Friday, August 15, 2008

COMING SOON! DIY Hoovercraft

Thanks to Hacked Gadgets featuring Project Hovercraft, I have a new hope for the future of hovercrafts. If you remember, I wrote about having a Hoverboard awhile ago. My dreams of surfing through the air on a piece of wood styrofoam may come true!

The DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Hovercraft Project created a hovercraft under $40 (if my calculation are correct) using an old RC servomotor (meaning the motor of a remote controlled toy car), batteries, propellers, and some things they had around the house.

"The body of the hovercraft is made out of styrofoam, cut with a saw and sanded to smooth the edges. The skirt on the bottom is made out of pieces of a plastic GAP bag, attached with Scotch tape and hot glue. The radio control unit was scavenged from an old boat I had, along with the drive motor mounted on the wooden supports, while the lifting motor was from my physics teacher. The battery is 300 mAh 6V NiMH (or NiCd, I forget), and I have a pair of them. They were about $6-$10 each (again, forgot) and about $12 for the 2 1/2 hour charger. The servomotor for steering was from an old RC car I had"
Now that you know what it is made of, let's here their explanation as to how it works. How it works:
"The workings of a hovercraft are fairly straightforward: one high-power motor with an airplane propeller forces air down through the hole in the center, which pushes the bottom of the hovercraft off the ground. This greatly reduces friction, allowing the hovercraft to scoot around without much trouble. It also makes it much more difficult to control, however: when the hovercraft turns, it will keep traveling in a straight line unless more thrust is applied. Since we are used to controlling cars or boats, the newtonian behavior of a hovercraft is challenging indeed."
In other words, they have not gotten to the point that they can control the hovercraft but they have made progress. I guess I should be careful of getting my hopes up. Although, this project has really gotten me interested in creating my own hovercraft. I know I have tons of hot glue and love using it. Only problem is I don't have a toy remote controlled car. Can I use my car's engine and triple the size of the hovercraft?

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