Ge-Filter Fish 2.0 swag


By: Josh, MAILOT

get and paste code 


Many people simply disregard the problems with pool cleaning. For one, it’s extraordinarily disgusting and nasty. Secondly, it requires lots of labour in the hot sun. Lastly, the job of cleaning a pool poses many threats to the cleaner her/himself. The water may cause the cleaner to slip and fall, injuring themselves. The risk of heatstroke from standing in the sun is also a possibility. And so therefore, two years ago, we decided to come up with a project that would solve this. It was then and there that we “developed” the “Ge-Filter Fish”. This fish would scope out the pool and sense where boundaries were, and freely roam the pool with propellers and motors. A net would be in the back to catch debris from falling back into the pool, and it would be able to be removed. The entire project would be powered through Arduino and batteries. However, the same year it was planned to be developed, multiple team members dropped out, and the project was an entire failure. The structure would not float, and it would not move, resulting in a huge disaster. Flash forward two years later, and the project was brought back into light and into life. This time, we had planned everything out, and we chose exactly what we wanted and what we wanted to do. By developing this project, it was concluded that it would save labor, as the fish is automated and requires not much physical work. It also saves time, as you can do something else while it cleans. And lastly, it saves lives, since people get hurt in pools every year. They even say, “send your kids to homes with guns, rather than homes with pools.” 

Day 1, 7.8.2013
We came up with the idea to improve on a prior project, “Ge-Filter Fish”, to actually get it to work and function. We decided to find more lightweight material and make the overall structure and motors stronger.

Day 2, 7.9.2013
Today, we added more detail to our project. We started off with a little brainstorming, and figuring out important features and developed a storyboard and concept drawing. We also figured out the target audience, which are pool owners. We discussed stronger and more lightweight materials. We are still on the edge of choosing whether or not to include any sort of sound recognition device at all.

These are possible structure materials:

  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic
  • Acrylic
  • Wood
  • PVC 


1. What problem are you addressing?
Since pools require tough manual labor to clean, pool owners will do less labor with a filter fish.

2. What will you build?
A robot that swims in any pool that cleans, filters, and clears out any debri.

3. Who will you use it?
Private pool owners and public pool owners will be able to test the product.

4. How will it help?
It will save labor by automatically cleaning the pool. Also it will save the lives of the pool cleaners that cannot swim.

5. 3 most important things it will do?
It will filter the pool, move on its own, and save lives.

6. Most important features?
The most important features will be Arduino/motors, a filter and a pvc pipes to keep the boat afloat.

7. 3 technologies being used?
Gimp for artistic aspects, Arduino for motors, FabLab for overall structure, and ShopBot to bend buoyancy devices.


  1. What’s the best shell material?
  2. What’s the best floatation material?
  3. Other programming platforms to speed up motors?
  4. Is the project feasible?
  5. Is the project able to be designed?
  6. Will it cost a lot?
  7. Would you buy it?
  8. Other alternate motors?
  9. Any other methods to speed up propulsion?
  • 5 Keywords: Displacement, flotation, Arduino, buoyancy, motors. 
  • 3 examples of products: RC Boat, fishing nets and Roombas (somewhat related).
  • 3 DIY Projects: self made submarines from, racing boats and BeetleBot.
  • 3 Sites: 

3 Pros and Cons: 


  • 1. It will filter the pool, resulting in cleaner pools and clog free drains.
  • 2. It will float on water, resulting in no short circuiting or worry of sinking.
  • 3. It will stop physical labor, resulting in less work, less time, and more lives.


  • Sinking: What if the project sinks? What if it is unbalances and the filtration job is unable to be fulfilled? 
  • Not fast enough: What if the propellers are not strong enough? What if the motors do not put out enough power? What if the batteries are run out of “juice” during the cleaning process?
  • Water proof: Will it be water proof? Are there risks of shortages or leaking of water?

Materials needed: 

  • 2 PVC pipes (3in. diameter), 14 inches long.
  • 3 sheets of plastic twin wall, 14 inches long, 12 inches wide
  • Arduino
  • 2 motors
  • 2 9V batteries
  • 2 Propellers
  • Insulating foam

Current product that is relevant to the project: The Roomba, or the super expensive automated robotic vacuum cleaner. This project is relevant because it incorporates a lot of aspects that our project is based upon. For one thing, its main purpose to get rid of dirt and debris, but in a different manner. It is also able to sense where it needs to go and where it needs to clean. The sensors are related to our project as well, because we need the Ge-Filter fish to realize where to go and we need it to sense the boundaries and walls. 

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One thing that is great is that Joshua’s sister actually works for iRobot, who is the manufacturer and developer of these robotic vacuum cleaners, as well as military machines and other robotic devices.

DIY project with elements that we can include in the project: A project under the name “Build a robot boat using water bottles”. (Link unavailable) This project possesses elements that we can include in this project because it also uses motors and propellers, as well as an Arduino board. And it uses water bottles for floating, which is kind of relative to our project.

Day 3, 7.10.2013

Today, we have moved deeper into the project building process. We have strayed a bit away from explore and into design. However, we are still looking for examples of already made projects in the past, and we are going to use some of their information and draw some ideas and put in some of it into our projects. We are also going to finish putting up the worksheet information and filling out some missing information. 

Day 4, 7.11.2013

We have found two fan motors today to use as prototypes, but we found out that one of them is not a DC motor, and therefore we cannot use that one. However, we used the other one to test with the Arduino, with the assistance of Beckett. Then, we can use that motor, if it works, on the prototype of the fish. But that also means we only have one motor, and therefore we will see if one [strong] motor will be better than two [moderate] motors. On the side, we have developed a better conceptual drawing, including labels, sizing and multiple points of view, as well as a 3D version. We still need to figure out what kind of input we are using to power the overall project, whether it be Arduino powered, remote controlled or something along the lines of the Beetlebot. 

Day 6, 7.15.2013

Today we built an actual final prototype that works. We redesigned the actual structure of the prototype and we came up with a successful conclusion that actually worked. We incorporated two motors that were held in place by insulating foam stuffed inside the PVC pipes, with the motors stuffed into the foam itself. Then we duct taped all the holes to ensure waters would not seep in to sabotage our project, as well as to not bring extra weight into the PVC. We painstakingly tested many hole sizes, ranging from 1.80 to 2.05 mm, and we found that 1.8mm hole fit the motors snuggly and best. 


To emphasize, our design has improved ever since the first attempt 2 years ago. Starting from our overall design towards the overall meaning. To start off, we have decided to have our first prototype be 12″x14″ inches long. Our base materials will indeed be plastic and we concurred that PVC pipes had the best buoyancy when it related towards boats floating. In addition, the propellers will also be in between the PVC pipe to add balance between the two motors. In the end we got our first real prototype which floats in water and is parallel towards what we had in our minds.


Day 7, 7.16.2013 
 The problem was we needed to balance out the weight of the boat because one half was overwhelming the other half with weight. Also we need to make actual propellers because it helps the filter fish move better. We decided to take some acrylic and fabricate a straight edged propeller through LibreOffice Draw, then use the heat gun and self warp the acrylic wings of the propeller into an actual curved 3D propeller. 
  • Arduino, to program the filter fish to move around.
  • Modkit, to program the arduino.
  • Fab lab because we need the laser cutter to create propellers for the Ge-Filter Fish 2.0.

Day 8, 7.17.2013
Our goals for today are to build better propellers using thin acrylic, which we have actually succeeded at. We figured that since a circle is 360 degrees, and there are 3 propellers, then 120 degrees for each propeller would be sufficient, and it really was. The problem from before was that we did not have the angles and positions correct, and therefore it really messed with our propulsion. In addition, Renic went to the RadioShack down the street to consult with employees on what types of motors would fit into our project the best and all the specifications of a certain researched motor that he found online, before ordering and figuring out its technicalities. Mailot is doing extensive research on the BeetleBot, as for now, it is our primary source of sensing. The problem was we did not know how to make the filter fish turn and how to count the delay to make it stop & turn either 180 degree or 90 degree. Also we needed to fine a way to connect the switch sensors to the Arduino board.

  • Laser cutter in the fab lab
  • Arduino board which is program with modkit
  • Soldering irons
  • Switch sensors

Today: We are going to programing some of the sensors, two motors to make the filter fish move & make it presentable for the presentation today.

Day 9: 7.22.2013

We are all planning to leave to RadioShack and True Value hardware store to purchase motors, batteries and netting.
Also we had Mailot cut out our PVC pipes that were 12″ x 14″ and also sanded them down.

Day 10, 7.23.2013
Today we have a lot to do since yesterday was not our best day. We will be working on lots of programing with the arduino and deciding which motor is better.
Also we will start to build our bases and see how we will attach the motors to the pipes while insulating them. The biggest problem today will be creating the fin.
Our biggest accomplishment will be getting the base ready for all of the other components. Susan ultimately bought us a 9V Super High Speed Battery, and we also bought a 9V-18V High Speed motor. We plan to test both of them out. At the end of the day, we realized Susan’s motor was best, since big things come in small packages l0l0ll

Day 11, 7.23.2013

Goals for today:
Get motors fitted into the PVC pipe caps.
Make a fin for the servo motor.
Make propellers for pipe caps.
Make an Arduino case for the Arduino so it doesn’t get wet.
Spray paint the fish.
Get all the motors working, including the small 9V Super High Speed Motor and the Servo motor.

Today, we made final propellers, figured out a way of moving the fin connected to the servo motor, and we are just wrapping up the final product as a whole. We feel we are getting to the end of the project and hopefully it will be successful. Lastly, we will need to get the PVC pipe cap ends to put on and seal the pipes so water won’t get in. 

Day 18, 7.30.2013:

After a lot of chaos and confusion over the course of the week, we have finally been able to have a firm foot on getting back on task on the fish. We have acquired both of our motors that we intend to use, and we are progressively making propellers. All we have left basically is to get the fish to sense walls and move forward. And of course, spray painting and customizing it. 

Day 27, 8.14.2013:

So far it has been a stressful kind of week… We have the plan inside our heads but getting everything done is becoming more anxious by the hour. The project expo is coming up in three days and we are a bit apathetic because we hope our project does not fail at the last minute. Today we will spend most of our time in the fab lab cutting out the final pieces and bobs for the Ge – Filter Fish. Hopefully, we finish all of the outside today and just focus more on the programing of the hardware.

Day 28, 8.15.2013:
Today we finished putting the finishing arch on the front of the Filter Fish. We also accomplished filling up the pool with a bit of help from Beckett.We are still struggleling  with how much voltage the Arduino is exerting. Our only obstacle now is filling up the pool with water.

Day 29, 8.16.2013: 

We are just about to finish the project. We need to pump up the pool, get the final parts on, and hook up everything together. Lastly, we need to test before tomorrow…and optionally we are trying to make a plaque for the project.











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