, a drop down menu appears. The user then selects the desired parameters and design can continue. This workaround can be applied to any similar design material (2x4s, steel members, etc.) and reduces the design time dramatically. If a different length is desired in the assembly, the user simply has to click on the member, and select the new length from the drop down menu, avoiding the need to create a new part file or modify the existing one simply to change the desired length. The PVC file is available for download in the link above. The file was created in the Educational licensed SolidWorks, and will be branded as such, however the design table can simply be copied into a part file created in a Full licensed SolidWorks, and the result would be the same with the part unbranded. Please inform me if you will be using the file or design table in any projects.