Introduction: Hovercraft Competition Group Hurricane

Who We Are
We are Team Hurricane from University of Michigan - Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute in Shanghai, China. We are participating in an engineering competition in summer 2014. The competition is a hovercraft race. We need to build a hovercraft and participate in the competition. The competition has two parts: the time trial and tournament. In the time trail, our hovercraft needs to complete a regular trail within the limited time. In the tournament, all the participators will be randomly divided to compete 1 on 1 in elimination matches.

Competition Rules

The competition is divided into two parts. The first part is the time trial. A hovercraft has to complete one round of the track. Each team can choose to time either their first trial, if they choose to try only once, or their second trial, if they choose to go twice. Any hovercraft that finishes the track in three minutes would get full marks, else it would get 90% of the full marks.

The second part is the tournament. Teams would compete with each other. Every hovercraft runs one lap of the outer round and one lap of the inner round, and the loser would directly be eliminated. If the hovercraft makes a shortcut, it would be moved out of the shortcut. Collision is not encouraged. If a hovercraft hit the other intentionally, the team might be disqualified.

Competition Regulations:

- Lifting Height > 2cm - Mass <= 800g - Size within 30cm * 30cm * 30cm

- Power Supply: Maximum 2 batteries, each with voltage <=12V

- Motor voltage < 12V

- Central Control Circuit: Adruino series (recommended, but can be omitted)

- Remote Control: Mandatory but in any form like BlueTooth, infrared, etc.

Our results:

Time Trial: 44s

Tournament Results: The 4th place in our section.

Video Link:

Step 1: Gathering Materials

Materials List: (Show a picture of the
materials and critical tools required)

Price Item

58 RMB($9.50 USD) Arduino Uno

100RMB($16.39 USD) Fan, Model, Series, Manufacturer

100RMB($16.39 USD) Battery, Voltage, Capacity, manufacturer

Number Item Price

1 Servo, sg90, 9g, TowerPro 9.9 RMB *2 (1.6*2 USD)

2 Foamed plastics (EPP), 60cm*90cm*3cm 6.0 RMB *3 (0.97*3 USD)

3 Arduino Uno 58 RMB*1 (9.28 USD)

4 Wires, T type, 14#, ACE 7 RMB *2 (1.12*2 USD)

5 Sony Playstation PS2 Joystick 55 RMB *1 (8.80 USD)

6 Culvert brushless motor, Black hurricane, kv4800, Guan Li 165 RMB *2 (27.92*2 USD)

7 Brushless ESC, AL-40, 40A, ZTW 37 RMB *2 (23.69 USD)

Step 2: Connecting the Circuit!

First, we have to connect the circuit. The hovercraft is controlled by the Adruino. The ducted fans are used for propelling and lifting the hovercraft respectively. The Wireless PS2 joystick is used to drive the hovercraft. Rudders are attached to the servos to control the direction of the hovercraft. We will program the Adruino so that every part works properly.

Step 3: Fabricating the Base

We will construct the base of the hovercraft by using foam board and foam glue. The foam base is 30cm long, 23 wide, and 6cm thick. It consists of 3 layers, each 2 cm thick. We drill a hole in the top layer so that the fan fits in the hole. Also, two indentations are drilled on the top layer to hold the servos. The way that the 3 layers stack together forms an air chamber in the middle that allows the flow of the air generated by the lifting fan. We taped a piece of plastic folder onto the bottom to reduce the drag between the the base and the ground.

Step 4: Making the Rack for the Ducted Fans

Next, we cut the 5cm thick foam board into a 13cm by 13cm square, and we drill a hole in the center so that the ducted fan fits in the hole. Then we stuck the fan into the hole and add glue to strengthen it. We cut parts of the edges of the square into round shape so that it fits the shape of the base better.

Step 5: Glue the Fans Onto the Base

We glue the lifting and propelling fans onto the base, as shown in the pictures.

Step 6: Fix the Rudder

We glue the rudder onto the servo and fix the servos in the indentations on the base.

Step 7: Putting on All the Electronics

Finally, we put all the electronics shown in Step 2 onto the hovercraft, taping all the dangling wires so that everything looks nice.