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Guide 1 - Main Structure

This is the first guide for building an OpenROV. Here we are going to build the main structure and attach the motor mounts.

  • Author: OpenROV
  • Time estimate: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate

We will introduce the usage of acrylic cement in this step. This is a little tricky at first, but there isn't a strong need to get it "just right" in this part of the build. Take the time to get good at this, as it will be important in the future.

All of the acrylic pieces we use for OpenROV's structure and some of the other parts are clear. This is very hard to see in photographs so we've used a smoke-gray acrylic for the instructional. Whenever possible we will show the clear acrylic.

Edit Step 1 Acrylic Main Structure  ¶ 

Image 1/2: You will need the pieces shown, which can be found in the two bags of acrylic parts (1 piece from 3mm bag and 5 pieces from 6mm bag). Image 2/2: In order to increase the contrast in the pictures we will use smoke colored acrylic for this build. Your acrylic parts will all be clear.

Edit Step 1 Acrylic Main Structure  ¶ 

  • We will start by putting the main internal structure together. The internal structure acts as a central mounting frame for the motors, wiring harness, and electronics tube.

  • You will need the pieces shown, which can be found in the two bags of acrylic parts (1 piece from 3mm bag and 5 pieces from 6mm bag).

  • In order to increase the contrast in the pictures we will use smoke colored acrylic for this build. Your acrylic parts will all be clear.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • You will have some acrylic pieces that have some debris from the laser cutting process. With the hex wrench, you can pop out the debris.

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

Image 1/3: A knife or your fingernails can be used to start removing the paper from a corner. Image 2/3: Use caution when using sharp tools. Image 3/3: Use caution when using sharp tools.

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Remove the paper backing from the acrylic parts.

  • A knife or your fingernails can be used to start removing the paper from a corner.

  • Use caution when using sharp tools.

2 Edit Step 4  ¶ 

Image 1/2: The cement is solvent based, meaning it is not sticky but as it cures it bonds like materials. Image 2/2: Before you start, watch this great video on [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT6Ow_cBTps|how to use acrylic cement|new_window=true] from TAP Plastics.

2 Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Using acrylic cement correctly is essential to the OpenROV build.

  • The cement is solvent based, meaning it is not sticky but as it cures it bonds like materials.

  • Before you start, watch this great video on how to use acrylic cement from TAP Plastics.

  • The best way to apply cement is to hold the syringe bottle upright (tip at the top) and squeeze out a bunch of air, so when you turn the syringe bottle upside-down (and don't squeeze the bottle), air will burble inward and not allow cement to flow out. When you're ready to apply cement, lightly squeeze the bottle to overcome the vacuum pressure.

  • Only a little cement is required to make a good bond. Use the capillary effect to apply cement to a joint and have the cement work its own way into the space.

  • The acrylic cement does drip and should be done over a surface that can get dirty. Paper towels work well for this.

  • When working with acrylic cement it is recommended that you wear gloves, safety glasses, and work in a ventilated area.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

Image 1/3: First, push the pieces together as shown. Image 2/3: Make sure they are together all the way and straight. Image 3/3: Apply cement to the joint between the two parts on both sides.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • You will now cement together the ROV handle and vertical motor mount.

  • First, push the pieces together as shown.

  • Make sure they are together all the way and straight.

  • Apply cement to the joint between the two parts on both sides.

  • Keep them straight as shown in the second picture as the cement dries very quickly.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Image 2/3: Image 3/3:

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Next cement the two support pieces to the vertical support structure.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Attach the vertical motor structure. Image 2/3: Attach the vertical motor structure. Image 3/3: Attach the vertical motor structure.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Attach the ROV handle to the 3mm piece as shown in image 1. Do not cement it in place yet.

  • Attach the vertical motor structure.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Image 2/3: Image 3/3:

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Cement all the connection points.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Next, cement the vertical motor support in place.

Edit Step 10 Motor Mounts  ¶ 

Image 1/2: For this step you need your hex wrench (found in the fastener bag), 3 motors, and 9 each of hex screws, nuts, and washers. Image 2/2: For this step you need your hex wrench (found in the fastener bag), 3 motors, and 9 each of hex screws, nuts, and washers.

Edit Step 10 Motor Mounts  ¶ 

  • Now we are going to attach the base of the motors to the frame.

  • For this step you need your hex wrench (found in the fastener bag), 3 motors, and 9 each of hex screws, nuts, and washers.

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Loosen the two set screws on the motor base with the hex wrench. Image 2/3: Make sure not to remove screws completely. Image 3/3: Remove the motor from the base and set aside the motor. You won't need it for the rest of this guide.

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Remove the motors from the box.

  • Loosen the two set screws on the motor base with the hex wrench.

  • Make sure not to remove screws completely.

  • Remove the motor from the base and set aside the motor. You won't need it for the rest of this guide.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Note the orientation of the motor mounts with the notched edge pointing downward for the port and starboard motor mounts. Image 2/3: When positioned correctly only three of the screw holes will be used. Image 3/3: If the motor mounts are attached as shown, the mounting hardware should be easy to loosen and tighten when the motors are attached or removed.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • The motor chassis has six screw holes so you can mount the motors properly no matter which side is placed forward in the acrylic cementing process.

  • Note the orientation of the motor mounts with the notched edge pointing downward for the port and starboard motor mounts.

  • When positioned correctly only three of the screw holes will be used.

  • If the motor mounts are attached as shown, the mounting hardware should be easy to loosen and tighten when the motors are attached or removed.

  • The lock washer should be on the same side as the nut.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Note which side of the acrylic it is mounted to. Image 2/3: Also note the orientation of the mounts.  This will make it easier to install the motors. Image 3/3: Also note the orientation of the mounts.  This will make it easier to install the motors.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Mount the vertical motor in the same way as the horizontal ones.

  • Note which side of the acrylic it is mounted to.

  • Also note the orientation of the mounts. This will make it easier to install the motors.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

Image 1/1:

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Continue your build by progressing to Guide 2.

You're Done!

2 Comments

When you open the cement it is sealed internally with some metal that says "cut this out". You can puncture it with a screwdriver and pop it out. Not sure how you cut it.

You also need a funnel to get the cement into the squeeze bottle. I didn't have one so I used a large syringe (not one from the kit).

Chris Thompson - Reply

My cement came with "medical syringes", that is, they had a sharp point at the end. There is a longer section of needle at the tip that accumulated the bonding agent and made things somewhat messy, I used household scissors and cut off a small piece of the tip while leaving some of the beveled edge. This made my life much easier.

Aaron - Reply

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