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Name: Kelly
Status: Educator
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
I teach high school physical science and I am looking for information on making a hover craft out of a leaf blower or shop vac and a 4 to 5 ft. round piece of plywood.

This hover craft is supposedly strong enough to support about 200 lbs or so and students could actually "ride" the craft in the hallway at school. If you can offer any resources, Please let me know.



Replies:
A teacher at Glenn Ellyn school in IL, Phil Block, has built many versions of what you describe for 7 years or more. We have use one at an Open House here at Argonne 5 years ago--it was a bit hit!

Lou Harnisch 630-252-6925


You can find this kind of information in the back of Boy's Life magazine, if anyone is in boy scouts or cub scouts. In any case, our cub scouts are trying to build the following. See web site www.hovercraft-aircar.com Would be curious to know your classes opinions etc.

or write:

Air Car
Box 1822 EX
Newport Beach, CA 92663

S Ross


I have made one of these. I used 5/8 inch plywood and cut it into a 4 ft diameter circle. I drilled a hole in the center for a bolt and another hole about 3/4 of the way to the edge to match the size of the output hose of the air source.

Using 3 mil plastic sheeting (I am told that cheap plastic shower curtain plastic also works), I covered the bottom of the plywood. At the exit hole of the air source, I reinforced it with card stock paper, using masing tape. I stapled the plastic around the edge of the disk, did appropriate trimming, and then taped it with duct tape.

Using a plastice lid from a large coffee can (or an old LP record), a hole was drilled into its center. A bolt through the lid up through the plastice and the plywood was then attached.

On the bottom plastic sheet, I then took a 5 oz. bathroom paper cup as a template and made seven holes, each 45 degrees apart, at about the same radius as the airsource hole. The "eighth" position was NOT a hole, but the card reinforced plastic. You may need an additional hole or two. You can tell after you test it.

It is noisy, but lots of fun. You will need much extension cord. Sonic ranges can be used to determine position, velocity, etc. You can use scales (force meters), do statics problems, etc.

Nate Unterman


by the way, we just finished this. we used a 4' diameter round 1/2 inch plywood, and used an electric leaf blower for the air. Just drilled a big hole, and jammed the leaf blower into it. I put duct tape around the snout of the blower, to form a crummy gasket, but it worked ok. I duct taped thicker polyethylene plastic around as a "skirt", and then duct taped around the bottom of it to sort of scrunch it inwards, make it narrow as it dropped to the floor. Connected the skirt strip with duct tape too. It held the board up about 6", and worked fairly well, holding up a 60# boy, if he could shift his weight to balance.

It did not need wheels, just boards to hold it up at the beginning to get it started. Once the hover part inflated, it worked. Of course if the boy's weight shifted it would drag. I suspended the wire from the roof of the garage -- keep it out of the way.

The duct tape seal along the top of the board was always coming undone, leaking air. This could be solved by putting another board on top, sandwinching in the plastic. I think the bigger the board, the more force from the air pressure, and the bigger the kid that can ride. Also our next version will have 1 foot skirts. I wish we had another leaf blower. Vacuum cleaners would not work, I'll bet. My shop vac is nowhere near as much air either.

so try it, it works, and make the board big (6foot diameter?) you don't need plans, just "wing" it!! suggestions?

Steve Ross



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