Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hover Sled Part VI

Well I have to admit that cutting and attaching the skirt went a lot smoother then I had imagined. I used both a soldering iron and a razor blade to cut/melt the holes that I needed. I then reinforced those holes with plenty of Gorilla Tape to insure that the tarp would not rip along any of my cuts. As stated before, I took my time and made sure everything went as smoothly as possible. In the end I was rewarded with a speedy process and holes cut exactly where I wanted them.

 Next I needed to secure the skirt to the center of the disc to insure a doughnut like shape. I used the top of an old Spacklingcontainer as a sort of giant washer to take some of the wear off of the skirt when inflated. Also, I was able to find a small ½ inch threaded pipe to secure it all together while allowing for pressure measurements top side. The picture below is my rough set up of this.

         Up on the top side I threaded the ½ inch pipe onto a stainless steel T, with one end plugged up and the other going into a gauge that reads PSI.

                All that was left now was to tape and staple the skirt around the edges of the disc. I first pulled the skirt taunt and then placed a small piece of Gorilla Tape on the tarp to hold it to the wood. I then stapled through this to hold things permanently. I made sure that every staple went through both tape and tarp. There had to be a layer of Gorilla Tape on top first to insure nothing would rip. The end result was like a billion staples and about a quarter of a big roll of Gorilla Tape. Yeah I know it looks trashy, but what the hell, it was holding :P

         No thought went into what would hold the power plant onto the craft so I ended up using pull ties attached to an L bracket secured to one of the mounts..

                So things were starting to come together, and rather quickly I might add. The only thing left to do now was to mount the power plant and seal up all the leaks. 

As you can see below I attached the leaf blower with some pull ties on the L Bracket, used a scrap piece of foam on one of the mounts to cut down on the vibrations caused by the running engine and then used Gorilla Tape to tape the 90 degree vent to the output of the blower. This was all sort of slapped together since I was getting anxious to try things it out.

And behold the final result. I must admit that up until this point I was pretty skeptical of things even coming together much less being able to lift my fat ass off the ground. But standing back at this angel and breathing a deep sigh of accomplishment, my hopes were renewed. Time for a test spin!

The attached video pretty much shows the life cycle of the construction, a brief test flight and some analysis at the end. Enjoy!


  • The skirt seems to drag a bit which indicated that there was not enough air being supplied to the craft.
  • The areas where the skirt did not drag were in close proximity to where the air was being supplied to the skirt. This leads me to beleive that when not enough air is being supplied the placment of the air supply is critical to the distribution of the air coming from under the skirt.
  • The pressure gauge did not register any readings.
  • Skirt material (blue tarp) might be pourous. I checked this with the leaf blower detached from thex3 craft. The skirt material does indeed hold air and is not pourours.
  • Pressure gauge does not register because moving air creates a vacuum. I tested this by removing the test plug in the stainless steel T. Air pressure is present just not enough to register on the gauge.
  • 90 degree PVC elbow must be removed as not to restrict airflow into the skirt. This will require modification and will be part of Hover Sled 1.1
 To stay true with engineering tradition I have decided to celebrate my failures and to cautiously review my successes. I will continue to work with this craft in my spare time to resolve as many bugs as I can, and then retire this prototype when I see fit. Stay tuned for more tinkering. 

In the end the HoverSled just became trash, due to an intense need for garage space. It was fun while it lasted!

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