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The "Albie" 3D Printed ROV

by mfilion May 28, 2018
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I was just wondering if a wireless fpv and control system would work. Something similar to the equipment I use on my FPV quad-copters. Could likely use a flight controller with some CLI changes in Betaflight to get the desired result. Or even better use INAV. I know a guy who uses a similar propulsion design on one of his plane models with INAV and FRSKY equipment. Using the mixer in the Taranis almost any thrust pattern can be achieved. Then the flight controller would take the place of the pwm board and give greater control and features. You could use the extra UARTs for lighting control, Gps location or return to home is signal lost (helpful without tether bug may be tough under water to get satellite connections needed), and you could even, quite easily put a 3d printed servo driven arm on it controlled by the frsky radio switches. Maybe even set one switch for position hold and use logical function in radio to also change control to robot arm and use gimbals to control. Really cool design and I think it has limitless possibilities. Would make a great fish finder. I don't know much about signal propagation but I'm guessing that range would be shortened under water. Is there any other reason you think it would or wouldn't work? Very cool design.

I'm making this rov. Can I get more detailed photos? email : KJ_sun@163.com

Is there center housing and bottom tube in your print design. I couldn’t find it. If not what did you use. Thanks

Awesome project!
can you please send some more photos? Mainly I would be interested in designing electronics and what parts.

THX so much


Awesome design, I remade the internal part to host the raspberry with pixhawk like the ardusub design. the topside is a work in progress with a wifi router.

What material did you use the the ballast weight? All done printing the parts and starting to put it together.

I'm half way through this print and now looking at lights to fit in the tube. What lights did you use. Cheers.

PS awesome design. Do you have any videos of it being used in a lake.

Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the design! :) I didn't use lights, water is clear here, and it's now winter.... so everything is frozen solid! I'm in Canada... :) I never did take any video of it in the lake, hopefully this summer I'll get my act together and do that! :)

What did you do to protect the PLA because PLA sucks water. after glueing it all together when i put it in water it becomes 10% heavier after 15 min (in water) ?
The exterior was protected with 5 layers of polurethan varnish. Still it becomes 10% heavier.
The only thing i can do is spray paint on it. But because it is al glued together it is almost impossible to spray paint in the inner parts. For example where you put the lights and left and right motor.


PS: The electronics are ready. I'm using a raspberry Pi 3 and a Pixhawk. i also include a leak sensor and a water pressure sensor. The raspberry picam 1080P is mounted also on a tilt gimbal.

will you help me with the electronics on this

What do you want to now ?

Oh wow you've added so much that's great! Yes you are right about the PLA issue, I just wait 10 or so minutes with it in the water, but powered off to save battery to reduce that impact.... Lights, I didn't add lights... the pods are there for them, but I never bothered. The water I use it in is very clear and lights were unnecessary. Way to go! I'd love to see pics of your version!

I will send you some photos.
I protected the prints with sevral layer of poluorethane

Nice project!
What's the tube above the enclosure? Did you print it? Can't find it in your files.

Did you use epoxy to glue the parts together ?

Small question.
It is good to use 800kv brushless motors, but what if one goes bad how to replace him because you cannot reach the screws on the motor plates that were glued to the body

Hey! Actually, the motor plate is just press-fit into the recess in the body of the ROV. To change, you just pop out the plate. It's a tight fit and so doesn't come out unless you REALLY want it to... :)

I'm working on adding some M3 threaded inserts - fixed in from the bottom of the dorsal motor plate - either glued, or melted in with a soldering iron. The plate can then be glued into place on the hull.

Fit the 800kv motor to it's cross shaped mount and then mount the whole lot onto the dorsal motor plate with m3 screws from the top.

The motor should be easily replaceable when something inevitably goes wrong.

That's great, a better solution... :) Nice!

Sorry folks, I just uploaded the missing dorsal motor mount... :) The shroud that is used on that one is the same as the rear ones... So I think that is now a complete parts list. Let me know if you notice anything else missing! As an update, I did some inspections of water lines for cottagers in a freshwater lake a couple weeks ago, worked great! No, I don't have video, still haven't mounted the goPro on... just having fun using it FPV.

Yes the dive motor shroud and mountplate is not available could you put it also online

On the top of the ROV, there's a Motor Shroud that's different from the rear mounts. Is that part available?

Great project. Looking at making.
Which watertight enclosure did you buy ?
Diameter ?
length ?

What lights did you uses?
Where did you order your motors from? Did you get a chance to test them in the lake and/or salt water?
Are you going to add plans for this project?

Hey! Thanks for the comment! Here are the parts I used...

Enclosure (flat front, not bubble):



Motors (these are new versions of mine, these are nicer... :) ):

Motor ESCs (these need reprogramming to be able to do fwd/rev):

I am not planning on posting plans, I don' have any... :) The parts only go together one way, so can't really mess up! :) I just finished fixing up my boat which needed repair, so now I'm ready to take it out to the lake (soon) and see what happens... Fresh water only, I'm up in Canada.. :)

Thanks and good luck!

Thank you! I'll post pictures of my project.

What is the aprox total cost for the parts?

Comments deleted.

another question ... where do you put the Lipo battery ?

It sits in the tube, under the electronics tray. Lots of room in there. Used a 6500mah 3s lipo,. Also a 5000mah.

Which watertight enclosure did you buy ?
Diameter ?
length ?

your solution has one small problem and that when you want to use a 4k action cam with a fpv connection there is no way to start the 4k recording on the incorporated micro SD card

I'm starting tests with PVC tubes and protection O rings to make them watertight

What is the length of the ROV
are you using 800KV motors ?


Hey! Yes you are right that's a limitation. The plan is to have the FPV just to navigate and look, but record on a go pro externally mounted. Push record and let it swim. That was my simple solution, but it would be great to use a recording FPV cam, but again, that adds complexity which I really wanted to avoid.

Oh sorry, didn't answer all your questions.. 20m tether see link in above comments, my motors are 750kv but really it doesn't matter so much, so long as the prop loading isn't too high. 800kv is entirely fine.

Very cool electronics solution, and I like the RF Buoy Idea! I think it'd be cool to make the buoy look like a giant fishing bobber.

Wheres the fun in that. A shark fin will confuse way more people. especialy in a lake ;)

Hahah so true! Or I was thinking of making a dive buoy (like for scuba) so boats can see it and know it's there.