Last month's assumption that the o-ring seal on the WeatherBox required improvement proved to be correct. The printed part had tiny imperfections underneath the o-ring that allowed water to slowly leak through. A WeatherBox customer who was using it to observe a muskrat underwater came up with a brilliant solution: he found that using some marine goop (ex. https://www.homedepot.ca/product/amazing-goop-marine-109-4-ml-3-7-oz-/1000183125) in the channel holding the o-ring worked to fill in the small imperfections in the plastic and create a watertight seal. I've built a few WeatherBox enclosures since then with the channel filled with Marine Goop and they have all worked quite well.
To take pictures and video underwater with the 6 foot AMOS surfboard, an extension piece was required to get the WeatherBox below the waterline. The bow of the surfboard where the camera is located is pitched upward at about a 20 degree angle, so this requires a curved extension piece. The creation of this extension piece required a couple of weeks. At first, rendering the model in OpenSCAD took days for my laptop to finish, although later iterations of the model used some 2-D optimizations with extrusions that shortened the rendering time to about 24 hours. The first two model attempts also had small gaps on the side with the largest radius of curvature, which led to leaking. Eventually a working model of the curved extension piece was created:
The extension piece was fitted on AMOS and used to capture this underwater backyard pool video:Apologies to viewers for the acting talent used in the above video. In Nature Robotics operates on a tight budget. 😉
Coming up next week is the final round of the 2021 edition of the Ocean Startup Challenge (https://oceanstartupproject.ca/challenge/). In Nature Robotics is in the mix again this year, and will be pitching on Thursday, September 9.