Fig.

1: Above, a slight push by Dad during a test run sends the air car slowly along the driveway. Close up photo at right shows air car tilted to direct it to the right

GO-CAT
Do-lt-Yourself Air Car
By GERALD W. CRISMAN

F

OR $20 and an old lawn mower engine you can build this pint-size air car and make your youngster the happiest kid in the block. And, he'll think you, Dad, are the bestest do-it-yourselfer what is." What's more, both you and your youngster
1962

will benefit from the knowledge gained in the design and theory of operation of this promising new mode of transportation. When selecting the lawn mower engine be sure you get one of the vertical shaft, lightweight aluminum jobs used on a rotary-type lawn mower. Cast-iron engines are too heavy for air car use. It should have a rating of at least 2-1/2 hp and a 3-1/2 hp engine will give you
43

DECEMBER,

even better performance. Start Construction With the Box Frame

(Fig. 2A). After cutting the 4 x 4 ft. top piece from 1/4-in. plywood, locate the exact center by drawing diagonal lines from corner to corner and scribe a 19-1/4-in. circle. If you do not have a portable electric jigsaw to cut out the circle, a keyhole saw will do the job. Then fasten the 3/4 x 1-in. cleats to what will be the underside of the top with glue and #6 x 1-in.
DECEMBER, 1962

fh screws. Note that the cleats are set back 1/4 in. from the edges of the plywood top so that the 1/4-in. plywood sides will be flush with the top. When cutting the side pieces, make two of them 48-in. long and two of them 47-1/2in long. Since the 1/4-in. plywood is very difficult to fasten securely at the corners, rip saw some 1-in. triangular cleats 3-in. long and install at each corner of the box frame with glue (Continued on page 117)
45

44

SCIENCE and MECHANICS

Go Cat • • • • (Continued from page 45)
and 3/4-in. nails. The Pilot's Seat and seat frame was made of 1/8 x 1 x 1-in. aluminum as detailed in Fig. 2D, to keep the overall weight of the air car as light as possible. If aluminum angle is not available in your town, 3/4 x 1-3/4-in. clear lumber glue and bolted together could be used instead. Before making the seat frame, check the 15-in. height of the seat to make certain it will clear the engine you will be using. Make the seat of 1/4-in. plywood as shown in Fig. 3C, and fasten to the uprights of the seat frames so that it is held securely in place yet easily removable to work on the engine. Make the Prop Guard (Fig. 3D) next. Your local sheetmetal shop will have the sheet steel for this. Bend the 2 x 61-in. strip around the 19-1/4-in. hole in the frame top and mark the overlapped ends for riveting together. The clips for anchoring the prop guard to the top can be made from scrap pieces of 16 ga. sheetmetal. The Fan or Prop is made of .090-in. thick 2024 aluminum plate tempered to T3 specifications. You can make it yourself as detailed in Fig. 3B or, you can purchase a completed prop balanced and tempered to T3 specs, for $10 (see Materials List). The method of mounting the prop on the engine shaft will vary depending upon the type, make and size of engine you use. If you intend to make the prop yourself, first draw a full-size pattern of the prop on heavy paper and use as a template for marking and cutting the hubs and blades. The 51-1/20 on the segment end of the blades is slightly oversize. After sawing the hubs and blades to size, file and fit the segment ends of each blade so that the seven blades fit together snugly. Then layout the 3/16-in. drilled hole locations and assemble and clamp the hubs and blades together. A bolt with large washers through the hub shaft holes and several C-clamps will hold the assembly together. Drill the 3/16-in. holes through the three thicknesses of aluminum at one time. Insert the 10-32 machine screws, which will make a snug fit with the 3/16-in. holes as they should. Also, be sure to number or mark the location of each blade in respect to its position on the hubs so that the prop can be taken apart to bend the pitch angle in the blades and then reassembled exactly as originally fitted. When bending the pitch in the blades, grip the segment end of the blade in a vise as in Fig. 3A and clamp boards on each side of the blade portion. This will put the 26° twist right at the narrow or "necked" part of the blade. When reassembling the prop, be sure to use slotted nuts and drill the machine screws for cotterpins so there is no chance of the nuts
DECEMBER, 1962

vibrating loose. The Engine Mount consists of two lengths of 1/8 x 1 x 1-in. angle irons bolted to the underside of the circular engine flange. Use two of the original engine mounting holes for each angle iron. The exact height of the 1-1/8 thick wooden blocks (Fig. 3C) will have to be determined from the engine you are using. Position the engine so that the prop is centered in the 19-1/4-in. hole in the box frame and temporarily block up the angle iron engine mounts until the prop is centered vertically in the 2-in. height of the prop guard (Fig. 3C). Then measure the height of the l-1/8-in. wooden blocks needed and cut blocks to size. Two wooden blocks, one on each side of the 19-1/4 in. hole, will be required. Use %-in. bolts to fasten angle irons and blocks to top of box frame. The Anti-Torque Vanes (Fig. 2B) tend to prevent the blast of air from whirling in the direction of the prop rotation and thus stabilize the air car. Make the vanes as in Fig 3A from 1/16-in, thick aluminum or 1/4-in. plywood and fasten to the underside of the box frame top as in Fig. 3A. The Flexible Skirt around the bottom of the box frame (Fig. 3) is an optional attachment. Its purpose is to increase the altitude or lift of the air car and provide flexible box sides that will deflect and thus allow the car to clear low obstacles in the path of travel. Make the skirt 16-1/2-ft. long from strips of canvas, 6-in. wide. Double sew a 1-in. hem containing a length of plastic clothesline along the bottom edge, and fasten the other edge to the inside bottom edge of the box frame with glue and staples as in Fig. 3B. Hand sew the ends of the skirt where they join, to prevent air from leaking out. Then tighten the clothesline until the canvas puckers from the inward pull. As a safety measure, to prevent youngsters from putting their feet near the engine or prop, surround the seat frame with 1/2-in. wire hardware cloth screening as in Fig. 3C. Bend the screening where it meets the box top and fasten with 1/8-in. bolts with large washers. Bring the screening up as high as possible without interfering with use of the rope engine starter. For a test run, place the air car on a paved surface such as a driveway or large parking lot. Have your youngster on the seat with his legs crossed under one another and hands gripping opposite sides of the seat. Start the engine and set the throttle to maintain an altitude of about 1/2-in. above the bottom of the skirt. Then gently push the car forward as in Fig. 1. Your youngster will soon learn to control the direction of travel by simply leaning his body to tilt the car in the direction in which he wishes to go.
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