I decided the basic shape of a lift generator will be a torus. The torus holds the unobtainium you spin to generate the lift force. This force is generally directed at a right angles to the torus. Obviously other systems modify that (I'm calling the craft hoppers as opposed to calling everything a lifter. I'm sure hopper pilots hear people make that mistake all the time. It's like calling a Cessna a prop or an F-15 a ... nevermind!) Otherwise the hopper would never go anywhere. The secondary systems keep the force directed downward for starters and the airfoils make sure the thrust is directed under the center of mass (for the most part it moves a bit back and forth to facilitate climbs and dives.) The foils direct thrust for movement.
The torus' power is related to its surface area. What if we double the dimensions of the hopper? Poor little motor looks overworked. Especially since the craft's mass is now eight times the originals (nevermind about the giants riding in this version).
If we double the dimensions the area of the torus its better but ... the surface area is now only four times the originals so the craft is still underpowered. To increase the surface area to eight times the original we have to increase the torus' dimensions by the square root of eight or 2.8 (call it three if the gigantic people had big lunches.
To extend the example, if we have a vehicle ten times the length of our little hopper, it will have a 1000 times the mass and the torus would need 1000 times the surface area and be thirty times the original's dimensions. Which is starting to get a little too big to fit under the hood.
All this suggests that larger vehicles will have their lift generators more centrally located. That might make balancing the lift easier too. But as vehicles get bigger it could be more expedient to build them inside the lift generator. So we get ... dun dun duuuuhn ... flying saucers!
|This is getting ridiculous.|
No I dunno why I ponder this stuff. It does give me some guidelines for devising a look for vehicles in my settings. Foils are for directing thrust, the bigger they are the faster the hopper goes. A speeder version will have foils that make people think the pilot is compensating fir something. Hoppers that are for lifting a lot will become more and more circular/spherical as the toruses get bigger and bigger or they stack several toruses.
Space craft probably mount stacked toruses around their engines to keep all the thrust along one axis so engines will be cylindrical. That's for tail landers. Belly landers would use lifting surfaces and somewhat smaller toruses that handle trim and are used in landings and takeoffs in the last few hundred meters and shut off before they melt.
On a side note I was thinking about the old trope of riding a hopper to orbit. I think I ruined this idea enough and would like to bring it back. No, you won't get to orbital velocitied but you could still dock with a friendly ship or an orbital tower. But that will require some more rendering and be my next post.