How to Make a Flying Saucer Spacecraft (hovercraft)
Russell C. Osantowski Carter Elementary
5740 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago Il 60637
The objectives are:
To make science teachers more respected because they make
students fly, since they can fly in the school above the floor you are
almost a God, to create a higher motivation to study science, to show
science is fun, to increase their physics and math knowledge,
including Bernoulli's principle.
One 4 foot x 4 foot (ft.) circle or square shaped 3/4inch (in.) thick
1 piece of 2 mil plastic sheeting or dropcloth about 5 ft. square
13 and 1/2 ft. of garden hose for a plywood circle and 17 ft. for a 4
ft. plywood square - to be a bumper around the edge of the board later
12 inches of foam tape
1 screw head bolt about 1 1/4 in. long and 1/4 inch in diameter with 2
washers and a nut that fits the bolt
1 roll of 2 in. duct tape
box of strong wood staples about 3/4 in. long with ends about 3/8 in
5 inch plastic cover from a coffee can
drill and a 1/4 inch bit and a 1 1/4 inch bit, or heat a thin poker
over a fire
6 feet of string
25 to 50 foot extension cord
access to any vacuum cleaner that can have the hose blow air out
instead of only sucking it in such as any "Shop Vac" brand vacuum
HOW TO MAKE IT.
You can buy all of the above items at any hardware store except
for the coffee can cover (ccc).
1. Connect the string to opposite corners tightly and draw a line
near the center.
2. Do the same to the other 2 corners and draw the line to make a
cross that SHOULD be in the middle of the board.
3. Tie a pencil on the string and measure 2 feet from the pencil.
4. Put a nail in the middle of the board through the end of the string.
5. Draw a circle that goes to the edge of the board on all 4 sides.
6. If you want to, saw the plywood into a 4 ft. circle. Otherwise
you will have a 4 foot square hovercraft and that is probably ok.
7. Drill or burn a 1/4 inch hole through the middle of the board.
8. Drill or burn a hole 13 inches in from the edge of the plywood
the size of the blower (vacuum) hose end.
9. Staple plastic to board on the side that will be the bottom part,
and keep the plastic tight as you staple it into the edge of the
10. Make sure that the blower hole is in the middle of a slice of
the pie not in the middle of a line that you are about to draw.
11. On the plastic with an ink marker, divide the circle into 6 equal
parts and draw the lines so that each line is 60 degrees from the
next line. Therefore you divide the circle into 6 equal pieces of
12. Measure in 9 in. from the outside on each line and this will be
the center of a 5in. circle you will cut out of the plastic, but
not out of the wood. So you will have a 2 1/2 in. radius that you
draw for each 5 in. hole you cut. You will cut 6 circles of 5 in.
each and they are all 60 degrees apart.
13. Slit the hose lengthwise and put it around the edge of the
14. Hammer staples through the hose from the outside into the plywood
15. Insert the bolt through 1 washer, then through the center of the 5
in. plastic coffee can cover with its edge facing down. Put the
bolt through the plastic and the board. Put the last washer on,
put on the nut and tighten it.
16. Tape the plastic pipe into the hose of the vacuum cleaner.
17. At the bottom end of the hose, move up 3/8 of an inch and draw a
line around the pipe.
18. Tape the foam tape above the line you drew on the pipe so that the
pipe can only go into the hole from the top of the plywood about
3/8 of an inch so it won't hurt the plastic on the bottom.
19. Put duct tape over the foam tape. You just made a flange.
20. Put vacuum cleaner on top of board. Make sure it blows not sucks.
21. Connect up an extension cord to the wall and do not drive over it
later or you will have to repair the rip in the plastic with
scotch, mastic or duct tape.
22. Put a chair on the board. Sit on the chair. Plug in the vacuum
23. Get a trustworthy child to stand behind your chair to push you,
slowly and not down the stairs.
24. TURN ON THE CLEANER AND TAKE A RIDE. LEAVE YOUR WORRIES ON THE
HOW TO FLY IT
CAUTION; DO NOT LET CHILDREN RUN AND PUSH IT. THEY RUN TOO FAST, AND
THE SAUCER GOES AS FAST AS THEY RUN OR FASTER. THEY MUST WALK AND PUSH.
DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO FLY IT NEAR STAIRS. IT DOES NOT FLY DOWN STAIRS.
CHILDREN WOULD BE HURT. FOR KINDERGARDENERS, PUT 3 SMALL CHAIRS IN
FRONT, THE VACUUM CLEANER BEHIND THE MIDDLE CHAIR AND 2 OTHER CHAIRS ON
BOTH SIDES OF THE VACUUM CLEANER.
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