Mini Hover Fun!

Posted by: admin on Jun 22, 2012 | No Comments

So you want your very own hovercraft? Of course you do. The catch is that it’s only big enough to hold a mouse or two, but it’s still pretty good fun.

You Will Need


CD – an old one of any kind
Thread Spool
Mouse (optional!)



Cut a 4-inch square out of the cardboard. Punch a hole in the cardboard. Make sure you punch the hole in the centre of the cardboard. The hole should be the same size as the hole in the spool.

Glue the spool to the cardboard on top of the hole. Make sure you glue it really well and the holes line up. Make sure you use enough glue to seal it so that no air can escape between the spool and the piece of cardboard.

Cover the top of the spool with a circle of paper – glue it to the spool and wait until the glue is dry.
Punch a hole in the middle of the paper cover where the hole of the spool is. Now your hole should run through the paper, spool, and cardboard without any obstructions.
Blow up the balloon and twist the end to keep the air from escaping. Stretch the balloon over the top of the spool.

Make sure your mouse is well protected (optional step!)

Place the hovercraft on a level table. Let go of the balloon. What do you see?

Alternatively substitute a CD for the cardboard. Why might this run more smoothly?


What’s Happening?

According to Newton: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Simply put, as air escapes from the balloon it pushes down against the tabletop. As a result there is an opposite force upwards which supports the little hovercraft just enough for it to hover a tiny bit. A nearly friction-free, minute ‘cushion’ of air is created, which allows it to glide along for as long as the air lasts. The CD may work better as it is likely to be smoother than the cardboard you have used, resulting in even less friction. But experiment for yourself and, as always, have fun!



Thanks to, and adapted from

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