Design V02 – sphere shape buoy (old post from June 2014)

After a few months away from the project, I’ve started working on the project again. The design has evolved and changed ( in part because I now own a better 3D printer and can fabricate more sophisticated parts) into a 150 mm diameter sphere. Additionally, this version will only be a surface floating device and will not be designed to sink like the other drouge idea.

I’ve also enlisted the help of my friend Tyler Moskowite to help with the hardware/software development for the project. He has a background in mobile app development and programming Arduino and electronics. Together we hope to get a working prototype completed sometime this year.

The new plan is to make a buoy that can float at the surface of the water and measure the wave heights and periods.

Note 1: the sphere design has been halted for now, in favor of another buoy shape due to limiting space in the upper portion of the sphere shaped hull.  Back to the sphere design! (04-22-2015)


With the larger printer we are now able to print parts that are 6″ x 6″ x 6″.  For now, we are printing both the top and bottom parts of the sphere with this printer for prototyping purposes. So far, the prints have been water tight but I also plan to coat the surfaces in a clear epoxy to make them stronger and tougher for extended water testing. Below is an image of the new 3D printer.


Update: here are images from the first prototype of the sphere hull design.



Both upper and lower sections of hull. This version of the design did not have any seals built into the rims of the hemispheres, and was intended more for determining the placement of the electronics inside the hull.


A three tiered system was implemented for the electronics, with the top layer having room for the GPS antenna and 3 RGB LEDs.



The bottom layer had room for the IMU (accelerometer, gyroscope and magnometer) and the GPS and Xbee.


This image shows the testing sequence for the three RGB LEDS which would be used to indicate the status of the buoy. The clear upper hemisphere would act to diffuse the light and make the entire top portion of the buoy glow at night. It would flash yellow at night as a navigation warning, red if there was an error, and flash green when sending signals to the base station.

Also shown in the image is the 3D printed battery pack for holding 5 AA batteries (not shown) . Two sets of these packs would be placed in the bottom section of the hull and wired in series to power the electronics. This initial design was not intended to be solar powered, due to time and money constraints, so the batteries packs would have to be removed in-between deployments/testing to charge them.


More testing of the lights, this time they are yellow.


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