View Full Version : Q and A

Andrew J. Floyd - n/a
29-Jun-06, 02:54 AM

I'm thinking about some applications for hovercraft as wieght-bearing sleds. The particular task I have in mind is moving wooden pallets. I work at a Boy Scout summer camp during my vacation from school and one of the tasks we as staffers do is set up the camp for the troops that come in for the 3 weeks we are open. At the camps we provide canvas tents for every troop. Because the tents have no bottoms and the area where we do this camp has it's share of scorpions and other nasties we use large wooden platforms, two for each tent, as a floor. The only difficulty is that there are hundreds of heavy pallets to move and only 30 staff to do the job, not to mention that many of the pallets have nails in the bottom and a few friends of mine have finished a day of work with about four or five band-aids on their fingers. A few days ago we were putting camp up for the off season and it was a fairly hot Texas summer day, I and a fellow staffer were moving 32 pallets around an area about the size of a football field. While we were doing this I remembered being at a science fair and seeing a vaccum cleaner powered hovercraft that could lift me, I also remembered that it was a near frictionless surface. I jokingly suggested the idea of using a "hoversled" to scoot pallets around but afterwards I began to seriously consider the idea. The real problem is that I lack a great deal of knowledge about hovercraft. That is why I am here, because you gentlemen do.

To begin I have some questions:

1. How much will this cost me? I need to have something that will do it's job and not be prone to constant failure. At the same time I cannot afford anything over 250-300 dollars.

2. The load I will put on this thing is ESTIMATED 200-300 lbs. The pallets may be a little lighter than this but I am interested in moving possibly four at a time. Besides I would always prefer it to be overpowered than underpowered.

3. The terrain out there presents some unique challenges, there are ditches in some places about 2 feet deep, and there is a LOT of dust. Will I be able to have sufficient ground clearance and will I be able to breath without a mask while using this thing?

About the pallets there average size is 8 ft. by 3 ft.

As soon as I figure out what I'm going to do and I carry out this project I will take the thing out and field test it.

Thank you!

Sean Atterbury - n/a
30-Jun-06, 06:13 AM
Dust you say, hmmmmmmm http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Maybe if it is cource like beach sand, yes but if it is soft and light then forget it, rather get a quade.

There are people that have desighned a sled for lifting cement and stuff, but that is on a concrete floor in a factory, works well for them, but in your case I feel that maybe too small and again you will need a serious compressor nearby.

There are also people that have hoverbarge's for drilling, but again they are very big and ditches like that you have are no problem.

Hmmmmmmm http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Maybe one of the other guys could be of more help...

srn4 - n/a
30-Jun-06, 09:23 AM
Lifting that kinda weight wouldnt be a problem...There was a nightclub on tomorows world a while ago which had a pair of giant bars complete with beer barrels oak bars, pumps etc which they could move about the club by hoving them up on a cusion of air and pushing them about....

Kinda pointless....but a good way to confuse drunk people http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif

Regarding the terrain, it would have to have some kind of skirt to be able to hover over uneven surface...

To be honest, although it would be kinda cool to have a hover, you would be better off with a forklift truck or a lorry with a crane arm....


Nickinoue - n/a
30-Jun-06, 11:46 AM
Thanx 4 reminding me of that dunc, i remember that 2, funnily enough its in bristol nd ive been there, serves very nice Bass i mean cough "apple juice" http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_rolleyes.gif.

There are already thhings that use hovering like the covers in wimbledon that must weight around 1 tonne, also they have palette movers that use hover teko.

U should have np.

Good luck

Andrew J. Floyd - n/a
30-Jun-06, 01:32 PM
we do have one forklift, but it is usualy busy elsewhere moving tables and what-not.

My plan was to have maybe 2 or 3 at most 5 (If the council would support me)

The dust out there is fine powder, on windy days by the mess hall it's looked like some kind of recreation of the dust bowl in the 1930's. with this said there are areas that are less dusty than others.

With the wieght question out of the way I was wondering about cost and materials.

I'm probably going to build the beds out of plywood and was considering a leafblower engine to provide the air cushion. Skirt material is something I lack. I don't know what to make it out of and where I might find the stuff.