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.
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.
Box 1822 EX
Newport Beach, CA 92663
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.
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?
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Update: June 2012