Introduction: Vedfolnir Hovercraft!


Summer 2014 Introduction to Engineering Competition


We are...

With full support from the University of Michigan and Shanghai Jiao Tong university, the Joint Institute, located in Shanghai, China, encourages creative thinking. Here cooperation and competition coexist.

Our team, Vedfolnir, was founded in 2014 summer in the course VG100, introduction to Mechanical Engineering. Vedfolnir, our team name, originated in a European myth, represents goshawk overlooking the whole world on top of a tremendous tree. Our team aim to the achieve the basic functions of a design through simplest and most elegant way. In this instructable, we are going to teach you how to build a hovercraft step by step. The one built by us enjoyed a nice performance in the VG100 hovercraft competition.

In this competition...

  • Time trail: Cover the designed route within 3 minutes
  • Tournament: 2 teams compete their hovercraft for the faster one to cover a designed route


  • Volume for the hovercraft: No more than 30cm x 30cm x 30cm
  • Weight for the hovercraft: No more than 800 grams
  • Lifting height: Greater than 2 cm
  • Power supply: No more than 2 power supply, each less than 12 V
  • Motor specification: Less than 12 V
  • Central control circuit: Arduino Series
  • Remote control is required: infrared, bluetooth, etc.

Results of our team

Step 1: Concept Diagram

This is the concept diagram of our hovercraft.

Here's how it works. The lifting fan will help lift the hivercraft and the propeller will help the hovercraft move forward. The servo installed at the back of the hovercraft will help it turn its direction.

Step 2: Materials List and Critical Tools

For materials and critical tools, you need:

  1. Battery of 12V
  2. Wires
  3. Arduino Mega Board
  4. Voltage regulator module
  5. Servo
  6. Bluetooth Receiver
  7. Servo
  8. Acrylic Board
  9. Fan
  10. Propeller
  11. Plasic Bag
  12. Electric soldering iron
  13. Scissors
  14. Spanner
  15. Bolt driver
  16. Hot melt glue gun
  17. Packaging tapes
  18. Insulating tapes
  19. sellotape
  20. AAA battery
  21. PS2 wireless joypad
  22. Wireless Receiver
  23. Voltage display
  24. Screw, nylon column

Step 3: Circuit Diagram

This is our circuit diagram.

Step 4: Some Preparing Work

  • Cut the Acrylic board with laser.
    • You may search for shops providing laser cutting service or browse the website Taobao for ideal shops
  • Tailor the plastic bag with a scissors so that it will suit the size of your acrylic board.
  • Assemble the small piece of Arcrylic board with four nylon columns and screws.

Step 5: The Assembly Process

  1. Attach the voltage regulator
  2. Attach the Arduino board to the upper board
  3. Attach the servo to the reverse side of the upper board
  4. Fix the lifting fan on the upper board with hot melt glue.
  5. Install the prepared acrylic board to the upper board.
  6. Fix four nylon columns with screws onto the upperboard
  7. Prepare the wires. Attach the wires according to the designed circuit diagram.
  8. Attach the plastic bag to the hovercraft

Step 6: Programming: DIY Your Hovercraft With Your Own Function~

The hovercraft involves two parts of programming:

  • Arduino Board Programming
  • PS2 hand programming

Both can be achieved through Arduino Software. To install this, you can go Arduino website to download and install the software according to the instructions provided there.

As to the PS2 hand programming, in most cases, you will access the library files when you purchase the PS2 hand. You need to put the library files under the libraries of where your arduino software installed. Only after this process can you program the Arduino board with the Arduino Software.

Step 7: The Final System

This provide the front view, the left view, the overview, and the right view of the hovercraft.

Of course you can decorate your prototype with your own preference~

Step 8: Oh! That's Not the End...

If you have any questions, Please feel free to contact us at

Or you can follow us on Wechat at SakaiVedfolnir.

Of course we are willing to help!