Week One Log
- Researched construction of hovercraft and developed project proposal.
- Completed project proposal
- Researched into workings of the Linux
- Went to a local hardware store and searched for the parts and pieces required
for the construction of the hovercraft. Learned difference between pink
foam and foam board.
- Encountered problems initially trying to install the Slackware Linux distribution
on the computer. Problem was found to be in the root disk, which is required
to properly load the Linux environment. This problem was resolved by simply
rebooting the free machine with CD-ROM support and begin reading directly
from the CD for installation.
- Attempted to install the LegOS.
- Purchased foam board, nuts, bots, and screws.
Week Two Log
- Re-installation of Slackware due to a fatal error.
- Downloaded LegOS and attempted installation.
- Encountered several problems with LegOS forcing us to consider another
programming language. Problems were encountered due to lack of documentation.
Linux is a new operating system for us, and in order to install legOS and
be able to use it properly would require extensive research on using the
- We went to Michaels and bought foam board for the body of the hovercraft.
- Purchased 1/4 inch nuts, bolts and screws from Home Depot.
- Cut foam board to required dimensions.
- Drilled four 1/4 holes, 2 inches in from second piece of foam board.
- We decided to change our programming language from LEGOS to LEJOS.
- We installed LEJOS on our computer.
Week Three Log
- Put motor together with fan using a 1.5 mm hex wrench.
Cut a hole 16 cm in diameter, in the center of the foam boards. This is
where the motor will sit.
- The problem was that we needed a mount of some sort to hold the motor
there. Somehow we needed to clamp the motor in place and make sure it didn’t
- Encountered problems with the functioning of lejOS. Functioning problems
consisted of not being able to run any of the commands that came with lejOS.
This problem was occurring due to invalid paths which contained the compiling
commands for java SDK. The path problem was fixed once realized, and lejOS
was successfully working.
- Ran a test on the RCX 2.0 brick to see if lejOS would successfully download
and run a program to the brick. The program was successfully downloaded
and ran as intended.
- Our serial connection the IR tower was switched to a USB connection. Largely
in part because a USB tower has more range, does not require a battery to
power, and because it was one of the only available IR towers. We obtained
an RCX brick which had a DC connection so we would not have to waste the
batteries. We ran another test to see if the USB connection had any effect
on the program and whether lejOS would download the program to the RCX brick.
In the end, we discovered that lejOS is able to download onto the RCX brick.
Began construction of the steering mechanism for the hovercraft (RCX brick).
Brought in Styrofoam for holding the foam boards apart. We tried to cut them
apart but it was very difficult. We were using an exacto knife and it did
not have the length required to cut through the Styrofoam. The foam was 2
1/2 inches thick and the knife could not extend that far without the risk
of it breaking.
Week Four Log
A motor mount is necessary for mounting the motor. We had a debate over how
to build a motor mount. Initially, we considered using Styrofoam as a means
of attaching the motor to the hovercraft. We encountered difficulties attaching
the motor to the Styrofoam because the Styrofoam is not strong and durable
enough to have a motor attached. We looked for alternatives. We found a plastic
cylindrical bin and we cut the bottom part to act as the motor mount. This
solution was an excellent one because the plastic was lighter than the Styrofoam,
it was more durable, stronger, and the means of attaching the motor were better.
- The motor was mounted onto the hovercraft.
- Careful and precise measurements were made on standard leaf disposal bags
which will be used to act as the skirt. The disposal bags are an excellent
solution to the skirt because they are light, strong, and easy to manipulate.
The skirt was attached to the hovercraft.
- We then tested whether the hovercraft floats. The hovercraft successfully
hovered above the ground by approximately 0.8cm. We discovered that the skirt
was made to tight at certain corners and sides, which disabled the air flow
to those areas. Because the hovering distance seemed very small, and the skirt
was poorly attached, we made the final decision to assemble a better skirt
which will provide a greater hovering height.
- We constructed a new skirt and this time it hovered at least 2-3 centimeters
above the ground.
- This was basically the completion of our base hovercraft. Now we decided to
add steering motors and propulsion.
- We built a brick to serve as a switch which sends power to the motors.
- We purchased two motors, propellers, and mounts for our hovercraft.
- We attached the propellers onto the motors. This was difficult because
the two parts did not go together. We melted away some of the propeller
so it would get on the axle. Then we locked it in place.
- We built plastic mounts for the motors out of containers. The we taped
them on the body of the hovercraft.
- We got some solder and attached speaker wire to each end of the motors.
We then connected everything to the RCX and mounted it to the hovercraft.
- The current skirt was inneffective. We needed less friction. We cut out
the corners and added new patches. With the new skirt, movement was much
- Another problem was the motor mounts for the propulsion. They were very
unstable and shook violently. First we tried to stabilize them with foam
blocks. It didn't work. We then decided to make new mounts out of styrofoam.
This would allow the motors to push more air and encounter less friction