Introduction: Fifteen Minute, Self-propelled Hovercraft

This instructable coves how to build a hovercraft out of a foam tray, cardboard, and some other household items.

Step 1: Materials

For this project you need:
A foam meat tray (smaller is better)
Some non-corrugated cardboard (I used the kind in Kudos bar boxes)
A small 1.5 volt DC motor
A propeller that can attatch to the motor (I used one from an old RadioShack kit)
A nine volt battery
A nine volt battery snap
Scissors
A glue gun
A craft knife
Tape

Step 2: Make the Intake

The intake should be as short as possible to allow very little air to escape. Measure the length from the bottom of the motor to the end of the propeller blade, then add a half a centimeter or so. The top should be just wide enough to fit the motor on it without too much overhang. The angle of the back isn't crucial, but I have found 45˚ works the best. Once you have figured out the measurements and cut it out of cardboard, glue it all together with liberal amounts of hot glue.

Step 3: Make the Base

The base is just a foam meat tray with a hole in it. Trace the outline of your intake in the center of the meat tray, then cut it out with the craft knife. Be careful not to dent the bottom edge of the tray, as it could cause it to go off balance and touch the ground.

Step 4: Attatch the Intake to the Base

Now hot glue the intake to the foam tray, directly over the hole, with the meat tray facing down.

Step 5: Attatch Motor and Battery

Use the tape to attatch the motor to the top of the intake, and more tape to attatch the battery to the back, just past the intake. Make sure to leave enough room for the fan blade to move. Then attatch the battery snap to the battery.

Step 6: Finished!

To start, place the hovercraft on a hard, smooth surface. Put one of the wires from the battery snap through one of the holes in one of the contacts on the back of the motor and bend it so it doesn't come loose. Then, put the other wire through the other hole, so that it just barely stays there. That way, it's easier to remove when you chase it down. If the propeller blows the air forwards, reverse the wires. Also, this is a 1.5 volt motor, so hooking it up to a nine-volt is not good for it. Don't let it run for long periods of time or it will burn out the motor. It works by creating a high pressure zone inside the meat tray. The escaping air travels under the rim of the meat tray, causing the tray to lift off the ground very slightly. The top part of the propeller provides lateral thrust, causing the whole thing to move forward.

Comments

author
TheLuigiLord made it!(author)2017-02-13

I made this and it worked wonders. I even added a switch to it!

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dmckn made it!(author)2017-02-25

Where did you get the motor and propellers?

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TheLuigiLord made it!(author)2017-03-21

Amazon. I was doing this for "Science Olympiad". I'm guessing you know of it. Anyways, I also just took meat trays from meat dinners. Sorry for the late response.

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_hhhaleyy made it!(author)2015-01-11

Where can you get the batteries, my friend and I are doing this for our Science Fair?

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Jonathan+RichardD made it!(author)2017-01-04

Hi

Sorry it might me a bit late for the science fair, but 9 volt batteries are small rectangular batteries that you might use in a smoke alarm or some toys. They have two connections on their top, and they can be found at supermarkets and battery shops, as well as hobbiest electronics shops. (ie a Woolworths, Coles, BI-LO, BatteryWorld, Jaycar). Just ask for 9V battery.

author
Jonathan+RichardD made it!(author)2017-01-04

They are also known as PP3 9V batteries. PP3 is the sice of the battery but everyone knows them as 9Vs. Here's a pic in case I haven't described it well enough!

IMG_0063.JPG
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ShioriToshiko made it!(author)2016-04-04

Any sort of lightweight fan should work in place if the propeller/motor? Like a pc fan? If you don't get back to me on that, I will try it anyway! EXPERIMENTATION! :D

Thanks anyway!

author
ShioriToshiko made it!(author)2016-04-04

Any sort of lightweight fan should work in place if the propeller/motor? Like a pc fan? If you don't get back to me on that, I will try it anyway! EXPERIMENTATION! :D

Thanks anyway!

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Firstdalek made it!(author)2015-04-26

could you post a video to show it flying?

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aman.memon.31 made it!(author)2015-03-21

is it compulsory that the propeller should be attached to the motor

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VentureScout made it!(author)2014-08-13

Nice and simple, good job!

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gamelord72 made it!(author)2013-06-20

how does an rc helicopter work?....doesn't seem to match the concept of this model....

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takn37 made it!(author)2013-03-04

sih...................

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matthew+dale made it!(author)2012-04-03

awsom

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optimist123 made it!(author)2011-06-16

how fast does it go

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Castle+Seige made it!(author)2007-04-17

Does the motor voltage affect how good it hovers?

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Dr.+No made it!(author)2007-04-18

I only tried it with one motor, but I'm guessing it would.

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Skleck911 made it!(author)2007-04-23
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Skleck911 made it!(author)2007-04-23

would it be possible to use flat styrofoam rather than the meat tray? Thanks{{{

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Venemot made it!(author)2011-04-16

Actually a flat styrofoam is much butter if you tape a plastic sheet to it .it should be a bit loose....in the centre stick the plastic to the styrofoam plate with the help of screws and a metal strip( tin wil do the trick) but remember to add a fey holes close to the metal strip....this make a good air cusion in the middle.....i am going to try this model.....i have made my designs....just waiting to buy a few of the stuff.....actually i am looking for a moter for the downward thrust.....and i am sure that the motor used in computer cpu's for cooling parts will work best.....

author
Dr.+No made it!(author)2007-04-24

Flat styromfoam might work, just make sure it's not warped or the air will escape through the gaps between the styrofoam and the ground.

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..Dylan.. made it!(author)2007-12-11

Hey. I'm building a hovercraft in school. We're using two motors? What do you suggest that I do?

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Venemot made it!(author)2011-04-16

For the fan for the downward thrust you should use the one that are used in computer cpu's for cooling down parts.........you can easily screw and tape it to the tray after making a hole for it......and for the vertical thruster you can easily use dc motor.......if you want to make a rc hovercraft you can make flaps like those used for setting the direction of air in car ac's and connect them to a moter.......

author
MayolaTikaka2 made it!(author)2008-03-07

get to meat trays put the small tray over the other use match sticks between the trays with a space of about 1/2 a centimetre make a hole on the bigger tray then u finished the hvercraft produces more thrust

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goider made it!(author)2008-02-10

just put them side by side

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dextina made it!(author)2007-04-08

you just helped save my butt!

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sarim123 made it!(author)2011-02-16

me too

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Animador3d made it!(author)2009-06-10

Eeemmm no offence..but ... Did you wrote this book?

http://www.klutz.com/catalog/product/3110

I mean...you can understand why is easy to asume that at least , you bought it...right?
otherwise very detailed instructable

author
Dr.+No made it!(author)2009-06-10

None taken, I will admit that is pretty much identical. If anyone owns a copy of the book, would they be kind enough to check the publishing date? While I didn't publish this until '06, I built the original model in 2004. In case anyone didn't know, klutz has an unfortunate history of "borrowing" ideas from independent makers.

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/02/sad_day_for_makers_unauthorized_boo.html

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codongolev made it!(author)2010-11-09

I know my engineering class made almost identical ones. I'm sure it's a common design.

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emmapoodle made it!(author)2009-10-12

Amazon says the publication date is 2003. 

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teabaron made it!(author)2010-09-22

would a usb hard drive motor work for this?

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mabster made it!(author)2010-07-01

Wasn't this by klutz? it seems like you just took it out of their battery science book

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RocketPenguin made it!(author)2009-11-28

i'm going to do this with a hair dryer fan

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zero.x.red made it!(author)2007-10-13

hey, my fans starts to spin really slow after 10 sec... any idea to why?

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RunsWithExplosives made it!(author)2009-09-17

Your propeller could be too big or too heavy.

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Tommyhzy made it!(author)2009-02-14

I think that your fan spin because you (removed by community request) put the motor a little angled, thus producing angular thrust. You cold either try moving the motor more towards the middle of the craft, or un-angling the motor.

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Dr.+No made it!(author)2007-10-13

Maybe your battery is low?

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RunsWithExplosives made it!(author)2009-09-17

Wouldn't it be easier to just add a small switch instead of moving the wires every time?

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livesteamfan made it!(author)2009-06-09

I'm thinking of making something bigger with a gas engine. I have an old car I don't use and it has a small 4 cylinder engine in it. Think this design would work in a larger scale? Also, what is a Kudos bar?

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Tape-structable made it!(author)2009-06-09

I would love to see a bigger scale hover craft. It might just work, with the right things. I'm not very well at that stuff so dont take my advice. Are you planning on riding in it, if you attempted?

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livesteamfan made it!(author)2009-06-10

Of course I would ride it. I wonder what the police would say if I took it out on the road, depending on if it can do the speed limit of 40mph.

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Gonazar made it!(author)2009-06-10

Sorry to rain on your parade, but I just want to point out that hovercrafts on a large scale are rather difficult for a DIY project, I've done quite a bit of research on them, and probably the biggest problem is finding a motor+fan system that can push enough air out to counter the weight of person and motor, also the propulsion motor as well. It's totally possible, I've seen some good ones, but hitting 40 isn't that feasible.

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livesteamfan made it!(author)2009-06-11

What if I was to use a V-twin, 16hp engine for the lift engine and have one of my mechanic friends make 2 fans to move air and then just use my 4 cylinder as the propulsion engine? I can get a big piece of wood that I can attach the tarp/ballon thing to and have an aluminum support frame made up along with supports for bothe engine and the gas tank. I was thinking a single 20-30 gallon tank towards the front along with a chair or two to counter the weight of the engine in the back. Think that might work? I don't care if I'm wasting my time, I have nothing better to do.

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jimmy+dean made it!(author)2009-08-28

I'm actually in the process building one now. The 16hp engine should definitely be enough for the hovering part, I've seen people use .5 horsepower electric leaf blowers and they were strong enough to lift two people. Just wondering, how do you plan on using the 16 hp engine to blow air in? Are you going to do it like this instructable, are you going to point the fan straight down or are you going to use a centrifugal fan? Also, where do you plan on putting the hover engine? In the middle or on one side?

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livesteamfan made it!(author)2009-08-29

I was thinking of having a horizontal shaft engine with a pully that would drive two different fans via a belt drive off of the engine. I'm not too sure of the locoation yet, but I'm think towards the back in front of the other one but before the chairs which would be somewhere in the middle.

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a918bmxr made it!(author)2009-06-27

a kudos bar is basically a chewy bar

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jaketheman987 made it!(author)2009-06-09

its kinda like a rice crispy treat but without the marshmallow stuff and more of a carmel/chocolate "paste" and then usually with some kind of candy on top like mini eminems or some peanut butter for snicker kind. depends on the kind you get. There good though!

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Jonny+Katana made it!(author)2009-06-10

I just imagined a Kudos bar topped with tiny white rappers. Thank you for the laugh :P

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kcls made it!(author)2009-06-30

I did it! I made one but I added a small rocker switch to the side. cool Instructable!

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