Monday, June 9, 2008

Self Evaluation

I. Scope of project

The scope of my project was to design and construct a frame for a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) for the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATES) competition. I worked on the ROV with two teammates; Eric Winters and Jeremy Kuhn. My part of the project was to design and construct the frame. The purpose of this frame was to contain the other systems that the ROV would need to operate. The first of these systems, the mechanical arm; used to pick up the PVC caps that represented crabs, on the bottom of the pool during the MATES competition. The second system, the propulsion system; was used to propel the craft through the water in all directions. Finally, the frame held the video camera used to navigate underwater, and the thermometer to take the temperature of a thermal vent. The frame’s purpose was to hold all of these systems together and use all of the systems to make one craft that operated smoothly together.

II. My solution

In September when the teams were finalized, our team; Jeremy, Eric, and I; divided our roles into three parts. My role on the team as mention in “I,” was to design and build the frame ROV. This was the role on the team that I had hoped for because I had researched this for the majority of the summer prior to this course. I had spent most of my time researching different materials to use for the frame and looking online at other ROVs to get ideas for how I would build my frame. During the summer I came up with several rough plans. These three ideas were modified somewhat and drawn in AUTO-CAD as my alternative solutions. Two of these were discarded after my team and I met and discussed how our systems could work and fit together to make one smoothly operating craft. The chosen solution was frame built out of 2” PVC piping using PVC joints at the corners. The frame (Figure 1) was rectangular two dimensional aside from the six protruding PVC caps around the bottom of the craft. These were included in the plan for the frame for adding weight to frame to get it closer to neutral buoyancy after all of the systems were added. The frame was perfect for attaching the arm to the front piece of PVC. The final design of the frame that was chosen has a mesh structure inside of its PVC structure. This frame was perfect for zip-tying the bilge pumps from the propulsion system. The frame was able to hold the camera for navigation as well. This was mounted on the front of the craft so that it could be used for navigation and use of the mechanical arm. I believe that the final solution that was used for the frame was the best possible choice based on the alternate solutions, the other systems that would have to be fitted to the frame, and input from my team teachers and mentor.

III. Discrepancies between design and solution

While building the frame of the craft only one problem stunted the production. The designed frame was too large and looked disproportional when it was dry fitted before it was finally glued together. The frame was overly long and too thin. Not only did it look wrong, but we anticipated that it would not be stable in the water if it was excessively long. Therefore our team decided that the length of the frame would have to be trimmed down. We fixed this simply by trimming off one inch on each piece of PVC piping. This cut the craft’s length from thirty inches, to twenty-eight inches (Figure 1 below). After this was completed the pieces were then dry fitted again and the proportion of length to width seemed better in our opinions than it had been before. The craft was then glued together permanently.

IV. Successes and Failures Successes and failures you encountered during all phases of the project

There were few failures throughout the year and production of the frame. Some failures were not quite failures, but were more setbacks that delayed continuing on with the next step of the project. The first of the setbacks occurred when the bilge pumps were delayed in being shipped. This led to a shorter amount of time after the craft was fully assembled to test it and tweak it to perfection. However, the craft was completed before the competition and there was time to work on perfecting the craft. The second issue was a failure but it was a failure in the arm’s hydraulic system. The syringe on the user side of the hydraulic system broke during the competition, rendering it useless.

The construction and production of the frame as a whole was a success. The drawing of the frame went according to plan. The building of the frame went well too. Towards the end of the year the frame was constructed. This was one of the most successful areas of the project. From start to finish, in the construction of the frame it took less than two weeks. This allowed for extra time for the systems of the ROV to be placed on the craft. After all of the systems were mounted on the craft and were fully operational the craft then needed to be brought closer to neutral buoyancy. The craft was extremely positively buoyant. With the 500 gallon per hour bilge pumps pushing the craft there would not be enough force to sink the craft. The craft was weighed down with concrete in the four corners where the PVC caps were on the bottom. This brought the craft very close to neutral buoyancy. After this was done, the craft was finely tuned with lead sinkers of varying weight to allow the craft to be perfectly stable as it sat in the water. These weights did bring the craft to a state in which it was slightly positively buoyant and perfectly stable in the water. This allowed the craft to easily move vertically in the pool even with a PVC crab in its mechanical arm. Finally, the frame was successful due to its specifications because it was able to hold all of the systems needed to make it a craft and operate according to the tasks set forth by the MATES competition. Overall the frame of the craft was a success.

V. What failures taught me

The few failures that I encountered throughout the project taught me one very important thing. This was to work with those around me and ask for help. Working with my teammates was the key to my successes and the overcoming of my failures. I did not have any failures that related to the frame specifically. It held up perfectly and held all the systems as needed.

VI. Additional learning

After working on this project I learned several new things. The first of these was a deeper knowledge in the area of electronics and how switches and joysticks work. I learned how hardwiring an electrical circuit works and would now be able to create a similar controller myself if need be. I learned how underwater jet propulsion works. I was unaware that water jets do not work if they are sucking in water and the nozzle is out of water. In order for the jet to work it must be in the medium that it is sucking from and force it out in another direction.

VII. Design flaws/ suggestions for improvement

There is one design in flaw in the ROV craft that relates to the frame. This flaw is the size and weight of the craft. The craft completed the tasks that it needed to; the problem however was the speed in which the craft did this. The craft moved much too slowly. This was due not to the size of the craft but the weight of the craft. There are two possible solutions to this issue that could be used to improve the craft. The first of these viable solutions would involve replacing the existing 500 gallon per hour bilge pumps with much more powerful pumps. These pumps could be 1,000 gallon per hour pumps or 1,500 gallon per hour pumps which would drastically improve the crafts velocity underwater. The second solution would be to rebuild the frame of the craft much smaller. This would be more difficult to do after the construction began because the other systems for the ROV were built to the size specifications that were constructed. If the project were to be redone completely, then designing the same frame exactly the same but smaller would allow the craft to maneuver more easily with the reduction in weight to sink it.

VIII. How this project helped you improve my:

A. Problem solving skills

Working on this project drastically improved my problem solving skills. This project forced me to work with a team of two other seniors. By doing this I was able to consult them for ideas when something went wrong. If I found a problem that they could not help me with than I had to fix the problem myself. I at several points of the project needed to fix something on my own. First of all, I would figure out the issue. Next, I would decide what needed to be done to make it right. After that, I would create a method or two that would get me to the solution. Next, I would carry out a chosen plan and fix the problem that was at hand. Finally, I would test the part of the craft or object that I had fixed to make sure that my solution worked with out interrupting the rest of the project. If it did not work than I began this process again. If my solution worked than I would

B. Communication skills through drawing, speaking and writing

My communication skills were greatly improved throughout the year in all of these categories. I did not draw for my project but I became much more experienced in the AUTO-CAD with using 3D shapes. I became much more skilled in technical writing because of all the papers involved in the design and construction process. Finally, the most important skill that I improved this year was speaking in front of people and presenting something that I designed and worked on. At the beginning of the year I dreaded presenting in front of people and was uncomfortable with presenting ideas and objects that I had created. I doubted ever being able to do this easily. By the end of the year however, I feel that I am much more comfortable speaking. I now pause less when I am speaking in front of people and I do not fidget either.

C. Organizational skills

I believe entering this year that I was an organized person. This course improved my organizational skills. For this year I kept all my paperwork in a folder in my backpack. I also kept all of my digital files on a flash drive which allowed for quick access to files when need be.

IX. Conclusion

As the ROV project has been completed and tested, I have felt several feelings involving the project. I feel that the project helped me learn new things involving the technical process in designing and constructing a project. It has helped me work with two teammates who I have grown closer to. I believe that my part of the project was successful and that we were successful as a whole. I am glad that I participated in the ROV project and would do it again if I had to choose another senior project and do it all over again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Testing Results

Testing Procedures

1. After completion of building, place in water at a depth of four meters.
2. The first test should be to check for any possible leaks of air in the sealed frame.
3. The craft should be close to neutral buoyancy, but slightly positively buoyant.
4. Make adjustments with buoyancy until desired buoyancy level is attained.
5. When slightly positive buoyancy is achieved, operate the craft’s propulsion system and mechanical arm system.
6. If the craft holds all of the components and the components operate successfully in performing the tasks set forth by the MATES competition; than the frame is successful.

Test Results:

Upon completion of the building the frame was tested. It was then brought to Ernie Vaughan’s house; a member of the team. First, the frame was dropped into the pool. The frame was positively buoyant. The frame was then pushed under the surface of the pool and held there for a minute or so to ensure that there were no leaks in the frame. This was successful and the frame was airtight.

After the frame was carefully checked over to ensure that it had no hidden leaks the frame was than checked for neutral buoyancy. The frame was slightly positive. Several lead sinking weights were added to the frame in various points to bring it closer to neutral buoyancy. After the amount of weight needed to be added was determined, this weight was placed at various points on the metal mesh of the frame to equally distribute the weight and keep the craft evenly balanced. After this was completed the frame was once again placed in the pool. The craft was left alone for several minutes to assure that it was completely level. The craft stayed perfectly stable and did not roll either to the left or the right. The frame was than used with the propulsion system and the arm to assure that they all worked fluently. All of these systems worked well and the preliminary test was successful according to the testing procedures.

The following weekend was the final test for the frame and the rest of the ROV. The ROV had to compete in the competition and collect PVC crabs on the surface of the bottom of the pool, and take a temperature from a thermal vent. The frame performed well. At the competition the frame was slightly positively buoyant as planned. The craft was successfully able to take the temperature from the thermal vent. The ROV was also successful in picking up a crab from the bottom of the pool. The ROV was unable to pick up another crab due to a malfunction in the hydraulic arm. However, the craft was still successful because it completed the entire task set forth by the testing procedures.

Friday, May 2, 2008

MP4 Calendar


5. Submit calendar for grade to Mr. Alfonse.
6. Begin typing up testing/results and conclusion.
7. Continue typing up testing/results and conclusion.
8. Continue typing up testing/results and conclusion.
9. Continue typing up testing/results and conclusion.

12. Finish typing up testing/results and conclusion.
13. Begin working on final report.
14. Continue working on final report.
15. Continue working on final report.
16. Continue working on final report.

19. Continue working on final report.
20. Finish working on final report.
21. Make last minute preparations for the presentation night.
22. Presentation night.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Finsished Product

Here is the finished frame. Only the cameras and the propulsion system are missing.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


All of the cuts have been made at this point. Here are some photos from the construction:

Here glue is being applied to the PVC piping.

These are the semi finished frame pieces.

This is the assembled frame for the ROV frame.

This is the assembled frame with mechanical arm attached to it.

This is the frame of the craft after its first paint job.

This is the completed fram floating upside down in the pool with the mechanical arm attached to it holding a wiffle ball.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

MP3 Calendar


4. Production of the calendar.
5. Calendar due/ update webblog.
6. Glue frame together.
7. Cut pieces with Jeremy for mechanical arm.
8. Begin the process of putting the arm together.

11. Finish the construction of the mechanical arm.
12. Update webblog with the first set of construction pictures.
13. Revise expanded isometric drawing.
14. Begin to compile a master drawing of the entire craft together.
15. Finish the drawing of all the pieces together.

19. Cut the base for the components and attach with zip ties.
20. Update webblog with new photos of the construction process.
21. Paint the frame and base piece.
22. Attach bilge pumps to base.

25. Connect power cables to bilge pumps and test.
26. Construct electrical housing for craft.
27. Gut Atari Joystick and draw up sketching for the redone wire plan.
28. Begin to replace old wiring with newly adjusted CAT-5 wiring.
29. Complete rewiring of Joystick


3. Attach mechanical arm to the PVC.
4. Mount two waterproof cameras to the frame of the craft.
5. Begin construction of the “Umbilical cord”/ work on the hydraulic hosing.
6. Continue work on the “Umbilical cord” working on the CAT-5 cables to control the craft.
7. Finish the “Umbilical cord” finishing work on the video cables and power cables.

10. Possible testing date for the craft at Monmouth University
11. Possible testing date for the craft at Monmouth University/ reworking any needed changes.
12. Rework any needed changes to the craft.
13. Begin Press release document.
14. Continue the press release document.

17. Wrap up major elements of press release document.
18. Finish press release document.
19. Press release.
20. Construction due.

31. Preparation for presentations, produce outline.


2. Finish review of all material for the presentation.
3. Presentations begin & webblog due.
4. Continue presentations.
5. Third day of presentations.
6. Fourth day of presentations courtesy of Joe DiMarco.

9. Wrap up anything that needs work before the competition.
10. Relax.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Math and Science Report

The ROV Mate Submersible is a complicated project that entails many aspects of science, math and technology. Incorporated particularly in the frame of the ROV; the science and technology are the two predominating factors for success; math plays a major role, involving buoyancy and the angles that the pieces are put together at.
Science and Technology:

Zip tie:

Zip ties are a hard plastic, reusable strap that can hold two objects very tightly together. They are cheap and easy to come by and good for many situations. They will be used to strap the plastic mesh that will hold all of the components onto the PVC frame.

The Chemistry of PVC:

Polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC, it is a thermoplastic (see figure 1 below for chemical make up). A thermoplastic is a plastic that can be melted into a liquid and put into molds to make the desired piece. It is generally used in piping systems in commercial structures in today’s modern world (Wikipedia). This material is durable, cheap, easy to come by and very customizable in the fact that an endless number of structures can be built with it according to the situation in which it best fits.

(Figure 1) – The chemical make up of polyvinyl chloride on the right hand of the equation. It is made up of hydrogen (H), chlorine (Cl), and carbon (C). This than goes through polymerization and becomes what is PVC on the left (Wikipedia).

PVC Cement:

PVC cement is a critical tool in putting together several lengths and/or joints of PVC. It chemically bonds the PVC to create a nearly unbreakable, airtight seal when applied correctly. The chemicals in PVC could not have been combined many years ago, but due to today’s technology this is possible. PVC cement contains: acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, cyclohexanone, tetrahydrofuran, and finally polyvinyl chloride. All of these chemicals are dangerous to humans if ingested but together when mixed properly they make an adhesive for plastics that is strong as cement.

Buoyancy is the waters force pushing upward on an object, in this specific case the ROV Mate Frame. To calculate the buoyancy of the craft, an equation for the volume will be necessary. The way to most accurately measure the volume of the craft will be to measure all of its components as cylinders. This will give a relatively accurate volume of the craft. The equation for the volume of a cylinder is as follows: V= 3.14r²h

The “r” or radius for all of the piping in the frame is 1in because the diameter is 2 in. The “h” or height for the two long sides seen in Figure 3 will have a height of 31.2 in. The shorter sections will have a height of 13 in. And the six short bottom pieces will have a height of 2.5 in.

V= 3.14 (1²) 31.2 in = 97.97 in³ x 2 = 195.94 in³

V= 3.14 (1²) 13 in = 40.82 in³ x 2 = 81.64 in³

V= 3.14 (1²) 2.5 in = 7.85 in³ x 6 = 47.1 in³

Total volume = 195.94 in³ + 81.64 in³ + 47.1 in³ = 324.68i n³

Conversion from cubic inches to liters of displacement:

324.68 in³ x 0.01639 = 5.322 liters

The crafts overall buoyancy and displacement of water is roughly 324.68 or 5.322 liters.

Physical Check:

To check the math, the crafts underwater submerged volume will be needed. This measurement will be obtained after the frame is built. The method to check the crafts volume will be based on Archimedes Principle; when an object is placed in a liquid the amount of fluid that it displaces is its . The craft will then be submerged in a measured body of water. After the craft is placed in the water the displacement will be measured by the change in height of the water. This displacement is the submerged volume. After finding the submerged volume this measure will be multiplied with the density of the surrounding liquid. This liquid will be water. The density of water is 1gram/cm³. The ROV will not be operated at a depth of more than four meters so the pressure will be approximately one atmosphere, or G= 9.81. The equation that will be used to check the math:

Buoyancy = (1gram/cm³) (Volume) (9.81)

After the calculation is made weights will be added evenly to the “F” pieces displayed in Figure two below. The weights will be added until the craft is close to neutral buoyancy yet is still positively buoyant.

Pythagoras Theorem:

A² + B² = C². This simple equation can be used to measure the length of any side of a right angle triangle, if the other two dimensions are known. This will help the construction of the frame so that the corner angles on the top rectangle (see Figure 2; the combined pieces of “A," "B," "D," and "E"). When "A," "B," and "D" are combined the angle must be precisely at 90˚. In order to do this the lengths of two adjacent sides must be taken (see Figure 3). The longer side length of the top of the frame is 2’-6”. The shorter side length is 1’-6”. These are sides A and B.

A = 1.5’

B = 2.5’

A² = 2.25’

B² = 6.25’

2.25’ + 6.25’ = 8.5’ the square root of 8.5’ is 2.915’. When the frame is being dry fitted together the distance from corner to corner must be 2’-11”.

These sciences, mathematics, and technology all contribute to the soundness of the design and the final production of the frame. The mathematics will help make the craft the perfect dimensions. The calculation of buoyancy will aid in the counter weighting the crafts positive buoyancy even after all of the components are added.

(Figure 2) – The completed expanded isometric CAD drawing of the ROV Mate Submersible frame.

(Figure 3) - This is the completed labeled orthographic view of the ROV Mate frame.