Introduction: Fan Car
For my SIDE project in Ms. Berbawy's Principles of Engineering class, I decided to make a fan propelled car, which will create a whole new meaning to the words "radio controlled". A rotor in the back provides thrust as well as steering for the vehicle, making the car drift all over the floor. Steering is applied by angling the rear motor in order to achieve yaw in the back of the car.
This build was inspired by RC Hovercraft, so check out what they are all about!
In this tutorial I will walk my process of building my car. If you decide to build one, you can definitely add your own style and flair.
Hot wire Foam Cutter
3cm by 5cm Door Hinge
1/2 thick in Styrofoam Board
3/8 in Plywood
#8 - 32 x 5/8 in Machine Screws + Nuts
Thin Wooden Skewers
Fidget Spinner Bearings*
* You can use other products, these are just the ones I used.
Step 1: Base and Body
I cut a piece of plywood to make it 27 cm long and 12.5 cm wide for the base of the craft using a jigsaw. I cut away corners to round out the edges.
I then cut up the foam board with two trapezoids at 10 cm tall, 37 cm long at base 1, and 20 cm at base 2 using a hot wire foam cutters. These will be the sides. Using a ruler to line up the hot wire foam cutter helps make the cuts smoother.
I cut a trapezoid with an 8 cm top and a 15.5 cm bottom for the front at 10 cm tall.
I cut two 8x10x0.5 cm pieces for the top.
I cut two 28x3 cm pieces for the side skirts and a 16x3 cm piece for the front skirt.
I then hot glued the sides to the front and the skirts to the long side of the side pieces. Then, I hot glued the front skirt to the long side of the front piece.
I glued one side of the door hinge to the top and the other to the left side rear. Then, I hot glued the other top piece to finish the roof.
Finally, I hot glued magnets to the right side where the hinged roof meets the side. This is to keep the roof from flying open.
Make sure not to hot glue the body to the base yet, which I did after the electronics are assembled. This will make the build much easier.
Refer to the pictures if you are confused.
Step 2: Electronics
First, I attached the propeller to the motor shaft of the brushed motor. I then connected the servo motor cables to the motor. Yellow connects to yellow and green connects to blue. Next, I connected the servo to the receiver at THR and the steering servo to the receiver at STR. Make sure to check that all connections are secure and in the right direction. Finally, I connected the battery to the battery connection located on the servo.
I then tested all the electronics to make sure they worked. If yours don't, check to make sure all connections are correct. The receiver connectors are easy to connect the wrong way, so flip it if the connection does not work. I had some problems with this part because the plugs look very similar flipped around.
Step 3: Wheels
First, I attached one bearing to either end of a 9 cm skewer with hot glue. Then, again using hot glue, I connected four shorter 3 cm skewers 1 cm from the ends, creating a V shape. I made two of these, one for the front and one for the rear. I Attached the ends of the V to the base using hot glue at either end of the base. I had some problems with the skewers not properly connecting, but I fixed the problem by thoroughly sanding and cleaning off the surfaces, making sure all contact surfaces were flat and even.
Step 4: Attaching Electronics
At the back of the base, I hot glued the steering servo facing up, making sure the center of the motor is centered on the base. I zip tied the motor on the steering servo horn, facing rearwards. Then, I place the battery centered on the base, against the servo. I marked and drilled 4 holes to attach the zip ties. I then hot glued the ESC in front of the battery, leaving 0.5 cm of room between the battery and the ESC so as to not damage the cables. I then hot glued the receiver next to the ESC. Finally, I placed the start switch at the front.
Step 5: Attaching the Body
I first attached the base to the body using hot glue. I glued the base 4 cm from the end of the base. I used a generous amount of glue to make sure it was secure. There should be a gap between the wood base and the front of the foam body, which I made the access point to the start switch.
Step 6: Tuning Electronics
Next I checked to make sure all of the electronics were working. With the vehicle switched on, I checked to make sure when turning left, the servo rotates the motor clockwise and when turning right, the servo rotates counterclockwise. When applying throttle, I made sure the motor provided forward thrust. I trimmed the servo so that when no turning motion is applied, the servo is centered. I then trimmed the throttle so that when no throttle is applied, the motor does not rotate.
Finally, I limited the steering rate so that the servo rotates the motor no more than 30 degrees in either direction. I initially had a problem where the propeller was hitting the body, so make sure that when the propeller spins, it makes no contact with any part of the body and spins freely. If it does, correct it by reducing the turning angle of the servo. For me, 30 degrees was the rough angle to where it turns the vehicle, but does not allow the propeller to touch the body.
Step 7: Done
You have finished the Fan Car!
Thanks to Ms. Berbawy for helping with this project!