3D-Printed Octopod Underwater Salvage Vehicle

While this incredible octopus won’t actually be going underwater like its robotic oceanic brethren, it looks amazing – and it was created with a 3D printer. Creator Sean Charlesworth made the Octopod Underwater Salvage Vehicle for his thesis in Digital Imaging and Design, and showed it off at this year’s Maker Faire New York.

Charlesworth spent six months designing the Octopod model using Cinema 4D and Maya software. At first he intended to create the Octopod simply as an object for a digital underwater scene, but got inspired to physically build it. The interior of the octopus body is intricately detailed with all the submarine features you’d expect including portholes, ladders, a control room and working lights. As Charlesworth told Maker Faire, “Overall the biggest challenge was designing everything to fit together and work mechanically.”

“I’m a big fan of the Nautilus sub from Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea because it had an animal-like look while remaining really mechanical. Using that as inspiration I came up with the Octopod and tried to design it to be as practical as possible while being fantastical.”

While not an actual submarine robot, the Octopod is reminiscent of other robotic marine creatures including a lobster that can detect mines and send their location back to the military, a pollution-sensing robotic fish and even a robot squid that was created using physical properties of both squid and other marine animals like stingrays.

See more photos and video of the Octopod in progress at Sean Charlesworth’s blog, Opus V.