What can some plywood, duct tape, plastic, a leaf blower, and a lawn chair get you? That’s easy: your very own hovercraft! Using only a couple key items, and lots of duct tape, Torben Ruddock from the Engineering.com video series “Some Assembly Required” builds his very own hovercraft and you can, too!
As Torben shows, making your very own hovercraft can be very simple: his requires very little in the way of tools and materials. First, using plywood as a firm base, Torben attached a plastic sheet (a shower curtain in this case) to the bottom of the craft using staples and duct tape. The plastic sheet serves as a skirt to contain the air; Torben punched holes near the center to release the high pressure air and create the cushion of air for the craft to float on.
Next, Torben mounted a brake onto the craft–this just needs to be a pole with a rubber end so that when you pull the brake handle it makes contact with the ground. Finally, the leaf blower goes onto the wooden frame to create that high-pressure air needed to lift the craft.
Hovercrafts work by creating a cushion of air between the vehicle’s bottom and the ground. This cushion of air reduces friction by keeping contact with the ground to a minimum This allows the vehicle to travel over just about any surface, including level ground, rough surfaces, water, and the like. Modern hovercrafts usually have a fan to create a pocket of high pressure air that the craft glides on and some sort of propulsion system to move it forward.
The hovercraft sure does look like a lot of fun to ride. Ruddock’s hovercraft currently doesn’t have a good mechanism for propelling it forward, but that could be fixed by adding some fans or another leaf blower. Make sure to check out the video for the full details on how to make your own!