What is a hovercraft?
A hovercraft is a vehicle that can travel across land and water. It floats above the land or water on a cushion of air. The friction between the surface and the vehicle will become very slight. A hovercraft can move faster than an ordinary craft with the same power. Hovercrafts are widely applied in commerce, military, recreation and many other fields.
Materials you need
- Plastic foam (for hull, 40 * 40cm)
- Plastic bags (for skirt, 30 * 40cm)
- Wood boards (2 mm thick)
- Electrical (Insulating) tapes
- Hot melt glue and hot melt glue guns
- Screws and nuts
- DuPont Lines (Wires)
- Radiator fan x 1 (12V,1.5A)
- Electronic speed controller x 2 (ESC, 30A is enough!)
- Brushless motor x 2 (XXD KV1000)
- Propeller x 2 (diameter: 6.4cm)
- Servo x 1 (9g)
- Arduino UNO board x 1
- DC power socket for Arduino x 1
- Battery x 1 (2200mAh, Li-Po battery)
- PS2 wireless joystick & Receiver x 1
We purchased those materials on Taobao.com. You can purchase similar ones on ebay.com.
Tools you need
- Craft knife
- Electro drill
- Preparation: 2 weeks
- Installation: 2 hours
- Testing and debugging: 3 hours
Recommended age: 13 years old and above
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Step 1: Shape the Plastic Foam & Attach the Skirt
- Cut out a piece of 40 * 40cm plastic foam into the shape of a 20 *30 cm rectangular.
- Cut the front of the rectangular into a semicircle of radius 10cm.
- Cut out a circular hole of diameter 9cm at the center of the board.
- Cut two pieces of 2 *18 cm plastic foam and one piece of 2 *16 cm plastic foam.
- Stick the three pieces of plastic foam onto the edge of the hull.
- Cover the whole bottom of the hull with the plastic bag and cut a 16 *16cm square along the three pieces of plastic foam.
Step 2: Fix the Radiator Fan
- Fix the radiator fan against the hole.
- Use screws and nuts to fix the fan to the hull.
Step 3: Fix the Motors & Propellers
- Cut out two pieces of wood of 4cm wide and 7.5cm long.
- Drill holes on the wooden board to fit the cross-shape metal.
- Fix the brushless motors on the wood boards with screws and nuts.
- Fix the propellers on the motors.
- Cut two 4cm * 3cm *2cm pieces of plastic foam and stick them onto the bottom of wooden boards
- Use the hot melt glue to fix the wooden boards on the hull.
Step 4: Attach the ESCs to the Motors
- Attach the red wire on the motor to the VCC (positive) slot on the ESC.
- Attach the black wire on the motor to the GND (ground) slot on the ESC.
- Attach the yellow wire on the motor to the SGN (signal) slot on the ESC.
Step 5: Attach the Adapters
- Prepare a T-shaped interface adapter, a DC power interface adapter and two DuPont lines.
- Make your own adapter for the radiator fan and Arduino UNO
- Cut one end of the T-shaped interface adapter off.
- Attach both the DC power interface and the two DuPont lines to that end (in parallel connection).
- Bind all the connections with the electrical tapes.
Step 6: Install the Receiver of PS2 Joystick
- Use the electrical tapes to stick the receiver on one side of the radiator fan as shown in the picture.
Step 7: Install the Arduino Boards
- Upload the program to the Arduino.
- Connect the receiver and Arduino according to the instruction in the picture.
- Connect the white pins on the ESCs to one of the digital pins (we used #3 and #5) on the Arduino; connect the black pins on the ESCs to one of the GND pins on the Arduino.
- Plug the DC power adapter into the Arduino.
Step 8: Install the Servo
- Fix the servo in the middle of the two fans with hot melt glue.
- Connect the red wire to the 5V pin on the Arduino; connect the black wire to the GND pin on the Arduino; connect the orange wire to one of the digital pins on the Arduino.
Step 9: Install the Battery
- Fix the battery in the front of the radiator fan with electric tapes.
- Place the Arduino board on the battery. Bind them together with electric tapes.
- Attach the battery to the T-shaped interface adapter. The hovercraft will float up. Control the hovercraft with the PS2 joystick.
- Drive (or say, fly) at will!
Step 10: Problems & Solutions
- The hovercraft fails to float:
- Check the skirt to see if it’s broken.
- Make sure the total mass of the hovercraft is less than 800g.
- Move the battery around on the hull. Try to balance the weight. Just place the battery where the hovercraft stops rotating.
- Make sure no other PS2 controllers around are interfering your signal.