Air propulsion Motor Boats
(Simple Electric Circuit)

Please verify and compare the content of your kit with the list below.

  • Simple Switch (knife switch) 1
  • Electric motor 1
  • Insulated connection Wire
  • Plastic Propellers 2
  • Battery holder for 2 AA batteries
  • Screws 6
  • Wheels 4
  • Wooden Axles
This kit is updated as of March 1st, 2008. The new content include a different style of wheels and different battery holders. It also includes straws and axle dowels, as an alternative method of mounting wheels.

If the content of your kit is similar to the picture in the right, Click Here.

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Simple Electric Circuit

The battery and the electric motor used in this project will form a simple electric circuit. Connections are possible in many different ways.

In the simplest form, you connect the two wires of the battery holder directly to the electric contacts at the back of the electric motor.
In a standard design you will use one battery holder, one switch and one electric motor. One wire from the battery holder connects to the electric motor directly. The other will connect to the switch and then another wire from the switch will connect to the electric motor.
In a more complex design you may use two battery holders and install the switch between the two battery holders.

Note: The electric motor is able to spin in two different directions. You can reverse the direction of spinning by switching around the wires connected to the motor.

Additional materials you need:

  • Styrofoam board from hardware store
  • Utility knife to cut the foam board
  • Acrylic water based paint to paint the foam
  • Wood glue or Elmer glue to connect the foam parts
  • Nails with diameter less than the hole on the sheaves (Wheels)
  • Wood block (optional)

Make Car-Boat Hybrid Machine

Combine the joy and excitement of mechanical toys with your science project by constructing an air propelled motor boat. This is also a good way of learning about  simple electric circuits. Your boat will have a battery, a switch and a motor with propeller. This can be used as a science project related to electricity, force or floatation. This idea is good for a display project, an engineering project and an experimental (investigatory) project.

The main structure is made of Styrofoam board that is available at hardware stores and home improvement stores.

Design Your Boat:

Styrofoam is a very light material and easily floats on the water. The design of your boat can be as easy as a rectangle piece of Styrofoam or as complex as you wish. Styrofoam pieces can be glued to each other using wood glue or white glue. Sketch your ideal design on a paper before you start. It will be easier to connect the wheels if your boar is about  5 inches wide or narrower. To connect the wheels you must designate the parts to hold the axle. Axle holders can be two 1/2" wide strips of Styrofoam glued at the bottom of the boat.

Procedure: 

Start by cutting the foam. You can cut the Styrofoam easily with utility knives. Just practice for a few minutes and you will get the grip on it. Hold the knife in a sharp angle and don't push too much. You may need to go over the same line a few times until you get a clean cut.

Styrofoam boards can be glued using white glue or wood glue. They can also be painted using any latex paint or water based paint. 

Feel free on making your own design. Just reserve a place where you can place the electric motor and secure it with tape.

Battery is a heavy piece; it must be centered in order for your boat to have a balance on water. Adjustments may be made by placing other heavy objects onboard. 

Please note that with this method you are not restricted to a boat. You may also make a car that drives by pushing the air backward. You just need for wheels and four nails. Make sure that the wheels are large enough and can spin freely.

To hide the battery and switch, you may also use some cardboard to make a cabin and place it over those parts.

The boat that you see in the picture does not have a steering mechanism. You may try different possible methods to construct a steeling mechanism in your boat. 

Finally you can make a vehicle that can drive both on land and in water. To do that simply attach the wheels to the sides of the boat.

With your kit you may also receive four sheaves that may be used as wheels. Sheaves are almost like the ring in a bicycle; they are just missing the tiers. Students often use sheaves to make pulleys as a part of a simple machine project.

If you did not get sheaves in your kit, use the wheels of any plastic toy car instead.

To connect the wheels first make holes that must hold the axle. Then insert a piece of plastic straw in each hole. Finally pass the axle rods through the holes and connect the wheels.

The plastic straws are used to reduce the friction between the axles and the Styrofoam.

Sheaves are added as a bonus to some of the kits purchased in the beginning of the school year. Material that comes with the kit may be used in many other projects as well.

Two pictures of a simple air propelled electric car. With some creativity and artwork you can make this a must better project.
The Kit Contains the electric motor, simple switch, battery holder, wire, light bulb, screw base for light bulb, wire, screws and propeller.

You will need additional material and tools such as Styrofoam board, wood, nail, water color, screw driver, battery and utility knife.

The electric circuit you make in this project is a simple electric circuit containing a power source (battery), a switch and a resistor (the motor).

Car Boat Kit Part#KITCB

This kit does not include pieces of wood or Styrofoam that you may use to make the boat. Both of these items are generally available in craft stores. Styrofoam is also available in Home Depot and some other hardware stores.

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