Introduction: Build a Hover Craft in Less Than an Hour!

This Instructable will show you how to build a hovor craft using any leaf blower (gas or electric) or shop vacuum. I built this with my kids in less than an hour using scrap wood and hardware I had on hand. My kids and I built this after creating small balloon hover crafts for their science fair. I wanted to show them the real thing...or I had always wanted to do this once my father-in-law gave us a leaf blower;) Thanks Joe!

Step 1: Gather the Materials

For this project you'll need the following:

  • Leaf blower: Any leaf blower will work, electric or gas. The exhaust on a shop-vac would probably work as well. But I used a Toro Leaf Blower like this: If you, use a Toro leaf blower you can use 3D print the adapter I designed and it will work great for you.

  • 3/4" plywood 34" x 34"
  • 3/4" plywood 34" x 34" cut into a pictire frame with a frame width of 3".
  • 3/4" plywood 5" x 5"
  • 1.25" screws (wood or drywall screws will be great)
  • Lots of hot-glue (or hot-melt whatever you call it) and a glue gun.
  • Small steel plate about 5" x 5"
  • Small tarp or shower curtain.
  • Staple gun
  • A 12 year old kid that you'll have to pry away from Fortnite for an hour (can be seen in the picture)

Step 2: Mount the Leaf Blower

  • If you're using the 3D printed leaf blower adapter that I'm providing with this write-up, trace in the inside with a marker at a location about 8" from the edge. Don't mount it in the center. Then cut out the marked location, I used a jigsaw and it took about 30 seconds.
  • If you don't have a 3D printer or are using a different leaf blower you can probably just use a ton of hot-glue to attache the leaf blower output to the plywood.

Step 3: Support the Handle of the Leaf Blower

  • I used a 2x4 to support the handle of the leaf blower.
  • I used 3" wood screws to screw through the plywood underneath and up into the 2x4.
  • I then Drilled a hole through the 2x4 and used several zip-ties to strap the handle of the leaf blower to the 2x4.
  • Once supported, use a liberal amount of hot-glue to seal around the leaf blower exhaust and the adapter part.
  • People who have worked beside me know that I'm a huge fan of:
    • Hot-glue
    • Zip ties
    • JB Weld
    • Buffalo Chicken wraps...because they're amazing!

Step 4: Attach the Skirt

  • Flip the plywood and leaf blower over so the underside is revealed to mount the tarp/plastic skirt.
  • Procure a thin piece of metal which can be the bottom of a coffee can or other scrap steel.
  • Drill 4-8 holes in the metal so a wood screw can fit through but the head of the screw can't. For typical screws, a 3/16" screw would be perfect.
  • Place the tarp over the plywood and center it the best you can.
  • Place the steel plate over the center of the board and screw through the metal plate, through the tarp and into the plywood platform.
  • Use the 5" x 5" piece of plywood and place that on the top side of the plywood so that when the screws break through the plywood, they go into the small plywood part so no screws are exposed.

Step 5: Cut Out the Skirt

  • Trace a line all the way around the plywood about 8" from the edge.
  • Cut out the tarp so it's 8" oversized around all the edges.
  • Note: The top plywood picture frame isn't attached right now, it's just sitting there in the picture.
  • Also Note: The 12 year old looks to be focused on this project, but if you stare at the picture for a while, you'll actually see his Fortnite day dreams appear.

Step 6: Clamping the Skirt

  • Draw a line around the top of the plywood, 3 inches in from the edge.
  • Fold over the tarp and use the staple gun to staple the skirt down at this line. This will make the skirt extra baggy since we cut it at a 8" distance but only fold it in at 3". the difference between these measurements will give us 3-4" of height once we turn on the hover craft.
  • Once the skirt is stapled all the way around, place the picture-frame plywood over the edge and using 20 or more 1.25" screws, screw down the picture frame to clamp the skirt tightly. This clamping will ensure a good air seal.

Step 7: Cut the Vent Holes

  • Flip over the hover craft and cut six, 2" diameter vent holes in the tarp around the steel plate.
  • The vent holes are how the air escapes from the skirt and ensures the air escapes in a way that keeps the craft hovering uniformly.

Step 8: Try It Out!

  • IMPORTANT!!! If you are using a leaf blower, make sure any plastic guards that are intended to protect people from contacting the impeller are in place! Don't test it out with any part of the impeller exposed!
  • Plug in the leaf blower, turn it on and try it out!
  • Have fun! Experiment! Try it on different surfaces!
  • Note: The 12 year old is missing from the experimental pictures....he was back playing Fortnite.

Step 9: Show It to Your Wife

  • You'll be super impressed with the ease and success of this project. You'll want to immediately show your wife, so she can reply with the same "This!?!....This is how you spent your night!?" enthusiasm I got from my wife.
  • I turned to my 12 year old (Aidan) and said "what do you think? Was this a waste of time and money?" Aidan said "No, because me, Kaleb and Camden will always remember this".
  • You know what my kids won't remember? Me doing dishes, laundry and cleaning the house...which is what my wife spent her evening doing!...please don't show this to Lissa...please

Make it Move Contest

Runner Up in the
Make it Move Contest