Welcome to my page, my name is Juan and I am a rising senior from STRIVE Prep SMART Academy in Denver. Over the past summer, I have attended Bluestamp Engineering and built my starter and intensive projects: the junior theremin and a remote controlled hovercraft respectively. My starter project, the theremin, is a musical device which plays musical notes whenever one’s hand comes in proximity to the aerial wire. You can learn more about my starter project by scrolling down and watching my video on it. My main project is my remote controlled hovercraft which uses motors to lift itself off the ground and propel itself forward. A body made from Styrofoam and a skirt fashioned from tent fabric, the lightweight craft creates a pocket of air underneath it on which it floats which then propels itself forward. 3D printed rudders are mounted on a servo at the rear of the craft to direct the air from the fan and steer the hovercraft in either direction.
This is a link to a spreadsheet that contains all of the materials I used while constructing this project along with prices and links to sites from which they were bought.
Finished Product – Remote Controlled Hovercraft
Sketch up Modeling
My third and final milestone is a great achievement as it marks the completion of my project and presents my finished hovercraft. Since my second milestone, I have made several changes and additions to the craft as I have added a switch and a finished and assembled rudder. The rudders were 3D printed in modules and were later assembled into the finished rudders which were screwed onto the servo motor at the rear of the hovercraft. I also added a switch to the battery so as not to disconnect the battery connectors every time and make it much easier and quicker to turn the hovercraft on and off. The hovercraft also received a much needed paint job but encountered some problems with the spray paint and the oil based paint would simply dissolve and eat up the Styrofoam. I had to purchase and use a special water based spray paint to avoid ruining the hovercraft; there is also the addition of an emerald green stripe purely for the aesthetic effect
My second milestone was a large step forward from my first milestone as the hovercraft has come a long way in terms of actually functioning as well as how the craft looks. After the arrival of the rest of my parts, I was able to install the rest of the components and now the hovercraft is able to hover and propel itself forward. I wired the electric speed controllers to the motors as well as connecting them to the battery to provide them with the power. After a few test runs and one tragic crash, I rebuilt and redesigned a lot of the hovercraft: I opened up the bottom of the skirt more to avoid any over inflation, I cut more into the top layer in order to improve weight distribution. and I attached the skirt to the top of the craft rather than the bottom in order to better secure it to the body. During this time, I learned a lot about the importance of looking up instruction manuals after having a bit of difficulty pairing the transmitter to the receiver.
My first milestone was like stone to mark a mile: it marked an important part of my journey on the way to make my hovercraft. The body of my hovercraft has been completed as the main body has been carved out and I have cut out all of he necessary compartments for the craft’s components. I cut out all of the Styrofoam with an Xacto knife and then cut out some tent fabric in order to construct the skirt of the hovercraft which allows for lift and therefore hover. After cutting out the basic shape of the body, I used Sketch up to model the rest of the hovercraft on the computer in order to save time and resources. I then used the model as a template for building the rest of the craft in real life. To top it off, I constructed mounts in order to secure the EDF motors onto the craft.
I decided to build a Junior Theremin for my starter project because I was very curious about how one works and building one would give me a detailed look into the mechanics of one. The circuit board is mostly made up by two integrated circuits as the first oscillates to convert direct current to alternating current which creates an electromagnetic field. When one’s hand comes in proximity of the aerial wire, it disrupts this field and the second integrated circuit outputs to the LEDs and the Piezo. I learned how to look for parts online and to find their data sheets as I had to replace a broken regulator on my circuit board. Building this tarter project has given me a chance to learn a lot such as basic soldering skills as well as problem solving skills. My instructors were helpful in guiding me as I ran into problems but it was only up to me to solve my own problems and I am very proud that I as able to do so.
These are the schematics that I used to wire up all of the electrical components for my hovercraft. I have two electric speed controllers connected to the battery and I used a switch in order to turn the system on and off rather than having to disconnect the battery connectors every time. The speed controllers were connected to the moors using gold bullet connectors and the servo receives power through the six channel receiver.
6 Weeks In Review
Looking back on my time here at the Bluestamp Program, I feel that I have certainly learned so much that I could not have hoped to learn in a traditional classroom setting. When I applied to Bluestamp, I was just hoping for something to do this summer and that would look good in a college application, but what I got out of it was so much more. The traditional method of teaching is to simply have someone spit out information and have the students regurgitate it. However, during the six weeks, my instructors did little more than guide me to research and solve my issues myself. With a little perseverance and some hard work, I was able to push through my problems and having this skill is invaluable in life. I was not only learning how to build a hovercraft: I was learning how to solve problems, how to look for help, and how to keep trying until I succeed. When I look around the room I see all of the different people working on their projects, and I realize the we are indeed the future. We all get up early in the morning and commute all the way to downtown Denver to explore our passions and do something that we love. This experience will definitely be invaluable to my future and definitely cements my plans on becoming an engineer in the near future.