We’ve had some inquiries about the cutaway engine we bring with us to shows and Maker Faires, and I’ve always wanted to make more. I cut the first one away with a hacksaw and lots of elbow grease, but I’ve since streamlined the process. The new cutaway engines feature a precision milled engine block and cylinder head, revealing the engine internals. The crankshaft, camshaft, balance shaft, piston, pushrods, and valves all work with a turn of the crank. The starter motor, flywheel/ring gear, and carburetor with throttle and choke butterfly valves are also present, so this is as close to a working engine as you can get… except for the gaping hole in the side! The cover plate is made from laser cut acrylic, and the hand crank is zinc-plated steel for years of reliable service. Cutaway engines are great as both teaching tools and conversation pieces! See the Cutaway Engine product page for details.
We’ve been hard at work putting together a smaller version of the LSX designed around the F15 racing class. Like the previous craft, it uses a modular foam construction technique, but has a smaller 10.75′ x 5.25′ footprint. The driver will sit in a kneeling position to further lower the CG of the craft. As shown here, the base hull weighs about 40 lbs so far, and has almost 1000 lbs of flotation. The propulsion system is a 13 HP engine with a 2.25:1 belt reduction driving a 36″ Multiwing fan, which should be very smooth and quiet. Stay tuned for updates!
We just received our first CNC cut thrust duct former. We’re about to release a former designed for a 36″ duct with 1/8″ tip clearance, but contact us to ask about custom sizes! We can cut formers for larger thrust ducts, as well as smaller models for lift ducts. The former is cut from lightweight 3/8″ plywood, and comes in four identical pieces. Semicircular former pairs are assembled into circles with 4 bolts, and the two assembled circles are snapped together with 12 slotted tabs. The 1/8″ plywood typically used for the inside of duct is then simply wrapped around the duct former. A 1″ center hole is drilled to allow alignment with an engine or reduction drive output shaft on the craft, and can also be used to suspend the duct former during assembly and fiberglassing of the duct. When the duct is complete, remove the bolts and tabs, and the former easily collapses and is removed from the duct! Use the CNC duct former to drastically reduce your duct build time. Assembly only takes 5 minutes right out of the box!
Our new belt reduction drive is now ready for testing. This is an optimized version of the reduction drive that has been running on the LSX prototype craft. It is designed for the Generac or Briggs 35 industrial V-twin engines, but can easily be adapted to any industrial engine in this size range. The reduction drive features all aluminum and stainless steel construction for durability in all-weather environments and is perfect for hovercraft, ultralights, and small airboats. Pictured above is the shaft mount for fans, but we will also have an adapter allowing propellers to be mounted directly to the output pulley. It uses a 30 mm Gates Powergrip timing belt with spring-loaded autotensioner for long life and zero slippage! The final version will feature all powder coated aluminum parts for unparalleled looks and durability. We will be posting final pricing and options soon. Please drop us a line if you have any questions about specs or applications!
We just got our first 3D printer up and running and are already producing mockups and prototype parts with it! See the micro LSX hovercraft in blue ABS plastic above. The printer will be used to produce many of our small prototype parts, as well as miniature mockups for visualization purposes. With a print size of 8 inches cubed, we won’t be printing any full-size hovercraft any time soon, but we’re excited to add the 3D printer to our arsenal of tools.
We’re working hard to finalize plans for two hovercraft kits to be CNC cut from lightweight plywood. The first will be a kit version of the 40 horsepower LSX (2 seater), and the second a simpler 1-seat variant which will run on a Honda 13 HP engine (or similar). Both craft will feature simple assembly from CNC cut interlocking parts (think Ikea furniture, with fiberglass-taped edges!), and a molded thrust duct. Both models are filled with closed-cell foam for buoyancy, and feature a single engine with a high gear reduction for low noise and high reliability. A 1/2 scale mockup of the CNC cut LSX model was recently shown at the Austin Mini Maker Faire. Stayed tuned for more updates coming soon!
Thanks to everyone who stopped by at the Austin Mini Maker Faire sunday. We had a blast meeting lots of other makers and 5000 visitors! We snapped the picture below right before the show opened. After that, it was 8 hours of crazy fun!