The 'Kinder Egg Red Submarine'
This superb exhibit from the UK is one of the most aesthetically exciting designs we have ever seen.
Designed and constructed by Alistair Cox around 1984 for his BSc (hons) university engineering degree, it displays some of the most unique style orientated design features of any of our exhibits and was built totally from scratch.
25mm thick Perspex for the impressively large front was donated but Alistair had to pay over £1,000.00 GBP to get it moulded to his design shape. The submarine itself is made from carbon fibre, with a design depth of 100 foot (30 metres). It did however have an impressive safety design factor that would have seen it able to safely desend to depths well below that.
Kinder Egg frontThe pilot unusually sits upright with a joystick to control movement - like in a helicopter. Alistair managed to obtain two 2.2KW thrusters from a deep sea ROV rated for a maximum depth of 1000m (originally costing thousands of GBP each)! Power for the sub, was from batteries located below the pilots seat and a tail boom to provide control for the vertical axis.
The original design was for a second set of thrusters operating in the vertical axis but lack of sponsorship meant that no more thrusters were available and a tail boom was fitted instead.
However with the Perspex, thrusters and several other items, Alistair faired far better than most of our creative inventors in obtaining donations. Sadly, in the end, he had to raid his student loan to fund the remaining items as time was running out for the degree course. Retiring to a tent in the corner of a field in Yorkshire for three months he constructed the Kinder sub' (our name not his) in the only workshop available to him - and what a great job he made.
Kinder Egg rearThe sub unfortunately never dived due to financial pressures and neither was the buoyancy system fitted. It is possible that the entry would have been on the impossible side too as the only way in is through a circular hatch in the back, which is fastened from the outside and requires the agility of a limbo dancer to get in and out!
However this was a really great attempt to get some design into a submarine and the lessons he learned involving design stresses and carbon fibre engineering were immense.
Remember, this is a prototype. You nearly almost always have to make one to know what the next should be like. Given time and money all these things would have been made to work. This is a fantastic source of inspiration for other engineering students thanks to Alistair.