What does it take to reach the bottom of the sea?

Good ideas and a great team.

We are students of Gimnazija Vič and we are building a reasearch submarine. We named her Calypso and we want to reach the deepest point of the Adriatic sea.
Read our story.»

May 26, 2015 - Maiden dive in the Adriatic sea

Today was ‘the D day’, as we had our maiden dive in front of the press. After three years of working on this project, with all of the small mishaps included, we have finally made it. High five to us! Fun fact: For the last week before the dive, the main crew slept not more than three hours a night. Check out the gallery.

May 20, 2015 - Calypso in all of its glory

Here it is - the result of the three years work - a completed submarine, capable of reaching 100 meters of depth - the Adriatic will never be the same. Let the exploration begin.

April 18, 2015 - PID testing at the pool

This was a long night for us. We tested the working of our software programs and realised they work completely fine, but need some embellishments. after that everything will run smoothly.

March 10, 2015 - Ocenatec hull making

Today some of us went to Oceantec’s workshop, where we made our outer shell, along with some professionals from Oceantec. We are so grateful for their help and for the fact that they allowed us to use their tehcnology to build Calypso.

February 20, 2015 - hull penetrators complete

The hull penetrators are completed. They are now covered in vulcanised rubber, tested and ready to use. Aren’t they beautiful?

January 17, 2015 - press conference preparation are on the way

The PR team is working hard to make it happen. The press conference is only a couple of weeks away, and there is still much to do! Go team!!!!

February 1, 2015 - syntactic foam complete

The syntactic foam rings are completed. We colored them yellow and red so that the submarine is more visible in the sea, when without the outer shell. We might just make another one to fit inside the outer shell tightly, just for aesthetic purposes.

September 26, 2014 - donation from Summit leasing and credit

Today we went to Summit leasing and credit, because they were so nice to give us a server with everything it needs to work properly. For them it’s a bit outdated, but for us it the best thing they could give to us. We even got some complimentary gift bags.

August 1, 2014 - Testing in sea water

The first test in seawater is completed. We had some complications at the beginning, but it all turned out great and we were able to test it properly. We worked really hard for four days, but had a blast while doing it. If not anything else, this trip really bonded the group.

June 22, 2014 - GUI in progress

The first sight of the finished GUI. It was made with Labview from National Instruments. We also switched to the myRIO platform, to test the I2C protocol and try to find out why the boards keep switching down.

May 30, 2014 - Debugging the controllers

The reason for the shutdown seems to be in the I2C of the Raspberry PI? After switching to Beagleboard, which has a more stable I2C protocol, the problem seemed to be resolved - unfortunately after an hour of testing the boards shut down again? Investigation pending...

May 23, 2014 - Motor testing

Today was the first day when we tested the underwater thrusters in water. They performed well, we had some major issues with the controller boards. They kept switching off, we think that the I2C might be the problem. As before the test was carried out at the local pond. The balloons are there to keep the power supply cable floating :)

May 20, 2014 - PADI diving course

We finished a PADI OWD course this month. Thank you Gašper Otorepec for the generous donation!

April 17, 2014 - Hull penetrator testing

In order to keep the water out of the inner shell, but still be able to supply the power for the electronics, we need the hull penetrators. They are made out of two parts - brass inlay and a polyurethane cover. For the sealing we used O-rings again. The penetrators were tested at 120 bars of pressure (1200 m depth equivalent) and they performed perfectly - not a single drop came through.

March 10, 2014 - Press conference with Jeff Jonas

Jeff Jonas, the IBM fellow, visited us today, and we organized a press conference for the slovenian media. The attendance was excellent, nearly every press house came to the conference. Thank you Jeff for the inspiring words and the donation - we’ll make good use of it, and purchase a new motor!

February 29, 2014 - 3D positioning system is finished

One of the crucial system for submarine handling is the underwater positioning system. It is used by the operator to see the current position (pitch, roll) of the craft. That is especially important if the submarine is in deep water, or if an emergency ascent is needed. Great work guys!

February 20, 2014 - Motor drivers have arrived

Since we want precision control of the submarine we will be using BLDC motor drivers from Texas Instruments. They use FOC, which is perfect for controlling our thrusters. The plates are actually development boards, so it will be challenge to program them.

February 10, 2014 - polished hull

The guys from OCEANTEC, helped us, and made one model out of carbon fiber. What do you think? We think it looks totally awesome!! At Oceantec they manufacture custom sailing boats and motor boats, so they are experts in carbon fiber and fiberglass forming.

January 27, 2014 - working with fiberglass

We started with preparations for making the outer shell. At first we wanted to use carbon fibers, but since the outer shell will be flooded from both sides, there is no need for strength, and the finished product will be painted white, so we decided to go with fiberglass. On the pictures you see the finished models which we made using the vacuum infusion method. The models are in 1:5 scale.

January 12, 2013 - Second testing

On the inner shell we mounted the holders for the motors and took care for the neutral buoyancy of the whole craft. We used styrofoam, as we only wanted to test the buoyancy. Styrofoam will otherwise deform at depths more that 20 m, but until then the deformation is below 5%, which is more than enough for the pond.

November 29, 2013 - Testing the inner hull at Koseze pond in Ljubljana

We couldnt wait to test the inner shell, so we went to a nearby pond (Koseški bajer) to test if there are any defects in the design of the sealing rings. We only tested in in 2m of depth (it is a small pond indeed). The insides were bone dry, so we are confident that the hull will be able to withstand even higher pressure.

November 13, 2013 - Small inner shell is finished - thank you Goodyear Dunlop Sava Tires

Today we went to the Goodyear Sava Dunlop company in Kranj, where they agreed to help us make the inner shell of the submarine. It consists of an aluminium tube with welded flanges on both sides. For sealing we will use O-rings. Thank you Goodyear!

October 19, 2013 - We presented our project to the President of Slovenia

The Slovenian youth entrepreneur center Ustvarjalnik has hosted its annual “bootcamp” for student entrepreneurs. The president of Slovenia Borut Pahor also visited, and we were able to present our idea of the submarine to him.

September 30, 2013 - organizing workgroups

We decided to split the work into workgroups, where every group will be responsible for one critical system of the submarine. During the summertime we reorganized our plan, and decided on several important components of the submarine.

September 25, 2013 - 3D model came to life

Since our workshop is equipped with a small CNC router we decided to make a small sized version of Calypso. We cut the model in 5 parts, routed them separately and then glued them together!

September 15, 2013 - 3D model is finished

This summer we planned and discussed the final shape of our submarine. We were inspired by the beautiful manta rays, and decided to mimic the shape. It is not the final shape, but a very good approximation. We will try to put it into a simulator to check the water flow around the shell.

June 14, 2013 - First testing

The first test was carried out at the University of sports’ pool in Ljubljana. Unfortunately none of the system we designed workde - except for the sealing Not a drop of water came through the seals. The ballast tanks motor was not powerful enough to push the piston at 3 meters of depth, and the center of mass system was a total failure. If we moved the weight too much in one direction, the submarine tilted in a vertical position, from which we could not free it. We are all disappointed, but this summer we want to make new plans and then try them out next school year.

May 23, 2013 - Prototype of the inner shell is finished

A very simple hull, made out of a plastic tube, with wooden wings. The sealing proved to be quite difficult, but we managed to seal it shut. In the front side of the hull we will place the ballast tank prototype, and try to sink it. The wings will hopefully provide a large enough surface for the craft to glide at at an angle, rather than going straight down. The weight inside the submarine should help with the tilt. We are sooo looking forward to the first testing!

May 20, 2013 - Center of gravity system

To control the pitch of the craft we will use a movable weight, the submarine will lean in the direction in which the weight will move. A simple, but hopefully effective system, which we are eager to test. The copper heat sink on one end belongs to the voltage regulator., and the switches on both sides are limiting the weight’s movement.

February 17, 2013 - Ballast tank prototype

After some fiddling with plastic syringes we decided to use ballast tanks in order to dive and submerge the craft. On the image you can see the finished prototype that uses a piston to change the relative volume of the air inside the craft. If we move the piston towards the end the buoyancy should increase, and if the piston is moved toward the motor, the buoyancy should decrease.

November 8, 2012 - Calypso project begins

After a successful launch of the atmospheric probe we decided that we want to go and explore the deep blue. We decided to make a submarine that will be capable of reaching the depths of 1000 meters. The image shows what we want to make. The project is named CALYPSO, after the greek water nymphs, who were supposed to dwell under the water.

Our Sponsors:

Our sponsors, friends and donators: a big thank you to all of you who believe in us, and our abilities. If you want to become one of our supporters you can contact us on rok@zavod404.si, or donate directly through Paypal.