If you spend a nice weekend staring at the TV screen or surfing the net, you will feel bored. Why not follow us to make an awesome UFO-like hovercraft!
The hovercraft introduces air flow beneath the ship. It reduces the friction between the ship and the ground. It increases the speed, given the same power. Our team, Iris, created a UFO-like hovercraft. We hope the innovative design enables you to enjoy the DIY process.
The materials you will need:
Propellers [x3] (GWS5030; Diameter: 125mm; Aperture: 3mm)
Fiber rod (Texture: Carbon; Length: 400mm; Diameter: 3mm)
Adhesive tape (Width: 20mm)
Acrylic board (0.60m*0.60m*2.5mm)
Fast-food bowls[x4] (Color: White; Diameter of the rim: 135mm)
Battery (12V 2A; Charging current: 1A)
Brushless motor [x4]
(Size: 15mm x 13.5mm; Weight：9g;
Diameter of the output axis：Φ2mm
Maximal efficiency current: 2A to 6A, >70%
Maximal current: 7.5A
the Size of the matched propeller: GWS 5043 5030)
Banana plugs[x12] (Diameter: 4mm)
Electronic speed controller
(Type: Pentium-10A; Current: 10A;
Maximal rotation rate:
210000 rev/min (if connected to a 2-pole-motor);
70000 rev/min (if connected to a 6-pole-motor);
35000 rev/min (if connected to a 12-pole-motor);
Size: 27mm（length）*17mm（Width）*6mm（Height）; Weight： 9g)
Arduino UNO Board
(You can check the details in the Appendix B)
Auto CAD (to design the shape of the board)
Arduino-1.0.5-r2 (to upload the codes to operate the Arduino UNO Board)
CoolTerm (to exchange data with the Arduino UNO Board using BlueTooth)
The laser cutting machine
The electric drill
Total cost: $66.00
Difficult level: quite difficult
Time required: 3 days
Take it easy. If you follow the steps, I am sure that you can make your hovercraft succeesfully.
If you have any question during the DIY process, feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org (or email@example.com)
We will send back the reply as soon as possible.
Step 1: Prepare the Bowls and the Films
Cut the bowls to build up the body of the hovercraft. (See figure 1)
- Place the bowl upside down. Draw a circle (diameter=13.0 cm) at the bottom of the bowl with a compass.
- Cut the circle off along the line with a knife.
- Prepare another two well-cut bowls.
Drill holes onto the plastic film. (See figure 2)
- The holes help the air to flow at a stable speed beneath the hovercraft.
- Find 3 pieces of the plastic film, whose areas are larger than the bowls’ rims.
- Overlap the film and use the electric drill to drill holes onto the film.
- The holes are symmetrical with respect to the center of the film.
- Cover a piece of the film onto the larger opening of each bowl.
- Use the tape to stick the excess film onto the body of bowls.
Warning! Be careful with the knife and the electric drill. Children who are younger than 10 years old should be under guidance.
Step 2: Design the Circular Platform
Design a circular platform with the software: Auto CAD. You can refer to our design in the figure.
(The unit is mm.)
- Produce 3 circular platforms with the laser cutting machine.
- You need to drill:
3 pieces of fan-shaped board off each circular platform.
3 small holes (radius=2 mm) surrounding the center of each platform.
Step 3: The Carbon-rod Structure
Construct the carbon-rod structure. The structure helps to connect the 3 bowls.
- Use the saw to cut 3 carbon rods with the length of 15 cm. Cut another 2 rods with the length of 8.7 cm and a rod with the length of 13 cm.
- Polish the 3 longer rods. Make the ends of each rod become oblique planes.
- Use the tape and the model glue to connect the 3 longer rods as a triangle. Add the rest 3 shorter rods to the triangle as the angular bisectors, and fix them with the tape and the glue.
Warning: Be careful when you use a knife or other sharp tools to polish the ends of the carbon rods.
Step 4: Lifting System
It’s time to fix the bowls, the circular platforms and the carbon-rod structure together. And install the motors onto your hovercraft.
Tips: To connect the components together is not difficult. However, you need to focus on the details in our instructions with patience.
- Use the tape to fix the motors onto the platform. Make the structure solid and stable. (See figure 1)
- Install one propeller onto each motor. (Figure 2)
- Use the model glue to fix the circular platforms onto the bowls. (Figure 3)
Warning: Some powerful glues are harmful to people. Make sure you follow the instructions of the glues.
- Connect the bowls and the platforms to the carbon-rod structure. Use the glue to stick them together. (Figure 4)
And we present the overview of our hovercraft's lifting system here. (Figure 5) Hope it can help you gain the general idea during the installation.
Step 5: Test the Lifting System
- Connect the motors and battery with the wires.
- Power one motor and you can feel the air flow when your hands are next to the rim of the bowl.
(Otherwise, exchange the wires to connect the different poles of the battery and test again.)
Tips: If this motor works well, the air flow will lift up the bowl.
- Test the other 2 motors and the propellers.
Step 6: Make the Motor Bracket
To provide the propulsive force to the hovercraft, we start to design the motor bracket to hold the propulsive system.
- Design the components of the motor bracket with Auto CAD.
- Use the laser cutting machine to cut out the components from the plastic board. Connect the components with the model glue.
Tips: Connect the components with patience because the components are fragile.
Again, the unit in the graphic is mm.
Step 7: Propulsive System
Fix the propulsive motor onto the motor bracket.
- Use the electric drill to drill a large hole on the axis of the motor. Drill 3 small holes for nails on the back of the motor bracket at appropriate positions. (See figure 1)
- Connect the propulsive motor to the motor bracket with the nails. Drill another big hole on the back of the motor bracket below the motor. (Figure 2,3,4)
- Connect the motor to the battery with the wires. Thread the wires of the motors through the big hole.
- Use the electric drill to make the hole in the center of the propeller bigger. Fix the propeller onto the motor.
- Test the motor. If the propeller spins without obstruction, stop the testing process and use the nails to fix the whole bracket onto the bowls.
Step 8: The Arduino UNO Board
- Install the software “Arduino 1.0.5-r2” on your computer. Connect your Arduino UNO board to your computer with the USB cable. Operate the software on your computer. (If there is any question, please refer to “the instruction on the Arduino 1.0.5-r2” in the appendix.)
- Connect the Arduino UNO board with the motors and the electric motor controller. (Figure 1)
- Use the codes to run the Arduino Board (the codes are attached to the appendix). If you upload the codes to the board, you can control the hovercraft with your computer by pressing the keyboard. (Figure 2)
- Run the motors and check if there is any problem with the board.
Step 9: Connect and Drive the Hovercraft
- If everything goes well, place the board onto the carbon-rod structure. Use the Velcro to stick the wires together to minimize the space occupied.
- Fix the battery under the carbon-rod structure and place the wires onto the hovercraft.
- Power the hovercraft and play with it! It’s finished!
Tips: In the end, you can draw the icons onto your hovercraft. Use one more bowl to cover the Arduino board and wires, if you think it’s messy to expose the components outside.