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How do I build a submarine


TurboBilder
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Well, there are 2 basic ways to make a submersible in KSP.

1) is a dynamic diver, basically its got positive buoyancy, and you just use wings (hydroplanes) to keep it down and dive. Stop the engines, and you rise

2) is a neutrally buoyant submarine. For this you need to use lots of heavy parts: ore tanks basically.

The problem with this is that there aren't any good electric propulsion solutions in stock, so you'll want to use a high efficiency turbofan (wheesley, panther, or goliath) for propulsion, so it won't work in Eve's seas. Also its buoyancy will change as you consume fuel, so you may want to use the open/closed cargobay trick. I tend to make the sub slowly sink with a full load of fuel, so when its nearly empty, it will slowly rise (of course, ore jettison is an option, but then its more of a hassle to resupply)

11 hours ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

In that case you may actually want to make it on the heavy side so you can "land" on the sea floor and do your drilling.

If I recall correctly, unmodded, there is no ore in the ocean biomes, and never will be any (I do mod this though), so this will only ever work near the shores, while underwater but still in the shores biome.

Here's a stock submarine that I made (on a mod world):

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Its got a wheesley for propulsion, and small ore tanks for transfering ore to maintain balance as fuel burns off. Its got rover wheels, but it doesn't really drive well on the bottom (almost no grip, near neutral buoyancy with its standard ore load).

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The wheels are for driving onshore to meet up with a surface base near the shore to refuel, or for driving up a cargo ramp for airborne transportation

Testing on laythe (before changing the front docking port to a shielded one):

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Thread moved to Gameplay Questions, since it's seeking help rather than offering it. 

Now that we're here, have you built many airplanes? A KSP submarine is an airplane if you look at the problem upside-down. Instead of making it lighter to get off the ground, make it heavier to get under the water's surface. Pretty much the only way to do that, though, is by using ore tanks pre-filled as ballast, because those are the only large parts which will normally sink. So put a bunch of those on there. And if you get close to sinking just on the weight, then add some control surfaces to steer the craft the rest of the way down. Just like a plane only stays up while in motion, though, such a sub will tend to drift up toward the surface when not in motion. Which can actually be a good thing, because your pilot is less likely to get stranded at the bottom if something goes wrong. 

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Consider using cargo bays. They have different buoyancy when open or closed.

Build a vessel which ca barely float and add some cargo bays. Bind open/close to an actiongroup.

Press that key, all bays will open and the vessel will sink. Press it again and it will float again ;)

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1 hour ago, TurboBilder said:

Also should I ad a drill so when I get to the bottom I can fill the ore tanks?

Not a bad idea, but it might prove difficult if your sub wants to constantly float away from it.

In that case you may actually want to make it on the heavy side so you can "land" on the sea floor and do your drilling. (Landing legs may help with that too, keep the sub upright and give room for the drill to operate.)

Although you're going to have to dump ore to surface anyways so...let us know how it works out! I'm curious.

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Yes, you build an airplane -- basically with no wings, just control surfaces. A canard design is wise. It's a good idea to lower the control surfaces in the editor so they are always below the waterline. It's a good idea to use small ore tanks for most of the MK1-sized structural elements, or large ore tanks if using 2.5 meter parts. The sub can't have many fuel tanks or it will be too buoyant. In the editor, you pre-fill all the ore tanks with ore (basically the opposite of how you'd remove fuel from a tank). Adjust the CoM so it's between your main control surfaces. Then drive it down to the ocean, or use the Making History builder to teleport it to the ocean, or use hyperedit or another mod. For most submarine missions, you want to make sure the sub just barely floats or sinks. If it floats too high, revert it to the editor and make your submarine longer by adding more ore tanks full of ore. If it sinks, take a little bit of ore out, or add another fuel tank full of fuel. As you use the fuel toward the end of the mission, the sub will get lighter and tend to float more. If at the end of the mission it still sinks -- you can get to a beach and then drive it up onto shore if you want.

 

Edited by bewing
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3 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

If I recall correctly, unmodded, there is no ore in the ocean biomes, and never will be any (I do mod this though), so this will only ever work near the shores, while underwater but still in the shores biome.

Could be right? I've never tried. Afaik the ore distribution per biome is always random per save, but it's entirely possible any "ocean" biomes aren't included in the distribution at all.

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5 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

If I recall correctly, unmodded, there is no ore in the ocean biomes, and never will be any

This got changed many versions ago. Stock KSP does have ore when landed in the water now -- just so long as the random ore distribution actually gives you a non-zero amount, of course.

 

Edited by bewing
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