A unique and groundbreaking underwater camera for anglers
Easy and fast communication in 3D with Chinese manufacturers
Prestigious awards at leading trade fair for anglers
“SolidWorks has been a super powerful tool for us. The great advantage during the development project has been that everything is kept inside the program and all drawings fit. With the CAD software we can see if all the parts we’re creating, fit completely together, look good and will work in practice. Furthermore, we have had a lot of very effective communication with the Chinese firms via 3D STEP files and we produced the whole basis for our 3D printing of prototypes in the CAD system.”
Design and innovation company MOEF A/S was founded in 2001 in Copenhagen and currently has nine employees engaged in design and product development. In addition to collaborating with a number of leading Danish companies MOEF has for the first time developed a product marketed under its own brand name. This is the unique and international award winning underwater camera for anglers called Water Wolf. The camera, which was launched last year, has already sold 30,000 copies worldwide.
MOEF´s challenge was to develop a new and unprecedented type of underwater camera, which would be compact, waterproof and with robust design.
The camera debuted at one of the world’s largest angler fairs, EFTTEX, in Belgium last year when it was granted with the three most important awards “Innovation of the Year”, “Visitor’s Choice” and “Best Accessory.” The response was phenomenol and the first 30,000 cameras are already sold to dealers.
Martin Holmberg, who is one of the four partners behind MOEF, explains the importance of SolidWorks in the development project. “We would not have been able to develop Water Wolf without using SolidWorks. The CAD software has played a crucial role in order to arrive at a design that works in practice. SolidWorks also enabled a design that has been granted two design patents.”
Brand new design concept
It all started with an idea from one of the partners who is an avid angler. He was interested to see what is really going on under the water when he practices his hobby and why fish take the bait or not. Therefore he got the idea that it might be possible to use a small camera mounted on the fishing line.
This type of cameras did not exist on beforehand and MOEF decided to develop a completely new concept for a small and efficient underwater camera. It was made easier because MOEF was already cooperating with the company Svendsen Sport, a Danish venture in the angling industry.
“We introduced the idea to them and suggested that they would be responsible for sales and they were positive, so we started the development project,” says Martin Holmberg.
The development work started with about 20 prototypes. It was weighted, 3D printed models that were thrown into the water to see how they behaved when being dragged through the water. MOEF then bought a number of small cameras and did a lot of additional tests to get the shape of the camera body in place. The challenge was to find a design that ensured that the camera was moving steadily through the water and had the right buoyancy.
Proof-of-concept in SolidWorks
“At the same time we began to draw up the camera in SolidWorks, where we made some pretty simple geometries to create proof-of-concept, so we had a basis to build on”, tells Martin Holmberg.
After the introductory exercises were over, MOEF started with more detailed design in SolidWorks. The camera should have the right spatial density so it would float in the correct manner. It had to be hollow, should not float too easily and this should be compared with the weight that later would be put into the camera body. At the same time it was important to take into consideration to make the electronics shock proof to avoid damage caused by the contact with the water.
Effective 3D printing
“It was great to use SolidWorks because you can directly see how much the material weighs and how much air is inside therefore also knowing its buoyancy. During this phase of the project, we also printed a number of CAD models with our 3D printers and tested them to move steadily closer to the final shape,” adds Martin Holmberg.
After a longer selection process, a Chinese company was chosen as supplier of the camera electronics. Later another Chinese company produced a blow moulding tool, which was used to produce 25 housings with built-in cameras for testing purposes. At this stage it turned out that there were problems with resistance to water pressure and MOEF then acquired a special apparatus to pressure test the cameras under loads corresponding to the pressure caused by operation in quite deep waters.
“We got some cameras back where the lens was made from a different material than the camera body, and it turned out that water penetrated into the housing around the lens. Therefore, we decided that the house and the lens had to be produced in the same plastic material and in this way reached a design that is waterproof to 300 meters depth,” says Martin Holmberg.
The Waterwolf camera is currently produced by the same Chinese company, and the cooperation has been swift and seamless.
Simple solutions gives long battery life
MOEF has chosen a sensor with a relatively low resolution to increase the camera’s sensitivity to light. The camera records still in HD format, even if it’s not full HD, but underwater, this has no practical significance.
“We have made the camera as simple as possible. It’s just an on / off button and the movies are recorded on an SD card. It can film up to four hours which is not the case with any other underwater camera. We have avoided unnecessary features that drains the energy from the battery, and this has proven to be a crucial parameter for the customers. They tell us that it is essential to them, being able to film for a long time,” explains Martin Holmberg.
SolidWorks is a powerful tool
“SolidWorks has been a super powerful tool for us. The great advantage during the development project has been that everything is kept inside the program and all drawings fit. With the CAD software we can see if all the parts we’re creating fit completely together, look good and will work in practice. Furthermore, we have had a lot of very effective communication with the Chinese firms via 3D STEP files and we produced the whole basis for our 3D printing of prototypes in the CAD system,” explains Martin Holmberg.
MOEF is now in full swing with the development of an updated version of the camera as well as a variety of different types of mounting brackets for example, horizontal or vertical mounting on the line. Until now, the company cooperates with a number of fishermen who are testing several prototypes of the camera and brackets.