By: Micheal Hartman on April 30, 2013
Last spring break during our afternoon class we had a couple boys who were cousins. They had stayed up the night before and decided they wanted to build a prototype hovercraft. On their first day at out class I had them draw out what they wanted. They sketched different views so they could determine where all their parts needed to go.
The boys were able to utilize the laser cutter to manufacture most of their parts. They hopped onto a computer and used Inkscape to design their parts with only a little help from Rob and me. They started with drawing the board. Initially they tried putting a bag on the bottom of the board to create an air cushion for the craft to ride on. However during testing the propellers kept snagging the bag. To create needed lift the boys needed to use motors and fans to drive the air down. Plastic cups cut in half made great cowls that directed and focused the air downward. The fans were made using small 12V-24V motors with trimmed balsa plane propellers modified to fit the motors and the cowls. The boys used calipers to measure the motors so they could create a press fit motor mount in Inkscape that held the motors tight enough they wouldn’t free spin. In order to power the motors to provide enough lift we decided we needed to four 9V batteries. The problem was weight, so in order to eliminate the weight of the batteries the boys used the tabbed box maker to make a handheld power supply that the batteries would slide into. After the power box was made and everything was wired it was time to test. Check out the video to see the end result!