Oakridge Robotics OpenROV

Latest update October 7, 2017 Started on December 20, 2016

With a grant funded OpenROV the Oakridge Robotics Junior High and High School students plan to build an OpenROV using their skills in creating autonomous and remote controlled vehicles from scratch.

Our mission: Oakridge is surrounded by the high Cascade Lakes that have not yet been explored. Stories of sunken ships, planes and even a logging train have yet to be explored. We plan to document our exploration and the things we learn along the way!

December 20, 2016
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In The Field

Mr. S. was able to get out for a little bit to Hills Creek Dam near Oakridge, Oregon on the weekend. He was not able to get students out because he needed to test a firmware issue that was going on. (The Arduino decided to erase the flashed image) He saw some fish (One of decent size) and managed to get the ROV tangled on the rocks. We will print off floats to keep the tether off the bottom. Good day of floating other than almost having to swim to get the ROV tangled. Thankfully there was a very long branch that helped to de-tangle the tether and keep him dry!

You can always save another ROV with another ROV ^__^ Check it out: https://www.openexplorer.com/expedition/rescueofopenrov589

We went on our first outside dive at a local park Greenwaters in Oakridge, Oregon in the middle fork of the Willamette River. The current was pretty strong and it swept the ROV down the river a few times, but it worked so great! Easy to control and to see from. The river was much deeper than we thought and we saw two trout (0:55) while being swept downstream. What a fun and valuable opportunity!!!


Awesome! Congrats on your first outside dive. The river looks beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Thanks for sharing and I hope the rest of your adventures go well!

We decided to wait for this next school year to do our dive to look for sturgeon due to student schedules and Mr. Soko's new addition to his family (A healthy happy little girl)! Now that she is getting older it will be easier to get out to dive.

There is also good news that the Army Corp of Engineers has lowered the level of the water significantly to do maintenece on the spillway gates at Hills Creek Dam. The water is down atleast 80 feet and should make getting to the bottom to see fish so much easier!

Best of luck - waiting to see what you discover!!!

Excited to see what you find!

We have been so busy lately but we did not forget about our rover. We have plans for our first real dive in the next couple weeks. We are going to go dive in front of a dam and look for sturgeon. At this point we are finishing our depth sensor.


Are you planning on posting video from your first dives? It would be very cool to see the sturgeon up close!

Yes, we will post our videos on our Robotic's YouTube channel and also post that link here when we go diving in the next few weeks!

Awesome! Can't wait!!


We were able to edit a video of the dive at Sheldon Pool. This was so much fun and we learned a lot!

So awesome to see the ROV flying around! I can't wait to see it flying in the field :)

It was amazing to see how stable it was! The students are so excited to see it at the local lakes in action!!!

Hey great work!!! Love it!

After going over our experience of yesterday we have concluded that this experience is super special. Without the grant and knowledge of our super dedicated teacher we would have never got the chance to do anything like this. Cale and I had so much fun. We cannot wait to go diving again. We are thinking of going to the river at one of our favorite spots.

We have finished preparations this past week. We really had to step up to get it done in time for the dive at Sheldon pool with the discover scuba divers. We just finished yesterday. Being super excited and very lucky we dove our rover for the first test dive.

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Today Cale, the builder, had other obligations, so Nate is going make sure everything dry fits together. He is also going to double check every step throughout the process.

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Cale works hard today on precisely gluing, soldering, and zip tieing everything together. He is also using a heat gun to seal the ends of each wire that needs it to make sure it is water-proof.


Through out our preparation stage we found a potential problem. On one of the motors we received the connecting wires would possibly break with any amount of flexing of the silicone wires. We would have just left it, but we did not want them to break later on. This would force us to disassemble the OpenROV to fix them. Our brainstormed solution to this problem was we decided to hot glue the wires to the motor for extra support. The first time we tried the glue did not adhere, but the second time we put more glue and held the glue gun for longer and it worked!


Cale and Gavin work hard together to acrylic the pieces together. At this point they are working on the piece that the motor will mount onto.

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A select few students get to take on the challenge of building an OpenROV 2.8 kit given to the Oakridge School District Robotics class. They are very enthusiastic and excited about building the OpenROV. They are now just getting started opening the packages, reading instructions, and most of all brainstorming their ideas.

The Oakridge School District also has opportunities for students to learn how to dive and get their PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) scuba license. They have asked the Robotics class several months ago to video record their diving and processes of certification. Now we can fill there request because we were given a great opportunity to build this underwater rover. Before we received this grant we had no clue where to start when it came to underwater exploration. Many thanks to OpenROV!!!

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Expedition Background

The Oakridge Robotics Class has been building autonomous and remote controlled vehicles that are build from scratch with 3D printers (they have made from a gofundme.com donations from around the country) and recycled materials from our school district. Along the way students have learned so many valuable skills, not only about electronics and building, but how to problem solve.

OpenROV has graciously offered to help Oakridge Robotics secure a grant to get an OpenROV kit for the students to build. With the hundreds of lakes around our community still left to be explored I can only dream of the things they could possibly find with this underwater ROV, but even more importantly, the experience and journey they will take to make this a reality!

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