Some time ago, I saw someone, somewhere floating about on a homemade hovercraft, slapped together with little more than a shower curtain, a piece of plywood and an old vacuum cleaner. This of course set me to thinking about how I could join the ranks of such bold aeronauts of the DIY persuasion. So, I naturally started reading up on the subject and scoured webpage after webpage. Finally I found one that spoke to me in both ease of construction, and in simple enough terms that would allow my mind to easily digest the concepts while allowing for my own improvising of design. The author, WilliamJ. Beaty appears to be a research engineer and as far as I can tell his design for the ULTRA-SIMPLEHOVERCREFT was created for a child’s science fair project. I won’t go into detail or rip off any of the pictures from his website out of respect and more importantly because I am lazy when it comes to displaying all my research.

One day while at Lowes I spotted some 7/16th roofing OSB that was on sale for nine dollars. I just couldn’t resist and ended up buying a piece. For deep within the recesses of my mind the dreams of sliding about on a personal hovercraft started to bubble forth into my consciousness. A small voice whispered to me, “It is time”, and before I knew what was going on, I was strapping a 4x8 piece of OSB to the top of my vehicle.

Step 1: Setting the Stage for Success, Let's Draw a Circle!

     I am roughly following the plans for the ULTRA-SIMPLE HOVERCREFT. For manageability I cut the 4x8 piece of OSB in half so I would not be tripping over it in my garage. Here you see the piece up on saw horses. If you look closely you will see my failed attempt at drawing a circular pattern on the board so I could cut it down into a disk shape. On further inspection of this photo, particularly in the background you will notice that it is also trash night, and I still have left over flags from Memorial Day on the floor of my garage.

Because, and I must stress again that, I am lazy. I was all ready to engage my saber saw into cutting out this crudely drawn pattern on the OSB, when I started to feel a little pang of shame growing inside of me. Sure this is a crappy ghetto version of a hovercraft but I should at least have an ounce of self respect in making it appear as if some symmetry was involved with its construction. It then became clear to me that I needed a better way to draw a circle on to the OSB.

Would this work with a gas leaf blower?
<p>Yeah! he stated that it will work.</p>
It would probably work BETTER with a gas blower. I used an electric one at 425 CFM. I would suggest something more powerful.
<p>ya a gas blower would work better</p>
<p>i think i will make a 2.0 that has 2 leaf blowers</p>
<p>will it go higher with more power</p>
Would it be a good idea if you could put a lawn chair on it over the leaf blower?
I actually had that thought, however this version of the craft was barely strong enough to lift me. It will have to be implemented in to 2.0 :D <br>
If I were to cut this in the shape of a big skateboard, would it work as a hover board?
I suppose with a big enough power plant <br>
I built a compass somewhat like that, except that mine used a brass rod that I could slide the block holding my pencil in and out, and clamp it in place with a screw. I should really make an instructable about it...
If you make one I want to see it :D <br>
would you not have more air flow mounted pointing down without the black or white tube, the bend must restricked just like with duct work
Already working on that
Seriously you have to upgrade the leaf blower engine, tear the engine down and grind all the rough edges out of the ports then, after you get it back together toss the muffler out and use a tuned exhaust with a DIY muffler, at least you won't go deaf from the leaf blower noise.
Heh the little one I have running now whistles like a jet engine. And yes I do need a better power plant to work with. This blower only provides like 425cfm which is not much. I have a co-worker willing to give me his old leaf blower I just need to bother him more until he does.<br>
You stated in your opening: &quot;On further inspection of this photo, particularly in the background you will notice that it is also trash night, and I still have left over flags from Memorial Day on the floor of my garage.&quot; <br> <br> I certainly hope you disposed of the trash (flags) properly, after picking them up off the garge floor! If you didn't want them, you can drop them off at a VA hospital, or nursing home. the veterans there will gladly take very good care of them for you. <br>
I didn't throw them flags away. I just didn't want to climb into my 120 degree attic to store them.
<br>I'm thinking a 6ft X 4ft oval hovercraft using three gas blowers. Two for lift, one for propulsion/steering. Anyone have thoughts or suggestions I should consider before I start?
I would not use a leaf blower for propulsion, they do not seem strong enough. Also if you are using leaf blowers for lift I would imagine that they would need to be greater than 500 cfm.
Do it! I want to see how it turns out. You might get better stability with 3 in a triangle configuration and you standing in the center. Maybe pointing them all down and having a vent hole in the skirt in the back to add forward thrust as long as it doesn't eliminate the vertical thrust.
Instead of cutting and taping the holes, why not use a grommet kit? With their smaller diameter, you could increase the number of holes thus spreading distribution of the air cushion more evenly. This could increase the air pressure in the donut by restricting the outflow through the smaller holes and possibly make your blower more efficient. Grommets would also reduce the chance <br>tearout.
Thats a really interesting idea. Definitely something to factor into 2.0. Gorilla Tape kept the cost down.
Those grommet kits are pretty cheap. You can get a simple one at Harbor Freight. With more and smaller holes there will be less chance of the skirt deflating when you lean into a turn. I also thought about a ring around the top of the disc in place of all those staples. A thin plywood or even plastic ring on top of the disc could be sealed with silicon adhesive and screwed down to the disc. That would make a better seal, again increasing the efficiency of the blower by reducing leaks and look cleaner.
Just used the Harborfreight grommet kit to hang a canvas tarp over the entrance to my shop a couple weeks ago. I had problems getting the hole punch to actually cut through the canvas, may have better luck w/ plastic/vinyl/whatever, but I wound up just cutting a small square out w/ an exacto &amp; stuffing them through that. Hope this is useful.
Oh man, if you used this for sledding on snow you'd build up ridiculous amounts of speed!!
Very cool! I've worked with a number of military and commercial hovercraft and the skirt pressure is minimal. I think it was ~15psi for an 80 ton LCAC when on cushion, but a huge amount of CFM. That blower is highpressure/low volume, but it worked! <br>Great Instructable.
Any chance you watch &quot;Mythbusters&quot; ?? they made something like this in the early days ;) <br>But they say: &quot;don't try it at home&quot; <br>You say: &quot;here are the plans how I made it, now make it yourself&quot; :D <br>nice build!!
Yeah, but from what I remember, the Mythbusters ones failed pretty badly!
Indeed they did, but the fun-factor was sky high :D
My first thought when I saw this was &quot;Mythbusters!&quot;
I did see that one and I also saw the one he built for his kid. It's all good stuff.
You know this specific hovercraft had some instructions put out there by Adam himself. he also made it as a kid so... <br>
No I didn't know that :D But now I do, thanks!!
This is awesome! Have you tried it in snow? That would be SWEET!
You know, I can't help but think this would be good enough to use behind a self-propelled lawn mower! You'd have to go to either a rechargeable, or gas powered blower (of course), which hopefully wouldn't ad too much wait. This way you'd be basically &quot;pulled&quot; behind the mower...which I think would be very cool! =] <br> <br>Great job on this!
I most definitely would like to get a gas motor involved. For this version I merely used what was on hand.
Next time you need to cut a circle, work out a way to attach your saber saw to the swinging arm.
Heh thats not a bad idea. It would certainly be a more consistent cut.
Just don't forget you don't have brakes on this, and they will &quot;float&quot; down hill!
My brakes would be, me jumping off of it :D
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Catapult Program (http://www.rose-hulman.edu/admissions-financial-aid/early-planning/operation-catapult/about-operation-catapult.aspx) builds one of theses as a team project each summer. These hovercraft are built use several means of propulsion include battery powered lawn blowers, small gasoline weed-eaters and such.
I had kicked around different means of propulsion but it IS after all a hover SLED, meaning that I would love to have it run under it's own power (gas) and be able to sled down a grassy hill with it.
First, let me say that I was giggling hysterically just reading your Instructable, entirely because the writing was just perfect -- educational AND entertaining. Perfect! Having done something like this before, may I suggest you put together 2 more of these puppies, run them off 3 old gasoline driven leaf blowers (yes, a ton of noise, neighbors will hate you), put a platform in the middle and create your own StarWars-like landspeeder. If one V1.0 sled sorta holds your weight, 3 should have you floating nicely. Add some sealed gallon sized milk-jugs around a general perimeter and you might even get the whole arrangement to float.....hmmmm, and one more leaf blower pointing back to a rudder, a cable control....arr arr arr....where's my rocket motor!!!! <br> <br>Seriously, your ideas are great. The pool noodle standoffs are an excellent idea. I notice in the video when you push off with the stick, you float a bit and then it seems like you get stuck. It's possible enough air is escaping due to tilt to eliminate the air cushion you have there on one side. Another reason to make 2 more....hey, you have some 'roll' axis support then. <br> <br>OMG, I'm going to Home Depot to make a bunch of these myself now!
Hah I have seen a version that had a tripod type of arrangement. Thats a lot of work and a lot of space taken up in my garage. If I did not have so many other projects going on I would go down that route and see where it took me
Very cool! I want to build one for my kids to play with. <br> <br>Looks to me like the air was escaping best almost directly opposite the motor of the leaf blower. I would suspect that the weight of the motor responsible for making the other end of the craft the &quot;path of least resistance&quot;. I would guess (and this is strictly a guess) that if you spaced the vent holes closer to the outside of the the craft that would help the balance and stability issues. <br> <br>I hope you get things working a little smoother and I would love to see an update if you do. Thanks again for the inspiration.
I'm pretty convinced that the lack of power from the leaf blower is part of the cause for the air only coming out of certain areas. If there was more than enough power it would equally vent I believe.
If you add duct tape in between the holes in the skirt it will make it last longer. I made on years ago but the skirt kept ripping after 10-30 mins of use so I added tape in between the holes and it has not broke.
I've had pretty decent luck with the skirt so far, and frankly if it tears it would just give me a better opportunity to try something better.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to tinker and I like to learn, and if one can support the other then thats great.
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