I'm trying to design a hover car track. As in, you have a 'track/circuit' that have objects being slowly moved along by the force of the air from beneath and sides. The propulsion to move the objects forwards comes from the air from the sides that are angled in the direction of the track. Picture Scalextric cars combined with air hockey.

These objects that are like carriers that hold things and are under 750 g (in total) and regarding contact with track is a circle that is 135 mm in diameter.

Track length isn't known at the moment but I think 3–5 m.

How would I effectively 'power' and 'transport' the air supply? I've looked into centrifugal fans in series and parallel and their designs and outputs but I'm stuck at calculating what the requirements would be to do this and if it can be done effectively at low cost, like something I could do in a medium sized garage.

The track will split and merge too. And there would be multiple carriers on the track.

Carriage is cylindrical in shape, weight = 750g, diameter =135mm, height 110mm

track is flat with no change in elevation. width of track would be big enough to fit a single carriage approx 150mm The track would be like a square trench for the carriage to fit in. so the walls would be 110mm too. The walls would be a manifold that has jets angled in the direction of the track, say 60 degrees away from the normal of the wall and parallel with the floor of the track.

  • $\begingroup$ Air tracks are a standard lab item for introductory physics/mechanics courses. It wouldn't take much to build a similar item with directed airjets to drive the cars. However, the energy efficiency of the system is horrifically poor, as you need to maintain a massive pressure head along a great length of track. (and using air blasts for propulsion is bad too) $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Nov 22 '17 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ This is just a little too under-specified for us to provide useful answers, covering both function and cost-effectiveness. If you've narrowed your choices down a bit and still need help calculating the requirements for a fan or compressor, please edit with more information. Diagrams are always helpful. Any elevation changes in your track would be important to know about. $\endgroup$ – Air Dec 14 '17 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ The best way to use modest air pressure to transport stuff is to use the air for vertical lifting and then gravity feed outward. So air elevator and sloped coaster track. There also exists a sort of shaker/ratchet system that uses air to shake a table and the stuff on it scooches its way along. See the last one here $\endgroup$ – Phil Sweet Dec 15 '17 at 1:53
  • $\begingroup$ @PhilSweet, i like the table shaking method. $\endgroup$ – ThatUser Dec 15 '17 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ I've gone for rotating discs than an air supply. The carriages sit on the edge of the disc that is always rotating and is also sitting on a ring/outer disk that is stationery. $\endgroup$ – ThatUser Dec 15 '17 at 8:17

Have a look at the hovertrain wiki.

Also, pneumatic tube transport is often used at bank drive up windows.

A small demo could be constructed low cost in a garage. Do some research on those links above and if you have specific questions regarding fan selection or design; ask them at that time.


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