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Hilltop Design, an engineering firm in New Hampshire, has a 21st-century solution for moving around big shop equipment: the hoverpad. Instead of hoping your sorry-ass friends will show up and your dolly and steel toes will make it through one more move without injury, you can use hover technology to get the job done quickly and safely.

To get started you need a smooth, flat floor surface — like an epoxy-coated concrete floor — and a pretty big air compressor. Moving a 1,000 pound load (like, say, your table saw) on a smooth floor requires about 8 CFM at 100 PSI. 

Position the inch-thick hoverpad underneath your heavy crap, hook up the air source, and pump the pad full. Their 18″ x 24″ pad can handle 600 pounds, and their 29” x 29” pad can lift at least 1,200 pounds.

Hilltop Design also offers a wheel-less work bench that rides on a similar air pad. Though they’re licensing the technology to other companies, they sell directly to the consumer right now.  You’ll have to contact them directly for pricing, though.  Apparently it’s a secret.

When you do contact them, check out their website and the demonstration video. In it, an eight- or nine-year-old girl effortlessly pushes along a thousand-pound bench with an adult perched on top.

Four words: table-saw air hockey.

Hoverpad [Hilltop Design]
Product Video [Windows Media Player]


6 Responses to It’s Just Cool: The Hoverpad

  1. TimG says:

    Wow, that is friggin awesome!

    I bet they cost a lot.. but if not, wow..

    I wonder just how smooth the floor needs to be!


  2. Mark says:

    We have been making hovercraft with 8th grade girls for an introduction to engineering camp. We use one of the larger Sears shopvacs. The plans that we follow are here: http://www.amasci.com/amateur/hovercft.html

    Granted these are capable of only about 300 lbs, but with a little more precision, better materials, and a strong source of air, there is no reason why we could not build something that would move 1200 lbs. We have been able to move over “side-walk concrete”. Asphalt does not work very well. It is always fun to see one of these drift over a floor drain. Anyway, these should not cost an arm and a leg …

  3. Mark, that’s sweet..
    Please post some pictures on the flickr pool of the project. What else can you tell us about the hovercraft? Have you finished any yet and do they work? or are you still in the build stages?

  4. Mel says:

    How do you get the hoverpad UNDER the tablesaw to begin with???

  5. T says:

    We use the giant industrial sized versions of these where I work. The 36″ square pads take 20K pounds apiece and the 48″ do 30K. Floor surface is an issue. We have a steel floor that we use a floor scrubber on daily to make sure we don’t have problems. The airflow is another big thing. Our system with 6 48″ pads uses 410 CFM, and no, we don’t have a compressor that big. We run it off an accumulator tank.

    I hadn’t ever thought of using something like it in the shop at home, but that because wheels work just fine and are way cheaper for the kind of loads you’ll see at home.

  6. Jim K. says:

    I’ve used the bigger version of this for exhibit installs where I work. Like T says, wheels are way cheaper and you don’t have to worry about the floor surface, but I tell you, there’s nothing like the feeling of moving a several ton object floating on a cushion of air. Seriously!

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