I'm unfortunately having battery problems at the moment. I'll finish the previous post as soon as I get these issues worked out. Thanks!



the story pt. 1

Ok folks,

So I guess most of you whom are keeping up with my blog have see the 'hovercart' in action. As promised, I'd like to try and bring everyone up to speed.

So I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to tackles this. So much has happened since the decision to try and make this thing hover, I'm not sure where to begin. So I guess I'll start with the conversation that started all of this and see where it goes.

So Bill and I sat down one afternoon in late January. I brought him up to speed on all of the models, drawings and ideas I was working on.

Somewhere in the conversation, Bill and I started talking about how big the casters might be and whether or not they could be seen. I had always assumed they would be somewhat visible, so each model had a set. They were probably bigger in model form than they needed to be. I think it was a deliberate decision so that I was always aware this thing would be mobile.

At one point he picked one of the models and pulled the little card board casters off and laid it on the desk. In response, I drew a little sketch representing the exact opposite. I was thinking of raising the cart where the casters and their connections were like legs. His response to the sketch was something along the lines of resembling a forced air system that used air pressure to move large machines. At that we both looked at each other with a sorta sheepish grin. "What if the cart didn't have casters?" We both sort of giggled in a way that is reminiscent of a corny or ridiculous joke... Hover? Seriously how could that be possible. Well it all went down hill from there in terms of the ridiculous nature of getting this thing off the ground. It was all speculative but I'll be honest and say that a nice jolt of energy surged through me at the thought "what if". How could it work? I hadn't the foggiest notion. We spent the better part of another hour brainstorming further into the world of 'hover tectonics'.. I think both of us just had a crude understanding there needed to be a motor and a fan. Bill insisted the motor(s) be Briggs and Stratton two cycle engines. I was a little more hesitant but what was I to know.

Well the hook was set by the end of our conversation. I dove in head first and started research. I wasn't sure where to begin so I the obvious - hovercrafts or anything related to hovering. I scoured the net hoping to glean anything that would make me wiser. After the first day or so I wasn't finding much specific information. There were tons of pictures of real hovercrafts, leaf blower and vacuum cleaner references but nothing that was a specific how to at the scale of my cart. I kept looking.

At one point I got a little frustrated and decided to give myself no more than a week: one, to see if it was viable and two, to see if the idea kept my interest and enthusiasm. At one particularly deflated moment, I called Bill in Las Vegas (he was at World of Concrete). I wanted to tell him that combustible engines were out. As I had figured and eventually determined, it's illegal to run a gas powered engine indoors... especially a museum. So what were my other options, I asked? In a very uncharacteristically calm and clear voice, Bill explained he had figured about the same but to keep at it. There were numerous other options still out there... diesel, propane and electrical.

I hung up feeling a bit more charged and decided to keep going. I only had a few more days left in my week time limit so what the hell; I dove in again. I found myself eliminating ideas faster than I was generating them. Propane was out.. again flammable material. Diesel might work if it were converted to run off of biodiesel. But after much research, I decided that wouldn't work. In order to create biodiesel, you have to refine the fuel which includes using other flammable materials through what seemed like a complicated process. So diesel was out. My last resort was good old electricity. My first thought was that I didn't want it be tethered to the wall by an extension cord, so the only other option was to run off of DC power.. or batteries.

Well at this point I hadn't come across ANY DC powered hovercrafts. I was pretty much at a loss on where to go and what to research. I desperately turned to some web forums for advice and started sending out emails to hovercraft enthusiasts at an alarming rate. I hoped someone/anyone out there might have pity on me and reply with some sound advice. I looked everywhere for people who might be interested and respond to my query. I crafted a letter and literally spammed it around the web. I created forum posts on numerous hovercraft specific, physics and engineering website bulletin boards, again hoping someone might bite.

Between checking my inbox and the forum posts for replies every 2 or 3 minutes, I started looking at large scale cordless devices. Cordless lawnmowers and leaf blowers came to mind. I also eventually gave in a spent the $30 and bought a set of hover craft blueprints. They tauted easy step by step instructions on how to build your own personal hovercraft. They in fact were incredibly helpful in giving me my first inclinations into how a hovercraft actually worked. There were equations, materials, energy, thrust and lift, ducts, a skirt, among a whole slew of things that I was only scratching the surface.

Around this time I started to receive replies from my emails and posts. Most of the feedback either was either enthusiasm towards the project, proclamations that it wouldn't work all together or questions. Well the enthusiasm helped, a lot, mostly for my spirit and the proclamations I just ignored but the questions were somewhat daunting because well I didn't have any of the answers.. So I responded with more questions. Eventually I came across and received replies from a hand full of people who seemed generally interested in what I was doing and appeared to want to help. One being the CEO of one of the worlds largest hovercraft manufacturers. I thought, wow! If this guy is interested maybe he can help guide me a little in the right direction. Another guy, Matt, was someone I had emailed because he lived about 60 miles away. I figured if worst came to worst, I could plead enough to allow him a few minutes of face time to talk over my proposal.




here's some images of the cart.



Video 1



Holy crap it works

woohoo. It's up and running. Pics and maybe a video to soon follow.

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