DIY RC Hovercraft!




O. Introduction:

This guide shows you how to build a hovercraft model. You can drive it on smooth ground at different speeds with a remote controller. Constructing this hovercraft will cost you 800-1000 RMB.
Caution: Please read ‘Materials and Tools’ section before start, and make sure you can recognize the names of the parts.

I. Difficulty Level
To build this hovercraft you need basic programming and crafting skills (in Arduino).
< Caution: Teenagers under 14 must do this with an adult! >

II. Time Required:
The hovercraft will take you 12 to 15 hours.

III. Materials and Tools Needed:

< Caution: We sort the photos in the same order as they appear in the manual. And we have added the captions on each photo. Please click the picture, and you can find the caption at the left corner. >

1. Tools: (Figure 3.1.1)

  • Double-sided tapes*1
  • Super glue*2
  • Hot-melt glue gun*1
  • Cutter knife*1
  • Sand paper*1
  • AA Batteries*6 (1.5V)
  • Electric soldering iron*1

2. Materials:

  • Garbage Bags: 50cm*50cm or larger
  • Wood Sheet: 3mm thick (Figure 3.2.1)
  • Rigid Foam: 5cm thick (Figure 3.2.2)

3. Electronics:

  • Ducted Fans
    • Lifting Fan with Brush Motor *1: 5 flabellums, 50mm(Diameter), from the company GWS. (Figure 3.3.1)
    • Pushing Fans with Brushless Motor *2: 6 flabellums, 55mm(Diameter), from the company GWS. (Figure 3.3.2)
  • Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) :
    • For the Black Fan *1 (50A, ESKY) (Figure 3.3.3)
    • For the White Fans *2 (40A/3S(11.1V), HOBBYWINGSKYWALKER) (Figure 3.3.4)
  • Storage Battery (*1): 11.1 V, 2200 mA*h (Figure 3.3.5)
  • T plug wires (*1), 4 to 1: connect the electronic parts with the battery above. (Figure 3.3.6)
  • Dupont Wires: connect the electronic parts with the circuit board. (More than 20 pieces) (Figure 3.3.7)
  • Voltage Regulator Module *1: restrict the voltage in the circuit. (Figure 3.3.8)
  • Arduino UNO Board *1 (the controlling board): control the hovercraft. (Figure 3.3.9)
  • Radio Remote Controller: model FS-CT6B with six channels. (Figure 3.3.10)

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Build the Body of the Hovercraft

  • Make the body with rigid foam using a cutter knife (Figure 4.1.1).

*Cutting the foam in one direction feels easier.

  • Drill a hole on the body, with the diameter of 5.5cm.
  • Make two small bars with the rigid foam. Each bar is 4cm*1cm*1cm.
  • Stick the bars to the bottom face of the body. (Figure 4.1.2)

Step 2: Make the Base

  • Cut out the base from the wood sheet with a cutter knife, according to the Figure 4.2.1.
  • Dig holes on the board as in Figure 4.2.1.
< Caution: Please watch out the knife! >

* You will get a wind outlet board like Figure 4.2.2

  • Stick the board to the bars with super glue, as shown in Figure 4.2.3. Please cover the bars with tape before squeezing out the glue, because the super glue will corrode the foam.
< Caution: Don’t get super glue on your hands, or it won’t wash off. >

Step 3: Make the Skirt

  • Follow Figure 4.3.1 to 4.3.6. After each step, seal the orange region in figures with tape.
  • Figure 4.3.1 shows the exact size of the skirt. (Yellow lines are boundaries)

< Caution: When sealing, don’t tape the light grey side onto the black side! >

  • Put the body in the skirt. Tape the skirt and the wooden base. (Figure 4.3.7)
  • Glue the larger opening to the bottom face of the body. (Figure 4.3.9)

Step 4: Make the Holders for Fans

  • Cut a rectangle board (9cm*9cm*1.5cm) out of rigid foam by a cutter knife.
  • Drill a hole with the diameter of 5.5cm on this board.
  • Cut the board into halves.
  • Fix the two halves around the black fan with tape. (Figure 4.4.1)
  • Fix the holder into the round hole on the body. Keep black and red wires sticking out. (Figure 4.4.2)

< Caution: Please avoid squeezing the fan! >

  • Make two blocks (10cm*10cm*5cm) with rigid foam.
  • Dig a hole centered at each block with a radius of 3cm. (Figure 4.4.3)
  • Insert the white fan into the hole. Seal the gaps with hot melt glue at positions shown. (Figure 4.4.4)

< Caution: Please avoid squeezing the fan! >

Step 5: Programming

A. Install the Software

  • Download the software (Arduino IDE). (
  • Install Arduino and USB driver.
  • Connect the Arduino board to your computer with a USB cable. Please refer to Figure 4.5.1 and Figure 4.5.2 to judge whether it is connected.

B. Upload the code

  • Copy the code in appendix (see the attachment "Codes.docx") into the software.
  • Click “Upload”. (Figure 4.5.3)

< Caution: Reconnect the USB cable if uploading fails. >

Step 6: Connect the Wires

< Caution: Not following the steps in order can damage the circuit board and fans! >

  • Insert the round plug on the voltage regulator into the round jack on controlling board. (Figure 4.6.1)
  • Pick two Dupont wires (the white wire and the black one) with both male and female ends (See Step 1).
  • Attach the male end of the white wire to the jack labeled with ‘5V’ on the Arduino board (Figure 4.6.2- Red Circle), the female end to the second pin out of the three pins labeled with ‘BAT’ on the wireless receiver. (Figure 4.6.3- Red Circle)
  • Attach the male end of the black wire to the jack marked as ‘GND’ (Figure 4.6.2- Yellow Triangle). And insert the female end to the rightmost pin on the receiver (Figure 4.6.3- Yellow Triangle).
  • Select three Dupont Wires with both male and female ends (the blue, grey and purple wires).
  • Fix the female ends onto the pins (Figure 4.6.4); connect each of the males ends to each jack with the black wire on the three electronic speed controllers (see Pg.2). (Figure 4.6.5)
  • Get two Dupont lines (the green and blue wires) with both male and female ends;
  • Connect the male ends to the Arduino board. (Figure 4.6.6)
  • The female ends go to the pins closest to labels ‘CH1’ and ‘CH3’ on the wireless receiver. (Figure 4.6.7)
  • Take three Dupont Wires with only male ends. (The green, yellow and blue wires)
  • Attach one end of each three wires to the Arduino board. (Figure 4.6.8)
  • Insert the other ends to each jack with white wire on three speed controllers. (Figure 4.6.9)
  • Connect the white fans with the larger speed controllers.(Figure 4.6.10)
  • Attach the T-shaped plugs as Figure 4.6.11. A continuous beep represents successful connection.
  • If you can't hear a beep, reattach the T-shaped plug. If the white fans blow wind forward, swap any two pairs in Figure 4.6.10.
  • Fix the wires with tape.

Step 7: Finish Your Hovercraft!

  • Control the hovercraft:·

    Turn up the switch in Figure 4.7.1 to speed up the hovercraft. If you turn the switch left or right, the hovercraft will go left or right.

  • Drive the hovercraft in a straight line in an open area:
    • Increase the value of “balanceAdjust” (Figure 4.7.2-24th line) if the hovercraft goes right.
    • Decrease the value of “balanceAdjust” (Figure 4.7.2-24th line) if the hovercraft goes left.
  • Control the hovercraft to turn left (right):
    • Increase the value of “k” (Figure 4.7.2-25th line) if the turning is too slow.
    • Decrease the value of “k” (Figure 4.7.2-25th line) if the turning is too fast.
  • Set “debugMode” as 0.
    • “balanceAdjust” ranges from -1 to 1.
    • “k” ranges from -1 to 1.
    • Get more simulating data by setting “debugMode” (4th line) as 1. (Figure 4.7.2)
  • Use hot-melt glue to adhere holders with white fans onto the rear of the body. (Figure 4.7.3)
  • Stick electronic speed controllers onto each side of the body with double-sided tape. (Figure 4.7.3)
  • And you get the RC hovercraft! Print your own logo! (Figure 4.7.4)

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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Can you please upload the codes again because the access to the code is forbidden.

    British Badger

    4 years ago

    hi I'm starting a hovercraft group to share experience and designs to make the best hovercraft s possible I was wondering if you were interested