UT Buoy Design #1

This buoy design was developed in one week by a UT Engineering design class for a homework project. This antenna platform is designed to be a low cost, portable and durable buoy which can be used to record GPS positional data. Two illustrations of the buoy design have been provided to improve understanding.

The buoy design consists of a wooden platform supported by a styrofoam life ring. The GPS antenna, which has a magnetic mounting option, will be secured to the platform by a steel plate. The antenna will be protected from the elements by a clear plastic protective cover (a.k.a. a tupperware bowl). The buoy will be tended from a boat which is tethered via the antenna cable to the GPS receiver. The antenna cable will be placed inside 40 to 50 feet of waterproof hose which will be kept afloat by swimming pool rope floats. The buoy will be anchored below by a small brick.

Side View of Buoy Design
Blow Away View of Buoy Design

List of Materials
1. 18"x 18" x 0.125" plywood board
2. Life ring (Styrofoam, 18" diameter)
3. 20' Thin nylon cord
4. Plastic Dome (Tupperware bowl - at least 8" diameter and 6" deep)
5. Steel plate - 4" x 4"
6. Brick
7. Silicone Sealant
8. 40 ' waterproof hose (at least 1" in diameter)
9. Marine Varnish
10. Hose Fitting (1" in diameter )
11. 4 - 1" rope floats
12. 4 screws
13. 4 eyehook screws
14. Sandpaper
Total Estimated Cost

Prepare the buoy surface
1. Sand the plywood board to remove any rough edges
2. Apply the marine varnish to the plywood platform. This will help to preserve the life of the buoy.
3. Drill four (4) starter holes in the plywood board at 1 inch in from each of the corners. These holes will be for the eyehook screws
4. Screw the eyehook screws into a corner hole.
5. Cut 4 pieces of nylon cord 3' in length.

Secure the life ring to the bottom of the wooden platform.
6.Pass one 3' length of cord thru the first corner eyehook.
7. Wrap the cord twice around the life ring while passing it through the eyehook.
8. Tie the cord into a knot
9. Repeat for remaining three corners

Prepare the plastic shield
10. Drill a 3/4" hole in the side of the bowl 3 " up from the opening.
11. Place the hose fitting thru the drilled out hole in the bowl with the flat end on the inside of the bowl.
12. Make sure that the fitting is secure.
13. Place a bead of silicone sealant around the outside joint of the hose fitting and the bowl.
14. Screw on the hose fitting clamp until it is tight against the bowl

Prepare the antenna mount
15. Drill four small holes thru the steel plate
16. Center the steel plate on the plywood board
17. Drill four small starter holes in the plywood board
18. Secure the steel plate to the plywood board with 4 small screws.
19. Place the tupperware lid directly over the steel plate.
20. Place the antenna magnetic mount over the steel plate. The force of the magnet will secure the plastic cover in place

Attach the Cable
21. Feed one end of the antenna cable thru the waterproof hose.
22. Feed that end of the antenna cable thru the hose fitting and attach to the antenna
23. Slide the waterproof hose onto the hose fitting

Attach the weight system
24. Cut two pieces of nylon cord each 4 feet in length.
25. Tie one end of the nylon cord to an eyelet on the platform
26. Feed the nylon cord thru the brick and tie the other end onto the diagonal eyelet
27. Repeat for the other two corners


Wednesday, 31-Dec-1969 18:00:00 CST