Introduction: Simple Leaf Blower Hovercraft

Picture of Simple Leaf Blower Hovercraft

What better way to finish off the summer than a relaxing hover to the park?

This is an overview of a simple, inexpensive design that can be built for less than $10 if you are resourceful (and already have a leaf blower). Maximum cost, excluding the leaf blower, is about $50.

Here's a video of the hovercraft in action!

Recommended to use a gas powered leaf blower if you want to travel somewhere beyond your garage or workshop.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

-- Circular piece of wood for hovercraft body w/ ~ 2 ft. diameter

Minimum area of ~ 10 sq. ft. (1 sq. meter).

-- Small circular piece of wood for anchor w/ ~ 6 in. diameter

-- Tarp

-- Cardboard

-- Optional: Propulsion mechanism (fan or PVC piping)

Step 2: Tools

Picture of Tools

-- Gas powered leaf blower (200 MPH)*

A gas-powered leaf blower works best for this project and lets you travel anywhere, but most leaf blowers will work with adequate power output.

-- Staple gun *

-- Jigsaw* + safety equipment

-- Power Drill

-- Scissors and/or Blade Knife

-- Duct Tape

-- Sandpaper*

-- Screws* (~4)

*Not pictured

Step 3: Procure Base

Picture of Procure Base

The area of the base of the hovercraft should be at least 1 square meter (10.8 sq. feet). This will support about 220 lbs of weight.

Wood is the best material for the base. There are lots of ways to source wood cheaply or for free. Mine was found discarded in an alley. You can also purchase plywood and cut it to a different shape.

Once you have the base, measure the diameter of your leaf blower nozzle, then cut a small hole in the base about 6 in. from the edge. Thoroughly sand all edges, including the hole.

Also sand the edges of the wood anchor.

Step 4: Build It! Pt. 1

Picture of Build It! Pt. 1

1. Lay base on top of tarp. Cut tarp around the base leaving at least 3 in. of excess tarp.

2. Loosely fold tarp over top of base; there should be room for the tarp to inflate about 1 in.

3. Use overlapping layers of duct tape to adhere the tarp to the top of the base.

Step 5: Build It! Pt. 2

Picture of Build It! Pt. 2

1. Cut out 1 in. x 2 in. cardboard rectangles to go around the perimeter of the base.

Rectangle size is approximate.

As for the number of rectangles, you can be extremely precise and measure the base perimeter to calculate how many rectangles to cut, or you can be approximate and cut more as you need them (my preferred method).

2. Staple the cardboard rectangles to the base so that the sides and/or corners are touching.

3. Flip the base over, and add overlapping layers of duct tape across the middle of the base.

4. Find the center point of the base and mark it.

Step 6: Build It! Pt. 3

Picture of Build It! Pt. 3

1. Find the center point of the wood anchor, and match it up with the center point of the base (on the bottom over the duct tape).

2. Drill the anchor securely into the wood base.

3. Cut about 10-15 ventilation holes around the anchor and on top of the duct tape. Area of each hole should be ~ 1 sq. in.

Suggested to start with a small number of holes (~5-8) then test w/ the leaf blower to see how it floats. It should be stable and not tip to one side. If it is tipping, cut more holes on opposite side of which it is tilting.

4. Flip over the base (so that the top is up) and adhere the leaf blower nozzle to the hole w/ duct tape.

Step 7: Test It and Take It to Town!

Picture of Test It and Take It to Town!

Power up your leaf blower and take it for a spin! Or a straight line.

You can also turn this into a rudimentary vehicle by adding a propulsion system. One easy way is to add a fan. Another is to use PVC piping to redirect some of the leaf blower airflow behind you. I'm considering testing the PVC method.. if there is interest I will post an addendum showing how to do this.

Many thanks to this YouTube tutorial for the general overview.


jesseben (author)2016-04-06

how can I self-propel this thing?

jenfoxbot (author)jesseben2016-04-06

Tons of options! I was working on re-directing some of the air from the leaf blower using PVC pipe, but it's a bit tricky and I blew out the tarp so I need to fix it before I try again. A friend suggested using a pole, like a gondola-type vehicle. You could also find a DC fan and hold it or attach it to the back, that's probably the easiest.

Street-Wise Irish (author)2015-11-11

I would definitely like to see the PVC pipe propulsion system please

Thanks for the feedback, will work on it! Might take some time to get to it, but I've been meaning to make a better video that's a good excuse :)

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2015-10-08

I deffo need to test this out lol

pokemario1470 (author)2015-09-26


jenfoxbot (author)pokemario14702015-09-28

:D Thank you!

Latelier (author)2015-08-29

Good idea. Nice project ! Congratulations!

jenfoxbot (author)Latelier2015-08-29

Thank you!

ronald.ferreira.39 (author)2015-08-28


C VB (author)2015-08-25

A four foot diameter version driven with small vacuum cleaner motor easily carried eight High School students for me. (we couldn't squeeze any more onto the disk)

jenfoxbot (author)C VB2015-08-25

Dang that's impressive! Sounds like an awesome school project!

C VB (author)jenfoxbot2015-08-26

An old shower curtain makes a good skirt and wrapping a piece of slit garden hose around the edge makes a bit of a bumper.

NoahH4 (author)C VB2015-08-26

Love the garden hose idea!

jenfoxbot (author)C VB2015-08-26

Tried a shower curtain and it blew out after 1 - 2 uses, but a sufficiently thick one should work. And great idea w/ the garden hose!

NoahH4 (author)C VB2015-08-26

I'll try that.

vincent7520 (author)2015-08-26


3DWulf (author)2015-08-25

Wonder if you can still use this for blowing the leaves;-) If the PVC director works then you may.

jenfoxbot (author)3DWulf2015-08-25

Haha just ride it around the yard!

MikeD11 (author)2015-08-25

Where is the video of you riding this thing?

jenfoxbot (author)MikeD112015-08-25

In the intro, here's the direct link:

TherylM (author)2015-08-25

Question... Would two people be able to ride this hovercraft? Also, Have you thought about a cordless leaf blower to travel longer distances? thanks.

that was already covered in the beginning , "use a gas leaf blower if you want to ge farther then your garage or workshop."

sapheyr (author)2015-08-21


jenfoxbot (author)sapheyr2015-08-24


HEARTH ROBOTICS TEAM (author)2015-08-24


I made something like this for my science fair project.

I hope this project will inspire others to do the same. :)

Heck yea that sounds like an awesome science fair project! Yes, exactly, it's so much fun and surprisingly accessible. A great project makers of all skill levels!

Tschec713 (author)2015-08-23

We did something like this in my Physics 1 class. Strapped a chair on and had someone push one of us down the hallway.

jenfoxbot (author)Tschec7132015-08-24

Yes! Such a good idea! Totally duct taping my camping chair onto it and testing that out..

8runo (author)2015-08-20

Great I have something to do during summer

jenfoxbot (author)8runo2015-08-21

Your neighbors will be very jealous.

Mx Markov (author)2015-08-21

This reminds me of an episode of Mythbusters. How dare you disobey the disembodied voice by trying it at home!

jenfoxbot (author)Mx Markov2015-08-21

I wore safety goggles, I swear!!

momoluv (author)2015-08-19

Wow! Amazing job

jenfoxbot (author)momoluv2015-08-19

Thank you!

sapheyr (author)2015-08-19

Dose it actually hover

jenfoxbot (author)sapheyr2015-08-19

Yup! Check out the video.

IsaacPierce (author)2015-08-19

Great instructable...I need to make one!!

jenfoxbot (author)IsaacPierce2015-08-19

Thanks! Seriously, yes, do it, it's so much fun.

ShakeTheFuture (author)2015-08-19


Looks like a fun project.

jenfoxbot (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-08-19

Thank you! And heck yes it is!

seamster (author)2015-08-19

Very cool! Love how simple this is, thank you!

jenfoxbot (author)seamster2015-08-19

Thanks! Yes, surprisingly simple :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Dabbled in dark matter, settled into engineering with a blend of inventing and teaching, always trying to solve problems + learn new things!
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