I had just stumbled across a site called www.hackaday.com, and I was fascinated. Most of the hacks were too nerdy for me to really be interested in, but one stuck out.
"Build a Hovercraft for under $100"
Yeah! As a kid I would always read the classifieds section of the Boy Scout magazine, and salivate over the plans to build a hovercraft. I wanted to build one and ride it around in school instead of walking.
My parents didn't go for that idea.
I was pumped that I would finally get my day. My friend Andrew was at my hous. I told him that I was going to build a hovercraft, and he said that it was impossible.
We bet $100 on whether or not I could build it in a day. Perfect - that was my budget.
My friend Nick was over too. He was also excited about the hovercraft and he agreed to help me build it.
Off to Home Depot.
We bought a huge square of fiberboard. We were hoping to find a round piece, but couldn't. No problem. My father is a carpenter and I used to get his hand-me-down tools, so I had plenty of saws.
Duct tape. Check.
PVC tarp for the skirt. Check.
Leaf blower. The leaf blower is what pumps the air into the skirt and lifts the thing off the ground. They suggest an electric one, but that wasn't going to give me the range I wanted.
Knowing that I'd be getting $100 for winning the bet, I splurged and bought the biggest and baddest gas leaf blower they had available for around $85.
They suggested gluing the leaf blower to the hovercraft, but I got sidetracked in the plumbing department and spent an hour - literally - combining pipes and toilet fittings and such until I came up with an awesome mount for the leaf blower. It would be removable for easy transportation.
Then we went home and got to work. The construction was pretty easy, all things considered. We rounded out the corners, mounted the piping, and built the skirt.
The hardest part was doing all the duct taping that was required. The instructions called for completely covering the bottom with tape to make it more durable. It wasn't that the labor was hard - the problem was that we were so close that it was hard to resist just flipping it over and trying it.
Finally we finished the construction and the moment of truth was upon us.
We cleared out a big area in the middle of the garage and fired up the leaf blower. Sure enough, the hovercraft created a little cushion of air to float on. Sawdust blew out from all directions.
I sat on it. and it supported my weight. It worked!
At first we were happy just taking turns pushing around my little driveway, but that didn't last.
Soon we invested in brakes, which was a kid's spiderman themed boxing glove that the driver would wear and drag on the ground to slow down.
We found that even a slight hill in a parking lot would provide enough acceleration to get some decent speed.
But that wasn't good enough either.
Before long we were scoping out huge office park driveways that didn't have speedbumps (surprisingly hard to find). We would tie a rope to a car and take turns pulling each other at 30mph.
Now that was fun. So fun, in fact, that when the Pick Up Convention came to Austin, a good portion of the attendees opted to skip going out in favor of hoverboarding.
Finally after a series of abuse, the skirt got too many holes and wouldn't float very well. When I moved out of my house I gave the rig away to a father who wanted to fix it up for his son.
Maybe he'll get to drive it in school. How bad could the carbon monoxide really be?
That is so tight i always wanted one! I just started flying kites because I thought they were fun, and it actually became a fun, odd way to pick up on girls at a lake. I was youtubing kites when I came across the coolest thing ever!!! I know thats a bold claim, but I honestly don't know if you could get something cooler than this.I know you like to do stuff out of the norm so I figured I should tell you about it. Youtube "flying manta ray". Its a boating inter tube that flys like a kite...with you on it!!!! I've always wished i could fly on a kite, and now you actually can!!! If you got one and did a blog about it that would totally rock!!! Let me know what you think about it thanks! -Owen
That's the only pic I have... the others are a bit dark. It doesn't really convey the sheer terror of being dragged behind a car on it.
No pics? Awesome none the less.
There is always such a great deal of satisfaction from pulling off things like this as well.
When I was a kid with a little help from my dad (who also was a carpenter and built the family home)we made a serious billy cart from an old pram frame, some lawn mower wheels on front and the big rubber pram wheels on back plus some wood.
It was bad ass for a 6 year old.
First I was happy for dad to push me down the small hill of our driveway, then the steeper hill at the back of our property (which saw me and cart end up in the creek below - wipeout).
After seeing eskimo dog sleds on TV I roped up our two dogs (old english sheep dog and a labrador) and let them go nuts. Unfortunately that led to many collisions with trees. When dog-carting kids, don't forget your helmet and if possible get some real huskies that know what they are doing.
Years later I discovered it even worked well towed behind a car :)
Before I went to Massachusetts, things were peachy. I did 4 days with only one hour of oversleeping. Then during Massachusetts I did rather poorly, but still not too bad. When I got back I was settling back into my polyphasic/gangsta lifestyle, but that got interrupted for my trip to Vegas. And Vegas, surprisingly, wasn't kind to the schedule.
Since then I've been trying to get back on the boat, so to speak. Last night I only overslept by 90 minutes, but I just woke up from a 4 hour (!!!!) oversleep. So now, I confess that I've been keeping something from you, dear reader.
If you haven't read my first post, "Beady Blue Eyes," I suggest you look through that first, as this is the second installment and will make much more sense if you do so.
I texted Beady Blue Eyes when I was home for Christmas. I wanted to get some sort of closure since we stopped talking cold-turkey five months ago. I told him I wanted to hang out and catch up. With a minimal amount of persuasion, he agreed to take me on a drive like he used to do.
He picked me up at my mom's house. We drove and talked, parked and talked, for four hours. We talked about our "relationship" and other things. Random things. Politics, knee caps, icicles.
Then after a long pause he said, "I feel like that five months never happened. Like we picked up right where we were." After I agreed he said, "And it's weird because I keep thinking I should kiss you 'cause..."
"That's what feels natural," I finished for him.