Coastal Glider

Tool Gauge is known as a premier Aerospace Supply partner but occasionally we help non-aerospace companies with technically challenging products. This was the case when NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) requested Tool Gauges’ help with a high precision, CNC lathe hull frame.


The project is called the Oculus Coastal Glider and the device is a highly sophisticated undersea gliding drone that picks up critical scientific information on the health of our oceans. These gliders fly, (not unlike aircraft), underwater for months, gliding down and then back up to deliver all sorts of scientific information on the state of our oceans.


Tool Gauge produced these hulls using our latest NTX 2000 5-axis mill. Because of the length of each hull section we built a custom boring bar to remove internal material as well as achieve the customer tolerances and surface finish requirements. The length of the hulls made this a challenging project.



Why Tool Gauge?

NOAA came to Tool Gauge seeking support with manufacturing the critical “hulls.” The hulls are 18 inch long aluminum tubes that serve as the airframe of the glider. They withstand thousands of pounds of water pressure as they dive deep, so they are designed with reinforcing internal ribs to ensure a water tight interior.

We delivered the finished hulls to a delighted engineering team at NOAA and they shared pictures of the finished Glider. To learn more about coastal gliders please reference this article in Wired Magazine Or visit NOAA here.