Skip to comments.Home-made submarine
Posted on 07/24/2008 9:36:12 AM PDT by atomic_dog
A Chinese labourer with only a basic school education has made a submarine at home.
Tao Xiangli made the 1.6 tonnes submarine mostly from metal barrels and improvised parts by hand, reports Zhong'an Online.
"Metal barrels are possibly the best material for me because of their low cost," said Tao, a migrant worker in Beijing.
The 20ft submarine is cramped inside with room for only one person but it features pressure metres, monitoring cameras, a TV set, oxygen supply and headlights.
"Although the equipment is simple, it's enough for a basic submarine, and more importantly, it enables the passenger to see things clearly underwater," said Tao.
It took Tao more than a year of research and experiments, but he says the most difficult challenge he faced was not a lack of knowledge, but of funds.
"The devices for submarines are all expensive, so because I couldn't afford them I found a lot of inexpensive replacements," he said.
Tao said the basic submarine cost him £2,200, the equivalent of a year's pay.
Tao is now in the final phase of debugging the submarine and hopes it will make its maiden voyage within the next week in Beijing. He says it can dive to a maximum depth of 10 meters, and should be quite safe.
Although he has only an elementary school education, Tao owns 17 patents, including a head massager, a washing machine and a shoe polisher.
Wow! Could you imagine an American building such a thing? Maybe China deserves to be next world power.
yes I can imagine an american building such a thing. Only they usually build it out of stuff that won’t crush at depth.
I hope he can keep it pressurized properly because otherwise at 10 meters its gonna implode.
I hope he survives to try again though.
Yes, I can see an American building one. Then promptly being arrested and prosecuted once he dared to put it in the water.
I’m thinking burial at sea.
It looks like one of those Popular Mechanics projects from the 1950s.
This dude just spent a year’s salary building his own coffin.
I think this would be more fun:
Man that Seabreacher is awesome!
Here’s an article that appeared in Popular Mechanix, back in the day.... http://www.rqriley.com/aquasub.html
I always wanted to build one.
Drowning would be such a miserable way to go.
No way I'd get into a submarine made by someone without a college degree.
Its just a reproduction of the css hunley 100 years later.
Now he’s just looking for a test pilot who’s crazy enough to take it down on its maiden voyage. Jeez, it looks like he just welded together fifteen or so 55-gallon drums.
The chances of getting me into that thing are, ‘not in a million years!’
I wouldn’t get in a sub made by most degreed people. Its not the school but the knowledge thats important.
There are examples of good little subs made elsewhere.
I remember seeing a show where they tested the depth that these barrels crushed like a soda can. The ribs add significant strength and I believe they survived 10 meters. However I still wouldn’t crawl in one.
I appreciate the effort and investment, but I wouldn't trust an elementary schooled shoe polisher inventor to make a safe submarine.
I had a friend who almost drowned when he was a boy. He was revived after being unconscious for a couple of minutes underwater. He told me it isn’t so bad after you get over all the fear, panic, pain and useless struggling, lol.
My guess is he has an envy he hasn’t quite realized yet.
I am impressed with this guy’s ingenuity. I hope for him the best to come from this.
He’ll be mass producing these for Mexican drug smugglers in no time..
Looks great in his back yard on a cradle. I wonder what it looks like crushed flat. 10 meters of depth is about 1 atmosphere of pressure. That’s a little over 1 ton of pressure per square foot of surface area. I hope he includes some kind of marker so that relatives can locate his grave.
“This dude just spent a years salary building his own coffin.”
Exactly, but its a good one.
Sounds bad but burning up alive sounds worse to me.
"Metal barrels are possibly the best material for me because of their low cost,"
Won’t the conning tower cause this thing to tip over upside down once he gets it in the water? It looks like the body itself is symmetric, so unless he has ballast in the body, I would think the tower would cause the whole thing to rotate.
Kudos to his inventiveness anyhow. Makes me want to get back to work on my own crazy ideas...
Now that I’ve thought about it more than 2 seconds, I suppose the tower itself is bouyant, which would keep it from rotating a full 180 degrees. I would still expect it to tilt awkwardly, though, to the extend it sticks out of the water.
I could imagine it when I was a boy and a young man. Might be a little hard now to imagine, not because we don’t have Americans with ingenuity but because the government would stop him somehow or tax him to the point he couldn’t afford to build it.
I wonder what those little Japanese mini-subs looked like — the ones they used at Pearl Harbor?
From the photo of this Chinese Death-Trap, I’m guessing that it would take water as ballast up front (to offset the weight of the motor), with the pilot standing amidships and the motor and fuel abaft...
...and I’ll go out on a limb and speculate it is a small diesel motor, not petrol and not electric. There will be two bulkheads, one to separate the pilot from the ballast, and one to separate the pilot from the motor. And compressed air to drive out the ballast: not a pump.
An electric motor would almost make sense to drive this contraption, save for the number and amperage of the (truck?) batteries necessary (and thus the cost), plus it would have to be a fairly beefy electric motor to push all that. This makes me wonder how he supplies air to his motor and vents the exhaust...
Maybe it’s an electric motor after all? But it’s 1.6 tonnes so I’m still guessing a diesel motor plus fuel.
Of course, all that is a SWAG. It would be fascinating to see his drawings, tho’.
I wouldn’t get into that contraption unless I was in scuba gear. (Maybe he is? — that would simplify matters alot).
Looks more like a torpedo than a submarine.
That submersible looks to be partially crushed already. Almost any boat except rafts are submersible.
Yes, because then you'd have no idea of the "carbon impact" of the vessel nor how badly it oppresses women and minorities.
I am feeling claustrophobic just looking at that thing...
Bosh! If man were meant to fly, he'd have been born with wings!!
Actually they are the same thing. LOL
Hopefully, you are being sarcastic. That is a picture of doing something on the cheap, which is what the Chinese are good at. How about a sub that can even go down 60-70 feet without popping a leak? He’ll get it right on the 6th or 7th try, maybe - if he survives.
Where I live, by Long Island Sound, there are a number of submarine hobbyists who build their own one man subs that are far superior in construction to that. Norwalk and, I think, Mystic, maritime centers have a couple on display.
There was also an article a few years ago about some guy near New York City who got into all kinds of trouble when he tried to test his replica of the Bushnell sub from the revolutionary war. Harbor police thought he was a terrorist.
Was the first thought I had.
One more thing: if it doesn’t prove seaworthy, that thing would make one heck of a smoker for Carolina-style pork.
Uh, well, yes. As a simple search would have revealed even unto you. For example, Here are a few of the many hundreds of possible links to home-made submarine projects.