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How to Build a Hovercraft

How to Build a Hovercraft

Special Thanks to
Mr. Joe Baker @
Dickerson Middle
School for the
idea
A Cobb County
Technology-Based Integration School

October 2004
2

Patrick Wenzell

Primary Steps & Materials


Make Circular Platform
Work from Center to:

Drill holes per plan


Add riser for seating
Mount seating
Mount blower
Attach envelope

Duct Tape Edges


Cut & Attach Envelope
Paint as you wish

October 2004
3

Required Materials:

4x4 Plywood
6x6 8mil Plastic
2x2 Plywood
12 Diameter Particle Bd.
1 x 3/8 Carriage Bolt/Nut
2 wood screws
Coffee Lid
Lots of Duct Tape
Sandpaper/Sanding Block
Paint

Patrick Wenzell

Tools Required

Jig Saw
Circular Saw
String
Drill & Bits & Screws
Staple Gun & Staples
Paintbrush & guides

October 2004
4

Tape Measure
Tri-Square
Utility Knife
Chalk Line
Sandpaper/Block
and MATH SKILLS

Patrick Wenzell

Experimental Hovercraft
Goal:

What I learned:

Understand textual plans


Convert into a project plan
Manufacture components
Assemble components
Fine tune craft
Test and experiment
Create interactive experiments

October 2004
5

How to outline a step by step plan


How to layout the plan on wood
How to use certain tools
How to make jigs to guide tools
How to troubleshoot problems
Not to get all my friends over to
see it work BEFORE I test it first

Patrick Wenzell

Project Plan
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
h.
i.
j.
k.
l.
m.
n.
o.
p.
q.
r.
s.

Step 1
cut a 2 section of string (with a little extra).
tie the string to a pencil and the other to a tack or nail.
place the tack/nail in the center of the board.
keeping the string tight, draw a circle.
Step 2
cut a circle with a jigsaw.
Step 3
measure the diameter of your vacuums hose and drill the hole size accordingly.
drill a hole using the 1 or appropriately sized bit approximately 1 foot from the center of the hover craft.
Step 4
sand the edge of the disk on the top and bottom.
tape around the disk.
Step 5
drill a 11/4 hole in the center of the plywood for attaching the plastic skirt
cut the plastic sheet into a 54 x 54 square and lay it out on plywood disk
the carriage bolt washer coffee lid apparatus will be used to hold the plastic sheet to the plywood disk.
Poke small hole in the center of the plastic sheet.
Reinforce the hole with duct tape and then pass the bolt through the plastic sheet and bolt securely to the ply wood disk

October 2004
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Patrick Wenzell

Project Plan (continued)

Step 6
a.
trim the plastic sheet into a circle a little bit larger than the ply wood disk.
b. The plastic should be cut approximately 2 inches larger than the disk all the way around
Step 7
a.
looking down on the hovercraft plastic side up draw 3 x3 squares on the plastic approximately 1 ft from
the center with 120-degree angles between each square.
b. The holes should not be directly above the hole where the shop vac will be attached
c.
Space the shop vac hole between two of the square holes .
d.
Use scissiors to cut
Step 8
a.
over lap the plastic onto the opposite side of the ply wood disk leaving some play in the plastic .
b.
staple the plastic to the ply wood on the top all the way around the disk leaving about 11/4 gap between
staples.
Step 9
a.
wrap duct tape at least 2 times around the edges for protection.
Step 10
a.
place chair centered on ply wood disk.
b.
Place the shop vac or any blowing device (leaf blower/ air blower for air track behind the chair.
c.
Connect the hose of the vacuum to blow the orifice and attach the other end of the hose to the hole on the
hovercraft.

October 2004
7

Patrick Wenzell

The Hovercraft Drawings

October 2004
8

Patrick Wenzell

Layout Circle on 4x4 Plywood

Find center of square


Tie pencil to nail in center of square
Adjust string to desired radius

120o

BACK

2 = of diameter = 4 : 2*r = d

Draw Circle
Go ahead and layout:

Center Point

Label Front/Back
Blower intake
Vent locations 120o,

Lift Vents

1 from center
At least 1 from Blower Intake
2 rear, 1 front

October 2004
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Blower Intake

120o

FRONT

Patrick Wenzell

120o

Build a Jig to Guide Saw


Notch the end of a board to fit lip on
guide of saw
Drill hole to set blade at 2 from center
Hint, on a 4x4 square, center is exactly
2 from perpendicular sides

Nail to center of 4x4 sheet

Note: Safety Goggles & Mask


are required for protection!!!

October 2004
10

Patrick Wenzell

Cut a 4 Diameter Circle


Start at the edge
Slowly and evenly cut
the circle using the guide
Repeat to make even

October 2004
11

Patrick Wenzell

Smooth and Tape the Circle Edge


Sand the edges
100 grit
Round edges to protect plastic

Apply 3 layers of duct tape

Cut about 1 sections


Apply tangentially to Top
Fold over edges
Repeat from Bottom
Final layer center around edge
and seal top and bottom

October 2004
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Patrick Wenzell

Everything Must Fit Smoothly


Drill 3/8 hole for carriage bolt in
center of circle
Drill hole for intake slightly
smaller than the diameter of the
blower
Sand the inside of the intake hole
to widen and make a very tight fit
Insert blower attachment

October 2004
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Patrick Wenzell

Make Template, Build & Attach Riser


Riser is 2 pieces of scrap wood
Model with cardboard, first
Layout and cut notches to
provide access to center bolt
Notch both pieces to interlock
for strength and stability
Screw in from bottom

October 2004
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Patrick Wenzell

Center Seat on Riser

Sand Interlock between Riser


components
Must be smooth
Must be level

Center 12 Seat on Riser


Attach with Screws into the riser
Can cover seat with foam
or just paint

October 2004
15

Patrick Wenzell

Cut Plastic 2-3 Larger than Platform


Plastic provides the Envelope
to provide lift for hovering
Set the platform on plastic
Cut circle around platform
about 3 from the edge
Use scissors or utility knife

October 2004
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Patrick Wenzell

Attach Plastic Envelope

Fold edges a couple of times for


strength
Staple every to edge
Reinforce center and perimeter of
plastic with duct tape
Puncture small hole to receive 3/8
carriage bolt
Attach Coffee Lid
Secure with coffee lid, washer & nut

October 2004
17

Patrick Wenzell

More Duct Tape


Duct tape, same as before
over the stapled plastic
Mount 100mph blower

October 2004
18

Patrick Wenzell

Cut Holes for Lift Factor

Place platform upside down


Center plastic over platform
Draw 3 - 3 squares on the
plastic approximately 1 ft from
the center at 120-degree angles.
The holes should not be directly
above the intake hole where the
blower will be attached 1
away
Use 3 square template tied to
1 string & utility knife

October 2004
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Patrick Wenzell

Reinforce Holes More Duct Tape


Tape edges of square cutouts
Tape front and back of edges
3 pieces of tape
Tape edge of cutout, then fold
over to reinforce inside
Especially the corners of the
cutouts

Tape Coffee Lid Washer


Around and across

October 2004
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Patrick Wenzell

Ready for Testing & Tuning


Do Not Call Your Friends, Yet!

Two people lift platform


Another removes sawhorses
Place gently on clean floor
Test first w/o pilot
Test next w/light weight pilot
UP & DOWN ONLY!!!!!!!!!!
For now..

October 2004
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Patrick Wenzell

Problems Encountered
Solution

Problem
Coffee can lid washer
collapsed
Blow out on side
5 lift in back, 3 in front
Bumper creates imbalance
Blow out creates imbalance

October 2004
22

Re-attached/Re-inforced w/
Duct Tape
Patched with Duct Tape
Reduced back to 3 lift
Removed bumper
Fixed blowout with tape

Patrick Wenzell

The Hardest Part of this Project was

October 2004
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Patrick Wenzell

The Most Fun I Had With This Project was:

October 2004
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Patrick Wenzell