Brushless R/C Racing Hovercraft

by jscaylor Dec 9, 2017
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Hi jscaylor,

I'm a Mechatronics student at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland. For my capstone class, I need to 3D print a hovercraft and have it line track autonomously with an arduino. Id like to use your model and modify it for my project. Do you have any .stp files that I can edit from?

Thank you

very cool hovercraft. does this hovercraft run on water?

why some people use two rudders instead of three?

Two rudders provides plenty of steering authority, when I originally designed it I thought it would need more lol.

Comments deleted.

I created an additional cover to hide the electronics of the hovercraft. Maybe someone else is interested in this part.


Brushless R/C Racing Hovercraft Cover

I redesigned a wider version of the upper hull to give it some added stability https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3283194 But Somebody with the ability to do so needs to design a differential thrust setup for this ship, It is beyond my skill set and would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Wide upper hull
by Timah81

i guess it wasnt out of my wheel house, Here is a untested differential setup https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3301691

Differential ducts
by Timah81

Well i think im done messing with this thing now, Heres a coaxial lift design to cancel out motor torque.


Coaxial lift duct
by Timah81

Nice job! I've since moved onto other projects but I'm glad to see people still taking an interest and improving the design.

I'm mid way through printing the parts for this and looking for the electronics online that I need. I've never made anything RC before so bare with me if these are stupid questions,
1) Do both motors have to spin the same way? So both cw or both ccw?
2) Does the kind of motor matter? Are quadcopter motors good for this?

Looking what kind of builds people have done, it seems that CW/CCW does not matter. There could be possible be minor effect, but its so little that its not worth to even mention. Also there is 90degree difference between them, so pin effect (or what it was called) goes to two different directions. If you want to optimize this to autistic level, you could always build 4 motor version, with CW/CCW propellers.

Plane or quadcopter motors seem to be ones you are looking for. Possible motor that can accelerate fast would be good choice to get rapid response, as you are not driving hovercraft, but steering it IE. responses are not that fast, unlike in car where long as there is proper traction can do 90 degree turn faster than you can react.

From remix i found guy say to use:"nylon ripstop material (parachute fabric) is ideal as it's tough, light weight, abrasion resistant and a much better material than a trash bag." so theres a good tip. If sourcing the material is hard, i found few products like hammock made from this fabric and you can make several from one. Other option is to call local parashooting club and ask if anyone has old one to sell, or just scrap peace.

Note that i have about much as understanding on RC specially planes as you, if not less.

Could someone specify what size exactly the small screws are for the lift duct skirt ring and rudders?

I used what the hardware store called #4 screws. 1/4" for skirt ring, get some 3/8", and some 1/2" ones. I used 1/2" for the rudders

Hey great work man! I used to run full-scale recreational hovercraft about 10 years ago (a UH-12R and Sevtec Vanguard) and I've built a LOT of model hovercraft before 3D printers and good electrics that were made of wood and fiberglass and used Nitro engines but this design is awesome. I think your little guys are over-powered but that's what makes them fun. You could probably put the gear from this model into a larger model and not lose too much performance. That is to say, you could gain payload capacity for "extras" and still perform great but the skirt becomes more of an issue as you scale up and would need additional trimming and maintenance.

At any rate, it's good to see the younger generations still have interest in hovercraft. You should get into full-scale or at least find a hovercraft rally in your area and go for a ride. There's nothing quite like it.

Thank you very much! My interest in full scale hovercraft is actually what inspired me to create this one, I have future plans to build one as well. The Viper Cruiser looks like a nice craft and I like how the assembly process suites smaller shops, the well laid out plans are also a nice touch. I mainly created this r/c hovercraft to kind of quench my hovercraft thirst until I can afford to start the build process of the full scale.

I live a few hours from Muskego, WI where they hold an annual hover rally, I've just learned about it recently so I haven't had a chance to make it out to attend an event. Maybe someday I'll have my own craft to bring, just gotta finish all my other projects first lol.

Oh you need to go at least once. I, myself, have only been to the rallys here in the NW in the early 2000's and they were best experienced as a camping affair since the hovers like to go out in the fairly early morning calm and you could roll out of your sleeping bag and into a craft for some awesome early-morning sight-seeing. Wildlife is great to view from a hovercraft as the noise from the props doesn't get to the shore until you are right next to the critter and the craft doesn't disturb the water or create a wake to alert them before then. Hope you get to experience it at some point. Again, nice model, thanks for taking the time to design it. I'll print one out in the near future.

Edit: Oh yeah, you don't need a craft to attend a rally. Someone will give you a ride. Go in early on the first day and mill around and look at the craft and talk to the owners. Show them your model (which would probably be a big hit with them and their kids) and mention that you've never ridden in a full-scale and would love to try it "some day". I bet you get several offers right away.

I am about 3/4 of the way through printing all the parts, and I have to say, I am impressed with how well parts fit together. Good job on the tollerances!

I have it up and running now. I made a set of retaining rings for the skirt to screw to the upper deck (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2830823) because I found the clips a pain in the butt to print and remove the print brim. I also found I broke and lost many of them long before the original plastic bag skirt was used up.

Sweet machine - I am going to have to see if I can take the 200x200 version from apru and get the torque cancelling feature.

Hovercraft skirt upper ring

Sorry for the late response, busy life lol. But thank you, I tried to keep everything rather loose in tolerances so different printers wouldn't have an issue. Nice job on the skirt ring, if I ever dust off my hovercraft again I'll have to try it out.

Hi Guys,
i love Hovercraft's too, so i build one some time before i got my 3D printer,so now it's time to upgrade it :)
.. but, the heaviest thing to do is the skirt i think !
If you want to create a really nice looking and fitting skirt, you can use this guide/hp i found :


It calculates the round parts and you can print is as a cut sample.

have fun \m/_


Awesome info, thanks!

Would you please upload the split version of the upper hull for smaller printers?

Thanks, aweome work!

I made a modified duct and included it as part of my 200x200 remix design. The modified duct cancels out the motor torque on the lift fan and makes the hovercraft awesome!! There's a safety grate included, too, to keep peoples fingers out of the lift fan if they pick it up while it's running.


Brushless R/C Racing Hovercraft - For 200x200 printer
by Apru
Comments deleted.

Great stuff man! Thanks for doing some upgrades!

I made one of the remixed ones https://www.thingiverse.com/make:425352

Brushless R/C Racing Hovercraft - For 200x200 printer

So, I slice this original lower hull STL and there is a .3mm gap on the bottom middle portion of the lower surface. Look at the two picures. The first depicts the first layer of the print. You can see the entire middle portion of the lower layer is not printed. The second layer, at .6mm Z height, begins printing the bottom layer but now theres a .3mm airgap. No good. I have gotten around the problem and sliced properly by lowering the Z height by .3mm and it slices correctly. Not ideal, though.

Thanks for posting, I found similar issue with the Lower Hull in Simplify3D. For some reason it had .2 Z offset by default. I changed it to -.1 and works good.

I had the same problem, with Cura. layer one was just the ring, and then layer 2 was the rest of the body....that didn't print well at all.
i lowered z -0.02mm which seemed to be enough to kick layer 1 to be the whole print as it should have been.

a bit of a pain.

Strange, might be an issue with S3D as I use Cura and it always slices fine for me. Lowering it by .3mm isn't going to affect anything so you should be fine :)

small bed here to Going to see If I can cut them down and CA back up

Cool, if you do it would be great if you could upload the parts as a remix so others with smaller printers can print it.

working on cutting them down I don't know if I will be able to test print them all before uploading them. How many clips are there total?

75 clips are enough to cover the entire perimeter of the upper hull, but not all are needed.

going to start to print a few pieces today.will start to post split parts soon

Damn, only got a 200x200 print bed ☹

There are a few remixes already with the large pieces cut in half. I'm working on a cut up hull remix but with reinforcements at the cut seam to make sure it's still strong after being joined. the remixes that exist already don't have any seam reinforcements. I'll be posting the remix later today.

any chance you got the reworked remix done and could upload it?

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2719984 Enjoy. Mine is running awesome. I'm making two for my two sons for christmas. I will probably make a third so we can all race and have fun.

Brushless R/C Racing Hovercraft - For 200x200 printer
by Apru