Introduction: Summer 2014 Introduction to Engineering Competition

Picture of Summer 2014 Introduction to Engineering Competition

July 3, 2014


Group: One Piece

Bu Jiaqing

Qian Junqi

Xiang Yinan

Yang Siyuan

Chen Miaomiao







Professor Shane. Johnson, Ph.D.

Tel: +86-21-3420-6190 Email:

Teacher Assistant: Dong Tianlai, Xu Zhentao

Step 1: Introduction

Picture of Introduction

We are in Shanghai Jiaotong University

Joint Institute (JI). JI is an institute with advanced teaching method, which trains our ability of corporation and improves our knowledge. Every year, freshmen are going to have a project of a machine, working with a team and having competition with other teams.

This semester, we are assigned to design a hovercraft. We need to control our hovercraft by a remote controller and run on two ways. The competition is divided into 2 parts. The first part is Time Trial racing, the other is Tournament. For the Time Trial racing, we just need to run on line 1. For Tournament part, two teams will start running on two different ways simultaneously. After finishing one lap, they should run into the other way.

A piece of our competition vedio is uploaded. you can check it as you like.


No shortcut in the race.

No more than three times of crash.

Only one controller and two directors can be in the competition field.

No one except TAs can move during the competition.

No Language communication between the controllers and the observers

Only TAs can touch the hovercraft during the competition.

May ask TA for help if the hovercraft can not move.

Requirements of competition:
Lift height < 2cm

Mass < 800g

Size < 30*30*30cm

Voltage ≤ 12V

Motor Specifications < 12V

Central Control Circuit Arduino Series

Remote Controller Mandatory (Bluetooth, inferred, etc.)

Our team’s result:

In the Time Trail we ran 15.16s, which is the third place of 19 groups.

In the Tournament, we are in the place of the first eight teams.

Step 2: Concept Diagram

Picture of Concept Diagram

Our hovercraft has two ducted fans to
provide the driving force. Besides, we also let the ducted fans have different force to make the hovercraft turn around. The Battery is near the ducted fans, which makes the center of gravity at the back. In the middle is a turbofan to make the hovercraft floating. Beside the turbofan is an Arduino UNO board. It is the control system. We use a wireless PS2 controller to control our system. It is really sensitive.

Step 3: Materials List

Picture of Materials List

for a hovercraft like ours, we need several materials.

DuctedFan*2 •168RMB ($26.90USD)

Electronic Speed Controller*2 •114RMB ($18.25USD)

XPS Foamed Plastic Board*2 •100RMB ($16.01USD)

Air Blower*1 •9.9RMB ($1.58USD)

Heat Shrink Tube*2 •1.6RMB ($0.26USD)

1 to 3 Deans Ultra Plug Connector •12RMB ($1.92USD)

Arduino UNO R3*1 •60RMB ($9.61USD)

DupontLine(male &female)*150 •15RMB ($2.40USD)

Lithium Battery Monitor*1 •8RMB ($1.28USD)

Li-polymer 11.1V 2200mA*1 •75RMB ($12.01USD)

Li-polymer Chargar*1 •37RMB ($5.92USD)

PS2Wireless Game Pad*1 •70RMB ($11.21USD)

Auxiliary Tools:

Welding Pen*1 •18RMB ($2.88USD)

Hot Melting Glue Gun*1 •18RMB ($2.88USD)

TOOLBOX*1 •69RMB ($11.05USD)

The total price of all the materials and tools is 783.3RMB ($125.41USD).

On our hovercraft, we spend:

Dusted Fan*2 168RMB

Electronic Speed Controller*2 114RMB

XPS Foamed Plastic Board*1 50RMB

Air Blower*1 9.9RMB

Heat Shrink Tube 1RMB

Arduino Sensor Shield*1 19.8RMB

Arduino UNO R3*1 60RMB

DuPont Line*20 2RMB

Li-polymer 11.1V 2200mA*1 75RMB

Total price 499.7RMB ($80.00USD)

Step 4: Procedures

Picture of Procedures

Step1 :Circuit Diagram:

see the diagram 1.

Step2: Cut a block of foamed plastic.

Cut a block of foamed plastic
into a specific size and shape to make the main body of a hovercraft. The foamed plastic should be 260 mm long, 230 mm wide and 20 mm thick. Moreover, dig a hole in the middle of the block of plastic which will put an air blower later and dig a groove at the bottom of the plastic to form an air cushion. The dimensions and the shape of the groove are shown in the next 2 figures.

Step3: Cut blocks to hold the brushless fan.

Cut two same blocks of foamed plastic with cubic shape. Dig a cylinder hole in each block of plastic, which has the same size of a brushless fan. Be careful that the size should be exactly, which especially cannot be any larger than the size of the fan, to avoid the fan be pushed out of the plastic when it is running. the figure is following.

Step4: Stick the blocks

Stick two blocks made in step 2 on the body of the hovercraft, which is close to the back of the body and is symmetric. Details are in the following figure.

Step5: Assemble all the other parts

Now, begin to assemble the hovercraft. Check all parts, including the formed plastic made above, two brushless fans, two electronic speed controllers, an Arduino board, a box of batteries, a ps2 transmitter, several wires and an air blower.

Step6: Connect all electrical appliances with wires

Connect all electrical appliances with wires by following the circuit diagram above. Stuff two fans into the cylinder holes dug in the previous step. Stick all the parts on the plastic body according to a rule that the center of mass should at the center of the hovercraft. For the actual masses of all parts are not completely the same as what we used, we cannot provide an exactly unchanged position of every part. The placement plan of our hovercraft is in step 8, which can be used as a reference.

Step7: Input the code into Arduino board

Upload the code into the Arduino board and test the brushless fans. The hovercraft is now fabricated completely.

Step 8: The following pictures are the final system of the hovercraft.

Step 5: Summary & Cnclusion

The project 1 building a hovercraft is an interesting and exciting project. It has a lot of challenges. Even though we start very early, the time we feel is still not enough since we try many times to find the best design. In this process, we learn lots about Arduino, different motors and different material. Besides, we know that the corporation is the most important thing to success. Everyone in our team tries best to build the hovercraft. Even if this project is pretty hard, we still get good results. The experience gives us confidence to do better in the next project.

and we have a complete PDF instructables in the upload field. you can check it if as you like.

Step 6: Reference

[1] "ShowStory," [Online]. Available:

[2] UM-SJTU Joint Institute, "Sina Microblog," [Online]. Available: [Accessed 6 7 2014].

[3] Shane Jonhson, Dong Tianlai and Xu Zhentao (May. 19, 2014). “Vg 100 Project 1 Regulation”[online]. Available: 8118d90dbcfc/2014SU_Vg100_Project_1_Regulation.pdf


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