A Shark Born Of Polycarbonate

29 Aug


Fabien Cousteau, Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s grandson, came to us with a dream; a mechanical Great White Shark that a diver could fit inside to observe Great Whites in their natural environment. This is the fourth mechanical shark Eddie has designed and lead the build team on, and the third for the Cousteau’s. But this is the first shark Eddie has built with the intention of putting somebody inside!

Eddie airbrushes in some fine details on the head.
Sushi, as the mechanical monster is affectionately called by the shop crew, is a self-contained 14 foot long pneumatically powered vehicle that emulates the movement of a real Great White for propulsion. In other words, it really swims! The skeleton of the shark is made from mandrilly bent 2” steel roll-bar tubing for the ribs and bullet-resistant Sheffield MAKROLON HYGARD polycarbonate plastic for the spine and fins with a removable fiberglass head, allowing the driver to enter and exit the submarine. The entire body is covered with ¼ inch of Skin Flex, a latex product that is used mostly for special effects.
Sushi’s head next to the molds for her body skin.
The fine folks at Loyola Marymount University have been gracious enough to let us use their swimming pool for the first series of “Float Tests” in January-February of 2004.
Although graceful in the water, the mechanical shark is extremely cumbersome on land.
Sushi’s first taste of water.
Eddie takes the shark for it’s first test drive.
The build team. From left to right: Shannon Michaels, Matthew Boles, Mario Harders, Bruce Busick, Jon Forseth. (Georgie Chrisman was missing in action…)
Mario and Georgie fit Sushi with her new skin while cameraman Peter Brown inspects the progress.
Pool test #3. Even with a few technical hiccups that reduced performance, Sushi swam like a pro. Note the vortecies being generated by the tail which was only moving within 1/3 of it’s limits.
Life is full of rude awakenings. This poor fellow was practicing his buddy breathing — then his buddy ran away. He turned around to see why and…
Sushi takes a nap after her big day at the pool and dreams of swimming in the ocea
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Posted by on August 29, 2007 in Fabrication, Polycarbonate


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