Fan-powered skateboard

[Chris Neal] is starting his hacking career young. He built this fan-powered skateboard for his fourth grade ‘Invention Convention’. The ideas were his own but he had some help with the construction from his uncle who owns a repair garage. On the back of the board there’s a motorcycle battery that powers the fan. We’re not sure where that fan came from, but apparently it can push a rider at about 3-5 MPH. [Chris] scored a free MacBook pro from this hack after being featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

For some reason this sparks the memory of the drill powered minibike.

[via Gizmo Watch]


  1. pillbox says:

    looks like automotive radiator fan.
    commonly found on front wheel drive cars when engine driven fan isn’t practical.

  2. David says:

    I dont think it’s a radiator fan, it wouldn’t have the housing or stand. I’m guessing here, but I think it might be a 12V fan used in drag racing to cool an engine bay between runs. Most people use 120vac fans and a generator, but surely someone had to of made a 12V model for ease of use at the track.

  3. b. foo says:

    I did this same thing around that age too. I didn’t have any help though. I also built one with a sail on it (made from a refrigerator box) which I actually liked better than the electric powered one.

  4. Roger says:

    egad! shades of Wile E. Coyote! WELL DONE, SON!

  5. osgeld says:

    good job kid, just dont expect to get a tv spot and a free macbook every time

  6. Andrew says:

    this is old. as an avid I skater I read about this about 2 years ago.

  7. Arijit says:

    If only I could start this young! Whatever, Cool Little Guy he is! Keep it up man!

  8. sirmadog says:

    Where the heck is my gosh darn hoverboard Mr. Spielberg!

  9. JMLB says:

    Ninja turtles had those except they could catch up to cars lol.

    Good job kid!

  10. captain says:

    that’s my main man right there! yeah! now that’s how you do it!

  11. emuboy says:

    this look dangerous…like a figer-eater skateboard :S

    anyway…good job :D

  12. Derek says:


  13. fartface says:

    That IS a radiator fan. the tabs are what mount to a radiator, it seems that someone fabricated a housing for it.

  14. andrew says:

    Some kids did this on my street a few years ago except they used a rechargeable leaf-blower. It was pretty fast.

  15. pookey says:


    No offense, but your comments strike me as being a bit lame.

    Any time you see a little kid swinging a wrench or pounding a nail into a board (instead of vegetating in front of some stupid video game) he/she should be encouraged and lauded.

    It’s easy to assume that kids have always been lazy button pushers, or if they actually ventured outside, taggers of road signs and brick walls. Not so. 50-100 years ago, kids spent their free time “hacking” all sorts of interesting things, including bikes, primitive go-cart-like automobiles, and full-sized hang gliders. They crafted home-built motors, crystal radios, water wheels, simple lathes, and their own mechanized toys.

    If you doubt this, you probably have never seen a copy of the book “The Boy Mechanic,” circa 1925. This was a thick volume of projects for boys. Granted, most adults these days wouldn’t have the knowledge or the basic common sense required to build these things, but our society has been dumbed down. It was assumed, at that time, that the average boy did have the requisite skills.

    Still not convinced? Find some copies of anything written by Alfred P. Morgan. Projects in his books included radios, amplifiers, turntables, geiger counters, “electric eyes”, motors, and more, not to mention homebuilt aquariums and chemistry equipment.

    Now, has this kid built an over-unity fusion reactor? No. But cut him some slack. It does my heart good to see a little kid “hacking” in the spirit of “The Boy Mechanic.” I’m also happy for him that he has family members willing to encourage and “help” him turn his ideas into something tangible.

    Good job, Chris. Do well in school, and get yourself an engineering degree.

  16. Chris says:

    I think the point is here Mt Poo is that he did not do any a normal kid would not have done. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time and got a tv spot out of it. Also you are not giving todays kids enough credit. I am sorry to break your heart, but Times have changed, Engineering is not the norm in the US. Most of this work has moved over seas. Maybe because of modern kids, Maybe for other reasons.

  17. Stephen says:

    All of us “older” kids would remember going out in the morning on Saturday and not coming home until the streetlights came on. And in that time we built any number of things that could kill or maim us. No helmets, pads, etc. It’s great to see a kid being creative, even if it did come from a cartoon. Keep up being imaginative kid!!

  18. octel says:

    Poor kid!
    Fallbrook really sucks, but he managed to make the best of it.

  19. maryjane says:

    i dont know where people get off calling this stuff “Hacks”, the kid had an IDEA and furthered his IDEA into an INVENTION he made….. this IS NOT a hack, a HACK takes a previously invented idea or product and makes it into something better or worse depending on the 12 year old doing it…. what he did was to take an idea of his own weather he got it from blue space or read about it and decided to build it, but either way…. what he did… although it be cool…IS NOT a HACK.

  20. Peter says:

    This is the kind of thing you’d see in a cartoon or comic. Still it is well done so kudos to the kid. And yes that is a radiator fan for those who were debating. Everyone here should be supportive of young whippersnapper inventors cause we were all there once.

  21. Andrew says:

    Look all I am saying is that this has been done before. And in my opinion he shouldn’t have gotten a macbook pro for it. This is the original one that I saw a while back…

  22. mattTC says:

    I’m designing a fanboard at the moment – the kids one is crap, its not even a skateboard really as it has no lean controlled steering. Or any other form of steering. But he is a kid and assuming it wasn’t totally made by his uncle then well done him.

    This one: (same as above)
    is much better, although the deck should be longer and wider.

    Also there’s not the same need to conserve weight as there is with a model plane so I plan to use a larger and heavier engine, which should be cheaper and lighter.

  23. mrgoogfan says:

    i can just see him falling and getting cut to bits…

  24. pookey says:


    The key to making a persuasive argument of your own opinion is to first know what your own opinion actually is. Apparently you don’t.

    First you say that this kid “…did not do any [thing]a normal kid would not have done.”

    Then, in the same post, you turn around argue that “times have changed,” and that “modern kids” aren’t interested in engineering. In essence, you make my point for me.

    Let me help you figure out what you believe. I’ll send you a dollar for every elementary school kid you can find who has built himself something like this air board. In turn, you send me a dollar for every time I find a new telephone box, wall, or building that has been tagged by some moron.

    At the end of a month, the truth will be evident, and on the plus side, I should have enough money to buy a macbook for everyone on Hackaday who is bitter that a little kid got 15 minutes of fame.

  25. Pete says:

    I hope (and all signs point to no) that this Chris Neil does not grow up to be like this Chris Neil

    Also, can you imagine how fun this is to a kid? And educational too!

  26. drew says:

    that would be fan propelled, its clearly powered by an engine, nice try though.

  27. drew says:


  28. Интернет-магазин телевизоров и плазменных панелей

  29. Miska says:


    Really? You’re going to troll about something that a kid did and complain about it not meeting your adult standards? GTFO

  30. Punkguyta says:

    While what this kid did is a really neat project (for his age), I’m 17, and although this is retarded to me now, I’m sure it probably would have been something really cool and NEW to me as a young child. I was IMMENSELY mystified and curious about electrical devices and “hacking” as I know it to be now, as a kid.

    On a side note, I’m pissed that all this kid did was get his uncle to help him attach an electric fan to a 2×4 (exaggeration I know) and he got a free macbook?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!?

    I would kill to have a macbook, I owned a G4 ibook for several years and it treated me super well, but I can’t say I’ve ever touched a macbook.

    Jealousy may set in, but really, I’ve built many more creative things than this and they never got featured on “Ellen Degeneres” which btw my mom watches, I don’t mind the lady, but it’s another Oprah Wimphrey to me.

    And this isn’t just me, I know for a fact there are many creative people on the interwebs here that deserve some kind of retribution for their hard earned hacking efforts.

  31. Roly says:

    @pookey – I seriously miss all the old DIY booklets for electronic instruments and devices, many still very instructive today.

    It’s a real hack ’cause there’s no guard on the fan, but hey WTF, it’s only his right hand, he can still play guitar okay.

    Onya kid! Now find an outboard motor …

  32. looks like u could lose a hand or toe. like a pontoon boat

  33. jeditalian says:

    idk why u say this is not a hack, and why kids shouldnt be getting free macbooks just because you didnt get a free macbook. and then like 300 more words i just deleted. this reminds me of a science project, and if first place in the science fair could score me a macbook pro (back in the 90s) then i would have put more into it and actually made that logbook thing that is part of the grade & required for your project to even be considered. anyway, give macgyver some crap and he will hack it to do something the individual parts werent originally intended to do, like this piece of wood, cooling device, and other crap was hacked into a fart dispersal mechanism. now he can visit and enjoy the classics without having to blow on the cartridge.

  34. strider_mt2k says:

    I for one am baffled by the misplaced,misworded, mistyped and just plain old mistaken comments on this entry.

    Just get your own life and use part of it to learn a language, any language.

    Just pick one and go with it, but learn it to the point that you can communicate effectively.

  35. pookey says:


    Seriously, dude. Grow up.

  36. Alan says:

    Ever stood on a skate-board with a leaf-blower, it’s surprisingly fast.

  37. D- says:

    I don’t think it shouldn’t be surprising that many others may have has this concept or variations of, but that should detract from this young mans effort or reward. Very conceivable that he independently. So he has assistance with the construction, so did Edison, Tesla, and others, I belive it’s called the R&D Dept.. How ever the kid’s Uncle could have is a** kicked, for letting the machine leave the shop without a guard around the fan. Teaching his nephew to be stupid.

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