Thursday, August 25, 2011

Theory Thursday: Hover Craft

So Erika and the kids watched a live online video from superchargedscience.com a couple of weeks ago. During the video an offer was made to try the paid section of the site for one month for only a dollar. Erika immediately signed up, our children love science. One of the "getting started" projects is the Simple Hovercraft. There is something about hover craft that just fascinate most people. I know I myself would love to make some sort of machine that would be powerful enough to allow me to sit on it but still float/hover just above the ground. This would cause mobility without the need for wheels or tracks to move me across the ground. Most hover crafts though do not actually float above the ground. They simple have a fan motor forcing air down into a semi sealed space below the carriage of a vehicle that allows the vehicle to have a seemingly much lighter weight to it. Right now you are probably picturing the standard air boat like water/land hover craft that has a a big balloon donut that the craft rides on. Well, in this project we are not making anything that looks like that, but it does use a balloon.

What you need:
  • a regular balloon (not a small water balloon)
  • a "sport" top from a water bottle (the pop up kind)
  • an old cd (I used a cheap blank one)
  • paper cup
  • thumbtack
  • hot glue gun
  • knife to cut the cup


First, take the sport top and poke three or four holes in the outer ring of the top. That is the part that actually pops up. I started with three and ended up with six and opening the top, but please start with three and a closed top.
Next you want to get happy with the glue gun. Put as much glue as will fit on the rim of the cap and center it on the cd. Then take the glue gun and begin to dispense the rest of the stick around the outside edge of the cap. Ok, maybe you don't need the entire stick, but you need to add some. Trust me, if you don't do it now you'll do it later when the cap comes off. Not that it came off on me. Oh, and about centering it, I was careless in my placement the first time and thus our craft hovered moving to one side constantly until I re-glued it in the center.
Now you need to cut the bottom out of the cup. Please! Be careful!
Do all this while one of your little helpers inflates the propulsion device.
Now I don't have pictures of this step, but take the balloon from said little helper and proceed to wipe off the excessive amount of slobber from the inflatable end of the balloon. You need to do this so that you can keep a good grip on it while attaching it to the craft. But, before you attach the balloon, be sure to twist the neck of the balloon so that when it is attached it will hold the air until you are ready for it.
Now that the air filled rubber sack is attached to the hover craft your are ready for action. Simply untwist the balloon and voila (wah-la) you have a hovering disc, ...... or not. Yeah, it kind of hovered. Thus we put more holes in, still dragging quite a bit. So what do you do when you need more air, open the flood gates! Well, the type of flood gates that release air not water. Although..... I wonder what this would do if we ran pressurized water instead of air................................. Oh! Sorry, I'm back. We eventually opened the cap up halfway. The balloon deflated much faster but it was the only way to get true hovering.

The following video is just a short clip of our first hover.

Well, that's our little hover craft. Why not make one and share it with us! Okay, Okay, you only have to share the pics or video. I'll let you keep your craft.
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1 comment:

  1. I love your credits...Semi-innocent bystander Zac!

    ReplyDelete