DIY Hoverboard: Walk-through
So, you want to grow your own Hoverboard? Well, finally, after literally thousands of emails, here is your definitive guide to Hoverboard construction. I'll start with a 'Shopping List' I wrote for a feature at www.five.tv/gadgetshow and then I'll follow up with what I hope is a straight forward guide to the build that has had everyone talking. Click below to get started.
First up, I want to reference the fact that several sites on the web have plans for building a 'human puck.' My build is based on their work, with a few subtle innovations of my own. I've got a V2.0 Hoverboard in the works which will feature a steerable propulsion system, but for the time being here are instructions for my Hoverboard as featured on The Gadget Show.
Basic tool set:
A relatively heavy-duty stapler, a hack saw and jig saw. A drill and a bunch of drill-bits. A special wood drill-bit that’s the same diameter as your plumbing pipe. An electric screw driver – believe me, you’ll need one if you want to save your fingers and palms from bruising. A craft knife or scalpel. An insurance policy with good fringe benefits.
- A 30cc Petrol driven leaf blower engine.
- A bunch of rainwater piping and connectors – whatever size best fits you’re the nozzle of your leaf blower.
- Some form of handy clips that will eventually secure your leaf blower to your board as you might need to put it on and off during building.
- More duct tape than is healthy.
- Serious amounts of screws – small enough to fix through your plastic grommet (see below) or the fastening for your engine without penetrating the underside of your board.
- Plywood – cut to150cm x 60cm
- A very large piece of plastic sheeting – I used 1000 gauge 250 micro waterproof damp proof lining.
- A Plastic ‘Grommet’ 100cm x 10cm – made out of three joined up strips of plastic from the bottom of a storage box and duct taped together (so, three plastic strips 33 cm x 10cm that make up one big one.)
Total cost is around £150 ($200)– total build time (when you’ve eventually figured out what the hell you’re doing and fielded questions from the neighbours) about 1 hour.
Okay. Here goes the simplest way I can think of to take you through the Hover-board construction. First up, cut your board shape (up to you that one, you can see what I went with.) You need to judge this next bit for yourself but you need to drill your air inlet hole in the bottom third of your board, roughly in the position of my drawing (except it won’t be as big). You should have purchased a drill bit the width of your drain piping, this is what you’ll use for the air inlet hole. Next, cover one side of your board with your plastic and turn it over so you’ve got about a hands width of plastic left evenly around the edge. Then staple that bad boy down with layer upon layer of staples all around the edge. Seal all your staples with duct tape.
If you were to join up your drain piping, chuck a bend in it and stick one end in your leaf blower and the other in your recently drilled hole, then switch it on – your plastic covered side would balloon (and probably pop). In order to get the plastic skirt to sit low and pressurise properly, you need to whack a ‘grommet’ in the middle. The measurements and details are above, but the concept is that it’s smack bang in the middle of the board. You can’t use staples on this one, because the harder plastic of the storage box will shatter. Use screws instead, screws that are stubby enough not to go up and through the board. Now if you were to inflate the skirt, you’d get a big rectangular donut that would get you no further than if you were to try and ride a bouncy castle down the street (and again, it would probably pop). So, we need to add the final and most crucial element, the holes; six down each side and one at the opposite end to where the air inlet hole is. Again, this final stage is open to your own interpretation; I’ve absolutely no idea what he optimum size for the board, the grommet and number or position of holes is. Who knows what performance increases could be achieved by one of you – with a calculator and an eye for a staggeringly complex mathematics challenge.
And that’s just about it, aside from the need for you to fix down your leaf blower on the top of the board. The only top tip I can give, is use duct tape to seal every single seal, pipe join, staple and screw hole; use the stuff like paint, carefully seal anything that could affect the integrity of your skirt in the knowledge that air lost is velocity wasted.
WARNING: Be very careful on this thing. If you get this right you’ll have a relatively heavy object that is virtually friction free. If you let it go you may never stop it until it hits either you or someone/something else. Be extrememly careful where you use your Hover-Board, giving yourself plenty of room and absolutely no-one or no traffic anywhere near you. You can use this invention inside, but it’s no advisable as the fumes from the engine can soon get the better of you. It’s best outside on the smoothest surface you can find. It’s probably not a good idea to use a sports hall like I did. Remember, I had supervision and a team of people who could monitor the state of the air. I do not accept any responsibility for any accidents that occur as a result of anyone deciding to follow these build instructions.