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!

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

hoohooco2 years 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!
Starsghost4 years ago
wait, i just read the whole thing
Starsghost4 years ago
nathanzhang7 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??
yanyan8 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)  yanyan8 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?
ad4108008 years ago
this thing suks! it is mor like a toy for a 2 year old,
you spell like my 2 year old
lol yeah
All this negativity is making my nuts hurt.
2yr. olds are small children, idiot.
(removed by community by request)
jasonckoval7 years ago
Folks, this is a nice project designed to keep little kids busy at *something* that they might get a kick out of. I cannot understand why so many of you feel the need to bash stuff like this. Hoopajo, thanks for contributing this, I will use it with my little ones. It is a clever demonstration of the concept of "circulation" and its relation to aerodynamic lift. Look up "Flettner Rotor" if you are really interested.
matt72307 years ago
how do you *launch* this!!!

matt72307 years ago
How do you lunch this!!!
3am last night this was the most entertaining thing at my work lol
3am...night...am=morning...night=pm...am+night=does not compute
oh cmonn we know what he means, be nice :P
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