TOPIC: HOVERCRAFT

 

Hi guys, this is Carsten. I originally became interested in hovercraft when I came across a hovercraft racing video on YouTube, and as soon as I saw it I became fascinated by the whole thing. So here I am now, building a UH-10F hovercraft, maybe not quite a F1 racing craft, but close enough for me and my budget. Anyway, down to the building. After much research, I decided to purchase the full UH-10F kit containing all (more like mostly most) of the materials, as well as the finished prop. I thought that for such a critical part it would be worth it to get it already done instead of having to mess with that all. When all of the foam and plywood had arrived, I began by laying out everything on the 2" foam and 1/8" marine plywood. I ended up cutting everything out in advance with a jigsaw, with the exception of the thrust duct curve which I'm waiting to do for accuracy's sake. I hope it wasn't a mistake to go ahead and cut out the airbox pieces prematurely. I didn't get any pictures of this, unfortunately. Anyway, after all the pieces were cut out, I began work on the hull. I had never done any epoxy or fiberglass work before, so it was all a learning experience, and at first the whole vacuum bagging seemed rather intimidating, but it wasn't actually that bad once I understood it.

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Those are a couple of pictures of the vacuum bagging setup. I used a bunch of beach towels we had around for the cloth layer, and I used some PVC I had with 1/4 inch holes every inch or so so that it would suck down evenly. It took a while to drill all of the holes, but it worked well.

After that, I had to cut out the planing surfaces. I rigged up a little hot-wire cutter using some other PVC, a guitar string, some old electrical wires I had, and a Ryobi drill battery. It didn't look amazing, but it worked really well. 

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That's a picture of the surface right after I finished cutting it. That was my worst piece, and the other side and front were better, I just didn't get any pictures of those before they were glassed on. 

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This is right after the planing surfaces were glassed on, as well as the skirt attach strips, and I'm right about to start applying the vacuum bag. I didn't want to risk splitting the skirt attach strips, so the little black strips you see on them are little strips of duct tape that I used to hold them down.

After that, I measured and cut out the holes for the thrust duct with the jigsaw and glassed all of the joints and such. The next thing that needs to happen is to paint the bottom. In the UH plans latex paint or an epoxy layer is recommend, but I was just wondering if that's really the best thing. My first choice at the moment is rustoleum farm and implement paint with hardener. Does that seem like it would work ok for the bottom? That's all, and I will update with pictures once I get it painted.

 

Comments   

Gone7
# Gone7 2017-03-07 09:56
Looks like you're doing a great job Carsten. Looking forward to seeing more.

It sounds like you're using a jigsaw a lot. Seems to be working out fine, but I just wanted to say that sometimes a circular type saw leaves a better edge than a reciprocal for this kind of construction. I think when it comes to cutting a fiberglassed composite you'll definitely want to not use the jigsaw. It will likely try to pull your laminate away from the foam.
Raven
# Raven 2017-03-14 19:42
Thanks! I will keep that in mind when cutting in the future. I hadn't really thought about that.
Twin Fan
# Twin Fan 2017-03-13 09:50
Painting the bottom is not really necessary. The skids and skirt protect the foam from getting damaged. If anything I would use a layer of resin.
Raven
# Raven 2017-03-14 19:41
Ok, thanks for the advice. On the topic of resin, what kind do you guys use? I'm close to running out of my first 1.5 gallon set from universal, and another 1.5 gal. Would be $190 from them, and about the same from System Three. I also saw some bondo fiberglass resin at Home Depot for much cheaper. Of course, the most important thing is quality, but cheaper is always good too. I was wondering what are important things to look for in a resin for this sort of thing.
particleman83
# particleman83 2017-03-16 01:14
I've used the thin epoxy resin 635 from US Composites for years and have had pretty good results. It runs $70-75 for a 1 gallon kit.
bilco5
# bilco5 2017-03-15 10:59
I used System Three on both my craft (Uh-10 & Uh-14) .....yes it is a bit expensive but a very good resin. I have also used Solarez, a UV curing resin .....you need sunlight to cure or a good UV light ....great for items such as rudders that you will want to Fibreglass before assembly .....easy to expose a small item to the sun ...but maybe not your whole craft. The big advantage of Solarez is it's curing time which takes only minutes ....you can sand it within 10 minutes.
Twin Fan
# Twin Fan 2017-03-16 12:18
I always use West systems epoxy resin. It is nice because there is very little odor. It is also really easy to mix. One pump of resin and one pump of hardener. They also have lots of different fillers to use so you can mix it up thicker to use as filler.
Scott Crane
# Scott Crane 2017-11-03 10:21
I know its been awhile, but how is this project going?
I've been getting epoxy resin from ebay: www.ebay.com/usr/the-epoxy-resin-store
Gallons run $90 shipped, I recently picked up a 1/2gal for $46.
I've also found a good deal on fiberglass cloth at www.fiberglasssite.com/2-50-per-yard-or-less/ which is a biaxial 17oz (no chop strand layer) 30" cloth. 20 yds for $50 plus another $20 shipping. Very nice cloth for the price and smooth as a baby's backside without the scratchy chop strand layer :)

Good luck with your 10f, I'm planning on a 10f-2 this next (2018) summer.

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Author / Member : Raven

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