Dragsters are typically about peak performance on a tarmac drag strip. [Engineering After Hours] took a different tack, though, building a radio-controlled amphibious dragster intended to cross small bodies of water.
The build is based on a Traxxas Raptor RC car. However, it’s been heavily reworked from a pickup-like design to become a dragster with a motor mounted in the rear. It’s also been fitted with a foam underbody to allow it to float when stationary. The rear tires have been replaced with 3D-printed versions with large paddles, which provide propulsion in the water.
Initial tests showed the car struggled to make progress in the water, as the paddle tires tended to drag the rear end deeper under water. The tiny dragster tires up front didn’t help it steer, in water either. Large foam discs were added to the front tires to enable them to act as better rudders.
Fitted with its water tires and foam floatation aids, the car can only drive slowly on land, but [Engineering After Hours] points out this is enough to call it amphibious. It does a better job at skittering around on water, and it was able to cross a local pond at low speed.
We’ve seen some other creative techniques for making amphibious vehicles, like these crazy star-shaped wheels. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Amphibious Dragster Drives On Water”
What do you get when you combine a cheap RC boat from Walmart, foam board, a couple powerful motors, and some aluminum cans? Most people would just end up with a pile of garbage, but we’ve already established [Peter Sripol] is fairly far from “most people”. In his hands, this collection of scraps turns into an almost unbelievably nimble seaplane, despite looking like something out of a TailSpin and Mad Max crossover episode.
In his latest YouTube video, [Peter] takes viewers through the process of turning one of these rather lame RC boats into an impressive flying machine. His took inspiration from the Sikorsky S-38, an American amphibious aircraft introduced in 1928. The S-38 looked like a fairly traditional boat bolted to the bottom of a set of huge wings, so it’s little surprise that he patterned this build after it.
The construction of the seaplane is very simple, and boils down to cutting some big wings out of foam board, using some sticks to give it some rigid framing, and putting a tail on it. The biggest problem is that the boat’s hull lacks the “steps” that a seaplane would have, so it’s not an ideal shape to lift out of the water. But with enough thrust and a big enough control surface, it all works out in the end.
Which is in effect the principle by which the whole plane flies. There’s a large elevator cantilevered far astern to help leverage the boat out of the water, but otherwise all other control is provided by differential thrust between the two top mounted motors. The lack of a rudder does make its handling a bit sluggish in the water, but it obviously has no problem once it’s airborne.
If [Peter] and his foam board artistry seem familiar, it’s probably from the not one but two homemade aircraft he built with shockingly similar techniques to this current project.
Continue reading “Cheap RC Boat Turned Weirdly Capable Seaplane”
What’s better than having your own houseboat? How about an amphibious houseboat? That’s exactly what [Theon Parseghian] is building in his driveway. It all started with a derelict 32-foot long houseboat. A 1967 model with a rusted steel hull, [Theon] originally bought it as a guest house.
[Theon] couldn’t let the boat rust away in his back yard though. Quickly decided to get it back on the open water…. and on the road. An amphibious houseboat. While looking for large tractor tires, [Theon] found an entire crop sprayer which hadn’t been used in years. This crop sprayer was a giant tricycle wheeled monster, with huge spray arms.
The original plan was to carve out a hole for the sprayer, and essentially drop the boat on the sprayer chassis. Things never quite work out as planned though. The sprayer was a bit too short, so it’s chassis was replaced with one from a school bus. The axle wasn’t quite long enough to clear the boat’s draft, so it was extended with custom steel wheel spacers.
The build is documented in a 7 part series on YouTube. The latest episode details the boat’s first drive under its own power. We’re not sure how street legal an amphibious houseboat would be, but [Theon] doesn’t have too far to drive, as there is a large lake just behind his shop in Upstate New York. The houseboat launches on August 23. Good luck [Theon]!
If a houseboat is too big for you, how about a barrel boat. If you’re into tiny boats, you could cross the Atlantic with a 42-inch vessel.
Continue reading “Amphibious Houseboat Hits The Open Road”
Our hats off to [SpeedyCop] and his [Gang of Outlaws] for turning a junked former Vietnam War helicopter into both an amphibious vehicle and a road race car. Yes, that’s right. It’s both driven on water and raced in the 24 Hours of LeMons at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
It started life as a 1969 Bell OH-58 Kiowa (US Army Vietnam Assault helo) and had not only served in Vietnam but also for a federal drug task force. It was chopped up for parts and the body found its way to [SpeedyCop] and friends. The body now sits on an 80s Toyota van chassis, has a Mazda Miata rear suspension, and Audi 3.0 V6 engine.
The pontoons were originally added to hide the seam between the helicopter body and the van but they then inspired the idea of making it amphibious. And with the addition of a four-blade, 7000 RPM propeller from a parasail boat, the idea became reality, as you can see in the video after the break (we suspect the trailing line is a rope to pull it back to shore in case of engine failure).
Continue reading “Vietnam War Helicopter Turned Amphibious Racecar”
Hackaday regular [Berto] is always looking for new ways to get around, and wrote in to share his most recent creation, an amphibious bicycle.
He bought an off-the-shelf inflatable boat and constructed a rig that allows him to stably mount the bike on it. Once [Berto] comes across a body of water he wants to cross, all he requires is about 7 minutes time to inflate the boat and attach his bike. Using a modified version of his electric drill-based trolling motor we saw last year, the Amphi-cycle glides across the water effortlessly as demonstrated by his assistant in the video below.
Right now the boat is propelled solely by the trolling motor and a large lead-acid battery. We would love to see the amphi-cycle powered by its rider, though we don’t know how that would affect the “one boat fits all” design [Berto] is aiming for.
Continue reading “Amphi-Cycle Lets You Ride The Trails, The Waves, And Back Again”
This doesn’t have the flashy futuristic appeal that we’d like to see from high-tech robots, but this amphibious wanderer is well suited for it’s intended purpose. It was developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota to navigate mostly wet environments, collecting data about water quality as part of a distributed army of sensor bots.
The two little arms sticking out in front of it are made of carbon fiber and attached to servo motors inside. The video below the fold shows the trapezoidal body tumbling end-over end to get around. But the awkward, baby-turtle-like locomotion isn’t the only thing in its bag of movement tricks. It can also adjust its buoyancy to float, sink, or hover somewhere in the wet stuff.
To get a better look at what went into developing this, take a look at the Adelopod developed at UMN a couple of years back. We also embedded a video of that tumbling robot because they share the build details we’re always on the lookout for.
Continue reading “Aquabot Gets Around More Than You’d Think”