Introduction: How to Make a RC Hovercraft

Picture of How to Make a RC Hovercraft
A while ago I posted an instructable of my radio controlled hovercraft, which you can see here:

I hope you liked it, some of you asked me to make an step by step instructable. I thought that was a good idea and I decided to make one.

In this instructable I will show you how I build my hovercraft, powered by electric motors and controlled by a radio transmitter. I hope you learn from it so you can make it too.


PS: sorry for my bad English. I'm Dutch but I will do my best to make everything clear. If you have questions or if I'm not specific enough about something, leave a comment and I will try to answer it.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

These are the materials you're going to need for making this hovercraft. I've bought them from a Dutch site, but I did some research for you to get the same stuff from other sites. (These are the materials that I used, you could also use your own if you want. No problem!)


Thrustmotor: NTM Prop Drive 28-26 1350KV / 310W

Emax BL 2215/25 950KV Outrunner Brushless Motor
(search for it on google, it's not on HobbyKing, but there are many other sites selling this motor. You can use another motor as well, same goes for the thrust-motor.)


(search for it, it''s on different sites)

A radio transmitter/receiver to controll your motors, doesn't matter which transmitter you use.

Silicone wires (one black and one red)

3mm Heat shrink tube (one black and one red)

XT60 connectors:
(for connecting your your battery to the wires)

2mm Gold Connecters for connecting motors to ESC's:

And a soldering iron for soldering everything together!

Almost there... the final things you need:

For the body I used styrofoam (XPS)

Polyethylene lightweight tarp is used for the skirt.

Glue for your foam boards

Some wood

Duct tape


Enough materials, time for the next step!

Step 2: Cutting Foam

Picture of Cutting Foam

The next thing to do, is cutting your foam boards. As said, I used styrofoam which is easy to cut with a stanley knife. After cutting it you can smooth the edges using sandpaper. No hot wires needed!

- Cut two of your boards for the main body. The length of each board is 95 cm. Width: 46 cm.

- Make the front of the boards in a round shape as on the image.

- After that, cut a circle in the middel of one board. Make sure the hole is exactly in the middle of the widht. It has to be a bit more at the front (you'll need your space at the back of the hovercraft), but not too much at the front! And it's better if you hold your knife in a angle, so that the air will flow to the center.

- Cut the inside of the other board out. Keep a border of 6 cm.

- You can round the back of the boards as well, see the image

Step 3: Adding the Skirt

Picture of Adding the Skirt

Time to add the skirt to our boards. Get your blanket and place one of the boards on it. Mark where you are going to cut the tarp. Keep some space between the edge of the board and your marks. You'll need this to create some flexibility for the skirt and you have to fold the edges 1-2 inches over the board (to create an overlap).

- Cut some holes in the skirt, I've cut two holes in the middle spread across the lenght. Start with litlle holes, after testing you can always make the holes bigger, or make some more holes.

- Once you have the skirt ready, lay down your base board on it. Fold the edges of the skirt and tape them on the board. You can use duct tape for it.

- After you did this take your other board and glue it on the base. I used some foam adhesive glue for it. (Don't know how it's called in the U.S.) Now you got the blanket jammed between the two layers, and it should be staying there. It's also looking better and it gives the body of your hovercraft more solidity!

Step 4: Creating a Lift Duct

Picture of Creating a Lift Duct

To create a lift duct, I decided to make an octagon out of foam pieces. However, it's better to use a perfect round lift duct (open cylinder). If you can get one, use it! Mind that it has to be lightweight and that it matches with the size of your propeller. We hadn't one, so we tried to make our own with this octagon shape. For making this:

- Simply cut eight pieces of foam. (13 cm long). Cut an angle of 45 degrees on each of them, so they will form an octagon.

- Your motor and propeller will be hanging inside of this lift duct. To get your motor in the middle, use two wood spars. Cut four gaps in the foam pieces you've made, where the spars will fit in.

- Glue all the eight pieces together and place the wood spars in the gaps. First fill the gaps with glue. Make sure the spars are holded firmly, you don't want your motor flying away!

Step 5: Motortower and Rudder

Picture of Motortower and Rudder

In this step we're making a motortower for the thrust-motor and we're going to start making the rudder.

- For the motortower I used 5 cm thick EPP foam. (Just take some thick piece of foam). Cut the shape you see on the picture. A fretsaw is good to use cutting this foam. The motor will be standing on the flat surface facing the back of the hovercraft. The motor is mounted on a 90 folded little aluminium mount, which is screwed on a piece of wood. The wood is glued on the foam surface. (We'll come back to this later.)

- Right behind this pusher motor we'll be placing the rudder, as you see. Use triplex or plywood for the rudder. One part of the rudder stands in the 2cm styrofoam, the other part is hanging on this. Just connect the two parts with duct tape. Keep a little space between them to make it moveable.

As you can see, the motortower and rudder are placed/glued in another piece of foamboard, which is glued to the base plate. I did this to make sure they are both standing stable. Later, you can also place you spoiler in this extra piece of foamboard.

Step 6: Soldering

Picture of Soldering

For testing the motors, you first have to solder an electric circuit to connect the battery to the ESC's and motors. Grap your materials and make the circuit as shown on the image! 

- Use the gold connectors for connections between ESC and motor, and between ESC and thick black/red wire. Cover the connectors with heat shrink to avoid them from touching other connectors.

- The three-colored cable from the servo can be plugged directly into your receiver. (the servo runs on the receiver-battery.)

- The three-colored cable from the ESC's can also be plugged directly into your receiver, but...
! Do not plug the red/power (probably the ones in the middle) wires from these cables into your receiver. The ESC's are already being powered by your LiPo-battery. Just fold the red wires back and cover them with heat shrink or tape.

Step 7: Mounting the Motors

Picture of Mounting the Motors
Now the circuit is soldered, and the lift-duct and motortower are placed, it's time to assemble the motors on the hovercraft. 

- For the liftmotor: mount the motor on a light piece of wood. Glue this piece on top of the wood-spars, use wood glue. Make sure the motor/propeller is exactly in the middle of your lift-duct.

- Mounting the thrust-motor is a bit more complicated. Let's take a look at the picture. As said, the motor is mounted on a 90 folded little aluminium mount. I made this mount by my self.

> Take a 90 folded aluminium plate.
> On one side, drill holes, so you can mount the aluminium plate on a little piece of wood. (which you can glue on the foam)
> On the other side, drill littles holes (very precisely) where you are mounting the motor.
> Mount the motor with short screws, or you will damage the inside of the motor!
> I glued another piece of triplex wood under the first little wood block. I inserted half of this piece of triplex in the motor-tower. (see last pic). I did this to make sure the motor was standing stable enough.

After mounting the motors, test them! :)

I used Arduino to control the motors with a potmeter, I've also controlled this hovercraft with a PlayStation3 controller, see my previous instructable or my YouTube channel.

Step 8: Mounting the Servo

Picture of Mounting the Servo

There's one more motor to mount. This is the servo-motor which has to be connected to the rudder.

- Place the servo right behind the not-moveable part of the rudder. Glue it on the foam. Be careful with glueing on foam. Some kinds of glue will attack/damage your foam. I used BSI Super Gold Plus foamsafe glue. I really recommend it. Glue down a little piece of foam to the side of your servo for more stability.

- Now you have to connect the servo arm with the rudder. You can use pushrods for this, but I decided to make my own. I used a piece of aluminium screwed on the wood (as a horn), and a little rod. If the rod bends when turning the servo, add another wire on the rod to make it stronger.

When you have the servo and thrust-motor mounted, you can make a spoiler as I did. Again, use light material. Depron, for example. 

Step 9: Final Adjustments

Picture of Final Adjustments
Congratulations! Your hovercraft is almost ready to race. Still, there are some imported modifications to make.

Probably, when you test your hovercraft. The skirt will be dragged on the ground, and the hovercraft won't go fast. To solve this problem, I've made a little modification. I attached some strings to the holes in the skirt. The other side of the string I taped down to the bottom of the base foam-board. By doing this you are creating an open area of air under the hovercraft. The air will escape from this area and the hovercraft will float. There won't be any friction anymore.

You can also make some more little holes in the skirt. For example, make some more holes at the back, if the back is the most heavy part of the hovercraft. Just expiriment with it!

Lastly, you can cover the front of the hovercraft (where the battery is placed) with extra pieces of foam. It looks better and it improves the aerodynamics.

And don't forget, enjoy racing your hovercraft! I hope you liked this instructable and I hope to see your hovercraft, too!

Be sure to watch the video:

Keep following me, I'll post more video's soon and I'm planning to mount a GoPro on the hovercraft to make some onboard footage.

Feel free to leave a comment!


SpieringshoekNa (author)2015-07-24

Hey Sjors,

Wij willen voor ons PWS ook een hovercraft gaan maken. En we zouden je graag als contactpersoon willen. Zodat we iets aan je kunnen vragen als we ergens tegen aanlopen. Zou je dat willen, het zal ons erg veel helpen.

Alvast bedankt,
Davi en Thomas

Ha Davi en Thomas,

Je kan me altijd vragen stellen!

Daviv2 (author)SpieringshoekNa2015-10-14

Dat is fijn om te horen Sjors!

Wij zouden graag contact met u willen opnemen via de e-mail. Dat lijkt ons een handigere manier om vragen te stellen als wij ergens mee zitten. Ons e-mail adres is

Bij voorbaat dank,

Groeten Thomas en Davi

HayamM (author)Daviv22016-05-14

Did he send the coding for you?

If yes, please send it to me at


ayus001 (author)HayamM2017-02-26

hi friend, have you get any reply of your query. If so then please email me too at

alanlewi (author)2015-07-28

Can you provide the coding part for this project on my email id

ayus001 (author)alanlewi2017-02-26

hi friend, have you get any reply of your query. If so then please email me too at

HayamM (author)alanlewi2016-05-14

Did he send the coding for you?

If yes, please send it to me at


ishank13 (author)2016-10-19

do you need to program the esc's if so email me. also what do you mean by DO NOT CONNECT THE RED WIRES OF THE ESC email me at

ayus001 (author)ishank132017-02-26

hi friend, have you get any reply of your query. If so then please email me too at

Tomd226 (author)2017-02-01


Wij maken een hovercraft voor onze PWS, en hebben precies dezelfde onderdelen als u, alleen we krijgen de motoren niet aan de praat. Moeten we de ESC's nog programmeren? Of zouden die het meteen moeten doen? Daarnaast staat er op de site van hobbyking dat de 28 prop drive een 25-30A ESC nodig heeft. Zou dit uitmaken?

Zou je ons kunnen antwoorden via de mail?
Mijn email is

danyd14 (author)2016-10-20

why my hovercraft can go forward?

Eslam Mgady (author)2016-05-15

Is Arduino programe code is avaliable ?

venkat1822005 made it! (author)2016-05-11


venkat1822005 (author)2016-05-11

it is easily we can do without remote

willem.endstra (author)2015-12-06

hey ik had even een vraagje, hoe heet dat oranje doek dat je als rok hebt gebruikt en waar kan je dat krijgen.

En die Li-po baterij, moet ik twee van kopen om er mee twee motors aan te sluiten of kan ik ook met 1 baterij twee motors er aan sluiten.

JulianL5 (author)2015-08-24

Hallo Sjors,

Ik wil voor me PWS ook een hovercraft gaan maken. maar vraag me af hoe je alle onderdelen hebt verbonden etc. zou je mij daar mee kunnen helpen?

groetjes Julian

zowzow (author)2015-08-19

Will this work in water

alanlewi (author)2015-07-31

I need your help pla send d code quickly sir

British Badger (author)2015-06-16

I'm making a book about r/c hovercrafts would it be okay if I featured yours as an exaple

Super Rohit (author)2015-06-13

Where can we get foam sheets

seunginu (author)2015-05-05

im making same one and do you have any blue print?

GregH3 (author)2015-01-28

Im currently trying to produce a similar design for my aerospace and drafting class. Im looking for the dimensions for the diameter of the fan shroud for the skirt. Thank you!

FifaG (author)2014-08-17

does it have to be black and red for the 3mm heat shrink tube or can it be black and black

remzak (author)FifaG2014-12-17

It doesn't matter.

KTownProperties (author)2014-08-26

Hi there and thanks so much for this set of plans; my students will get a kick out of it I am sure. Can you please provide a link for a good servo motor? Thanks a lot!

remzak (author)KTownProperties2014-12-17

I recommend the Hobbyking tower pro 9 gram servo.

because13 (author)2014-12-08

sjors073 Can you please explain what receiver you used. We are using a specktrum transmitter with a specktrum receiver and we cannot plug both motors into the receiver. We need a receiver with two throttle ports

remzak (author)because132014-12-17

You do not need a Receiver with two throttle ports. You can plug one Esc into any servo port and it will work.

look on amazon you can just get a thing that you can plug two into one

joris.weemaes.5 (author)2014-12-15

Hoe heet de nederlandse site waar je je materialen gekocht hebt, en waar heb je he materiaal voor de rok vandaan

laszlo.bennis (author)2014-12-12

Hi! Ik ben deze hovercraft voor mij PWS aan het maken. Ik vroeg mij af wat de naam van de lift-motor is. Ik wil deze bij rc-addict bestellen. Maar kan de gegeven motor niet op hun site vinden.

Swampwater99 (author)2013-11-03

Great project - thanks! My son and I are currently building this and we ran into a few snags. Please keep in mind that we have never built any type of RC project so we are new to all of this. How is the steering servo powered? How is the receiver powered? Is a separate battery connected to the receiver that powers the servo? All we bought was the Lipo that powers the motors - can the servo and receiver be powered from that battery as well?

Again, thanks for sharing and we will post vids when done.


CampbellP (author)Swampwater992014-08-13

the servo is powered from the receiver just plug it in and the receiver is pluged in to one of the little cords coming of the ESC controling the mottor it is a votige reg

you could all so power it by putting 4 to 8 volts over most recever power ports 2 of the prong dont put more that 1 amp over it thought

sjors073 (author)Swampwater992013-11-04

Hello Damien,

Thanks for your comment! It's great to hear that you and other people are building this hovercraft too, it's a big compliment for me.

About the questions, I was also completely new to this kind of projects. But after a lot of research I have learned a lot. Maybe the diagram in step 6 will help you. We have powered the receiver with a separate battery that came with the receiver and transmitter. The servo is powered by the same battery, by plugging the servocable in the receiver. But it's also possible to use only a LiPo battery that poweres everything. But then you need a UBEC, it's a small converter that regulates the voltage down for your receiver, so you don't fry it or something. Once your receiver is connected to your UBEC, you can plug your servo in the receiver so it's also powered with the voltage coming out of the UBEC.

You only need the UBEC for the receiver (and servo), The motors are still powered via the ESC directly to the LiPo, they need a higher voltage.

I hope this can help you. Have fun building your hovercraft!

British Badger (author)sjors0732014-07-13


I'm am currently building a hover craft from your design and I had a few questions about it.

can it go on water?


how long do the battery's last

(knowing hovercraft and the size of the motors I was presuming about 5 minutes but I ask just to be sure)

P.S you don't need to apologise for you bad English I live in Britain and you can hardly tell that it was written by somebody from a different country

sjors073 (author)British Badger2014-07-13


That's a great compliment! Thank you. But about the questions, I'm not sure if it can go on water. I have never tried it. Maybe it can but after a while water can get in the skirt and they hovercraft will get to heavy. Maybe you can try it first on some puddles on the street. About the battery, I think it indeed would last 5 minutes, maybe a bit longer, but max 10 min. You can always add extra batteries, untill the hovercraft gets too heavy.

Good luck and enjoy building your hovercraft!


British Badger (author)sjors0732014-07-22

I have made a hovercraft based on yours (I changed a few things) and I was wondering if it would be okay to put it on instructibles I'll put a link to your step by step and note it was by you originally if you like.

Things I've changed

added a onboard camera
use a different foam (celotex)
use a different motor
and completly redesigned the back end

British Badger (author)sjors0732014-07-13

Thanks, I'll test it in some puddles (we have plenty in Britain) and then get back to you

rpost (author)2014-08-02

Netjes hoor!! Goed bedaxht

sahil_patel725 (author)2014-03-18


I am building a different hovercraft and I am slightly confused about the transmitter/reciever. You have two ESC's connected to both the motors. Then you have the reviever connected to both ESC's and the servo.
My question is, how did you calibrate your transmitter? Does the transmitter control the speed of both motors AND rotates the servo? Basically, are you controlling both fan speeds and steering via the transmitter?

nmohd nor1 (author)2014-03-11

hello...i am creating the hovercraft.can i have the program?

fguoonghe (author)2014-02-24

Can you pls tell me the size of styrofoam

mal-hakim (author)2014-01-05

hey I really liked the way you arranged the hovercraft, i was wondering if there is a way to make it but on a larger scale, one that could hold up to 3 people maybe. Please answer as soon as possible.

shreyasparab95 (author)2013-11-26

which servo have u used to move spoiler?????

niels heineman (author)2013-11-19

Hallo Sjors,

Je Hovercraft ziet er erg mooi uit! ik Doe samen met een vriend een profielwerkstuk over Hovercraft en wij gaan ook een eigen RC Hovercraft maken. Ik vroeg me alleen wel af hoe je hebt bepaald welke propellers je nodig had? Dit heeft naar mijn weten te maken met het gewicht en de grote van je Hovercraft. Heb jij dit berekent?

Ik hoor graag van je!

Vriendelijke groet,
Niels Heineman

aray14 (author)2013-09-16

hello ,i am thinking to start making a hovercraft so can you please give me a picture of with with the parts connect real picture. . .and also what`s the dimension of the hovercraft.

amr wasfy (author)2013-09-02

i'm trying to make a one like this with styrofoam and acrylic and i have a problem with the lifting motor thrust calculations,, please tell me more details about the dimensions and weight to expect the thrust needed for mine

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-06-30

I can speak German some Dutch but can't write Dutch. Any way very good and I love your vids they really made the instructable

jelmarbombzz (author)2013-05-22

Eey ik had een vraag hoe heet die nederlandse site en wat heb ik allemaal nodig

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