Project Up - Hot Air Balloon





Introduction: Project Up - Hot Air Balloon

About: Well, what's to say?

This is a very simple 972 cubic foot tethered hot air balloon that is capable of carrying a payload of up to ten pounds.



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    I want to know how much weight this balloon can tolerate...????

    I had an idea using this design, could someone tell me if it's plausible? I'd make the balloon/burners, though instead of tying a camera i'd secure a harness, get in said harness, though instead of flying I'd use it as a sort of low-gravity simulator, would the balloon be capable of lifting a person 4-5 feet in the air, then drifting slowly to the ground, if not, what would I have to do to make it able?

    2 replies

    You could shoot for a Mars equivalent gravity at 38% Earth's, which would make your balloon a bit smaller, and would probably be a bit safer. So all you have to do is multiply your weight by 0.38 then divide the result by the current balloons lift (approximately 15 lbs) and then enlarge the volume of the design by the resulting factor, this should get you somewhere in the ballpark, but ambient temperature, density and altitude will have to be compensated for as well.

    Sorry Jim, but this design isn't going to cut it. At max it provides 15 lbs, of lift, which (I think) would like losing 15lbs while keeping your current strength. If you were looking for something to simulate the gravitational pull on the Moon (1/6 of Earth's pull) you would need something that provides lift equal to 5/6s of your weight, Unless you weigh 18 lbs, this size of balloon won't work.

    Would it be possible to use something else other then a seal-a-meal to make the seams? I thought this was a really cool project. I plan on building one except I don't have a seal-a-meal.

    2 replies

    You could try an electrified wire loop heating element covered with an asbestos like sleeve but if I were you, I'd go check out Good Will or some other junk store for a used one, I'm sure they'll probably have it, or something else that's close. I love junk stores!

    Perhaps its worth attaching an "if found" note to the payload?

    2 replies

    In hindsight...yep. But I thought I'd recover the 'payload' at the end of my line. I just didn't foresee it burning through like it did. oh well, I'll definitely include contact info at the beginning of the video and on a tag attached to the video device the next time around, just to be sure.

    Found it! (heh)

    Added pictures taken from the recovered 'minicam'.

    I've actually recovered the camera today despite infinitesimal odds! All aerial footage is there! The video is a bit "choppy" due to a 'pendulum' effect from hanging the camera, but I can still pull some decent stills from it, to include some panoramic views that I wouldn't have otherwise gotten (and some flames.) I'll post some updated pictures & video as soon as I edit the recovered video.

    Thanks much,

    I'm working on MK II, which will hopefully overcome any 'catastrophic' events.

    When my balloon caught fire in the end my son had to make the gratuitous quote; "Oh, the humanity!"

    This of course, has given me the idea of doing a Zeppelin.


    Some years ago (maybe 30) I was interested to make a "real size" hot air ballon. I did some experimental tests, all successful. But the costs, the lack of a large workshop, and the dangers associated to such vehicle, made ​​me give up. I read that hot air ballons are the most dangerous transportation. I don't know if it is true but seem possible. Be careful.

    Don't worry, you won't see me hanging on a lawn chair under any balloon I make, I'm getting too old for that sort of thing. But there is always that crazy, I think I'll keep my feet on the ground.

    So how big of a balloon did you make in your tests and of what materials?

    The biggest balloon was aprox 3 meters high, and a little less diameter, made in thin paper, that used by dressmakers to make molds. It flew well, but without flames because I fear a fire. It rose 100 m, flew just over one km, cooled and fell to the ground.

    BTW, you can see in this other balloon project a mine explanation about the construction, you can profit it. If you don't understand (my english is very poor) ask me.

    Camera recovery is a huge issue with projects like this, I experienced some of the same problems when I made my kite aerial photography.

    Nice documentation, and nice work on the trigonometry. Though more precise instruments will yield better results, I'm really impressed with your low-tech solutions. Great job, I'd love to see you pictures if you ever find your payload. Or maybe just try it again?

    1 reply

    Good day,

    Unfortunately I don't think that I'll ever recover my aerial footage unless someone were to actually find it and then post it on Youtube, and then I'd actually have to find it posted...slim chances indeed. But yes, there is a MK II in the works and I'm over-engineering it to practically guarantee complete recovery, the problem I'm now facing is to not get too carried away. So 'stay tuned' for more to come in another month or so.

    Thanks for your interest in my esoteric project.