Levitation Machine

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Elevator of Death"


Explanation: When a MythBusters viewer unearthed a vintage magazine advertisement for a do-it-yourself levitation machine made of household items, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage couldn't resist giving the project a go. Although they couldn't track down the original levitation machine blueprint, the MythBusters decided to see whether three vacuum cleaner motors could give them wings.

The mission proved surprisingly simple, and Adam and Jamie quickly assembled a plausible prototype. They first rigged the three vacuum engines together to serve as the central levitation source. With the engines sandwiched between a round, wooden platform and an identically sized base, they enclosed the open space between in plastic. That way, the vacuum engines would blow air into the center of the machine, inflating the plastic and providing buoyancy.

And lo and behold, when Adam hopped on top for a test-drive, the DIY device boosted him off the ground. Although the final product was technically a hovercraft, the MythBusters declared the levitation machine myth plausible.

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