Introduction: Very Fast RC Hovercraft

Picture of Very Fast RC Hovercraft

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.

Step 1: Parts

I used 

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

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

Hot glue gun with glue
Hobby knife

Step 2: The Base and Mounting the EDF

Picture of The Base and Mounting the EDF

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

Step 3: The Skirt and Air Splitting Duct (directs Air Into Skirt)

Picture of The Skirt and Air Splitting Duct (directs Air Into Skirt)

The Skirt is constructed of a heavy duty garbage bag. Circular holes were cut in the center to release the air from the skirt. The bag was glued to the upper side of the base and the taped down to make it air tight. A small hole was made in the center of the bag. A small circle of foam was then glued to the foam board holding the center of the bag up creating an air pocket when the skirt in inflated.

The air splitting duct is a rectangular hole in the base behind the EDF with a flap sticking up to direct air into the skirt.

Step 4: Rudders and Servo

Picture of Rudders and Servo

The rudders are small control surfaces behind the EDF to direct air which then turns the aircraft. 

I used a 9 gram servo to control the rudders which were connected to move when the servo moved 

Step 5: Skirt Cover and Bumper

Picture of Skirt Cover and Bumper

Using Dollar Tree foam board i constructed a piece to cover the skirt to make the Hovercraft neater. Using Rubber foam with a sticky side i lined the edge of the Hovercraft to make a bumper to protect the body.

Step 6: Capsule and Electronics

Picture of Capsule and Electronics

Again using foam board i constructed a capsule to conceal the electronics.

I then made a holder for the battery in the body. (Balance the Hovercraft before placing the battery holder)

To balance the Hovercraft start the motor up enough to float the body off the ground. If the nose is pointed down move the battery back. If the nose is pointed up move the battery forward.

I then hinged the capsule to  body 

Connect all the electronics and align the rudder if needed

Step 7: Done!

Picture of Done!

Now go out and have fun with your hovercraft! Hoped this helped/ inspired anyone making a hovercraft!!


Kai Rosa (author)2016-09-17

i will give you 20 $ for it (seriosly)

ChandlerL (author)2015-12-09

Would a 30amp ESC work.

ChandlerL (author)2015-12-07

How much was the 60amp ESC that you used

zowzow (author)2015-08-13

Can this be used on water?

tarry2323 (author)2015-04-23

Looks amazing, I have some questions though.

1. Where and How can i mount a second fan so I can have the one you have for speed, and the second for lift only?

2. What would you recommend for a lift fan? I was thinking about some cheaper motors I have around my shop, but what specs do you think would work?

3. When I install the lift fan, is there anything you think I should alter BEFORE trying it out? (aka weights and such)

4. When I mount a second fan, should i hook up a second set of electronics for it, and if so, do you have any recommendation of where and how I should set that up?

5. I have almost everything you require here except for Dollar Tree Foam board. I have plenty of foam though. What is the width of the board you use and what are the measurements in square you recommend? (aka 2feet x 2feet, etc etc. I would like to have a bit extra on the same board so I can make replacement parts if needed.)

Thanks for the amazing instructable!

sid6602 (author)2015-03-07

How do you use a servo

MayankP3 (author)2014-12-18

Hi firstly A lot of thanks for this valuable post. Sir I am from India (Hazaribagh , Jharkhand) I read you post found it the most interesting topic for science fair but I facing a lot of problem in buying materials required for it could you please tell from where can I buy these all. Thanks in advance for helping .Waiting for yoiur reply.

remzak (author)MayankP32015-01-12

bw712 (author)2014-12-23

Can you yous any economic remote

remzak (author)bw7122015-01-12

You want a 2.4ghz RC transmitter and reciever.

bw712 (author)2014-12-23

Can you yous blue tooth on it .

jeanette.warth (author)2014-08-08

Hi Could you tell me the steps for the electrics and what I need to buy? The descriptions don't make much sense to me. I need to help my son make one for a school project. Thanks

sypher (author)2014-07-31

can I get the part numbers for the electrical?

lpatrowicz (author)2013-11-03

Would this design be able to carry any weight?

fhopkins1 (author)lpatrowicz2014-06-29

try using two fans if it weights more

Probably not, the single motor set up does not provide much lift.

jamessebastian (author)2013-12-26

can it hover over water??

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

quincy trott (author)2014-02-14

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.

jamessebastian (author)2013-12-26

can it hover over water??

Moon-Wolf (author)2013-10-17

would normal AA or AAA or 9v battery be adequate enough?

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.

ASCAS (author)2013-09-07

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

Thanks well appreciated!!

Robotic_not_so_genius (author)2013-09-07

Can you put a link on each of the electronics?

Mageguru (author)2013-09-04

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 Ideanator (author)2013-09-04

Perhaps add some sort of adjustable airfoil to reduce the flips and possibly go faster. Sweet design, btw, looks like a good land rocket.

nmvb (author)2013-09-02

Looks awesome! Do you have to replace the garbage bag frequently though? it looks as if it scrapes on the ground.

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.

woodworx (author)GrumpyOldGoat2013-09-04

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!

karlpinturr (author)2013-09-01

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.

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.}

Kinnishian (author)karlpinturr2013-09-01

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.

karlpinturr (author)Kinnishian2013-09-01

I suspected as much, thanks!

Kinnishian (author)karlpinturr2013-09-01

np! :)

sitearm (author)2013-09-02

@ScratchBuiltAircraft; Hi! Your video won me over and I have tweeted it. Best Regards! : ) Site

Ralphxyz (author)2013-09-02

Have you tried it on water?
What about on your lawn?
Thank you for the inspiration.

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!

icekid (author)2013-09-02

Clever! Try to add a rotary blade lift motor.

icekid (author)icekid2013-09-02

You got my vote!

banditboy250 (author)2013-09-01

That's awesome!

Bill CNC (author)2013-09-01

Try balancing it. Your to nose heavy.

I made it nose heavy for the video so i could go faster without the craft flipping.

Ty Mashaw (author)2013-09-01

I really want to try this. Great instructable!

devangs3 (author)2013-09-01

Your design is just great, I wish I could get EDF bit cheap in India

About This Instructable




Bio: Just an average teenager passionate in the field of RC planes and quads! Along with the creation of the projects, presentation is my second hobby ... More »
More by ScratchBuiltAircraft:DIY $45 FPV Goggles for RC Quad Copters or PlanesVery Fast RC HovercraftScratch Built Mirage 2000 RC EDF Jet
Add instructable to: