R/C Hovercraft

A model hovercraft made of depron foam, powered with 2 motors and 2 Li-Po batteries. A real masterpiece of design and style. Hovers extremely well.

Name

Matthew P.

Interests

Aerospace Engineering

School

KIPP King Collegiate High School

Year

Upcoming Senior

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Reflection

BlueStamp Engineering in the end was quite a rewarding program. Although price had been a real problem I had a lot of fun creating this hovercraft and also creating friends. I met plenty of new people who had all been quite silent to begin but I quickly saw everyone become friends with others. The instructors had helped my form the project that really had no shape in my head and now I am done with the hovercraft that zooms around. I many difficulties crafting the hovercraft from not knowing what to do to figuring out how to cut depron. I have seen what my future may hold by going through the engineering process itself, and seeing the troubles of having bad sources and little direction to my final goal. I had met some new friends, and I now have a pretty good looking, and fast, hovercraft.

Modifications

The modification I have created for the R/C Hovercraft is the dedicated brakes attached to the side. The dedicated brakes allow for the fast control and increase the maneuverability of the hovercraft. It is encased in the wing-like structures of the hovercraft and create a sleek design. It also provides the hovercraft a noticeable difference in speed due to the cool design. The internal servo turns to drop the brake rod in order to provide an increased amount of friction that stops the hovercraft. The main challenge in this was to actually come up with the idea of the brakes. The designing was quite simple, using only 2 servos that could be programmed into the controllers settings. Then I had attached rubber onto the metal rods that provide friction for the craft.

 Final Milestone

The completion of the R/C Hovercraft marks the final milestone in this project. The hovercraft receives lift from an internal motor that creates an airflow pattern that allows the skirt to puff up. The air then escapes out the bottom, creating an airflow under the skirt that creates lift. The outer motor provides propulsion to the craft, pushing it forward. The servo, that the propulsion motor is connected to, can turn the propulsion motor in a 120 degree cone. The motors are connected to an ESC, or Electronic Speed Controller, that can control the speed of the motor. They then have a connection to the receiver that turns the signal it receives into a actionable current into the ESC that then tells the motor what to do. This all works to create a functioning hovercraft that can respond to controls. The main problem was the designing of all of this. There were many blanks in the instructions of the hovercraft so much of it was research and deciding the right path and the right pieces to use. There were some parts like the skirt that had been entirely from my own creativity and had turned out well. An additional problem that had no real answer was the mounting of the motor to the servo. The simple solution may have been to just hot glue it on; however, hot glue cannot be trusted as the main source of support in a structure. The solution I had created was to design a mount for the motor. The end product has allowed for the comfortable mounting of the motor. The modification I have planned was the creation of brakes. There is no great solution for stopping the hovercraft without turning the lift motor off. The brakes could also allow for drifting as it still has the reduced resistance of the lift motor, but the brakes would allow for the specialized turn.

Third Milestone

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The third milestone for the R/C Hovercraft is to get all of the motors and the electronics working. This consists of the 2 3-phase motors, 2 1300 mAh Batteries, 2 brushless ESCs, and 1 servo. The motors act as the lift for the hovercraft and the propulsion. The direction of the propelling motor is controlled by the servo which can turn on command. The ESCs control the speed of the motors and are all powered by the batteries. They all get connected to the receiver that can then be controlled by the transmitter. Some of the challenges I faced while getting these parts to work together were to get the motors and servos working all at once. They had worked independently, and after managing the controller settings for a bit, I managed to get it all in order and working. The final milestone will to be all the components into the hovercraft and to get the rest of the body attached to create a finished project.

Second Milestone

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The second milestone for my R/C Hovercraft project is the creation of the skirt for the hovercraft. The skirt is what maintains the pocket of air below the hovercraft and allows the reduction of friction below the craft. I had created the skirt by first plotting out the shape of the hovercraft onto the paper and then measuring 4 inches outwards of the base shape. This created the basic skirt. The skirt would be folded in such a way to create a half donut-like shape that could direct airflow. I had decided upon sewing the skirt together, as there were corners in the donut that needed to be formed and cutting and sewing was necessary. I had come across the first problem as I had no prior experience in sewing. Because of this I decided to research and had obtained the skill of sewing. The next step was to put it into the nylon rip stop fabric and cut out the shape of the hovercraft, then of the skirt. I folded the areas where I needed to cut in order to create the desired shape. I had then sewn the areas marked and cut out unnecessary material. I folded it inside out, then fitted it on and finished the last part of the sewing. The next step after this is to get all the electronics to get the motors spinning and be controllable through the remote.

skirt

First Milestone

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The first milestone for my project is the creation of the main chassis for my hovercraft. This was created by first drawing out the blueprints for the hovercraft and then overlaying the design onto the Depron foam and cutting it out with a hobby knife. There were several problems putting design into form due to the limitations of resources and keeping the body as slim as possible. To use the minimal space needed, I had mapped the size of each component into the area around the space I could use and had removed the unnecessary space. Balancing  the center of mass onto the main lift motor was the main problem I had ran into as I had not planned for this to be a problem. I had managed to move around the parts and eventually get it all fitted and balanced. The next step for me is to get the skirt of the hovercraft, the ring that holds a pocket of air under the hovercraft, cut, sewn, and fitted onto the hovercraft.

Bill of Materials:

  • 3 Sheets of Depron Foam
  • 2 Li-Po Batteries
  • 2 Brushless ESCs
  • 3 Servos
  • 2 Motors
  • Various Glue Types (Hot Glue, Super Glue)
  • XT60 Connectors
  • Bullet Connectors
  • Acrylic Sheet
  • Nylon Rip-Stop Sheet
  • Sewing Kit
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Wire Heat Shrink
  • Battery Charger

Starter Project

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There are several parts that make this possible, including the diode, Zener diode, the LED, the capacitor, the ICs and the transistor. The resistor allows for a certain amount of current to flow through. The diode is a one way valve that only allows the energy flow through one direction, the p-n channel has a bias for electrons flowing into one side and having a high resistance to the electrons flowing in the opposite direction, in this case it controls the direction the current flows in, forcing it to flow through the IC before inputting signals into the LED. The Zener diode is a diode that allows the flow in the other direction given enough energy, controlling the flow of energy like the other diodes, and keeping the voltage at a fixed amount. LED is a diode that lights up with the current showing and reflects it to brighten it, acting as a the visible indicator of the result of the circuit. The capacitor is a temporary storage for energy, allowing a source of energy past the battery, to have the ability to create the pattern of the result even after the push button is released. The transistor is a diode-like part that allows for the amplification of the current, allowing for the amplification of the signal, and creating a stronger signal in the circuit past the transistor. The Internal Circuit allows for more complex processes in a small form. It contains the phase locked loop that allows for a wide variety of outputs with a single input. The binary counter is what creates the cool pattern of a rolling dice, by creating a different frequencies in the signal, slowing it after several passes through.

Kit Source: https://www.vellemanusa.com/products/view/?country=us&lang=enu&id=350684

Reflection

I have learned from the starter project was the different functions of each individual part and how it interacted within the project. There were many parts where I struggled working on this project. To grasp the topics themselves and be able to repeat what I learned was a difficult task that took me some time to research.

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