On Monday, 12/18/17, my 12 year old son and I built a homemade hovercraft. Now it’s just a prototype and we still have many kinks to work out, but when we plugged it in, it worked… so we consider that a win!
I do not claim any origin of this idea. He had to do a science project and the idea and plan came from this site:
The materials and tools used are listed below at the end of this post.
Here is what we built:
The original plans called for a 48″ circle. I wasn’t ready to try to figure out how to do that so we made an octagon from the 48″ square of plywood by cutting the 4 corners off making our plywood disc.
After the initial cut, we went back and rounded out the corners with a jigsaw.
Then we sanded all edges with a sanding block for a relatively smooth top and smooth corners. With the need to wrap the plastic around the board later on, smooth edges are important.
Following the original plan, the next step was to create the hole the leaf blower would go into. We chose which side would be the rear and measured half the distance from the center to that edge, which was 12″ off the side of our plywood disc.
Then we measured the end of the leaf blower opening and used a compass to outline the circle on the marked spot.
To create the hole, we first drilled a hole with the largest drill bit we had then cut the hole with a jigsaw.
With the board part completed, we moved onto the plastic base. The basic idea is for the plastic to extend 12″ beyond the plywood disc on each side.
We set the plywood disc top-side up on top of the plastic. For our project our plywood disc is 48″ across so we measured roughly 15″ off each side and trimmed the plastic to match the octagonal shape.
The original plan called for stapling the plastic to the top of the plywood disc. I felt like the tape would hold better if it was applied first then stapling it. So we began by folding and taping 4 of the edges up to the top of plywood disc leaving about 3″ around the edge. Then we went back and folded up the other 4 edges which were triangular shaped from the first 4 folds.
After taping all the seams of the plastic edges, we went back and put in staples roughly 3-4″ part on all places we taped.
Now we carefully flipped the plywood disc with the plastic attached upside down onto a work table. For this step we needed to find the approximate center of the plastic base AND the plywood disc. So we measured again to find the 24″ mark of the board along with the center of the plastic.
We cut a roughly 6″ circle from the center of a frisbee.
Using 4 1/4″ wood screws, we screwed the plastic circle through the plastic base into the bottom of the plywood disc.
NOTE: our plastic circle was too thin and the screws were going to penetrate the top of the plywood disc so we folded up some scraps from the 6 mil plastic roll to offset the thickness we needed.
Then we used a box knife to cut 6 air holes in the plastic base. Notice the pattern in the pic to the left. Each hole is roughly 2″.
Now it’s time to insert and attach the leaf blower. We used an electric leaf blower because that is what we had available to us. This makes mobility very limited because of the extension cord. We may come back and try it with a gas powered version if we can get our hands on one.
Our hole for the leaf blower nozzle in the plywood base was slightly too large so we had to use quite a bit of duct tape to seal it.
We also needed a small 2″x4″ block to help stabilize the leaf blower in the correct position. The end of the leaf blower needs to be nearly flush with the underside of the plywood base (the part inside the plastic.)
We inserted the leaf blower end so it would blow into the plastic base. Used the wooden block to stabilize it. Then used the duct tape to attach and seal it so no air could escape. We stapled around the duct tape for additional reinforcement because the tape kept coming loose.
We will continue to tweak and work on the project this week, but all in all, this was a fun way to spend time with my son. We had a good time working on this together. As you can see from the videos below, he was psyched that it actually worked.
- 48 square inch piece of 3/8″ plywood
- 1 foot larger than plywood on each side – 6mil roll of plastic
- 4 – 1/4″ #10 wood screws
- 1 plastic disc (I used an old frisbee and cut the center out)
- 6 mil heavy plastic
- Leaf blower (we used an electric one because that’s what we had handy)
- Safety goggles
- Measuring tape
- Yard stick
- Circular saw
- Sanding block
- Compass (for drawing circles not the directional device)
- Electric drill
- Box Knife
- Duct Tape (that will stick well to plywood)
- Staple Gun and staples
My family went out of town for Spring Break today so I thought I’d entertain myself by logging my day in SnapChat.
A friend asked me if I would be able to “clean up” some old pics for a family project she was working on. Since I enjoy a good digital challenge, I accepted. While not perfect nor professional, I was please with the results! Drag the line in the center of each pic to see before and after. (NOTE: This plugin may not work on mobile devices. I apologize!)