Instructables

Aeroplane from an Aluminium Can (and it flies too)

Featured
This aeroplane can definitely be improved by measuring before cutting. I didn't do this and it ended up looking a little bit uneven. This aeroplane will fly, but only if you make it from an ALUMINIUM can. Most canned energy drinks use all-Aluminium cans. This model is not a scale version of any real aircraft. This is my first ever aluminium-built model aeroplane and it was quite satisfying to see it fly.

Materials needed:
An aluminium can
glue
some kind of ballast (use putty or wire or anything else that seems to work)

Tools:
Tin snips or scissors
Pliers
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: The wings

Picture of The wings
CAM00387.jpg
CAM00388.jpg
CAM00389.jpg
Cut the top and bottom off of the can and cut vertically between the top and bottom to reveal a decent sheet of aluminium. Flatten it out.
Now, for the wings, cut the sheet about 2 fifths across so that you have enough material for the wings and enough left over for the fuselage and tail. If this was the original sheet: I___I it should now look like this: I_I I__I

Bend it in half, but don't crease the edge like you would paper. We want the leading edge to be realistic-looking, not flat.
 DON'T cut the leading edge. Cut 2 slits in the top piece of the wing, each one about 2mm from the centre line.
Now "roll" the top of the wing further back. This will make the leading edge move from one part of the sheet to another. The wings should now appear somewhat swept-back.

Cut the back of the wing and the wingtips to the shape you want them to be.

Because it was requested, I included a template page which I made on Microsoft Paint so that you can click on it, download the full-resolution picture and print it from paint. Then, cut the parts out and trace them onto your can. I used a 16FL. OZ. 473ml Monster can, so If you have a smaller can it may not fit. I apologise if it isn't perfect, but I hope it helps you if you need it.
1-40 of 65Next »
awesomecreations (author) 1 year ago
I made this cool MiG 21 after I made this instructable;

http://www.instructables.com/id/MiG-21-from-a-Monster-Can/
mokoman3605 months ago

do you think this would still fly maybe 2 or 3 times bigger?

awesomecreations (author)  mokoman3605 months ago

Yes, of course! and it would fly better too, although it would likely not be as strong when it comes to impact. The metal thickness is constant, so the bigger you make the aeroplane, the lighter (relative to its size) the thing will be. (But there will be a bit more weakness in it too, and a few more seams.)

Ahah! I shall now go and scavange for aluminium cans!

awesomecreations (author)  mokoman3605 months ago

Have fun!

jbaker551 year ago
can you make it out of paper?if so,can it fly?
awesomecreations (author)  jbaker551 year ago
I suppose you could make it from card and it would fly, but not as well as a folded paper aeroplane.
PapaHex1 year ago
My great grandpa used to make old biplanes like this back before i was born. I went into his attic and found about 5 of them and just fell in love. thanks for the instructable. I hope I make some as well.
please redo with a page to print out and glue to can material so they come out nicer.

nose of plane is open?

consider crazy glue to build it. I seem to remember it was claimed o be used to laminate materials to build plane wings on het fighters. How true I do not know but here it would be nice. Clamp materials down tight one drop and capillary action sucks it up.

nice concept I've made Pepsi-G alky stoves, and used soda cans to make other things

thanks, but please make another with a print so they all come out really nice.
awesomecreations (author)  spark master1 year ago
Okay, I will make an MS paint version which can be printed and stuck/traced onto the sheetmetal. It may take a day or two though to get it all correct so it can fit all on one can.
That is why they call you (cue drumroll and fanfare)......THE AWESOME ONE!!!!!

truely nice project, if ther a cover on the front of the planes nose?

If you anted to make a lot of them make a mandrel then heavily wax it, or use silicone release, that would allow you to make a really taut shell, the crazy clue would work nicely

but that is just a suggestion.

After you print the plane parts you use rubber cent to glue it on the the flat metal then use Xacto kife to cut out the plane parts,better edges then shears (well usually).

thanks so much for your instructable, glad to see you follow up with prints.

after that a bi-plane-triplane!!! well perhaps not , but we can wish!

sparkie
awesomecreations (author)  spark master1 year ago
I added a template.
awesomecreations (author)  spark master1 year ago
Thanks. No, the nose isn't covered by anything and this does affect stability a bit.
I wouldn't suggest gluing paper plans to the metal permanently because paper is quite dense and increases the weight considerably.Glue also adds quite a bit of mass.
One could cut a semicircle out of the can-sheet and roll it to form a cone which can be glued inside the nose and stick out a bit to reduce drag and look like a propeller cone, if somebody does this then please post some pictures of the finished product and some steps along the way.
I wish I could make another model different to this one but I don't have any aluminium cans.
You live in a plce with not cans, I am now even more impressed! All I need do is go past a school/park and can pick up a dozen all aluminum. We have deposits oncarbonated beverage cans here in NY State, but nothing else, so a person who wants to play can find "stuff" easily. I am sure the postage from me to you plus governmental agencies would stop anything I sent you or make it ludicrously expensive.

Isuggest if there is / are health lubs near by you ask if they sell any of the stuff that uses those cans then ask them to save a few empties. Service stations and parks are another place to look to get'm fer free.

good luck
awesomecreations (author)  spark master1 year ago
I have aquired another empty Monster can from my brother now and I will start making a Mikoyan & Gurevich 21 Fishbed.
awesomecreations (author)  spark master1 year ago
Finding steel cans is easy, but aluminium ones are difficult because not everybody drinks expensive energy drinks all the time.
use Cyanoacrylate glue (nasty stuff if you make an error really can be nasty), will add almost no weight . you might add a hook to the bottom so you can rubber band lauch it.

or gut an old balsa flyer for the plastic prop and add rubberband flying. Your concept has a few nice variables. You could get a simple electric batt system and the motors (they are very very powerful for weight and size. I do not fly planes so I don't know how they would work out.
awesomecreations (author)  spark master1 year ago
I also make my own parts for rubber-band conversions for some other gliders I have made. This is basically the propeller, friction reduction and parts to hold everything in place. Usually I use old plastic containers and pen-lids.
awesomecreations (author)  spark master1 year ago
I also use mostly cheap Cyanoacrylate adhesive which is difficult to correct and it also it leaves white marks from the chemical reaction with the air.
I appologise for not expounding ,by using rubber cemet you can peel it right off then rub it clean, Do this on hard flat surface like a sheet of glass/plexiglass/formica tabletop, and it comes right off. Hobby store might have a nicer version of the stuff (easier to remove). But I use the rubber cement and paper print to do wood carving sometimes. It works great, you an glue 4 faces of a cube/rectanglethen, triangulate in your head as you rough out the item. (roughout/hogout same thing, remove gross amounts of wood to allow you to carve).
*The nose should look like this when done: " _I> "
hey do you have a template to use to cut out all the pieces from the aluminum can? That would be a great help in duplicating this.

Great instructable, thanks for sharing!
awesomecreations (author)  travistoler1 year ago
Maybe I could draw one up and post it so that it can be printed.
There! a template is available in Step 1
Edgar1 year ago
This is a new twist to Papercraft, Tincraft! :D
Went to the Blog:
http://faz-voce-mesmo.blogspot.pt/2013/01/nanotecnologia-para-motores-cubo-de.html
awesomecreations (author)  Edgar1 year ago
Wow, I didn't realise how far this Instructable has spread!
Yup, you're big in Brazil, now... :)
Thergox1 year ago
AWESOME! This is PERFECT for a Sunday evening where I have nothing to do ^_^ Thanks!
t2design1 year ago
Looks a little like one of these, but without the prominebt fixed landing gear: http://www.avionslegendaires.net/mitsubishi-a5m-claude.php
awesomecreations (author)  t2design1 year ago
Hey, it does! I'm building a one two-hundredth scale A6M5 Zero-sen right now. I'll make an 'ible of it tomorrow...
OK, Here is the link to it:

http://www.instructables.com/id/One-inch-scale-Mitsubishi-Zero-sen/
tobyker1 year ago
Great fun. But it would be easier to see what's happeningif you could find a clear surface to rest the model on while you take pics.
awesomecreations (author)  tobyker1 year ago
I know, I wish I had more space in which to work and a better camera. I apologise and hope that what I have posted here is detailed enough.
I like your work space. Looks well used.
Thanks, It sure is.
sabr6861 year ago
That's fun. It'll keep me busy for hours making all sorts of crazy and unnecessary mods. Thanks for the great ible!
awesomecreations (author)  sabr6861 year ago
My pleasure!
agis681 year ago
excellent work...once i fixed a locomotive of tins....now u need an engine.....lol
awesomecreations (author)  agis681 year ago
Is it an instructable? I think I have seen it if so.
no! you know middle of the week i do several things and iam boring to write about them in instructable. :( Anyway take a pic and maybe one day i will write about it....
tin_locomotive.jpg
1-40 of 65Next »
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!