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Homemade Engine-powered and Human-powered Hovercrafts

Building a Type II Hovercraft

Pictures (HPH 1)
Procedure (HPH 1)
Pictures 1
Pictures 2
Frequently Asked Questions
Building a Type I Hovercraft
Rudders and Steering
Building a Type II Hovercraft
Introduction to Hovercrafting
Skirt Designs
Contact Us

8-by-4 riding hovercraft

Costs around $300 and up, depending on how many mistakes you make, and the kind of deals you can get

Holds: 1-6 people, depending on motor strength

DIRECTIONS: (for building the same type as we did)
First, for the hull of the hovercraft, you get a 4 ft by 8 ft sheet of plywood (around half inch, if it's too thin it can become flimsy). Make sure this plywood is not warped. Round the edges so that it does not tear the skirt. We used a hula hoop, placing it so it's inscribed in one of the corners, then marking it. Cut this with a jigsaw (can be done with other types of saws but very difficult) then sand the edges so that the skirt doesn't rip on them.

Second, you want to make a skirt. There are three main types of skirts. We used the "curtain", "wall", or "jupe" skirt. This skirt is the easiest to build and requires the least amount of air, though it can not handle rough terrain at all. For specific information on how to build a wall skirt, visit the page called SKIRTS.

It's best to attach this skirt to the top so that air has little chance of seeping out, but it's still ok to attach it to the bottom (that's what we did). To attach the skirt, you flip the plywood onto two horse saws (we used buckets and a fold up chair) so that it is face down. Start on the end of the skirt, and staple it to the middle of the long side of the plywood. Let the skirt hang down. You want to staple the skirt to the plywood, being sure to use staples that aren't too long. About every five inches put a staple. Leave enough room to caulk the skirt so that air does not escape. So basically the top of your hovercraft is down and your skirt is hanging down, so the skirt is hanging the wrong way. But that's ok; it's a lot easier to attach the skirt this way. (Just make sure you can flip the skirt back). Staple with about a half inch left of skirt to caulk with liquid nails, or other types of air tight adhesives. After you staple and caulk (with extra attention to the curves), you need to turn the hovercraft so that the top of the hovercraft is up. The skirt would be turned to face down now. If done correctly, the skirt is hanging down with no wrinkles. Then pull the rope that was built into your skirt tight, to the point where the skirt can not flap out. Then tie the skirt and cut off the extra rope. (Don't cut off too much just in case).
we coated the end of the skirt (the part with the rope through it) in duct tape to strengthen it and keep it from tearing, though there is a chance that doing this decreases skirt flexibility, meaning it can't go over grass.

Next, you need to mount your leaf blowers. We used Homelite's Vac attack 2, but most leaf blowers will work. The main thing is they have to be rated at around 200mph and 400 cfm, which is cubic feet per minute. (puts out a lot of air). Mount these around 2 feet from the back of the craft, (what we did), or mount them in the very front of the craft to increase stability. (this leaves less room to sit). To mount the leaf blowers, attach them to pvc of the right size (we used 3 inch) and aim the air down beneath the craft. One leaf blower should do it, but one didn't work for us and we had to get two.
To strengthen our craft we added an aluminum frame. We used one inch square tubing and cut them just short enough so that they wouldn't rip the skirt. We placed the two long ones underneath the craft and the two short ones on top. We then screwed them together where they met with 3 inch bolts (refer to pictures for more detail)

After that, you should be able to turn your motors on and give it a test. Balancing is an issue but you'll get used to it.

Aluminum frame
Bottom of the hovercraft



Motor mounting

Hovercraft Floating

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