How to build a hovercraft from scratch
For many a hovercrafter, hover-dreaming of how to build a hovercraft turns real in the garage.
And I'm not talking about those tabletop toys with a CD for hover platform and a balloon as lift engine. The near standard when building a homemade hovercraft is the leafblower hovercraft or hoverboard. The leafblower packs enough (high-pressure-air) punch to lift a couple of kids (and even an adult, though probably not all at the same time).
All hovercrafts require the same basic components:
- Hover platform – The standard choice for garage and science fair projects is a half inch thick piece of plywood.
- Lift Engine – The trusty Leafblower is probably the way to go, though you might also do with a vacuum cleaner. The lift engine's job is to supply enough pressurized air beneath the hover platform (creating lift, hence the name).
- Skirt – The most unique feature of the hovercraft, the skirt traps the air blown downwards through the hover platform, creating the air cushion that lifts the craft to hovering capability. Your local hardware store should carry polyethylene sheeting or some kind of durable plastic wrapping material, which is attached to the platform with tape.
- Propulsion – If you plan to build your own hovercraft as a hoverboard, locomotion and steering is generally generated by the human rider with good old fashioned footwork (handlebars are also highly recommended, this isn't THAT future yet). For a more elegant approach, installing a propeller and rudders can work wonders
There are lots of variations on building a homemade hovercraft:
Hovercraft balloon projects - build a toy balloon hovercraft
Leafblower hovercraft projects - Detailed examples of DIY hovercraft projects
Advanced DIY hovercraft projects
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