Congratulations to UF’s NaviGator AMS team, winner of the 2016 Maritime RobotX Challenge ( in Hawaii. See and for more info.

UF’s Team NaviGator AMS, winner of the 2016 Maritime RobotX Challenge in Oahu, Hawaii

Top half of the boat completed

This morning we started with two empty molds.  The molds had been sanded to 800 grit wet and then covered with 10 layers of wax (releasing agent).   Two layers of fiberglass were used to construct the hull.  Initially, we thought that one layer would be thick enough.  However, concerns with rigidity led to the construction using several layers.  Prior to releasing the hull from the mold, we let the curing fiberglass sit in the sun for several hours.  Removal of the hull was conducted with compre
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Final Preparations of the Molds

 All three mold components have been removed from their molds.  After removal, each mold was inspected for cracks and deficiencies.  We used orange gel coat mixed with micro-balloons to fill in any cracks or holes that we found.  Using sand paper, we removed the excess gel coat, leaving a smooth surface.  Next step, begin wet sanding of the molds.        
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Mold Construction Continues…

Due to growing pains and difficulty with plug construction, we’re still working on the hulls.  Progress is coming along, slowly.  To construct our boat, we’ll need three molds: the top mold, the bottom mold, and the lids mold.  The lids mold and top mold have been created and are in the process of being conditioned for hull construction.  Each mold will need around 4-5 hours of sanding, working from 220 grit to 800 grit wet sand paper.  The bottom mold is still attached to the plug.
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AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2014

This week five team members and Dr. Schwartz drove down to Orlando to participate in AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2014 conference.  This was my first time at the conference and I was blown away with the size of the event.  Never before had I seen so many robots in one (giant) room.  The conference was like Comic-Con for engineers. During the three days in Orlando, we established a few contacts with distributors and were able to get some good advice on how to construct our new propulsion system
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Weekend Testing

This morning we had PropaGator 1 in the water for a few hours.  Our primary goal was to test way-points and station holding.  After 45 minutes of tuning, the boat was performing well using the Sparton IMU.  We plan on testing our vision algorithms next weekend.              
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Forecast Rain

Gainesville is going to be hit by a big storm this weekend.  No pool time this weekend.  We’ll try again next week.
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Sensor Boat!!!

After spending hours mounting, wiring, and programming, PropaGator 1 was prepared to be used as a sensor test platform.  We had the boat in the water for about four hours testing sensors and training new team members how to control the boat.  Several students got to test their own hardware and software on the boat for the first time.                
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First Pool Day of the Year

We’ll be in Graham pool testing the boat tomorrow, Saturday March 22nd, 2014.  Anyone who wants to help or is simply interested is more than welcome to stop by and say hello. We’ll be meeting in the LAB (MAEB 325) at 0730 for boat preparations. The goal is to have the boat in the water around 0830. Testing will last until 1230.  
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Foam Preparation

Because the resin we are using dissolves foam, we had to coat our molds with a protective seal coined “green goop”.  But before the “goop” was slathered on, we spent about a hour going over the three molds with power sanders.  Next we further conditioned the molds by hand with fine grit sand paper.  Once we were satisfied with the surface of the foam, we mixed up a batch of the sealant and poured it on the foam.  It was a messy and stinky (chemicals) process but we were h
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