Custom 3D Printed 8 Thruster

Hello everyone!

So This project was started a while back, prior to the release of the heavy configuration, as part of a senior design project. I figured now was a good time to share it.

The body is 3d printed polycarbonate, using Polymaker PC-Max™. Everything was printed using a Fusion3 F400. All of the hardware (bolts, capscrews, nuts,etc) is 316SS. 3D modeling was done within Autodesk Inventor Professional. The ROV is 0.5 lbs buoyant and has in-air weight of 30 lbs.

Below is an abridged build-photo-log:

Quick snip-it of pool testing:

Hit me up with any questions about the build.


Pool test snip-it.

How did you calculate your buoyancy?

Looking good!

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2 different ways - theoretically and practically.

Theoretically: Using density, infill percentages, known buoyancy values for the T200s and cable, and the volume displaced of water and air (inside the pressure vessels) I could come up with a rough estimate of net buoyancy.

Practically: After having a rough idea of the amount of buoyancy the vessel had without the buoyancy foam, I placed the assembled vessel in the pool and dangled it by a digital hanging scale. The weight on the scale + the desired net buoyancy told me how much buoyancy I needed to add.

Balancing. Also, it is important to balance the vessel front to back and side to side to reduce the idle of the thrusters (assuming you want even listing). This was done through a volumetric/density analysis of the front and rear specific components and taking a moment about the centerline of the vessel and setting it equal to zero.

Having a 1:1 3D model really aids in this process as you can shoot relatively accurate measurements and volume is automatically calculated for you for most of the ROV (you will have to estimate electronic components).

Having a positively buoyant vessel is easier than trying for neutral, and it adds a layer of survivability to the ROV. Either way, you should be able to pull from the tether in the worst case.

The practically way was nice.

You could also use your 3D model to calculate it, using the proper materials and weights you could simply calculate the mass and the volume of your vessel and then calculate the net buoyancy :smiley:

Unfortunately. the infill was not 100% on many of the printed parts. So even knowing the material density, the calculated volume would be off. There are parts that are at 60% infill, others at 50%, etc.