Tao Xiangli’s Home-Made Submarine

by Owen James Burke

For about $4,600 dollars, or a year’s pay, Tao Xiangli has fit together a fully functioning submarine with diving capabilities down to a depth of 10 meters. Many critics are scoffing at Mr. Xiangli and his sub that is largely made of refashioned metal barrels, but maybe they’re just jealous they haven’t found a way to build a private sub for under five grand.

This isn’t Tao’s only invention; since moving to Beijing, he has held just about every service job you could list. The idea of a traditional or consistent job is an obstruction to his dedication to creativity, and it’s something he simply wont consider.  Among his other inventions are an aquatic robot and an airplane, both of which more or less failed.  However, his 2008 creation of this personal submarine has received quite a bit of acclaim during the past couple years.

“Although the equipment is simple, it’s enough for a basic submarine, and more importantly, it enables the passenger to see things clearly underwater,” said Tao.

With room enough for one passenger the sub is 21 feet long and weighs just under a ton, but still contains the essentials: headlights, pressure meters, an oxygen supply, monitoring cameras and a TV set. Mr. Xiangli has tested the sub in the frigid winter waters of the reservoirs in landlocked Beijing, but hasn’t yet been able to take it to the ocean where its maximum depth can be reached. When he’s not scouring for parts at thrift stores and secondhand markets, Mr. Xiangli works part-time at a karaoke bar in order to continue to fuel his investment.

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*via submarineboat*

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