Hello to all of my glorious Kickstarter backers! How have you been?!
If you've wondered what ever happened to that Delorean Hovercraft project and all those gifts I was supposed to send out, I have answers! The 'Craft is alive and well, sitting in the garage of my house here in San Francisco. I've been working a regular job for the past year or so, so I haven't been able to work on it or take it out as much as I would like. But as you may have seen, I debuted it outside of a San Francisco Giants baseball game in August of 2012 (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV2x3an3ia8 ). That was an amazing dream-come-true for me, but it wasn't the end of the long building process. Every time I took it out, I would learn something new about how it worked, what needed to be tweaked, and what needed to be replaced. Usually I learned this when she would break down and just float out in the bay and I would have to paddle back to shore or putt back using just the thrust fan, like an airboat. During the filming of my ABC News interview (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/assignment_7&id=8983543) I attempted to hover with two people in the craft for the first time and found out that the thrust motor was not powerful enough to push the craft with that much weight. That's why, in the video of me doing a donut on Crissy Field Beach (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okwGzZbjZnc), the doors are removed. I had a passenger with me that day, so I had to loose as much weight as I could. I even had one kidney removed so that my hovercraft would perform a little better! Kidding!
The craft wasn't out in the water for most of 2013 because I was doing so many modifications and upgrades based on the lessons from the fall of 2012. First, I replaced the 16 horsepower thrust engine with a 23 horsepower one. I also added a belt tensioner to reduce vibrations, made a new skirt for the craft out of stronger material because the original one tore too easily, installed a better starting battery, made a new engine cover, repaired some fiberglass, added a legally-mandated yellow flashing light after the marine police pulled me over, upgraded some steering components, and added an electric winch to the trailer so I could load the craft by myself. So when I took it out in the fall of 2013, it felt like a more robust and reliable craft. But the most stubborn problem, which I am working on now, is that the lift engine often doesn't feel like starting after it's been shut down out on the water. I think I've isolated the cause of this, so hopefully the craft will soon be reliable enough to take passengers out for pleasure cruises on San Francisco Bay.
I do owe roughly 21 of you a ride for backing my project! And I owe some of you photos or drawings of the craft, and some of you get to sign your name on it! I feel ridiculous for still not having made good on those promises after three and a half years. After sending out the music CD gifts, and the ferrofluid, I figured I would wait until the craft was done to send out the rest (and I obviously had to wait until it was done to give the rides). But the thing about this project is that it will never be done. Not completely, at least. There will always be something to fix or something that I would like to upgrade. But as soon as this lift engine issue is solved, it will be as done as it needs to be for me to finish up with all of these gifts.
Here's what I'm going to do: Over the next couple weeks I will work on getting the drawings and photos together for those of you who ordered them. In that time I'll also be working on the lift engine problem, and I'll be waiting for everyone who is still owed a gift to update their address on their backer profile if they need to, so that when all the gifts are ready to be sent out, they will end up in the right place (I know many of you have probably moved since the summer of 2010 when you backed my project!). So if I still owe you a gift, please send me your address. And if you have any other questions about the gifts or anything else, please let me know.
Ps. Here's the most recent video of the craft hovering out on the water. Check it!: http://msnvideo.msn.com/#/video/e230ce94-7c7f-4153-9d68-630508b6260b