Step 12: Outtakes

For anyone designing their own buggy--one major tip:

The first bearing I planned on using was a lazy susan bearing. My assumption was that it was only a thrust(axial) load on between the front axle and the body. I built that version and took it out rolling on the streets near my house. What I didn't realize was that when I push on the steering column to steer, I add a significant radial component, and lazy susan bearings are not built for that. All the balls fell out of my bearing and the steering locked up, making the cart head (to my dismay) down a hill (I live in the mountains, so this is a non-trivial problem). A lot of designs for braking mechanisms went through my head, but I settled on the most practical and grabbed onto the rear wheels as hard as I could. My hands were instantly pulled between the wheel and pavement, where they made excellent brakes. A bit of blood loss later, I was shlepping the cart back home, my lesson painfully learned. The picture was after I washed off--there was a fair amount of blood.

Another thing worth thinking about is that you want to keep your steering column as short as possible. The longer it gets, the more stress it puts in the bearing, and you don't really get any benefit.
What's the weight limit for the vehicle??
i will do this... i have an idea to use the remains of an old go kart, which will make everything safer, due to the fact that it has a roll cage, albeit a flimsy one.
If you go the hovercraft route, you'll learn something about why sailboats have keels and those wheels have to be pointed in some other direction than downwind....do put up pictures, though.
However, a hovercraft with 2 "keel" wheels that only provide enough side force to maintain a heading would probably have less drag than a buggy with 4 wheels digging into the sand. It could be the vehicle equivalent of a small planing sailboat vs. a large displacement hull.
yeah, that's the general idea. I'm calling it a hoverproa and building the first full version this weekend (I built a few small gas-powered hovercraft yesterday that were able to support me). It'll have two wheels, each on arms about 6' long coming off either side of the main hoverboard. Both wheels are off the ground when I'm unpowered or doing a dead run and are pretty analogous to the ama in a real proa (although is an ama a windward hull?). On a reach or upwind tack, the leeward wheel will dig into the ground and let me maneuver without slipping downwind. Steering will work by pivoting the leeward wheel, and I'm still working out an elegant linkage or other mechanism to let me do that. I'm sure it'll take several iterations to get something that works well, but it seems like a buildable project. The original reason I moved to hovercraft was that I wanted to put a suspension in my next buggy, and a hovercraft is possibly the cheapest full suspension system, with the added bonus of removing almost all static friction from the buggy. Plus, saying 'kitepowered hoverproa" is just ridiculous. Ridiculously awesome! enough spoilers! Tune in the weekend after next for pictures of us taking the hoverproa and a few new buggies out to the desert!
um... do you mean a hovercraft powered by a kite? Also, how could someone do something like this without much wind? if its a bigger kite, how big? its not always windy here in ma... help appriecated. (sorry about spelling)
I mean a hovercraft that has separate engines to provide lift, but gets its thrust from a kite. In general, if you're going to use kite power, you need wind. Yeah, you could have a bigger kite in lighter wind, but I have no way of giving you an answer without knowing what kind of wind speed you're talking about. Generally, I've found that for land sports, you can get by with about 10mph wind and a 2m kite, but you're not going to go anywhere fast. Get some good ~15mph-20mph wind--there's plenty on the coast in MA, and then you can use smaller kites and have much more fun. I guess what it boils down to is that the simplest way to have fun kiting is to find places and times when there's good wind
a hover craft would be cool, but you would only be able to go down wind since there is no friccion with the ground to move parallel to the wind, there for you would have to walk back to where you started
Am I the only one to catch the Dune reference? Anybody?
oh thank god
I just realized that I have almost enough junk to build one of these. Fun fun fun!
what if you put another larger parachute over you kinda like a powered parachute. Then if you made the boogie lighter you could go somewhere.
kiteman hasent even posted yet :o! :)
This is genius! Where is that desert?
that is El Mirage Dry Lake, part of the Mojave<br/><br/> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Mirage_Dry_Lake">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Mirage_Dry_Lake</a><br/>

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