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  1. #1

    Unique Airboat Design Advice Needed

    Hello RC Universe community,

    I apologize in advance for this long post, but I have a unique design project that I need help solving, and I was considering using an airboat to do so. But, seeing as how I have no experience with airboats, or even boats in general, I figured I would ask around on the forums.

    I need to transport one half of a pound of cargo around a semicircular pond in as little time as possible. I've estimated that the radius of the path that needs to be taken around the pond to be in the neighborhood of 60 to 75 feet. I figured an airboat would be an easier solution than a normal boat for this task. However, there is a fountain in the middle of the pond that may or may not be on, so the water may not be completely flat. I'm not sure how this would affect the performance of the airboat. These are the basic constraints of the task, but there are three catches. First, I can't actually use RC, so the rudder would have to be positioned at a fixed angle to turn in the circular path. Second, everything needs to be built for $80 or less, so I can't afford a top of the line motor or hull. Third, the only things I am allowed to purchase are the electronics (battery, motor) and the prop, so the hull, rudder, and any other framing must be built from scratch.

    I have given some thought to what the airboat would look like, but this is pure speculation on my part. If an airboat isn't the best solution, feel free to say so, because I am not sure at all. I guessed that the boat would be around the order of 16 inches in length and around 8 inches in width, does this seem like a reasonable size? Since the boat is not RC and will be operating at full speed the entire time, I figure an ESC is not necessary and the motor could be attached to the battery via a switch (assuming the current and voltage is acceptable). I assumed that the rudder would be two plates behind the fan angled to produce turning thrust, would this be able to accommodate the radius of curvature specified? I would like to make the hull and any framing out of carbon fiber to minimize weight, could this be done for a relatively small boat such as this for under $30. Also, is a flat bottomed hull the best design for an airboat going across potentially slightly choppy waters? Finally, what size motor, battery, or prop should I use to maximize the speed around the circular path? Keep in mind that the boat really only needs to run 30 seconds at a time, and the budget for these items is $80 minus the cost of the hull and framing.

    Thank you for any advice that you are able to offer. I have never built an airboat, or even a boat, and wanted some information before I went out and bought parts. I realized that I've asked A LOT of questions, so any answers that you could provide would be very helpful.
    Last edited by Aeronautic13; 03-01-2016 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Updated circular travel radius for path around the pond

  2. #2
    aspeed's Avatar
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    There is always a tether. Not sure of the obstacles in the water. Welcome to the forum. I am sure an airboat would work fine, a three point hydor might be the quickest because of water friction. Others would know much more than me about this. Here is a video of some inspiration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5tAq531Es0
    Glow Head Hood # 7

  3. #3
    Unfortunately a tether would not be a valid option for this project, but that would have been an awesome idea. I'll look into the three point hydro hull design; I certainly would like to minimize the friction with the water. Any suggestions on the size of the boat? My estimates were just guesses.

  4. #4
    aspeed's Avatar
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    I am not the one to give advise on boat design, I am sure someone will chime in though. The ESC may be needed just to get the motor running, unless you go to the old brushed motors. The good brushless ones need the ESC. A timer is a possibility with the ESC. Really a radio is pretty cheap lately, and a pink or blue foam hull could get things going cheap as well
    Glow Head Hood # 7

  5. #5
    I wasn't sure whether motors requires an ESC or not. Is this so that the correct amount of current is drawn for the motor and battery? If so, could it theoretically be replaced by the correct resistors for this simplified use?
    Also, perhaps I should clarify about the radio, I didn't decide not to use it because I thought it would be expensive. One of the constraints of my project was to make the boat autonomous/self-guided. Thanks for the suggestions though, hopefully someone else will have something to suggest for the hull shape and materials.

  6. #6
    aspeed's Avatar
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    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...und_Radio.html One source of a radio. The ESC changes DC to AC or three phase or some other magic thing.
    Glow Head Hood # 7


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