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Into the deep.

It all started when Robert Langford discovered his passion for scuba diving. He loved being underwater, so he decided to come up with a way to stay under for an even longer period of time. In 2000, Langford began developing plans and designs for his very own personal submersible, which is basically a small submarine, usually built for one or two people.

In 2004, Langford contacted Rainier Cast Parts, a small metalcaster in Shelton, Wash. After working out some details, Rainier agreed to cast the first ever aluminum, battery-powered personal submersible. Most personal submersibles currently on the market cost between $1.2 and $1.7 million, are made of steel and use propane. Langford's is considerably less expensive.

The 500-lb. creation is a one-seater, with dimensions of 64 x 21 x 30 in. To enter the chamber, Langford perches on the edge and slides in, where he sits in a reclined position, much like you would in a poolside lounge chair. The acrylic, 360-degree hatch, winch doubles as a viewport, comes down over his head. According to Langford, "It's like there is nothing separating you from the water." Right and left foot pedals are used for turning, while hand-operated control sticks direct up-and-down motion.

Langford is excited at the prospect of others being able to enjoy his personal submersible in the future. He believes film crews, port authorities, marine biologists, niversities, tourists and post-hurricane crews could benefit from the innovative design.

The "little sub" will make its maiden voyage this month at the personal submersibles convention in Holland, Mich. Langford says he would love to have to go to a metalcaster one day and place an order for 10 of his submersibles. "I think my submersible can far outperform others out there [on the market] right now."

Sub Stats

Size: 64 x 21 x 30 in.

Weight: 500 lbs.

Depth Capability: 3,000+ ft.

Speed: Estimated 10-12 knots

Metal: A356-T6 Aluminum

Casting Process: Sand

Laura Brown, Editorial Intern
COPYRIGHT 2007 American Foundry Society, Inc.
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Title Annotation:SHAKEOUT: In case you didn't know ...
Author:Brown, Laura
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Aug 1, 2007
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