OpenROV 599 — Build Diary 01

[15 Mar 2015]

1455144_10201131592353663_488880109_nThis is my first OpenROV build. I purchased my OpenROV kit in the fall of 2013, the moment I first became aware of its existence (sadly, I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled on them). I had just moved to Chicago, and the proximity of Lake Michigan was rekindling the interest in ROVs that had lain dormant since I left California after my postdocs there.

We had just moved to the city, and were living in a small apartment, and I had not sorted out how to have any kind of hobby space, so my OpenROV kit sat waiting patiently in its box. Finally, we moved to a slightly larger apartment, and I carved out a hobby space!

benchI used to have a garage, and a full out workshop with benches, power tools, the works. I had to be far more compact since I’m confined to an apartment. I wanted a solid surface I would work on, with plenty of storage. My workbench is a 30″x72″ work surface, setup on an array of cubeshelves. I made the surface out of softwood (pine boards) supporting bamboo panel flooring for my work surface. The top of the bench is 37″ off the floor, so this is definitely a “standing” bench.  I’ve been meaning to write an Instructable about my bench; I’ll have to do that sometime (after my ROV is done!).

notebookSTEP 000: Record keeping is a BIG thing with me. I have notebooks for everything that I do, and the ROV isn’t any different. In addition to this electronic diary, my day to day notes and work associated with the build are being recorded in a composition book dedicated to this project. Per my normal habits, it is kept diary style, with numbered paged and dated entries — everything goes in the notebook.  I call this notebook “OpenROV599 CompBook” in these entries.

STEP 001: First step was unboxing my OpenROV and inventorying the set against the Bill of Materials (BoM) that is listed with the build instructions. I used the 28 Jan 2014 version.

Unboxing everything in the kit and checking it against the Bill of Materials.

Unboxing everything in the kit and checking it against the Bill of Materials.

A few observations and oddities about the process of checking against the BoM:

  • The BoM is written as if you are building your ROV from scratch, rather than from a kit. As such, the first entries are for sheets of acrylic; in the kits, you have pre-cut parts, and there was no way to know if you had all the parts or not!
  • The Construction Materials listed in the BoM are not the same as those listed in the instructions themselves; I followed the instructions. 🙂
  • In some instances, some colors for the parts would have been extremely helpful. Especially the first time I pull all of this stuff out of the box, I have no idea what any of it is! For instance, the BoM lists “Wire Sleeve Material.” This was yellow in the kit, so saying yellow would have helped me find it, rather than process of elimination (the “Wire Sleeve Material” also is erroneously listed as being 30mm long, when it is 30cm long).
  • There was one screw missing from my inventory (An M3x10 nylon pan head screw). Scanning ahead in the instructions, there was a place where it is used and they note that early versions of the kit did not include it, and suggested we just lift one from elsewhere in the ROV. That doesn’t sound like something I would do, so I’ll order some more from McMaster Carr.

My copy of the BoM that I checked against is on pages 2-3 of my OpenROV599 CompBook.

STEP 002: I’m always thinking that I might want a new part or need to replace parts. I could trust that the OpenROV folks are going to be there always, but who knows whether or not they’ll be able to provide parts in 20 years! What if one breaks and I’d like to repair it sooner than I can get a new one? There are all kinds of reasons I could imagine needing a copy of the parts I started with.  I decided the best plan was to scan them all into a PDF, so I could print out new 1:1 copies if I ever needed to.  The parts are transparent acrylic, so after experimenting a bit I decided I could get good scan results by putting a piece of blue paper behind them when I conducted the scan.

I print out my scans and put them in my OpenROV 599 CompBook on pgs. 7-11. I number all the parts and as I use them in the assembly, I’ll note on those pages the first step where the part is used.

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