Picture of Magnus Glider
Use curveball physics to make this glider fly!

This is one of the 48 projects for our Instructables: Made In Your Mind (IMIYM) exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Houston showing from May 26, 2012 - November 4, 2012. Produced in partnership with Instructables, IMIYM is an exhibit where families work together to build different fun, toy-like projects that help construct knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while instilling a “do-it-yourself” attitude in kids so they feel empowered to explore, tinker, and try to make things themselves. To learn more, check out the article here.

For this project, we were inspired by the $0.05 Toy Hovercraft/Helicopter Instructable created by Hoopajoo, but there may be others on Instructables that are also similar. Often, the materials and process for building our projects are designed for use with a large number of visitors (we see over 800,000 annually) and the need to ensure safety in a mostly non-facilitated environment. So, yes, many of these projects have room for improvement in both materials and methodology, which is PRECISELY what we want to encourage the kids to do. So please do share your ideas for improvement and modifications!

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Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need
We are selective in our materials for cost, ease of use, and safety due to our high traffic (800,000 visitors annually). So, for our purposes, this design worked best. But you may have other ideas - please share!
  • 2 – 12 oz. Styrofoam cups
  • 4 – Rubber bands, #19
  • Masking Tape

Step 2: The Video

We offer optional video segments of each step for this project in the actual exhibit. Here is a compilation of all the steps.

Step 3: Step 1 - Build the Glider

Picture of Step 1 - Build the Glider
Tape the bottoms of the cups together so that the open mouths face away from each other. Make sure the cup bottoms line up evenly with each other. Use several wraps of tape.

Step 4: Step 2 - Make a Rubber Band Chain

Picture of Step 2 - Make a Rubber Band Chain
Take two rubber bands and loop one around the edge of a second, then back through itself. Pull to make the knot tight. Repeat to connect the other bands to the chain.
MrMiro02 made it!5 months ago
Cool idea! Thanks for posting!
Good concept.
kira6202 years ago
this is awesome!!!