Time to do some painting. I decided on a red and white scheme.
Lets paint the base coats now. UH recommended a enamel, polyurethane or epoxy paint.
I started with a brush, then bought a Power Painter spray gun.
At least a couple good coats.
I decided to test fit, measure and cut the skirt segments next. I will glue and sew the corners on raining days when you shouldn't paint.
Now to finish the painting, I used some masking tape then painted in the red.
Be careful pulling the tape off. When I did, I was happy with the 2 tone scheme.
Go ahead and put the bottles in if you haven't already.
Attach the wire mesh and paint the rear prop guard.
Go ahead and finish the propeller and fan, if you haven't already. UH includes finishing instructions if you buy one from them. Basically you need to sand ,cover with fiberglass, balance and drill holes to match your hub. Propeller leading edge erosion is a problem, consider some type of protection.
Time for the final assembly. Lets put all those parts together. First I did the front engine, prop guard and front throttle cable and wires. I only had two wires. 1 a engine kill switch and 2 a combo tach/hourmeter.
Next I moved to the rear engine, rear propeller, prop guard, throttle cable and wires. Then the rear handles and rudders.
then installed the seats
Then I completed the steering.
Almost there, time to finish the skirt. Try to get it level all the way around. Be sure to sew the corners well.
If you didn't do the trailer earlier, its time now.
Before you test your newly built craft, unless you have a private lake, you'll need to get it licensed. Here in Indiana I just registered it as a boat. The funny and disturbing thing about it though was that the license branch attempted to tax me on it again. They asked me to produce my receipts for the parts used, so they could add it up, assign a value and tax me on that value. Funny but I thought I had already paid tax when I bought each individual part. There was a loophole though. I could skip this tax and cheaply register a previously unregistered boat if it was given to me. I therefore gave my hovercraft to a close friend, he then gave it back to me, and it was then registered.
One more headache in this registration process was that you needed the law, in my case the sheriff, to sign off that the craft had a identification number properly affixed.
Once your all done, in Indiana at least, there is a $12 annual registration fee, hovercraft only, trailer registration is separate.
If your confident that all is in working order, its time to take your hovercraft out of the workshop to give it a try. I first tested mine in the yard. Don't try to go very far if your yard isn't very big, but you can try out the lift system, get used to the throttles, shut down time and other basics. Remember, there are no brakes, don't get moving too fast.
I then decided it was time for a water test. It was springtime, there had been a lot of rain, the river overflowed and several corn fields were flooded. The depth of the water was from inches to a couple feet with no current if you stayed away from the actual river.
Everything worked well. While I was there I shut down the lift system over the water to test floating capacity, no problem.
I have since used this hovercraft several times on the local river and even the lake a couple of times. It has provided many hours of enjoyment.
Be sure to keep an eye on prop erosion, the skirt ( especially the corners) and bolts on the engine that they don't loosen from vibration and let something fall into the prop.
I recommend you build one!
As a first time builder I followed UH recommendation in using a 10hp Tecumseh rear engine. It provides plenty of speed for the river, but does not have enough power to plane off the entire 400lb payload UH said it should. Considering this and the fact that my ski boat is old and doesn't run well, I've decided to build another hovercraft that can be used more on the local lake.
Info and pic's of this build are here.
Thanks for reading this page.
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