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Old 02-25-2004, 10:58 PM   #1
8Complex

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Default Anyone know stuff about hovercraft design?

I've been trying to figure out how exactly the lift mechnism works on a hovercraft. I know, it seems simple, but there is one thing you don't really think about normally... is the top of the skirt open to the underside of the vehicle where all the air is pressurized? Or does the air get ducted into the skirt seperately of the undercarriage pressure?

Or do you have to duct all of the air into the skirt, then have holes on the inside edges of the skirt to flow the air under the vehicle enough to pressurize it and get it off the ground?


Reason I'm asking is because I'm in the process of designing a small single person hovercraft. I don't feel like paying $2500 to only half learn things by getting a kit or buying one complete, so it is going to be fully designed and built by me by hand.
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:01 PM   #2
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Monster garage did one once .... i dont remember how exactly they ran everthing though
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:01 PM   #3
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did you try www.howstuffworks.com ...i bet they have some good info
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Anyone know stuff about hovercraft design?



Good glaven, he's going to kill himself! Bwa-hay!
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:04 PM   #5
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:05 PM   #6
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:10 PM   #7
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Yeah, I missed that Monster Garage too.

HowStuffWorks has absolutely nothing on it other then that hoverboard article. I've seen similar things to it using a 3' circle of plywood and a garbage bag, but it's just not comparable to the full size thing.

Those drawings aren't bad, but they don't show a crosssection of the underneath or even an underside view.
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:11 PM   #8
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:18 PM   #9
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I used to have an RC hovercraft when I was a kid. I don't know how realistic the thing was compared to the real deal, but the skirt was kind of like a balloon with holes on the bottom side all around the perimeter. It was pressurized by the main fan which also pressurized the pocket created when the skirt was inflated.

Anyway, if you can buy just the skirt you're probably half-way there...the rest should be easier to fabricate.
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:18 PM   #10
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Here... this is what I'm asking... does the airflow like the top or bottom picture?

toto - Yeah, I've seen all those pages to no avail. Noone really describes the pathway of the airflow. Maybe I'm overcomplicating it (with the bottom concept of flow in the pic) and getting confused...

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Old 02-25-2004, 11:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Go to discovery.com and or the episode you just watched for only $19.95
monster garage re-run


sorry dude that all i got
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by 8Complex
Here... this is what I'm asking... does the airflow like the top or bottom picture?

toto - Yeah, I've seen all those pages to no avail. Noone really describes the pathway of the airflow. Maybe I'm overcomplicating it (with the bottom concept of flow in the pic) and getting confused...


The toy was a combination of the two. The skirt and the pocket (between the hull, ground, and skirt) were both fed from a single fan. You need to make sure the skirt stays inflated somehow, otherwise the air could just fart out the sides.
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:32 PM   #13
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This help any?



Quote:
Hovercraft float on a cushion of air that has been forced under the craft by a fan. This causes the craft to rise or lift. The amount of lift can range from 6" to 108" (152mm to 2,743mm) depending on the size of the craft. The amount of total weight that a hovercraft can raise is equal to cushion pressure multiplied by the area of the hovercraft. To make the craft function more efficiently, it is essential to limit the cushion air from escaping, so the air is contained by the use of what is called a skirt. Fashioned from fabric, which allows a deep cushion or clearance of obstacles, hovercraft skirts vary in style ranging from bags to cells (jupes) to separate fingered sections called segments. Most Neoteric hovercraft utilize the segmented skirt system because each segment can deflect individually when passing over bumps so that very little lift air is lost on uneven terrain.

Once "lifted" or "on cushion", thrust must be created to move the hovercraft forward. With many craft, this is generated by a separate engine from the one used to create the lift, but with some, the same engine is used for both. As the diagram above indicates, the fan-generated air stream is split so that part of the air is directed under the hull for lift, while most of it is used for thrust.

Now that the hovercraft has lift and thrust, it must be steered safely. This is achieved through the use of a system of rudders behind the fan, controlled by handlebars up front. Steering can also be controlled by the use of body weight displacement...a skill which is achieved after practice. As an option, Neoteric hovercraft offer patented, reverse thrust buckets as another means of control. This is the only system available today that enables the driver to reverse at speed, to maintain cushion at speed, to regulate speed going downwind, to hover while stationary and to brake (a must on ice).
EDIT: more...



http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Stu/tmelnico/
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kaiser
http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Stu/tmelnico/
So far this URL is the most helpful, but it doesn't get too far into skirt design. From that picture it appears that the skirt is just a skirt shape and not a tube type shape... but in making just a skirt shape like that, I could see massive problems just from running over something just barely higher then the skirt... it'd catch the opposite end on the way out and tear or collapse the skirt quite easily.
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Old 02-26-2004, 12:03 AM   #15
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Looks like there are a few different types Cushion Types, Skirt Types, and Surface Effect Types

http://www.australianhovercraft.com/design_types.htm
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Old 02-26-2004, 12:09 AM   #16
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hover wrx




Last edited by BlackBeastie; 02-26-2004 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 02-26-2004, 12:16 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by totoherbs
Looks like there are a few different types Cushion Types, Skirt Types, and Surface Effect Types

http://www.australianhovercraft.com/design_types.htm
Ahhh... I think it is how the second version is... into the skirt then into the chamber, then out from under the skirt. Wow, wierd... I never would've thought that the more complex design was the one that was most commonly used.
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Old 02-26-2004, 02:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by 8Complex
Here... this is what I'm asking... does the airflow like the top or bottom picture?

toto - Yeah, I've seen all those pages to no avail. Noone really describes the pathway of the airflow. Maybe I'm overcomplicating it (with the bottom concept of flow in the pic) and getting confused...

If you must use one of those two types, use the bottom pic. Build the skirt out of many "fingers" instead of one big floppy volume.

Seriously consider using separate lift and thrust engines. You only need a 5-10 HP lawnmower engine to lift a 1-man vehicle. The Monster Garage project sucked; they had like a 200 HP racing snowmobile engine yet failed miserably because they had no friggin' idea what they were doing.
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Old 02-26-2004, 03:25 AM   #19
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talk to dmitri4k, he used to work on the turbines they use. boy knows his hovercrafts.

nice call on the GI Joe specs, too. that was the top-dog vehicle until the carrier came out.
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Old 02-26-2004, 03:28 AM   #20
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u need prteesure to mak the round part fiil uyp, but you need enough pressure to fill tbe middle so it trys to scape under yhe reound part
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Old 02-26-2004, 09:54 AM   #21
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Default Re: Anyone know stuff about hovercraft design?

Quote:
Originally posted by 8Complex
Reason I'm asking is because I'm in the process of designing a small single person hovercraft. I don't feel like paying $2500 to only half learn things by getting a kit or buying one complete, so it is going to be fully designed and built by me by hand.
As someone who's built a hover, I strongly recommend you buy a set of plans and built the craft from the plans. The plans will cost you maybe $30, and you'll save yourself a hell of a lot of trouble. There's a lot that goes into a successful hovercraft that's not immediately obvious (like: how do you orient the lift fan? Not straight up + down. What kind of wood to use for the hull? Plywood won't cut it). You still get to do all of the work (even balancing the prop and sewing the skirt if you want), but the result will be much more rewarding because it will work.

Universal Hovercraft sells plans for everything from small R/C models up to 16-pax, 55mph monsters. They have a number of starter craft that are pretty easy to build. I built a bunch of their R/C models and most of a UH12T4 in high school (didn't finish it cuz girls + college got in the way). Universal Hovercraft has been around since 1967, and the designer is an aeronautical engineer if memory serves me. He's a great guy (met him once, got to ride around on a bunch of his hovercraft), and he knows his stuff. Start with something from UH and you'll be a lot happier, I promise. You'll still learn more than you ever wanted to know, and at the end of the day it will work.

/me isn't affilitated, just a happy former customer.
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Old 02-26-2004, 05:21 PM   #22
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Kartoffel - I had actually planned on using a single motor design because I want a really compact vehicle. I was hoping for 7'x4'.

AC Lerok - Thanks for the tip... if I can't find the info elsewhere or cave and buy a set of plans, I'll drop him a PM.

smagoun - I might cave and buy a set of plans for the reference material, but I'll surely design it on my own. I had planned on using foam and resin for the main hull construction on top of a thin steel tubular chassis. this place seems to prove that a single engine craft can run pretty well, so I figured I could get a 10hp motor and a 24-30" fan for lift and thrust between the two with adjustable proportioning between them (via. a moveable gate in the exit tract).

I just really wish that someone had some rough plans online that I could even get half of an idea off of without having to drop the money on full out plans. *shrug*
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Old 02-26-2004, 05:25 PM   #23
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made one in physics class w/ visquine as the skirt and a wetvac to blow the air under it
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Old 02-26-2004, 05:38 PM   #24
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Here is two pics from the one we build in college:
(click for bigger pic)



and




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Old 02-26-2004, 05:41 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by lettucemanatee
made one in physics class w/ visquine as the skirt and a wetvac to blow the air under it
If your hovercraft is full of eels, does that qualify it as an eelhouse?
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