Make your own rubber band launching paper plane with this guide
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Paper planes are great and all, but they just don't have the punch of a powered one? So, how about modifying the concept slightly by giving your little plane some torsion propulsion?
Follow this simple guide to find out how.
As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.
Materials and gear needed
- Elastic band
- Plastic propeller
- Plastic straws
- Plastic bowl
- Safety matches
- Popsicle sticks
- Hot glue gun
- Basic tools (wrench, screwdrivers, etc)
With all your gear in hand, it is time to get on with this great little build.
Step 1: Make the propeller
The first step is to take your plastic model propeller. You'll want one that has a metal hook attached to the propeller at the rear.
Next, take your sheet of A4 paper and sketch out a rough shape for the propeller blades. Cut out the shape and transfer it to your plastic bowl/cake base. Use the template to make a twin-blade propeller shape and then cut out the shape from the plastic.
With that done, heat the plastic propeller over some heat source like a tea light or kitchen hob. Once the plastic becomes malleable, twist the blades gently to give them a slight angle and hold until the plastic cools and resets.
With that done, take a paperclip and unfold it. Snip off about half of it and then bend it into a rough hook shape as shown below.
With that done, if needed, color in the propeller to whichever color you desire. Next, cut out a small disk of plastic to form a sort of washer and thread it onto the paperclip, then glue the propeller to the paperclip and "washer".
Next, take your plastic straw and cut a short length of it. Then glue wrap this around the paperclip just behind the propeller. Don't glue this into place as the propeller needs to freely rotate within it.
Then take a popsicle stick and cut out some small lengths of wood. Glue these into place to the barrel of the propeller.
Step 2: Make the fuselage
With that done, take our rubber band and stretch around a wooden stick.
Then thread the elastic band through a plastic drinking straw. Pin the band into place by inserting two toothpicks to either end of the straw and then remove the wooden stick.
Next, take the propeller and hook one end of the rubber band to the propeller's paperclip hook. Insert the wood/plastic straw mount of the propeller firmly into the end of the straw as needed.
With that done, test the setup by twisting the rubber band using the propeller and letting go. The propeller should freely turn. Adjust as needed if it doesn't work properly.
Step 3: Make the wings
Next, take another sheet of A4 and sketch out the shapes for the wings. In this case, you'll need a series of rectangles 15cm long and 7cm wide. The tail will be 5cm by 11.5 cm long.
Cut out the shapes as needed. Take another plastic straw and cut it in half around the main knuckle. Glue each "arm" of the straw to the center of each of the larger wing pieces of paper and then fold the paper over to make wings.
Next, fold in half and glue the tail fin to the back of the airplane fuselage straw. With that done, bend the wing straw slightly, and glue it underneath the fuselage straw just behind the main propeller.
Ensure the wings are roughly perpendicular to the tail fin as best you can. This may take a little trial and error. With that done check the balance of the plane.
The center of gravity should be roughly in the middle of the wings. If not either reglue the wings or add some counterweights as needed. Snip off just enough the rear toothpick to keep the rubber band in place and glue them into place.
With that, your DIY rubber band plane is now ready for take-off. Power up the propeller, release the propeller, and let the plane fly!
If you enjoyed this build, you might enjoy making another DIY toy? How about, for example, your own mini robot bug?