Marine

Student designs and builds underwater jetpack, aims to start production in 2019

Student designs and builds und...
The Cuda underwater jetpack is currently at the prototype stage, but is heading for production in early 2019
The Cuda underwater jetpack is currently at the prototype stage, but is heading for production in early 2019
View 7 Images
The Cuda underwater jetpack is built around a patented propulsion system
1/7
The Cuda underwater jetpack is built around a patented propulsion system
The Cuda underwater jetpack prototype has been tested in swimming pools and open water
2/7
The Cuda underwater jetpack prototype has been tested in swimming pools and open water
The Cuda underwater jetpack is currently at the prototype stage, but is heading for production in early 2019
3/7
The Cuda underwater jetpack is currently at the prototype stage, but is heading for production in early 2019
The Cuda underwater jetpack prototype has been tested in swimming pools and open water
4/7
The Cuda underwater jetpack prototype has been tested in swimming pools and open water
The Cuda underwater jetpack is worn like a small backpack
5/7
The Cuda underwater jetpack is worn like a small backpack
The Cuda underwater jetpack is controlled using a handheld remote
6/7
The Cuda underwater jetpack is controlled using a handheld remote
The Cuda underwater jetpack has been created using CNC machining, turning, and FDM and SLS 3D printing
7/7
The Cuda underwater jetpack has been created using CNC machining, turning, and FDM and SLS 3D printing
View gallery - 7 images

The UK's Archie O'Brien had a dream of zipping below the waters off Iceland or swimming with dolphins off the coast of Bora Bora. He looked at contraptions that would pull him along underwater at speed – something like the AquaJet H2 or Scubalec, for example – but everything already available proved beyond his reach. So he decided to design and build the Cuda underwater jetpack, which will be going into production early next year.

O'Brien developed the Cuda while in his final year at the Loughborough Design School in Leicestershire, noting that existing products were either too heavy, too slow or far too expensive. His original idea was simply to try and shrink down a jet ski engine so that it could be worn as a jetpack, but this didn't hold water.

The Cuda is about the size of a small backpack and has been built around a patented propulsion system. No details of exactly how this works have been made available, though Amsterdam's 3D Hubs was responsible for making the impeller, which was SLS printed using carbon fiber-infused powder, chosen for its stiffness.

The Cuda underwater jetpack prototype has been tested in swimming pools and open water
The Cuda underwater jetpack prototype has been tested in swimming pools and open water

For the rest of the Cuda, which can be assembled in less than 10 minutes, O'Brien has used a combination of CNC machining, turning and, mainly, 3D printing. The latter making use of low cost and commonplace Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology and PLA materials. To keep the Cuda prototype running smoothly underwater, all 45 3D-printed components were coated in a thin layer of epoxy resin and the access hatches for the hotswap rechargeable batteries and electronics were treated to silicone seals.

The speed of the Cuda prototype is controlled by a handheld remote, but otherwise leaves the hands free, and direction is altered by moving the body. It's been tested in swimming pools and open water, and O'Brien now aims to take the Cuda into production during Q2 2019.

You can see O'Brien taking to the swimming pool in the video below.

Source: Archie O'Brien via 3D Hubs

View gallery - 7 images
3 comments
Username
Seems like a scalping device for people with long hair.
Lee Bell
Looks like a simple enough system from the pictures. Electric motor powered blade pump with the ducting system acting like an eductor pump system which would throw more water out the rear ports than the pump can itself. A K.I.S.S. type design which should be reliable to operate. The batteries probably cost more than the rest of the unit by a large margin. Looks like it would be fun to use to me and it shouldn't be all that expensive to buy either since the reason the guy built it was to get something cheaper but still effective.
ljaques
Checked out the vids on the 3D Hubs site and it looks quite practical. Traverse a pool in 4 seconds? Not too shabby. I hope he keeps it cheap so more people can enjoy them while making him a millionaire.