Instructables

Very Fast RC Hovercraft

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Picture of Very Fast RC Hovercraft
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After walking into my workshop and seeing the spare RC plane parts i knew i had to use them for something. I wanted to be able to use it in my yard, but my yard is very small which excluded a plane. I then thought about a Hovercraft!! I knew that it would only need one EDF because of the ample amount of power one can give out. So i decided to start with a smaller scale model to prove my concept. On the small scale Hovercraft i used a 64mm EDF and it worked perfect! So i decided to build the bigger and faster 75mm EDF with a 4cell 3000mah LIPO battery. That same EDF had previously powered an RC jet that hit speeds of 60 - 70 mph!!

The hovercraft is very agile, fast, and can turn on a dime. It's Possibly one of the fastest RC hovercrafts on Instructables

This Instructable will be more of a guideline to how i built my hovercraft and will hopefully be an inspiration to others to build one of their own.



 
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Step 1: Parts

I used 

Electronics:
70mm EDF 
60amp ESC 
1x 9gram servo 
4cell 3000mah LIPO Battery 
Deans extension
Turnigy 9x  TX/RX

Materials:
Dollar Tree foam board
Clear Packing tape
Heavy duty black garbage bag
Rubber Foam with sticky side
Bamboo skewers 
Paint (optional)

Tools:
Hot glue gun with glue
Hobby knife
ruler 

Step 2: The Base and Mounting the EDF

Picture of The Base and Mounting the EDF
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The base is probably the easiest part in the build of the hovercraft. I decided i did not want a rounded front end so i went with a sharp cut nose. I also painted the base before putting the skirt on to prevent getting paint on the skirt. 

The entire body of the Hovercraft is constructed of Dollar Tree foamboard

Motor is a 70mm EDF used on RC jets
60amp ESC also used on RC planes
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lpatrowicz8 months ago
Would this design be able to carry any weight?

try using two fans if it weights more

ScratchBuiltAircraft (author)  lpatrowicz8 months ago
Probably not, the single motor set up does not provide much lift.
can it hover over water??

No, the foam board would crumble if it got wet.

quincy trott5 months ago

are you using one fan for thrust and lift of two?

It uses a single motor for lift and thrust, the pictures above show the vent that splits it.

can it hover over water??
Moon-Wolf9 months ago
would normal AA or AAA or 9v battery be adequate enough?
ScratchBuiltAircraft (author)  Moon-Wolf8 months ago
In my opinion no. The battery i used was 14.8 volts (4 cell lipo) I had earlier tried an 11.1 volt (3 cell lipo) but i wasn't getting enough power. The motor and esc were both capable of the 14.1 volt battery so i used that instead and it worked great. Overall, i would not suggest AA or AAA battery's because they don't last long, are not efficient, do not give out a steady voltage, wont give out enough power, and are just expensive.
ASCAS10 months ago
I love your RC projects! This is my favorite of all the remote controlled ibles.
You might want to consider reconstructing your hover craft. Perhaps rebalance the skirt's hole and add a separate motor for the lift.

My friend taught me that cutting the skirt's hole should be done last, right after installing the parts, so I could find the center weight of the craft. But all in all your craft is superb! Good job, keep it up! Cheers! :D
ScratchBuiltAircraft (author)  ASCAS10 months ago
Thanks well appreciated!!
Can you put a link on each of the electronics?
Mageguru10 months ago
There are 2 factors at play that are causing the hovercraft to flip.

1) Since it is a single fan design the air being sent into the skirt increases at the same rate as the acceleration, which is causing instability cause its producing to much lift and high speed.

2) At high speed there is also lift also occurring from the outside air velocity getting under the front of the hovercraft, because of the amount of surface areat is rather large and the weight it doesn't take much to flip it. This is the reason Formula 1 cars have airfoils on the nose to produce downward force, so the car doesn't lift and flip over.

The best solution is to go with a 2nd fan that is dedicated to the lifting body, that at this scale can stay constant and gives it the same under body lift, regardless of forward acceleration.

Or you can get really technical and make a louver that adjusts the air flow into the under body, so as it accelerates the louver closes allowing less air into under body. The hard part would be to figure out how much the louver should close vs. the increase in air flow from acceleration.
The Ideanator10 months ago
Perhaps add some sort of adjustable airfoil to reduce the flips and possibly go faster. Sweet design, btw, looks like a good land rocket.
nmvb10 months ago
Looks awesome! Do you have to replace the garbage bag frequently though? it looks as if it scrapes on the ground.
ScratchBuiltAircraft (author)  nmvb10 months ago
Yea i will eventually there are small holes forming on the bag. If i were on a smooth surface like a gym floor there would be no problem, but its a street with a lot of rocks so its bound to happen. Thanks!
Check with your local billboard advertising company and ask for a small billboard vinyl.

3 ply polyester with a nylon mesh between the poly so it's pretty tough.

Won't stretch, won't rip if it gets a hole poked in it.

Sometimes they charge, but for a hobbyist, they will probably donate one for the cause.
Nice, but I prefer to use old tent floors. heavier duty than garbage bags, yet sturdy enough to endure running over pavement and gravel. nice plan tho!
I helped my son with a science fair project and we used a heavy duty plastic sheet for his hovercraft skirt. and we built it big enough for him to sit on and used a leaf blower to raise the craft. fun stuff!
karlpinturr10 months ago
Nice idea - if rather noisy.. ;)

I think, though, that the single motor set-up is, physically, too small - or, rather, that the hovercraft itself has too much surface area for the single motor to counter - which is why it flips so easily. Twin motors would help, because you'd effectively have almost the whole width of your craft acting as a pivot-point, rather than just the width of the single motor. And if you duct each motor as you've already ducted the one, you'll have more lift-power available, as well as even more speed...

You might, also, want to consider moving the battery pack(s) forward very slightly, so the hovercraft is a little nose-heavy, to lessen the chance of wind/air getting underneath (probably wouldn't help much - if at all - on sideways stuff, though).

Now, I'm in the UK - is Dollar Tree just your local 'dollar store' (our equivalent is a 'pound shop'), or is it a more specific store? I've never seen foam board in any of our pound shops (which doesn't necessarily mean a thing, since some have stuiff others don't, etc.), and was wondering if Dollar Tree is more specialised?
All craft stores and shops carry the foam board.

Michaels and Hobby Lobby carry it here, as well as walmart, kmart, home depot had it once, as does Lowes.

Also, since we are on the subject.

DAP contac cement in the Green Labeled (water based) can does not eat the foam. The red label will leave with an unhappy face in less than 3 seconds.
ScratchBuiltAircraft (author)  karlpinturr10 months ago
The foam board i believe can be bought at various Dollar stores in general.( not just a specific one) The most i can help with that is the suppliers name is "Adams" Now on the battery placement i was actually using counter weights in the back so it wasn't so nose heavy. Without out the counter weight it would drag the nose on the ground the whole time.
Thanks for the comment!
I live in Mexico, and foam board, of varyng thickmess, can only be found in art supply stores. It's not all that expensive though. Our equivalent of "Dollar Tree " is the 4 Peso store, but that's equivalent to only about $0.30 US
Hmm - maybe our pound shops don't do foam board or (more likely) I've just not noticed it... Not to worry, since I just needed the clarification, thanks.

A few more adjustments on the counter-weights would probably be better at this stage of completeness - maybe a few of the smallest you can get on the nose..? Sounds counter-intuitive to make the thing heavier, I know, but the video does suggest your hovercraft is too light for the motor you've got there.

{I must point out that I'm by no means an expert - in fact, in practical experience terms, I'm barely even a novice - I'm basing all my 'nose-dip' advice on memories of the little RC hovercrafting I did 30-odd years ago, so you may have to take what I've said with a barrow-full of salt.}
Dollar tree is nothing special, it's just a regular 'pound shop.' We can also find foam board in school supply, arts supply, and occasional general stores (CVS, walgreens) have them. But it's definitively location specific, I don't see foam board in every dollar store.
I suspected as much, thanks!
np! :)
sitearm10 months ago
@ScratchBuiltAircraft; Hi! Your video won me over and I have tweeted it. Best Regards! : ) Site
Ralphxyz10 months ago
Have you tried it on water?
What about on your lawn?
Thank you for the inspiration.
ScratchBuiltAircraft (author)  Ralphxyz10 months ago
I know it wont work on water because the weight of the craft (probably sinks) On grass its also too heavy. My main purpose for it was for speed on a smooth surface!
icekid10 months ago
Clever! Try to add a rotary blade lift motor.
icekid icekid10 months ago
You got my vote!
banditboy25010 months ago
That's awesome!
Bill CNC10 months ago
Try balancing it. Your to nose heavy.
ScratchBuiltAircraft (author)  Bill CNC10 months ago
I made it nose heavy for the video so i could go faster without the craft flipping.
Ty Mashaw10 months ago
I really want to try this. Great instructable!
devangs310 months ago
Your design is just great, I wish I could get EDF bit cheap in India
bremus10 months ago
Nice, you built a plan without wings. That thing wants to take off.
Goodwin710 months ago
That's great! Would you advice doing a dual motor (L & R).
ScratchBuiltAircraft (author)  Goodwin710 months ago
After building the Hovercraft and driving it around for awhile. I did notice that a lift motor would help but, the way it is off of 1 motor is still a blast to drive around! Thanks for the comment!!
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