Picture of Beer Can Models...
This is a fun little challenge for those who like to solve problems as they construct something out of nothing. The basic raw material used is a beer can, but any soda can will do. Beer comes in 16 ounce cans which allows for some larger pieces to work with. I like to make my models powered so I am always looking for small DC motors and switches. (Battery powered Crest Toothbrushes have excellent motors)

There is really no definite right or wrong in building a beer can model. It actually boils down to your imagination and how great a challenge you want to accept. These slides will show you some areas that really stumped me for a while. For the rest, you are on your own.
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Step 1: Another View of my Favorites...

Picture of Another View of my Favorites...
Just another shot of two of my favorite models.

Step 2: Things I Use...

Picture of Things I Use...
Most pack rats will have most of this stuff laying around in their shop. This is a short list of the most essential items.

1. 16 ounce beer cans (drink the beer first).
2. Various adhesives, but the MOST important is JB-Weld. You can do the whole project with JB-Weld if are not concerned about time. Liquid Nails will give you a faster set, but doesn't sand very well.
3. Some cutting instruments.
4. A 9 volt battery. If you break it apart you end up with six 1.5 volt AAA batteries.
5. A Sharpie pen makes a good container for the batteries. Just cut it up (make measurements first).
6. If you are going to power it, get a small switch (the style is your own choice).
7. DC motors. If you are going to make a powered model you need to start with the motor. The scale of your entire model depends on the size of your motor.
8. A great source for switches and motors is:
9. You will also need at some time some wire. (24 stranded is good)
10. Some shrink wrap.
Buggerlugz11 months ago

some templates that you can print would be a nice addition

Nice! I don't use beer cans for my can aeroplanes because of the weight, because mine are flyable.
polarfawaz5 years ago
hi mate,
nice project.want to do one myself/
Wasagi5 years ago
 So, I was going to ask if these fly, but then I read...

Still, Really cool!

The Little red one, was that out of a few Coke cans? And how did the bottle rockets disengage? How did you make the fuselage? I think that it would be a really cool instructaable to show how to make one of these! 

Five stars!
Nice work. Just wanted to point out that the six batteries inside a 9v are classified as AAAA and not AAA.
Cool, I've builded popcan backpacking stoves now ive got to try this, this is so cool!
Transquesta5 years ago
OK, this is CLOSE to the coolest 'able I've seen on the site. REAL close! I figure this is kinda like zen modeling: no real point other than the exercise itself. But hey, at the end of it at least you have something a bit more tangible than a pile of sand you move around with a rake. :-) Dude, seriously, this is fantastic stuff! It's right up there with the paper-craft castle I just read about on another feed. We're talkin' paragon of patience here.
lemonie5 years ago
Nice models and good instruction. L
jdman (author) 5 years ago
Sorry, these models do not fly. They are static displays hung from the ceiling. The biplane and silver jet "fly" around in tight circles and the helicopter is an excellent experiment in countering the torque created by the main rotor...The physics is all wrong for them to actually fly.
hominid5 years ago
***Nice*** work space and grouse 'ible.
rimar20005 years ago
BEAUTIFUL!!! Congratulations. I use soda cans for other buildings, but it never occurred to me to make aircraft with them. (Yo uso las latas de gaseosas para otras construcciones, pero nunca se me ocurrió hacer aeromodelos con ellas).
Cool! I've seen these at local fairs but they're always so expensive!
Javin0075 years ago
Wow, no kidding, do these actually fly? If so, quite possibly the coolest thing ever.
budsiskos5 years ago
do these actually fly?