DICE Hobbyist Club

DICE Hobbyist Club, through reverse-engineering, designing and development of electronics and mechanics based products, aims to enthuse and inspire passion in science students, spark hobbyists to think and apply their knowledge creatively and promote the spirit of self-discovery and self-exploration.

Aims and Objectives
  1. Promote the spirit of creativity, self-discovery and self-exploration among students
  2. Develop creative and useful products which can be put to practical use for the school and community-at-large, such as:
    • Gifts and tokens of appreciation for visitors
    • Educational kits as a teaching resource on Mechanics and Electronics

Technical Workshop, Level 1, Science Research Centre

Activity Days
Term 1: Every Tuesday and Thursday, 2.30pm - 5pm

Sharing Our Experiences

Out of the six educational kits from our initial purchase, we started trying our luck with a hovercraft. Though we managed to built the hovercraft based on the instructions quickly, the end-product faced some problems and limitations - the hovercraft could not hover, not to even say, move forward!

[To include video of building a hovercraft]


Problem 1.1
There are four holes pre-cut in the education kit for fixing on the propeller. However, when the propeller is attached to the board on these holes, it is too near to the vent. The propeller will touch the vent when it is active. As such, the propeller cannot spin properly.

Solution(s): Cut two holes to realign the propeller further away from the vent.

Note(s): Four holes cannot be drilled to realign to precision as the structure of the body will be structurally weaker.

Improvisation: Use of masking tapes to cover up the holes that are not used.

[To include photos]

Problem 1.2
"Claws" used to hold the nacelle (compartment of engine) touches the ground/floor when the hovercraft is transversing, exerting a backward force on the hovercraft due to work done against friction, leading to the hovercraft being able to attain a relatively slow velocity.

Solution(s): Remove the claws and attach the nacelle structure to the hovercraft body by a strong adhesive, e.g. heavy-duty double-sided tape.

Limitation: Structure will be permanently in place, no more improvisation can be done with respect to the position of the nacelle structure.

Problem 1.3
Power supplied to the hovercraft by the batteries is insufficient after a short period of time. Hovercraft is no longer able to transverse as per normal.

Problem 1.4
Inefficient diversion of horizontal airflow downwards leading to insufficient conversion of thrust into lift.

Combined Solution(s): Design and construct a new hovercraft which possess the following features:
1. Stronger motor and a battery which has a higher power reading.
2. Electronic speed controller (ESC) to allow the hovercraft to be radio-controlled.
3. Control surfaces which can alter the aerodynamics of the hovercraft dynamically and account for any unexpected misalignments.

Note(s): Consideration of type of material used to build hovercraft body. (Foam has been chosen to experiment with thus far due to its lightweight properties)

Technique(e) employed:
1. Rudder is propped up by an "L-bracket" constructed out of styrofoam. The "L-bracket" is a block of triangular styrofoam with a right angle.
2. Styrofoam must be "sawed" and not slit or cut for clean cutting. For curved surfaces, a potential difference can be applied across a Nichrome wire and used to cut the styrofoam.

Problem 2.1
Shall we use the same method of diversion of air as a means of conversion of thrust to lift? Do we have sufficient "space" on the hovercraft body? As the weight of the hovercraft body has increased, is the increased power of the battery/motor sufficient to account for the additional weight?