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Hover Sled add-on to reduce friction

Main goal:

reduce friction between sled and material to reduce drag while moving (especially along the sides)

Strategy:

After reading this forum topic (Vacuum Sled Experiment) I was inspired into experimenting with a hover add-on for the sled. The concept is very similar to the basic function of an air hockey table, a quick search on youtube revealed multiple diy build videos so the following design was made:


*this is actually the second design. The first design had an even spread of holes and no slots, but I quickly realised that the most weight will be on the bottom of the sled where the bricks are, so I re-positioned the holes and added the slots to optimize flow

First prototype cut (on scrap 12mm plywood):

Top and bottom view (yes I know, there’s a chunk missing - its ok, its just a prototype…):

I’ve attached it to the sled so far and tried feeding the blow air from the shop-vac through the top existing hole. It works, BUT, the pressure struggles as-is even without weights

Bottom line, I need more air flow.

Next step: attach a handheld blower with a speed control and see how it behaves… stay tuned

2 Likes

the fundmental problem with this approach is that the air layer is going to be a
different thickness based on what cut the sled is over, and that will change
your cutting depth.

David Lang

That is true, however we’re talking very small numbers.
A puck on an air hockey table requires a 0.2mm lift to be considered playable, and personally I feel that is an acceptable loss of Z accuracy for better X and Y calibration.