Last time we checked in on [Ivan Miranda] he was putting a drill press on the Internet. Lately, he has been trying to 3D print a hovercraft with some success. He made four attempts before arriving at one that works fairly well, as you can see in the video below. We will warn you, though, the screwdriver cam is a bit disconcerting and we suggest waiting at least an hour after you eat to watch.
The starboard impeller broke midway through the test, although with a single impeller it was working pretty well. [Ivan] thinks he can print the impeller frames more strongly to prevent future failures. The design is in Fusion360 and there is enough detail that you can probably duplicate his work if you have the urge. There’s a mount for a headlight and an action camera on the bow.
What might be even more interesting than the actual build, though, is the process he took to get to it. There are videos for each of the iterations, and it is interesting to see how the design went from concept to reality in each evolution.
We think of hovercraft and surface effect vehicles (there is a difference) as modern contrivances, but the reality is there was a discussion of the effect in the 1700s and even a patent in 1870, despite sufficiently powerful engines being unavailable at the time. The first military surface effect vehicle dates back to 1915 and there was a classified air cushion vehicle in World War II as well. It would be the 1950s though before practical modern designs appeared.