Balloon Powered Hovercraft

by pleppik, published

Balloon Powered Hovercraft by pleppik Sep 1, 2012
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7191Views 1148Downloads Found in Mechanical Toys


Inspired by the Balloon Powered Car, this is a Balloon Powered Hovercraft.


1) Inflate a balloon

2) While pinching the balloon shut, put the stem of the balloon over the inlet at the top of the hovercraft. This is tricky but it can be done.

3) Place on a smooth, flat surface.

4) The hovercraft will float a short distance above the surface until the balloon deflates.

Also useful for determining just how level your table, floor, etc. is, since if there is any slope to the surface whatsoever the hovercraft will drift downhill.

Won't work well on rough surfaces like carpet, grass, etc.

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I made one. Looks cool. drilled the holes out at 2mm. Not enough air movement from a standard balloon to do much, but it does slide when you push it!

Could you post a video please.

I made this thing. 0.25mm layer heights, 2 shells, 2 layers top and bottom, 10% infill. Some advice for makers:
The curve from the side to the top is severe, which makes each layer step in quite a lot, easy to get gaps. Also, 10% in fill makes it hard to get a smooth top in just two solid layers. So make sure you use enough top solid layers in order to get an air tight volume. Mine was leaky and inefficient.

I didn't want to throw it away, so I melted down some sacrificial crayons and coated the entire top surface in wax. That made it a lot better, and works as intended now.

A note on the general design: I like the internal air channels, etc, but printing light makes it not air tight in the interior anyway. I think retaining the holes, but making it thinner and providing only enough internal support structure to make it printable may work better.

Its printing now. very pretty print progression. what should the fill be? i guessed. hope im close!

I am going to have to drill out the holes as they got filled in starting on layer 1. what diameter should the holes be?

Use as little fill as you can get away with in order to keep the weight down. If you have to drill out the holes on the bottom, 2mm is about right, but it doesn't need to be precise.

Tried this thing. it crashes slic3r 9.2 and causes errors in netfabb corrector. i can't get past the stl. maybe re-check it?

I just created a repaired version of the STL--can you try that version and let me know if it works? Thanks.

Hmm, odd, it prints just fine on my Up, but you are right Netfabb doesn't like it. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because there's a lot of complex internal geometry to the solid.

I'll see if there's anything I can do.