Human Powered Submarine at UCSD

$2,597 of $2,050 goal

Raised by 27 people in 10 months
Created April 24, 2018
UC San Diego's Dolphin Finned Human Powered Submarine, named Vaquita, has just qualified for and been invited to the European International Submarine Races held in England, July 2018! A huge success for the team of twenty six undergraduate students from diverse engineering disciplines who designed and built Vaquita in one academic year as full time students!!

This is the first time the UCSD Human Powered Submarine Team has qualified for the European races. It is a unique and exciting sporting event held in one of the world's largest testing tanks (the size of one football field), the Qinetiq Ocean Basin. Twelve top teams from universities around the world will race against the clock to break world speed records for propeller and non-propeller categories, and navigate through a challenging slalom course. 

Vaquita will compete in the non-propeller category using a vertically oscillating tail fin propulsion system powered by bicycle pedals. The pilot is in a prone position looking through a transparent nosecone while pedaling as fast as he can and navigating using a fully electronic steering system. Quite the challenge! The team hopes to reach speeds of close to 4 knots (4.5 mph). Michael Phelps swims at 6 mph on his best day, but Vaquita is far more graceful. 

Please let us know if you would like a copy of our design report. Email team captain, Tobin Gutermuth, at tgutermu@ucsd.edu

TEAM ROSTER: (Name; year and major; sub team)

Alexander Westra;
  2nd year Physics; Propulsion Lead
Alistair Twombly; 5th year Aerospace; Simulations Lead
Andrew Cai; 2nd year Mechanical; Safety Systems Lead
Benny Wu; 3rd year Mechanical; Steering Mechanics Lead
Brendon Chen; 3rd year Computer Engineering; Electronics
Brian Sebastian; 3rd year Electrical; Electronics Lead, Support Diver
Chelwei Jang; 2nd year Mechanical; Safety Systems, Support Diver
Christopher Robinson; 2nd year Bio-Engineering; Propulsion
Eugene Lin; 1st year Mechanical; Hull
Felix Chan; 3rd year Aerospace; Simulations
Hao Luo; 3rd year Mechanical; Steering Mechanics
Josh Gong; 3rd year Nano-engineering; Hull, Pilot
Kayla Shepodd; 3rd year Mechanical; Propulsion
Louise Xu; 3rd year Electrical; Electronics
Michael Huang; 2nd Aerospace; Steering Mechanics
Michael Ishida; 2nd year Masters Mechanical; Simulations, Electronics
Mingcong Tang; 2nd year Physics; Propulsion
Nathan Silitonga; 3rd year Mechanical; Hull, Finance Lead
Robert Valero; 3rd year Structural; Safety Systems, Support Diver
Ryan Tran; 1st year Mechanical; Steering Mechanics
Tamara Kawa; 2nd year Mechanical; Safety Systems, Marketing
Taren Bhakta; 2nd year Physics; Hull
Thomas Spencer; 3rd year Aerospace; Propulsion
Tobin Gutermuth; 4th year Structural; Captain, Hull Lead, Support Diver
Zach Fox; 2nd year Mechanical; Propulsion
Zinan Hu; 2nd year Mechanical; Propulsion

The UCSD team began designing the 2017-2018 submarine, Vaquita, in late September and after many months of hard work designing, building, and testing it is nearly ready to race!

The team is currently raising funds to ship the submarine to and from England by air. 
Team members have already purchased their tickets to England and are committed to getting Vaquita to England.  

Fundraising Break Down:
$3250 - ship Vaquita from San Diego to England (1st priority). Lets see this thing race!!
The team is prepared to leave the submarine hull in England if we do not raise sufficient funds. 

$3250 - ship Vaquita from England to San Diego (2nd priority). Bring Vaquita home for the 2018-2019 team to further optimize the design and race in the International Submarine Races held in Maryland, July 2019. 

$2000 - offset the costs of travel for seven dedicated team members who have saved to be able to attend EISR (last priority)
A minimum of five team members are necessary to compete (3 support divers, 1 pilot, 1 member on land). 

The goal shown above will be periodically updated as we receive donations through the school as an alternative to GoFundMe

Help Vaquita get to the races

$75 Donation
- Signed Team photo with Vaquita at the European Races (6"x 8"). Please specify your shipping address 

$200 Donation
- T- shirt and signed Team Photo (6"x 8"). The T-shirt graphic is shown below. This design is not finalized, but it will be something similar. Please specify your shipping address and size wanted.

$500 Donation
- A one color symbol or logo of your choice on the submarine (cut from vinyl), and on the back of the t-shirt. The size of your symbol will scale in size with respect to the other donation sizes. Sponsors of the team prior to this fundraising campaign will have their decals on the submarine as promised, regardless of the $500 minimum. However, the size of their decals on the submarine and t-shirt will also scale in size with respect to all donations. 
- Example: One generous private donor and alumni has donated $1000 to the team. We are going to put a silhouette of his two dogs on the submarine. 
- You will also receive a signed Team photo with Vaquita at the European Races (8.5" x 11")
Thank you for your generosity and supporting the next generation of engineers!!
TAX RECEIPTS and Corporate Gift Fund Matching, Donate to the Team through UCSD Foundation Fund: 

If you prefer to donate through the school rather than directly to the team using GoFundMe please use our foundation fund through UCSD. Using this foundation fund you can get tax receipts and recognition as an official donor to the University, and you may qualify for corporate fund matching. Donors are able to give via credit card, but also through gifts of stock. For more information on giving options visit:  http://jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/giving/how-to-give.shtml 

Link to foundation fund for American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Human Powered Submarine:  https://espi.ucsd.edu/make-a-gift?id=90de02bc-a2c8-4349-9490-fab151293c63 
This fund goes to American Society of Mechanical Engineers, our parent organization at UCSD.
When making a donation through the fund, please specify that it is for the Human Powered Submarine in the special instructions box. 

Check if your company does gift fund matching using this link:  http://matchfinderonline.blackbaud.com/MatchGiftInquiry.aspx?cid=45905 

If you have any questions regarding the foundation fund please contact Mike Helé, Associate Director of Development at Jacobs School of Engineering, UCSD.         
(858) 246-3315
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Dear friends of vaquita, the dolphin finned human powered sub,

Thank you for all of your enthusiasm and support this year.

As many of you know UCSD HPS made it to the European International Submarine Races for the first time this year. Myself and six other teammates attended the event held at Qinetiq Ocean Basin in Gosport England from July 3rd- July 14th. We stayed in Kingfisher caravan (trailer) park next to the beach in Gosport with race officials and 11 other teams from around the world.

From 9am to 4pm teams would fix, modify, and race their submarines in the amazing Qinetiq Ocean Basin. The pictures do not do the basin justice. Diving and racing in the perfectly still crystal clear water of the basin was such a unique opportunity which we would not have without the generousity of Qinetiq, and the dedication of the race organizers who volunteer their time to put on this fantastic event. It was really amazing to see the fully flooded submarines start off perfectly still, suspended in the body of water (near a half ton of neutrally buoyant mass), then accelerate off of the start line like a torpedo or in our case like a dolphin. The race course was made up of a straight away with a timing trap, u turn, and back through a slalom course.

At 4pm all teams returned to the trailer park. There we got to know the various teams, sharing meals, drinking cheap beer, and hanging at the beach. IMarEST and the race organizers also held several events including a BBQ the first night, a lecture on Submarine design at the Portsmouth historic dockyards, an open house where the teams presented their designs to the public and to eachother poster board style, a tour of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum where we got to walk through the HMS Alliance, the only remaining WW2 era submarine (a real highlight of the trip), and a talk on deep ocean exploration.

On the last Friday of competition everyone attended a black tie event at a hotel in downtown Portsmouth with three course dinner and open bar, how the British Royal Navy does it. Before dinner we had an award ceremony. Vaquita got 7th place out of the 12 submarines. The judging was based on Design Report, Dry Inspection (where the quality of our design and build were judged), Wet Check (where each team had to demonstrate their pilot Safety Buoy function and pilot escape underwater), Race Performance, and Reliability. Unfortunately the performance and reliability of our submarine was severely impacted by a poor choice in buoyancy foam. The foam we used compressed at depth in the ocean basin. So, even though we were correctly trimming the submarine at depth, as soon as the depth changed (i.e. the submarine coming closer to the surface), the foam expanded and made the submarine increasingly buoyant, sending our sub up to the surface. We failed to notice this design flaw during testing because we only went a short distance in the school pool and the pilot stayed at a relatively constant depth.

Nonetheless, we still managed to cross the finish line four times, albeit at the surface. All the other systems in the submarine (drivetrain, steering, safety) were functioning normally. While we couldnt see the full potential of our propulsion and steering systems, we were glad to have completed several races at EISR, including navigating the slalom course. While we wish we could have performed better, we know that this project is really about learning and we certainly learned a ton this year.

Vaquita was also awarded with the most unusual design award. Of the 12 submarines there were only three non propellor subs. The other two non propellor subs used Hobie Mirage drive propulsion systems. We received a lot of enthusiasm from the judges and other teams about our unique design.

The spirit of the races is all about comradery, having fun, and learning. Teams shared tools, divers, and tips/experience about how to improve subs, manage teams, and fundraise. We are a small community of human powered sub engineers. I hope that UCSD will attend the european races for many years to come. Next year the team will be lead by 3rd year Xander Westra (alexander.westra@gmail.com), the propulsion lead from Vaquita. The team will likely reuse the same hull and focus on building a stronger team mentoring new members by having them improve existing systems. The team plans to attend the submarine races at in Maryland next summer.

VIDEO FROM THE RACES: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90GfEpPMWG0&t=1s
PHOTOS FROM THE RACES: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1_gSkKS8IW65KmBJ7K6ZMta8PAgPKHArH

Thank you to all of the private donors who helped us get Vaquita to England! We learned a great deal from competiting in the races, and made great friendships with engineers from around the world.
Thank you to all of our mentors and enthusiasts

Big thanks to all our corporate and school sponsors this year:
UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering
American Society of Naval Engineers, San Diego Section
American Society of Mechanical Engineers, San Diego Section
UCSD Mechanical and Aerospace Eng. Dept.
UCSD Structural Eng. Dept.
Northrop Grumman
Coastal Enterprises
UCSD Structural Engineering Undergraduate Development Labs
UCSD MAE Machine Center
UCSD Visual Arts Department
Triton Engineering Student Counsel
UCSD Drone Lab
Lormac Plastics
Teledyne Seabotix
UCSD Envision Makerstudio
Revchem Composites

Tobin and UCSD HPS
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$2,597 of $2,050 goal

Raised by 27 people in 10 months
Created April 24, 2018
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