Experiment 15: The Leaf-Blower Hovercraft and its Little Cousins

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Hovercraft, check. Helmet, check. Cape, check. Lasergun-wielding-space-robot, check.

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Experiment 15: The Leaf-Blower Hovercraft and its Little Cousins
Have you ever dreamed of floating around on a cushion of air? Sound impossible? It’s not! Using just a leaf blower, some plywood, and a sheet of plastic, you can!

We’ll show you three differant hovercrafts you can build, from small to human-sized. You get started with a tabletop version that uses a CD and a balloon. Then you use a hair dryer and paper plates. And then you move up to bona fide human transportation with your very own Leaf-Blower Hovercraft.

Get all the details on how to do this yourself in our book, How to Build a Hovercraft.

Typo Alert
On page 144, where the instructions say, "Spread the 5' x 5' piece of 6-mm plastic flat on the floor," it should say, "Spread the 5' x 5' piece of 6 mil plastic flat on the floor." The plastic should be 6 mil thick, about the thickness of a shower curtain. Sorry for any confusion!

Tips & Tricks
If the plastic sheet on your hovercraft tears, you can repair it with duct tape. (When in doubt, duct tape!) In fact, we had to cut our hovercraft completely in half to fit it in the car, and we were able to put it right back together again with two strips of wood and a couple of screws, plus several strips of duct tape for the plastic. It worked perfectly!

We got this tip from Jim Radmore at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico, Maine. He and the students at Mountain Valley had trouble with a rip in the plastic starting around the coffee can lid on the underside of the hovercraft. They replaced the lid with a 3/8" thick wooden disc 6" in diameter, and that worked better for them -- no more tearing plastic. Thanks for the tip, Jim!

More Cool Stuff

Video of a miniature RC powered hovercraft.

Share your photos, videos, questions, and tips in the comments below!

4 Comments     |     Add your comment
  1. Billyjoebob says:

    where’s the lawnmower engine powered hovercraft? (I got the book, and i cant find the variation).

  2. EepyBird says:

    There’s no lawnmower engine powered hovercraft in the book – that could be great, but we haven’t tried it. The big hovercraft in the book is powered by a leaf blower, which works superbly and is a lot of fun.

  3. nob says:

    The last sentence of the book article suggests as if there is a video or description about lawnmower hovercraft. I think that’s why Billyjoebob said that.

    BTW, I am now translating this book into Japanese and having a lot of fun. Hope our Japanese readers love it.

  4. Billyjoebob says:

    Yeah, that’s what I meant