From our friends at the Coastal Observing Research and Development Center at UC San Diego, an APM-based ocean-going kayak! (it uses a variation of the ArduRover code)

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Comment by Rustom Jehangir on August 2, 2014 at 8:58pm

Hey Gary,

We replaced the bearings with high-performance plastic bushings. The material we used is designed specifically for underwater applications and it works great. The stator and rotor are coated with a protective epoxy coating that is impregnated into the winding under vacuum so there are no trapped air bubbles.

We won the "Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award" a few months ago ( so we've got injection molded parts now. The image you posted is 3d printed. It looks like this now:

It's got about 5 pounds of thrust and it's pretty compact with a 3" prop diameter.

Stay tuned! They'll be available pretty soon.


Comment by Jiro Hattori on August 2, 2014 at 10:06pm

@Rustom It looks really nice thruster:-)

I have one question on this thruster for the allowance of depth in the water.

Comment by monkeynutz on August 3, 2014 at 12:25am

What ESC to use with this unit? Will it come with one?

Comment by Rustom Jehangir on August 3, 2014 at 1:12am

Jiro: The thruster can go very deep. There's no enclosed air or oil filled cavities so there's nothing to compress besides the material itself. We haven't tested the extremes so we don't know for sure yet.

Monkeynutz: We've been using the AfroESC from HobbyKing. It's an open-firmware ESC that can be reprogrammed for forward/backward rotation. The thruster will work with any ESC rated above 12 Amps.

Comment by Jiro Hattori on August 3, 2014 at 3:06am

Now, I read your press release;-)

I like this part of release; "A plastic framework integrated with a brushless electric motor enables the thruster to operate continuously for months at a time, navigate into deep waters and resist the corrosive nature of ocean saltwater."

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on August 3, 2014 at 5:19am


The pontoons are 38" (~1m) in length and are made of fiberglass. I chose this configuration because it has less of a tendency to roll unlike the single kayak configuration.

The props from the Villain are 1.75" in diameter and are driven by a geared, brushed motor propulsion system so they should work fine if I keep the weight down.


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer 

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on August 3, 2014 at 5:22am


I have investigated the sealed, deep water thrusters and have found, due to the cost of commercial versions, that most hobbyists build their own: Homebuilt ROVs


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Comment by Greg Nuspel on August 3, 2014 at 5:50am

Ceramic bearings would be a good solution wouldn't they?

Comment by johnkowalsky on August 3, 2014 at 9:34am

Pablo Escobar approves ;-)

Comment by Gary McCray on August 3, 2014 at 10:26am

Hi Tom,

Your pontoon catamaran approach seems like a great solution and using the Fiberglass floats is a great idea.

Are you planning on using rudders or just differential propulsion for steering control?

The fiberglass version of those floats is harder to find than the Balsa kits.

I had already also found commercial deep water thrusters were prohibitively (to put it mildly) expensive as well, but I am very happy to see the ones Rusty is working on potentially being available soon, they look like an excellent solution.




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