A Simple Hoverboard Everyone Can Understand

Air Hoverboard

To be honest, we were wondering when we would see someone try this…

[Ryan Craven] has successfully built a working hovercraft that looks like a skateboard. It floats on two pockets of air generated by four Black and Decker leaf blowers — and by golly, it certainly looks like it works!

Ever since the HUVr hoax earlier this year, [Ryan] has had the goal to make a real, working hoverboard. Hendo may have beaten him to the punch with their $10,000 eddy current inducing halbach array board, but alas, it only works on copper or aluminum floors. [Ryan’s] can be used anywhere a normal skateboard can be. It’s far from sleek, but it’s only just the prototype — though we’re curious to see how far this could actually go.

Which is precisely why he’s shared it over on Hackaday.io and is hoping to draw some support and ideas from our wonderful community here.

What do you guys think? Is it worth continuing the pursuit of a hovercraft style hoverboard? Can we shrink the technology enough to make it feasible? It’s come a long way from the classic hover craft using a giant shop vac…

31 thoughts on “A Simple Hoverboard Everyone Can Understand

  1. More power! Perhaps the next prototype should be a gas-powered backpack blower. Or some nice math to determine the amount of airflow needed to keep a taller skirt inflated for his body weight. All through the video you can hear him bottoming out and the friction keeps slowing him down. If he could solve those problems it would be a viable platform.

    1. I’m not too keen on any sort of wearable features with this. Same goes for remotes. It just doesn’t fit skating. Definitely interested in refining my airflow methods. A lot of the bottoming out was actually a product of the skirt ripping. This was my 24″ disc verison which just holds my body weight (150lbs). I recently put together a new 28″ disc version that holds my weight much better (tested at 170lbs too) but increasing size has its limits. I’d rather continue to look into increasing power.

      1. What’s the current skirt material? I naively suggest use of kevlar. Also, how thick is the skirt unladen from ground to bottoming-out point? I’d assume something in the range of 2″ with compression to 1-1.5″ with you on it just standing should hold up well in use. At least as far as targets for the next prototype. Someone more familiar with hovercraft could then calculate airflow needed based on those requirements which would drive selection of fan(s) and power source as well.

    1. I actually have not seen it. I assume they used gas powered?

      Part of the reason why I’m happy to be bringing this to hackaday is this community understands I’m not an inventor. I’m a maker. Just like the skateboard though, I simply took someone else’s idea, doubled it up and put a board on top of it.

    2. they did it in a french tv show that is like mythbuster. they use liquid nitrogen to change physical properties of some metal and then , as long as it’s very cold the skateboard floats in the air.problem is you need liquid nitrogen to refill it like every 3 minutes to keep it cold.

  2. All of these hoverboards are missing the lateral stability that is in wheels on axles.
    Try putting casters on a regular board and then ride it. Bust yer buns! At least the air vents when leaning giving some side thrust. Magnets no. It would seem that leaning would even counter act. Kinda like landing a taildrager in a crosswind.

    1. This is why hendo hoverboard is assinine as with all the bullshit hype surrounding it. It has zero control and therefore zero fun factor or safety. Tony Hawk looked shaky ass hell on the thing.

      However, as someone who built a small 6×8 hovercraft a lifetime ago in my middle schools industrial tech/ metal shop I love the hoverboard deal as seen here on HAD and on mythbusters much better. Simple hovercrafts are still really difficult to control.

      A stiff skirt loop epoxied to the bottom of the skirt made with UHMW-PE to protect the bottom of the skirt and to keep skirt semi rigid allowing it to curve to the mostly flat or single curves found in the skate park. Flame the UWMW-PE to get it to stick with epoxy. On the sides of the skirt would be holes closed with thin spring steel inserts when leaning on one side of the board the opposite side of the skirt would stretch opening the hole vectoring thrust. looking like this () but sideways. Could have a hole on the front and back of the skirt to accelerate and brake as well simply by leaning.

      A more weight effective efficient source of high volume low pressure air would be CO2 pressurized %17 minimum H202 mixed with any hydrocarbon (sugar, kerosene, gas) a one way valve then catalyzed through a platinum or silver screen stack. You can get swagelocks very cheaply on EBAY to build the reactor. A hand controller using a bicycle brake cable and a spring to open and close the valve would allow control. A very small amount would provide allot of hot air cushion. This fuel source is patented though so don’t try to sell it.

      Good luck man! Might want to invest in a helmet and wrist wraps as well.

      1. You’ve got a lot of H8 my friend, but I feel your frustration. And more importantly, you seem to have some really good info there. Do you have any accompanying visuals? Feel free to pm me.

    2. I suspect in this implentation, same as other hovercrafts, the side thrust is minimal, way too little to be noticeable. The “magnet” version though, from what I understand about that project, is much better at this — the amount you lean is the amount the thrust angle changes, like in a quadcopter.

      I agree with Iageos that a little algorithmic attitude control based on IMU inputs (or even an “optical mouse sensor”) could go a long way in providing an illusion of the board having a front and a rear, a direction.

        1. I think that would probably be a non issue. Since the angle on those would likely be steep enough that they would catch the skirt causing the hovercraft to lose its lift and grind into the ground.

    1. Casterboards have the free-swiveling wheel mounted at an angle or tilt, this is how they provide vectored thrust forward by wiggling around side to side. if it was like a normal ‘caster’ it’d just spin, wobble, you’d fall, and it would be hopeless.

      1. Still a really neat niche market though. I’d be shocked if this ever reached the same popularity as a skateboard, but I think it’d be great to be in the same niche ranks as a caster board.

    1. Ya, I made a new 28″ version that holds my weight much better. I’m even curious to try as more of a skim board. As long as I don’t pop my skirt, I think a running start could be an interesting experiment.

  3. If i had the money, i would strap 4x50lbs thrust model jet engines to a board and there you have it. Spice it up with some nice stabilizing algorithms and that is a real overboard.
    Also helicopters….. they are kind of like a hoverboard.

  4. Hover boards are cool, but as of right now magnetic suspension wheels is my favorite. If hoverboards at some point can provide downward force without energy, then you talkin, but otherwise seems pointless to me. But a wheel with near zero friction, that sounds cool. Keep up the good work though. One idea for fuel is a backpack with gasoline, with then fuel lines running down to motors, and a bunch of sensors to even the trust for stability. As far as forward mobility, maybe some type of valve to open on the back allowing air inside the bubble to trust out the back

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