Arm Thrusters, For Underwater Super Powers!

Most of us will have spent the idle hours of our youth while sitting in a room where a teacher was standing at the blackboard explaining iambic pentameter or the Diet of Wurms, daydreaming about the amazing exploits we could have created if only we had an Evil Lair stuffed with all the tools our fertile imaginations demanded. [James Bond] would have had nothing on us, our personal [Q] branch would have ensured we would have had the coolest gadgets on the planet.

As grown-ups we have some of the resources to make this a reality, yet somehow we’ve never made good on the dream. We spend our time creating IoT clocks or novelty electronic Christmas ornaments, and Mr. [Bond] still has a monopoly on the really cool stuff. Fortunately [PeterSripol] has struck a blow on our behalf, because he’s created a pair of arm-mounted underwater thrusters (YouTube, embedded below) that should leave [007] feeling definitely a bit [006.5].

The thrusters themselves came from a Kickstarter purchase that he left on the shelf for a while without an application. Then with only a short time before a trip to Hawaii, he set to work to do something with them, and the arm thrusters were the result.

He makes extensive use of components from the world of radio controlled models, with battery packs and speed controllers mounted in a waterproof food container at his belt, and a pair of handheld microswitch controllers. There is an Arduino which presumably produces the PWM signal, and we are treated to an in-depth look at his waterproofing efforts for the various connectors and switches. After a false start with battery polarity and a cracked impeller housing the device works, and we see it in use on a suitably tropical though not quite sun-kissed beach.

The thrusters appear to work very well, and we’d say they look a lot of fun to use. Sadly the exercise is brought to a halt when a control wire is sucked into a propeller, but we’re sure that’s only a minor setback. We’ve posted the video below the break, take a look.

This seems to be the first wearable underwater thruster project we’ve shown you here at Hackaday. However we’ve given you at least one roundup of underwater ROVs.

Thanks [Andre] for the tip.

23 thoughts on “Arm Thrusters, For Underwater Super Powers!

    1. Difficult one, because while it is a job title, it’s also used in the manner of a name. If I hadn’t square bracketed it I’d no doubt have had commenters saying I should have.

  1. Nice Mark I version. But seriously someone should take his lighter away from him and give him a heat gun. (I’ve honestly never seen someone strip wire with a lighter. I’ve lived a sheltered life. ) I think by having the ducted fans mounted individually on each arm he loses some of the efficiency. And I wonder what sharks thought about the electric current in the water?
    Fun quirky video.

    1. It’s worth mentioning that Peter is not a total newbie. He may be a bit unfamiliar with building for underwater, and I have no idea why he uses fire to shrink wrap, this isn’t his normal arena. His normal arena is using RC parts to get ridiculous foamboard objects to generate lift and fly. Like a 6 ft long star destroyer, or a massive multi-plane. He knows RC parts and aerodynamics.

    1. My colleage [Anool] pointed that one out to me by email. Oops! :)

      The trouble is, our back end search engine sometimes returns its results in bizarre order, so while it may have the story like that one it’ll be buried on page 5.

      1. Could be search terms that are too general. I tried Google for “hackaday underwater” and had nothing in 5 pages. Thought about it for a second and realized that the “underwater” tag covers too much from propulsion to communications to remotes. Tried “hackaday underwater motor” and bingo… top five.

      2. Honestly, I used Google to find it after remembering that post.
        I was more being a smart-alec and did not intend to be critical. There is plenty of criticism to go around here without my heaping it on too.
        The posts about ankle mounted propulsion is what really made me track that down and comment :)

    1. It sounds much like the standard vlogging music. I don’t watch vlogs much but that’s similar to what you can hear in Casey Neistat and Mr Steele videos. And it’s not the type of music I’d listen to but if you start editing videos it turns out it works out well with many types of footage. It’s not supposed to be listening music.

    1. Yeah also wonder if they’re rated for 30A. And I think the epoxy should be used on the outside of the box instead of inside (or in addition to), if you even want to have them as I guess they’ll leak some amps through the water. I guess the typical ESC firmware *would* detect a disconnected motor (waiting for the zero crossing) and probably not fry itself if the connector snaps completely while the motor is running. I know SimonK would detect the weird resistance value in the boot time check, not sure in runtime.

  2. Think safety first !
    if for whatever reason you get get pulled down or inward to sea because motors wont shut of
    just make sure you can hold your breath long enough until that powerful combination of( Brushless motors,lipo batteries,
    turbine blades) turn of!

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