ARCA Space Corporation (Albuquerque, N.M.) announced the launch of its ArcaBoard – possibly the world’s first “real” hoverboard (without wheels) – will be in April 14 in Monaco. ARCA Space CEO Dumitru Popescu calls it a “revolution in motion.”
The board is powered by 36 thrusters operating in unison underneath the board. The board, which is controlled by body weight, can hold up to 243 lbs, comes equipped with 272 horsepower and 203,000 watts of installed power. According to ARCA Space engineer Emilio Perez, “it’s like riding a skateboard on air.”
Perez says that the company has created eight prototypes of the board, with the latest one incorporating carbon fiber and fiberglass. Previous models incorporated plywood. Perez says the company is still experimenting with all sorts of materials, but that composites offer the most in terms of performance. The board weighs a total of 180 pounds.
“We’re also looking into having paper foam reinforced with carbon fiber to get the weight down,” says Perez. “There are foams that can be used to form an I-beam with the carbon fiber to create strength and rigidity as well as establish a base mold. The entire outside shell is built out of carbon fiber. In that model, we put fiberglass support structures to make it more rigid.”
According to Perez, all eight prototypes of the board have been designed and manufactured in-house. So far, the company has used an external mold and hand lay-up manufacturing. The company is looking to outsource some of those processes. One of the companies who has reached out to ARCA Space is Albuquerque-based Southwest Composite Works. John Groth, the owner of the Southwest Composite Works, also does composites work for Sandia National Labs.
Perez says the idea to use composite materials for the board came from work on the company’s primary project, the AirStrato drone.
“For that we have a large mold that we use fiberglass to manufacture the prototypes for,” said Perez. “Since then, we’ve always had the idea that we’d want to go into carbon fiber to add more strength and ease in manufacturing.”