Picture of $.05 Toy Hovercraft / Helicopter
This instructable will show you how to make a simple toy hovercraft for small children. It is suitable for daycare projects, science projects (aerodynamics and gyroscopes) as well as general fun. This is a project can be built by small children since it requires no cutting.
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Step 1: What you will need.

Picture of What you will need.
2 - Styrofoam cups of the same size (8 oz or 16 oz)
8" or 21cm - Masking tape
4 - Medium rubber bands

Step 2: If you build it ... It will fly ...

Picture of If you build it ... It will fly ...
Take the length of tape and tape the bottom of the cups together. Now loop the rubber bands together drawing the knot closed firmly. Repeat with each rubber band until they form a chain.

Step 3: Here's the wind-up, and the pitch!

Picture of Here's the wind-up, and the pitch!
Wind the bands around the middle of the cup using medium tightness. Winding it too tight will cause the cups to collapse. I recommend winding over the cups and coming out underneath. This method gives me a better launch, but feel free to experiment.

Step 4: Have fun!

Picture of Have fun!
When you are ready to launch, hold the cups between your thumb and index finger with the first digit of your finger inside the loop of the bands.
Next release your thumb and pull your hand away like you would a top. It will hover for a few seconds and slowly descend to the ground.
Timing of the release and pull is important for a good flight. If the first couple of flights don't do so well, keep practicing. You will get the hang of it in no time at all.
This toy can be played with indoors as well as outside. The picture below was of one launched out of a 2nd floor window. Enjoy!
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dorkpunch3 years ago
Sweet!  Built one and tried it out with my kids, they didnt quite get it but loved watching it "hover".  Had my 8 yr old shoot a video of me flying it for you- pretty poor quality but you get the idea. 

Hoopajoo (author)  dorkpunch3 years ago
AWESOME!!! Hope your kids and you have fun playing with it!
scribble hero7 months ago

thats pretty cool and btw your son is a better filmer than most 8 year olds

hoohooco1 year ago
wow! it works?
TN7772 years ago
I am SOOOO going to use this when I babysit....
In the first picture I thought you magically made it stay on the wall
interesting and cheap!!
Plo Koon3 years ago
i'll try to make it!
cool knex133 years ago
dorkpunch3 years ago
Okay... So I got to "experimenting" with this and was just going to post some things here, but I got a little out of hand. I ended up building a bigger version of this that was a little different, so I made my own instructable referencing this one. I also dug up some more info on the Magnus Effect. You can see it here: The 50 CENT Hovercraft  
kelseymh3 years ago
This is a great, and deceptively simple, project! If you're still around five years after posting it, it would be really awesome if you could add a step (or even just a paragraph in the intro) on the aerodynamics behind it.

As someone else posted, it's clearly driven by the Magnus effect, but I think having a description in the content itself would be beneficial, especially for people wanting to implement it in a classroom environment.
pgrassia3 years ago
Very nice and simple. If I'm not mistaken this uses the magnus effect to get some lift, hence the need for lightweight material. As well a textured surface is needed (like the surface of your golf/tennis ball)
jbrecken3 years ago
Could this toy be called a kind of diabolo?
jabujavi3 years ago
Please put a video!
Starsghost3 years ago
wait, i just read the whole thing
Starsghost3 years ago
nathanzhang6 years ago
Kids, this is definitely more productive than HACKING. Please do this instead of messing around with other people's webcams and/or changing the wallpaper of your nemesis' computer.
Remember the days when hacking something, meant taking an axe or a pick and trying to get something off the ground?
yes but some people think HACKING is funner lol
you may have just given me an idea that has to do with my enemies computer and the fact that he blurted out it has no antivirus. if i only knew how to hack...
CaseBoy5 years ago
 can you post a vid??
yanyan7 years ago
I couldn't find styrofoam cups so i tried it with paper cups instead and it flew like a ...cow. Is this because of the smootheness of the paper cups, the weight, or my own shoddy technique?
Hoopajoo (author)  yanyan7 years ago
I think it is a combination of weight and texture. I tried it once with plastic cups and it flew like a lead blimp.
Hey! Mythbusters just proved that a lead baloon can fly
How thin was the lead? 1 nm?
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(removed by author or community request)
eww this is the INTERNETZ why does it matter how you spell
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Totally Wrong Man

It matters little for in a world of which we live in , because we have evolved into such a time where we may be allowed not to type proffesionally, as we may spell as we wish yet some belive we should just type better, others can not understand you so they ask of you to type and spell better. Other wordz speakin you dont have to lolz..
bold is wrong
elloo uh sad thing is i dont even remember typing that comment lulz
uhh seems like i angered you D: sorries
Not relly. Sorries :'(
oh yah ima delete the comment that i made before seems rather mean of me D: sooo *Deletes* :D
LOLOLOL totally right, man.
Hoopajoo (author)  TheCheese99218 years ago
Nice dude. Those aren't my hands. Sheesh.
sorry its like a phobia
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