Introduction: Duct Tape RC Airboat

I went to my local hardware store and came across some sheets of foam. Earlier that day I had been working with my old airboat and realized how terribly built it really was. That's when I came up with the idea to make a super light, basically indestructible and powerful airboat. To my surprise it was actually easier to build than I initially thought. Since it's only a sheet of foam, it's not exactly rocket science to build one yourself. Try it, you won't be disappointed!

Step 1: The Construction

Picture of The Construction

Simply, take the sheet of foam and draw the following dimensions. Length:75cm or 29.5" Width: 35cm or 13.8"

With these guidelines it should be quite easy to successfully make the first step of the build. Note: Make sure to have a sharp knife while cutting!

Make a 45 degree bevel on all the edges, except the back edge. Make the sharp corners soft with some sandpaper .

Step 2: Cover the Sheet

Picture of Cover the Sheet

Cover the entire sheet of foam with duct tape, this will give a long lasting airboat, and make it practically indestructible. Make sure to rub the duct tape firmly onto the foam.

As you apply the tape, push the front of the airboat upwards, as this will give the nose a permanent pitch up and make it easier to go on water.

Step 3: Motor Mount

Picture of Motor Mount

You don't need to make a more advanced motor mount than this. Even after a couple of crashes (flips), the mount for the motor has been intact.

You need a brushless motor, speed controller, servo, receiver, transmitter and a battery. You also need to make your rudder with some spare foam. I used depron and a 2mm steel rod to connect the servo and rudder. The gyro makes the airboat more stable but it's definitely optional.

Step 4: Install the Electronics

Picture of Install the Electronics

Install the electronics and you are done! It's now ready to run and will work on grass, sand, asphalt, water and dirt. It doesn't take more than a couple of hours to build and will be a blast to drive. Make sure to build one yourself!

Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and thank you for watching!


charliej166 (author)2016-01-21

Is there any components out of a Rc speed boat I could use for this

20099720 (author)charliej1662016-07-05

probably , like the servos and maybe the motor but not the prop

charliej166 (author)2016-02-20

Hey quick question I've got a old hubsan quad copter there's 2 motors that work and wondering if I put the mother board on a small bit of foam would it work

charliej166 (author)2016-01-21


charliej166 (author)2016-01-21

More detail on the components pls

fenderstrats (author)2015-11-01

will it go across water

Dimitris Platis (author)2015-06-18

Very nice! By the way, which component gets input from the gyroscope?

RCLifeOn (author)Dimitris Platis2015-06-18

Only the rudder is connected to the gyro. If one were to use two engines instead of one (like I have), you would use the gyroscope to change the rpm of the motors. But in this case, a gyro on the rudder is all I have, and not even necessary.

Dimitris Platis (author)RCLifeOn2015-06-18

Hmm, what is the rudder itself in your case? Is it something salvaged from a quadcopter that has a microcontroller? I am thinking of making something similar (thanks for the inspiration btw!) but I don't see how I'd avoid using a microcontroller to interpret the readings from the gyro.

RCLifeOn (author)Dimitris Platis2015-06-18

You see, a gyro is a separate component that does all the work by itself. You simply need a regular servo, like this one:

You connect it to the gyro:

And from the gyro you plug in a servowire into the receiver. You connect a battery and wait for a few seconds (the gyro is initializing), and you're done!

Ash1202 (author)RCLifeOn2015-06-24

hey pls can you give me all the the names of components you need to make a RC airboat

RCLifeOn (author)Ash12022015-06-25

Brushless motor, speed controller (esc), servo, battery, receiver and a transmitter.

Dimitris Platis (author)RCLifeOn2015-06-18

Aha, as I imagined, this is something more advanced than what I consider as a gyroscope (a component that *just* returns angular velocity in the 3 axis) and you usually have to connect it to a microcontroller in order to interpret its data, by integrating them to get the angular displacement or simply "how much it turns".

I'll look the gyroscope you mentioned up, since it might make my life easier for other projects too. Thanks! :)

dmerand made it! (author)2015-06-19

This is such a rad + inspiring tutorial! I have been assembling parts for a quadcopter build, and I thought this might be a better first-time RC project than that one. So my brother and I put together a version this week. Actually, we put together four versions before we got it right. So, we learned a lot. Like, for example, if the prop goes on backwards it will make a lot of noise + go nowhere.

Our version uses some kind of random construction foam for the base, cardboard to get the motor up to height, a 3d-printed motor mount to rotate the motor 90 degrees from its mount point, and coroplast for the rudder. We also custom-printed an extender arm for the Hitec servo we're using. It's been working great!
In case they're helpful to anybody, I'm dmerand over on Thingiverse, and the 3D models are posted there.

Thanks, and keep posting great projects!

dmerand (author)dmerand2015-06-19

Forgot to post a video! maybe this will work...

karlpinturr (author)2015-06-14

How did you attach your motor mount? It looks like hot glue, but I can't believe it'd be strong enough.

RCLifeOn (author)karlpinturr2015-06-16

I simply dug some foam out and put the motor mount glued in with some hot glue. Works great and is way stronger than I ever thought.

karlpinturr (author)RCLifeOn2015-06-16


Starsword7 (author)2015-06-15

what motor did you use, you should be more specific about the electronics.

cool instructable- its like a hovercraft without a skirt

RCLifeOn (author)Starsword72015-06-16

Here is the motor:

A 40A (waterproofed) ESC will work, and a 2200mah 30C 3s battery works great. Or just use two 2200mah in a parallel circuit for longer drive time.

Thank you!

BrianBrunelle (author)2015-06-14

That is a really Cool RC! If I may make a couple suggestions: One: Some kind of beacon to help you find it if it manages to leave your site, A strobe and or radio beacon, and Two: A roll bar that would fit the design. It would protect your prop and put the vehicle back in an upright position. Aside from that, I WISH I could have done something like this when I was younger!! Brilliant !!!

douglas423 (author)2015-06-08

Why did you add flames to the photo?

3967 (author)douglas4232015-06-14

Read his Bio, he lives in Trollhättan. Its the Manhatten for Trolls. :D greetings

douglas423 (author)39672015-06-14

Ahh ok!

RCLifeOn (author)39672015-06-14

Ha! Good one :D

BenderSanchez (author)douglas4232015-06-09

Probably to make it look cool.

BenderSanchez (author)2015-06-09

Just a suggestion, what about adding some extra (2) servos and flaps (2) to allow your airboat to fly?

tomatoskins (author)2015-06-08

What transmitter and reciever are you using?

RCLifeOn (author)tomatoskins2015-06-08

My old trusty DX6i and a orange 6-channel receiver.

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Simon Sörensen and I am the creator of RCLifeOn. I´m 19 years old and live in a town called Trollh ... More »
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