How to Build a CD Hovercraft

Introduction: How to Build a CD Hovercraft

Ever wanted to do a really cool science experiment that is cheap and fun? Well now you can! Building a CD hovercraft is an easy and cheap way to learn and explore about friction and air interactions. The experiment is free if you have a ballon and a CD rom and takes about 5 minutes to prepare and conduct.

Supplies you will need:

-Water bottle

-Push Point 


The push point pin is sharp so when handling it be sure not to injure yourself.

Experience Level Needed:

Although this is a science based experiment, no science knowledge is required. Anyone is able to conduct the experiment. It is a great experiment for kids as long as an adult is present. Ages advised are 8 and over.

Helpful video showing experiment:

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Step 1: Using a Pushpin to Make Holes in Water Bottle Top

The first step involves using a push pin to make holes in the water bottle top. To do this take your push pin and poke 3 small holes in the water bottle cap. Use enough force to make sure that all three holes went through the water bottle cap.Make sure that the holes are equidistant around the cap.

 Be careful when make the holes to not injure yourself from the push pin which has a sharp tip.

Step 2: Using a Glue to Put the Bottle Cap on the CD

After the 3 holes have been made in the bottle top, use strong glue (or if available a glue gun) coat the inside of the bottle cap with glue and then quickly place the bottle cap over the center of the CD.

Step 3: Make Sure Glue Is Dry

Make sure that the glue is dry. Depending on the type of glue used this could take up to 5 minutes. Make sure that the bottle cap is in place tightly and that it is secure on the CD. If it is not secure then add more glue and wait 5 minutes. Make sure to not add too much glue because the extra glue adds weight that can negatively affect the experiment.

If done correctly the side of the bottle cap with the holes in it should be face up and the glue part of the bottle cap should be on the CD so that none hole of the CD is able to be seen.

After the step is complete the appartus should look like the picture.

Step 4: Placing the Ballon on the Bottle Cap

Find a smooth, clean surface to conduct this step on.

Inflate the ballon to its maximum capacity. Next, quickly strech the opening of your ballon over the closed bottle cap.It is very important that the bottle cap is closed or all of the air will leave through the bottle cap. The step should also be done quickly so that no air is allowed to leave the ballon before it is placed over the closed bottle cap.

Step 5: Hovering

This is the funniest part of the experiment! The last steps have been preparing the apparatus and now the apparatus is complete and the hovering can begin.

Make sure this step is also on a large, smooth surface such as a wood floor or countertop.

Open the bottle cap and allow the ballon to hover, allowing air to be let out of the ballon. If done correctly, the ballon and CD shpuld hover like a hovercraft for about 30 seconds.

Step 6: Trouble Shooting

Trouble Shooting

If your ballon didn't hover, dont worry! Here are some things that might have gone wrong.

-Your ballon must be completely inflated in order for the experiment to work.
-The bottle cap must be closed when you are putting the ballon on, and open when you wish to hover.
-The glue must be completly dried before adding the ballon.
-If the bottle cap won't stay in place on the CD, try stronger glue or a hot glue gun.
-The experiment must be conducted on a flat, smooth surface.
-A large enough ballon must be used so that enough air is able to move the CD. Dont use a small ballon.

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    3 Discussions


    4 years ago

    It occurs to me that it would be far easier to just place the uninflated balloon over the bottle cap and then blow up the balloon through the open bottle cap opening, closing the cap when full.