I started to gather materials on the first day and tested the solar panels out. The solar panels wouldn’t work connected to a motor under the sunlight, so I tried to reverse the + end and – end on the engine, but it still didn’t work.

Day 1: Gather Materials

 

On the second day, I started to build my boat. Because things weren’t definite yet, instead of using hot glue to stick things together, I used electrical tape to hold things together. First, I fastened the two popsicle sticks on each side of the soda cans. Then I put the solar panel on the soda can.

front view

top view

After that, I connected the motors to the body of the boat.

top view

front view

The two motors were connected on one circuit. The circuit looked like this:

Circuit

I found out that the problem with this circuit was that one motor would turn in a clockwise direction, while the other one spun in an anti-clockwise direction, making it impossible for the boat to go forwards. For the ship to go forward, the motor needed to be turning in the same direction, but in this case, they were spinning in different directions.

 

On the third day, to fix the direction of rotation on my motors, I made changes to the circuit for the motors that each of the motors were attached to a different circuit. This is what the circuit looked like after the first modification:

modified circuit

However, I later noticed that this did not fix the problem: the secured motors were still spinning in opposite directions. To fix this problem, I made changed the direction of the + and – ends of one of the motors. Since the direction of electricity is what affects the direction of rotation for the motor, when I changed the + and – ends, the flow of electricity changed directions, rotating the motor in the opposite direction. After this modification, the circuit looked like this:

modification #2

There was one problem with this solution, though. The wires were not that secure, and they kept on falling apart. To fix this problem, instead of twisting them from two different directions, I twisted them so that they were all twisted from one side. The wires were more stable after this. This is a diagram to explain how I twisted the wires together.

This is what the boat looked like by now.

top view

front view

After this, I built the propellers, cutting the wings from plastic bottles. I glued the individual wings onto plastic bottle caps and poked a wooden stick, which would act as the axis. This is a photo of the propellers.

propellers

On one of the after-school sessions, I was working on my project, when I had an accident with the light. The light was on for a while, on the table. It was on top of the wire, so the wire burned and snapped in half. To fix this accident, I got rid of the broken wire and connected the light to the wire with the plug. Thankfully, the process was successful, and the light turned on without any problems. Here are videos of me while fixing the light and the light working.

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I glued the propellers together and glued the product together with a glue gun. Then, I tested the final product out on the water. However, there still were a couple problem with this. First, the front part of the ship that contained the motors, was too heavy. Next, the water got in through the holes in the front of the soda cans. Third, the wings got caught on the side of the soda cans, stopping the propeller from spinning. To fix the first problem, I added marbles at the back of the cans to act as a counterweight for the boat. To fix the second problem, I sealed the front with modeling clay and sealed the ends of the modeling clay with a glue gun. This added more weight to the front of the boat, but the marbles countered the weight. To fix the third problem, I cut the edges of the wings until they didn’t get caught on the edges of the soda cans. Here is the fixed version of the boat.

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After that, I painted the boat lime green. Here is the final product.

top view

front view