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.
Angie, Allisa, and Jordan install the windscreen.
Here is the windscreen mounted. It looks great!
Although, we have all been on Spring Break, progress has continued. The P20 Superspeeder is at Classic Collision getting painted. Here are a few of the in-progress photos.
The hovercraft receives a coat of primer.
The first coat of red is applied.
Engine detail is added.
The white stripping gets applied.
It's starting to look really good! We expect it back in our lab on Tuesday.
Week Ten was special because the craft is now at Classic Collision getting painted. There was an incredible amount of work done in getting it ready. Here are the highlights.
The P20 Superspeeder goes to the Paint Shop!
A group shot before it goes ...
... and some cake after it was gone.
The engine stand is being drilled in preparation for engine mounting.
The fan guard clips were epoxied onto the duct and the guard installed. Now we only need the engine.
The final layers of fiberglass were laid and sanded as the hull team prepares the craft for its final coat of epoxy.
Here is the craft after its final coat of epoxy. It's almost ready for paint!
Lift and Control Team:
Max continues to sand the rudders with finer grit sandpaper. Our goal is to shine them then up allowing the fiber carbon weave to show through.
Brady continues to cut out the skirt material using the patterns he created. Once we return from Spring break the skirt pieces will be glued together and the skirt attached to the craft.
The design team prepares engine nacelle end-caps which will be installed after paint.
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.