The day is finally here and we revealed the P-20 Superspeeder to the public.
The hovercraft performed as expected and many rides were given. Our very own Angela Sumpter was the primary pilot for the event. After a short training period she became an expert pilot and really knew how to maximize its performance. She is now ready for Georgia 400.
Its been an eventful few weeks as we prepare for the May 4th launch date of our P-20 Superspeeder. After installing the RC control system we took the craft for a spin during the end of week fourteen. The P-20 performed well, showing a capability of carrying a 400 lb payload. We also learned that the steering takes some practice as flying a frictionless craft is somewhat challenging.
But, at the end of the period we detected an oil leak from the crankcase cover and had to stop flying for the day. The engine was removed, taken apart, and resealed.
While the engine was out, the electrical system was installed.
EL accent lighting was installed.
A horn button and accent lighting button was installed along the center white strip. Additional buttons were installed just to give the craft some character.
The fuel system was installed.
And finally, decals were strategically applied.
Anf finally, a license plate to identify the class of 2020 as its designers, builders, and original owners.
On Monday of week fifteen, the engine was reinstalled and the craft was once again ready to fly.
That Monday, Mr. Scripka decided to try to fly the craft without passengers via remote control. The craft really wants to move and without passengers is quite a performer. Unfortunately, it does not want to stop even when in idle. Consequently, the craft hit a concrete retaining wall and took some front end damage. We are now calling this our collision test episode. We are giving ourselves a five star crash rating as much of the energy was absorbed by the structure. On the positive side, the oil leak was fixed.
Mr. McLeroy, expertly got to work repairing the damage and repainting the front end.
It came out beautifully, and our P20 is once again ready to fly. Shown here without the side engines.
Well, on Thursday we took it out on the baseball field and opened it up a bit. It performed beautifully. However, on its last flight for the day it had an encounter with the outfield fence and was once again back in the shop for some bodywork. We now call this our side impact collision test. The damage was repaired, and we consider the test successful
This was a pivotal week as we finally were able to test the craft's ability to hover. And ... it hovered! In fact, it performed so well we took it out on the field and flew it around even though we had no controls. Can't wait for controls.
We did learn that the engine was only reaching 3700 rpm so we will pull the engine and remove the governor. That should get us up to the rated 4000 rpm for maximum performance. We also learned that the max payload appears to be about 350 lbs, which was exactly our design goal. Its nice when the engineering actually works! Here is a summary of the week.
The propulsion team installs the engine stand, engine, fuel system, and battery, in preparation for out first hover test.
The Hull Team and the Lift and Controls Team began the installation of the skirt. PCV molding was used to attach the skirt to the wood mounting runners. Over 200 stainless steel screws were used.
Lift and Controls Team:
The Lift and Controls Team installed the servos that will control the rudders. We are currently planning on controlling the vehicle with a RC transmitter. This will even allow us to fly the hovercraft remotely. The rudders will be controlled separately allowing for some interesting air braking options.
The design team continued working on the EL lighting surrounding the grill work.
The hovercraft has returned from the paint shop and simply looks beautiful! All that is left now, is to construct/install the skirt, add a few more body components, install the propulsion system, and design/install the control system. Our target of a May 4th for its first flight remains promising. However, a lot work still remains.
The propulsion team primed and painted the engine stand and installed it into the craft. They also designed and installed a servo mount on the engine to control the throttle linkages. Matthew test fits the servo to the mount.
The Hull Team has transitioned into the skirt construction team as they glued together the various panels that were prepared by Brady. Drew and Andrew plan out the next steps.
Mr. McLeroy oversees the gluing up process.
Lift and Control Team:
The Lift and Control team installs the carbon fiber rudders. They look great!
The lift and control team also has begun designing the digital control system. A joy stick was chosen to operate the rudders and the engine throttle. The joystick will be mounted in the center of the craft just forward of the pilot.
The Design Team installed the body grill work with the help of Matthew operating a nail gun. The grill looks amazing!
Adam removes a freshly cut plexiglass windscreen from the laser cutter that will be mounted to the front of the craft.
It was a busy and productive week as we hurry to finish the hull in preparation for painting. Each team did an outstanding job and the craft is really starting to take form. The picture below shows the craft with the upper hull almost complete and the side engines mounted. Its actually starting to look like the X-34 Landspeeder! Andrew and Brady check out the newly completed seat, while admiring their handiwork.
Brady relaxes as he contemplates creating the skirt (we think).
Jordan gives it a thumbs up, even though Payton is in the drivers seat.
The propulsion team decided to scrap the previous engine stand and build another one. The new stand incorporates a few design modifications that were based off some lessons learned. During a dry fitting, the new stand was perfect. Some more welding and drilling and the stand will be ready for paint.
Tristin also completed the new fan guard. It looks great and is ready to be attached to the duct. Custom mounting clips are being designed and 3D printed out of nylon. They will be epoxied onto the duct in the next few days.
The hull team decided that cutouts for the pilots legs were required in the front of the hull as shown below. This will make it more comfortable for taller students. Additionally, a eye-bolt was installed in the front for tying a rope to the craft. This will come in handy during testing and water operations. Two more eye-bolts will be installed in the back.
The hull team cut out the final layer of foam for the top and installed it to the structure. The bottom side of the top was fiberglassed and then glued to the side walls. All that remains are two more pieces on top. That's a good thing in that we only have one-half a sheet of foam left!
Before gluing on the final pieces, each student signed their name in the inside. Perhaps someone will discover these names 100 years from now when the craft is in some museum being refurbished.
Lift and Control Team:
The lift and control team continued to work on the rudders, runner mounts, skirt patterns, and control systems. They had a very productive week. Brady finished creating the skirt patterns and began cutting out the pieces from the newly arrived skirt material. Jordan lended an expert hand. The rudders received another round of sanding and another thin coat of epoxy. Once dry, the epoxy will begin the polishing process.
The rudder linear actuator came in and was tested by connecting it directly to the 12V battery. It worked great. It is larger than expected, but it does have an eight inch travel which will be more than sufficient for moving the rudders. The team is still evaluating different control devices such as rocker switches and joysticks.
And lastly, Jackson finished designing the rudder mounts and printed the first one out using our Lulzbot 5 3D printer. They really came out great. Jackson has become an expert user of Fusion 360 and his design skills are quite remarkable.
The design team installed mounting brackets onto the side engines and hull. The picture below shows one of the engines mounted to the craft. Everyone was pleased with the look. The engines are easy to install and remove. It was a great design. Additionally, all the parts for the exterior lighting are now on order. This will get installed after it returns from the paint shop.
The team also completed the paint scheme design and will present it to the paint shop on Monday of next week. It is quite creative and will give the craft a finish we will all be proud of.
A lot got accomplished this week. The hovercraft is starting to take shape and our excitement is growing. Only two more weeks until paint! All the major components were set in place to check fit and function as shown below.
Brady and Drew take it for a simulated spin around the campus.
A weight and balance was performed to determine optimal sitting position for the pilot and passenger. This information was then used for the seat design. Also, an empty hull weight was measured at 173 lbs. It is estimated that after fiberglass and paint this will increase by about 40 lbs. All together, it looks as if we all be under our design hull weight of 250 lbs by at least 15%. Go team!
The propulsion team continued working on the engine stand. Angle iron and tubular steel were welded into a support structure which will be bolted onto the floor of the craft just in front of the fan duct. 2 x 3 inch wood was embedded into the hull floor to accept lag bolts. The picture below shows the engine mounting plate being fitted onto the stand. The second picture shows the engine mounted on the stand. The stand turned out to be a little short, so it will be bolted onto a piece of 3/4 inch plywood. In the end, the stand will be just that much stronger.
The Propulsion Team also worked on the fan duct guard. Wire mesh was purchased and attached to the aluminum ring that was created last week (see picture below). We liked the way it turned out but the mesh will need to be redone due to symmetry issues. That's OK since we had to buy 25 feet of mesh anyway. All in all, the guard construction approach looks good and the final product is expected be excellent.
The hull team was very busy. The week started with the installation of the duct as shown below. The duct was glued into the hull using a thickened epoxy paste (1st picture). Then, the duct was fiberglassed into the lift box from the bottom (2nd picture). The team is convinced that the duct is firmly attached. Additional fiberglass support will be provided at contact areas around the upper hull.
The team also completed the back end of the craft by installing two handles for carrying and lifting the craft. It was estimated that each handle would need to support 25% of the total weight of the craft. This equates to about 100 lbs. So, additional, wood support structure was embedded into the foam as shown below. The handles seem to easily support the current weight and will only get stronger once the fiberglassing is complete.
Finally, the seat was designed by Andrew and then constructed out of 2 inch foam panels (see pictures below). The seat was designed to allow 12 inches of movement for the pilot depending on their weight and the passenger's weight. The passenger will sit a little higher behind the pilot on the center of gravity. A center channel was cut through the bottom for electrical wiring to reach the control and lighting systems without being seen. Rumor has it that Andrew had an entanglement incident with the belt sander while finishing the seat. You'll have to ask him for details.
Finally, the hull team started to cutout the final layer of foam which will form the top of the craft. The cockpit design will be finished next week and integrated into this final layer. Our goal is to have the complete hull ready for fiberglassing by the middle of next week.
Lift and Control Team:
The Lift and Control team continued work on several fronts. First, the rudders were sanded again for another coat of epoxy.
Second, the team continued to plan for the digital control system. And third, Brady continued the detailed work on creating cutout patterns for the skirt. It is expected that the skirt material will arrive next week.
The design team began designing and installing components for the grill work around the upper hull (see below). Additionally, they continued to work on the paint scheme. We are planning to have final drawings available for the paint shop by the middle of next week.
The week was full of construction and design activities. A meeting was held with the owner of Classic Collision who has offered to professionally paint our hovercraft! It's going to look great. Here is a summary of the week:
The Propulsion Team continued to make progress on the muffler redesign, engine mount, and fan duct guard.
The Hull Team started to construct the upper hull and began preliminary design studies for the cockpit. A "Star Wars" look of the craft is starting to surface.
Lift and Control Team:
The Lift and Control Team continued to work on the carbon fiber rudders. They also designed mounting structures for the duct which is planned for installation early next week. They have decided on a fly-by-wire system using a linear actuator for the rudders and a servo for the engine control.
The Design Team put the final coat of epoxy on the side engines and went to work on the overall paint scheme. The body will be painted red with white accents. They are currently working on a sketch of the paint scheme for the paint shop. They also decided on accent lighting that will be placed inside the grill work around the sides of the hovercraft. An order has been placed for parts.
We finally had a full week of school, which meant lots of progress on the hovercraft. Here are the highlights:
The fan duct receives its carbon fiber shell! Tristin cuts the carbon fiber fabric as the other team members get the epoxy ready. Applying the fabric proved to be challenging, but in the end we we pleased with the results. The last picture is the final product with three coats of epoxy. It is proving to be a very strong structure. Rumor has it that one of the students sat on the top of it with no ill effects.
Also, Payton and Matthew began the exhaust modification to relocate the muffler and tweak out a little more performance from the engine. The mufflers should arrive in a few weeks.
The Hull Team rounds the lower deck with power sanders in preparation of fiberglassing the bottom of the craft. A single layer of 7.5 oz boat cloth was applied. The last picture shows the covered bottom hull. It still awaits some sanding a few more coats of epoxy, but it is looking good!
Lift and Control Team:
The Lift and Control Team decided to cover the rudders with carbon fiber. The plan is not to paint the surface, but rather polish them to a high gloss. Everyone liked the look of the fiber carbon twill pattern. The picture below shows them drying on a make shift rack. Also, the team began researching control system ideas. Momentum is gaining for a fly-by-wire system using linear actuators and an Ardunio.
The Design Team continued to work on the side engines. 4 oz fiberglass is being applied to the engines as shown below. The last picture shows a fully covered engine. The Team will finish fiberglassing sometime next week. Then comes more sanding and more epoxy. Inlet and nozzle treatments are also being discussed.
It's week five of our hovercraft design/build project. Although it was a 4 day week due to Winter Break, much was accomplished. Our launch date of May 4th seems right around the corner, so the pressure is on. Here are the week's highlights.
Tristin Darmodihardjo places the final touches on the fan duct prior to its carbon fiber sheathing scheduled for next week.
Matthew Duffin and Payton Marlow spot weld metal rod to from the perimeter of the fan duct guard.
The engine/fan assembly is now complete. Exhaust system parts have arrived and the redesign of the exhaust will begin next week. Muffler selection is still in progress.
Austin Marley and Andrew Zhang glue on additional foam to the upper body. We bought a foam applicator gun which greatly improved the gluing process.
The plywood floor has been epoxied to the foam and the bottom of the hull is almost ready for its first layer of fiberglass. Fiberglassing should begin next week.
Lift and Control Team:
Max Karetny and Jackson McGill use out CNC hot wire foam cutter to create the two rudders which will be used for directional control. The planform of the rudders are 14" by 20" and they use a NACA 0010 airfoil. Meanwhile, Brady Trego was running our bandsaw cutting out 3/4" plywood endcaps which will support the pivot pins for the rudders.
The Design Team continued to refine the side engines by attaching them to their mounts. The engine assemblies were then sanded and low areas filled with light weight spackle. Final sanding will take place next week, followed by a fiberglass covering.
It's week four of our hover craft project. Our students with the flu have returned but the week was a day short due to the start of our Winter break. Here are the highlights:
Matthew Duffin installs the gear reduction system on the engine. The engine team also installed new spark plugs, increased the size of the carburetor jets, and ran the engine for the first time. It was loud, but sounded strong. Designing the engine mount is next.
The propulsion team has completed the fan duct.
The cutout for the lift box was made and dry fitted to the lift box. It was a perfect fit! The duct is now ready to receive its carbon fiber covering.
The hull team made good progress by completing the plow plane perimeter of the craft. The custom hand held hot wire tool shown laying on the craft, was used to taper the air plenum bottom cavity.
Other team members were laying out and cutting the first foam layer for the upper hull. The upper hull will be formed to model the X-34 Landspeeder from Star Wars.
Lift and Control Team:
The Lift and Control Team continued to refine the air flow cutouts in the lower hull and put finishing touches on the lift box.
The lift box is shown positioned over the hull cutouts. The fit was very good!
The Design Team cut out the complex geometry of the side engine mounts. A custom made hot wire tool was used to cut around wooded templates that provided the necessary curve geometries.
The Design Team also completed the initial shaping of the second engine. The two engines will be sanded to create symmetrical profiles. One completed, they will be attached to their engine mounts forming an engine/mount assembly. The design team will be designing a removable mounting system for these assemblies. As it turns out, if these were permanently attached, we would not be able to get the craft out of the lab door!
The P20 SuperSpeeder Takes Shape!
We were excited to see all the major assemblies dry fitted together. This is the first time that the full size of the craft was fully appreciated. It is 12 feet long and 6.2 feet wide!
Our third week of design/build was full of activity despite having a few team members out with the flu. Time was taken on Wednesday for a mini management review where team progress reports were presented to the group.
Matthew Duffin and Tristin Darmodihardjo place the inlet contour on the leading edge of the fan duct.
Austin Marley carefully uses a portable hot wire to cut the plow plane in the lower hull.
Lift and Control Team:
Max Karetny, Jackson McGill, and Brady Trego prepare the bottom hull for its lift box cutouts. The cutouts proved more difficult than expected. Cutting through six inches of foam was not easy, but in the end it came out pretty good.
Jordan Darby and Adam Chambers sand one of the engine nacelles using a rotating jig powered by an electric drill.
Alissa Gaddis continues to create cross sections for the second engine nacelle using our CNC hot wire device.
Alissa Gaddis and Adam Chambers glue up cross sections of the second engine nacelle.
The Mechanical Systems class at Fellowship Christian School has begun an ambitious semester long project to design/build a large, two passenger hovercraft. It will be designed to look like the X-34 Landspeeder of Star Wars so we named it the P-20 Superspeeder. The “P” in P-20 stands for Paladins and the “20” stands for 2020 which is the graduation year of the class. The name Superspeeder reflects the high performance the expected out of the craft. Each week, an update will be posted to highlight design decisions and progress. The P20 Superspeeder project is part of the growing STEM program at Fellowship Christian School. We are blessed to have the quality of students, staff, and STEM labs to make such a project possible.
Follow the progress of the P-20 Superspeeder. Our first flight is scheduled for May 4th, 2018 (May the 4th be with you).
The students have returned from their Winterim classes and have begun the initial construction phase of the P20 Superspeeder. The students were divided into the following teams:
Lift and Control Team
Each team spent the week finalizing design strategies and began
actual construction activities. Here is a summary of our first week:
An unique construction approach was selected for the fan duct design. Foam rings are to be cut from Formular 250 foam sheets and then glued together to form the overall duct shape. A hot wire jig was constructed to then shape the duct to its final dimensions. The duct will be covered in carbon fiber to give it the strength and rigidity required.
Mr. McLeroy led the team through an overall design approach for the outer hull. The hull will be made of Formular 250 foam and then covered in fiberglass. The hull team began cutting foam to construct the undercarriage of the craft.
Lift and Control Team:
The students calculated the required dimensions of the lift box and determined a construction approach. In the end, the box will be created using the Formula 250 foam with a plywood splitter.
The students designed the configuration of the side engines and began using our CNC foam cutter to cut out circular cross-sections of the engines. These cross-sections will be glued together and sanded to their final shape. Finishing of the engines is yet to be decided.