April 15, 2015
A couple of issues back, Popular Science (their motto: we’re not really popular, we just have a big ego) published an article about how to build a DIY hovercraft. For those of you not in the know, DIY means “do it yourself,” which is what I plan to tell my kids someday.
So “Hey,” I thought. “I always wanted to ride around in a hovercraft.” So I read a little further and found that it was an article about how to build a DIY hovercraft out of a pair of paper plates.
Clearly I was not going to do much hovering on that.
But hey, I kept reading and for sure, I learned a few things.
1- I would need to go out and buy three small fans (with particular wiring requirements)
2- I would have to use a drill and attach the fans with certain screws that I would also have to buy somewhere to the paper plates.
3- I repeat- I would be using a power tool to put a tiny hole in a paper plate. Isn’t a safety pin good enough?
I already had the paper plates, but I did not have the fans with the particular wiring requirements, the right size screws, a bracket to hold the batteries, or the technical ability to follow the directions.
Making the “hovercraft,” and I use the term loosely as it is made of paper plates, required following a complex schematic and some precision drilling. And what did the article say I would end up with? I am paraphrasing, but it more or less said that I’d end up with an expensive paper plate that hovered an inch or two off the ground.
I’d get better results with a Frisbee and a dog in the park.
The month before, Popular Science had the directions to build some DIY electronic thing that had more warnings than your average Fukushima reactor. And what did it do? It was an umbrella stand that lit up when it was rainy out. Seriously.
Here is the actual hovercraft diagram from the magazine:
Helpful, isn’t it?
And here’s an actual step from the directions:
Saw two corners off each fan case, leaving the wired corner and the one opposite attached. Arrange the fans inside the top plate as in step 1, and pass nylon screws, from below, through the eight mounting holes in both the top plate and the fans.
Note that I have to use a saw to lop off part of the fans. For a paper plate toy!
I’m not sure this is worth losing a thumb over.
On their site you can also find an article on, and I swear I am not making this up, how to build a laser-sighted blowgun for only $3. What could possibly go wrong?