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The Ferret : a 3D printed ROV

I wanted to do it for a while …

Making a 3D printed ROV !

Making a “cage” type ROV is (relatively) easy, but as soon as you want to make a streamlined machine, the difficulty (and the price!) Increases rapidly. So the idea had been running through my head for a while: making a small ROV with 3D printed fairings.

The opportunity was given to me when a customer asked me if I could perform an inspection in a DN600 pipe (60cm internal diameter ), accessible only through a valve stuck in 2/3 closed position. (less than 20cm of passage …)

Thus was born the “Furet” project! (Ferret, in english )

Below, the valve i talked about, seen from inside the pipeline, on the ROV way back . In the background we can see the cage allowing the ROV to be lowered and raised in the water system.

The ROV is build around a 4" waterproof enclosure. All the electronics, as well as a specially designed battery, fit into it. On thrusters side, 4 heavily modified T200 thrusters (removal of the nozzle and mounts, reduction of propellers diameter, etc.) are integrated into the 3D printed hull.

While not so bad, the first tests revealed some balancing and behavior problems. This is one of the main difficulties with this kind of very compact machine: integrating everything while ensuring good weight balancing.

After some modifications, including a little lengthening of the set, the tests were conclusive, and the baby was allowed to go on an adventure …


Cool project @luc-rossi!

Do you have good tools for dealing with this kind of thing? I’m considering making a design/analysis tool for determining center of mass and buoyancy, to make it easier to test different configurations and check their balance. Down the track it could be possible to integrate a solver which returns where to add ballast or buoyancy foam to better balance the device - interesting thoughts.

Hi @EliotBR
At this time i just use a simple spreadsheet form. But since it take a long time to input all parameters ( weight, volume, positions of CoM an CoB ) for each part, i only setup the most significants…

And, of course, when testing I realize that not all of the parts i overlooked were that trivial ! :roll_eyes:
( I’m talking about : connectors, wiring, bolt, nuts, … )
So i think the main problem is my laziness ! ( or lack of time !? )

Anyway, of course, a good software tools could be a nice improvement. I think the key feature is concerning data input. ( the time consuming part ! )
A software with a shared database of common objets ( Blue robotics parts at first ! ) could be a nice idea.