Make a Fun Paper Planes Launcher

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Introduction: Make a Fun Paper Planes Launcher

About: Italian maker, law student, DIY enthusiast. I make lots of projects, I fix lot of stuff and I like to save and reuse materials taken from broken stuff.

Hi everyone!
In this ible I'l show you how to build a fun Paper Planes Launcher for free.

I build it in less than an hour and I used just materials that I had already at home as a strawberry box, two CDs, two little motors and four AA batteries.

If you want to have fun YOU HAVE TO build this cool Paper Planes Launcher.

VIDEO: in this video above you can see it working. I filmed it with both CD options. Unfortunately when I put the transparent CDs on, the batteries were a little low so it seems like they are less powerful, but trust me that they work at the same way.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

MATERIALS:

- 1 strawberry wooden box

- 1 piece of wood (2cm x 4cm x 20cm)

- 2 CDs and a small piece of cardboard

- 2 motors (I took them by old Mini 4WD)

- 4 AA batteries

- 2 AA battery holders (0.14$)

TOOLS:

- handsaw, file and sandpaper

- hot glue gun

- black spray paint (optional)

Step 2: The Base

For the base I used a scrap piece of wood 2cm x 4cm x 20cm.

I initially cut it in two pieces of 2cm x 2cm x 20cm, and then I cut one of them 2cm x 2cm x 16cm.

In order to make a flat cross I made a groove 2cm x 2cm (deep 1cm) on both pieces using a handsaw and a file.
On the shorter piece the groove is located in the center, while in the longer piece it's located at 9cm from one end.

Since I made the grooves very precises I didn't used glue, but if you have any gaps or if you want to make the base sturdier I suggest you to apply a little amount of hot glue between the two pieces.

Step 3: The Structure's Pieces

For all of the remaining wooden pieces of the structure I used pieces taken from a strawberry box.

I cut them with an handsaw, and since I didn't like the words, I painted them with black matte spray paint. (This is optional! You can paint them or not. Do what you like.)

From the corners pieces of the fruit box:
2x (1,5cm x 2,5cm x 2,5cm)

2x (2cm x 2,5cm x 2,5cm)

2x (3cm x 2,5cm x 2,5cm)

From the borders of the fruit box you will need:
2x (3,5cm x 4cm)

2x (4cm x 4cm)

2x (3,5cm x 8cm)

2x (4cm x 8cm)

Step 4: The Rear Support

NOTE: this step is easier to understand in photos rather than in words. ;)

In order to built the rear support you will need (picture 1 from the left to the right): one (3,5cm x 8cm) piece, one (4cm x 8cm) piece, and one (3cm x 2,5cm x 2,5cm) piece.

Start to glue the smaller border piece on one side of the longer arm of the cross. (photo #2)

Then take the other border piece and attach it to the previous, and finally glue the corner piece on its center.

Step 5: The Front Support

Repeat the process of the previous step to make the front support.

This time you have to use one (1,5cm x 2,5cm x 2,5cm) piece, one (3,5cm x 4cm) piece, and one (4cm x 4cm) piece.

NOTE: the only difference from the previous step consist in glueing the little corner piece to left side of the (4cm x 4cm) piece as in photo #4.

Step 6: Finish to Build the Structure

Repeat the last two steps for the other side of the base, and you should get something like what you can see in the first picture.

Then take off the gears from the motors, and use hot glue to attach the motors to the remaining (2cm x 2,5cm x 2,5cm) pieces.

Step 7: The CDs - First Option

I used two of those plastic clear CDs from the bottom of a stack of discs, but you could use two old/broken CDs.

Cut two little circles of cardboard, and glue them in the center of the CDs. Then reverse them upside down and glue the gears in the center. Be very precise to place the gears right in the center, of the CDs will not spin correctly.

Be also careful to put the gears parallel to the CDs, to do this easily I inserted a motor in the gear, and I checked that is was perpendicular to the CD. (photo #4)

Finally I used hot glue to attach a rubberband around both of them. It will give a lot of grip to the CDs.

Step 8: The CDs - Second Option

A second option for the CDs is this one. A round craft foam sheet glued between two CDs.

I marked and cut two circles 3mm bigger than a CD.
Then I cut 4 small circles out of an old credit card, and I placed them in the center of the foam circles. As you can see in photo #4, now the plastic circle fit perfectly in the bigger foam one.

It's time to make the sandwich! ;)
Start by gluing the plastic circle in the center of a CD. Then apply more glue on the CD and press on the foam circle. Glue another small circle in the center, and finally glue on the other CD.

This second option it's sturdier but works perfectly as the "rubberband one". I made it too because I already had it in my mind so I was curious if it could have worked better (or not).

Step 9: Glue the Motors and the Ramp

I inserted the CDs (without gluing them for now) onto the motors, and I placed them on the structure. I moved them on the shorter leg of the base until they were centered and spaced about 3mm from each other, and I marked a line with a pencil. (photo #2)

Then I used hot glue to attach them in the right position, and I checked if was all ok by spinning the CDs by hand.

Finally I cut two pieces of 30cm x 3,5cm from the base of the strawberries box using a x-acto knife and a metal ruler.

As last thing I glued these two ramps at the structure placing them about 5mm from each other. (photo #5)

Step 10: Connect the Motors to the Battery Holders

Connect the wires of the AA battery holders to the motors, and glue them on the base as in these pictures.

Do not connect the wires with the batteries inserted, and be sure to connect them in the right way. The left motor should rotate counterclockwise, while the right motor should rotate clockwise. Only in this way they can suck in the paper plane, and throw it forward.

To correct the rotating direction you have to swap the positive wire with the negative wire.

Step 11: Final Touches

Once everything works as it should, you can put a little drop of hot glue to secure better the CDs to the motors.

In order to make it more stable I put 4 rubber feet under the main structure.

Insert the four AA batteries into the battery holders, and do some tests. If the CDs don't grab the paper airplane, you have to re glue them a little bit closer. (This also depends from the thickness of the base of your airplane, so you have to play with these two dimensions until everything works)

Step 12: Finish!! Build Some Paper Planes and Have Fun

You can obviously paint it as you want, and you can also change materials and dimensions. I suggest to add a switch so you don't have to insert and remove the batteries every time you use it.

If you build one, please post a photo of your result in the comments section below.

I hope that you liked this very cool project!

Thanks for voting for me in the "Things That Fly Contest"!! I appreciated it.

If you like this project, maybe you could like my other ones, so check my Instructables profile and my website.

Thank you for reading my Instructable. ;)
Feel free to comment and ask if you need to know something!

manuelmasc

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50 Comments

paper bullet shooter :D

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I might have to make one of these. I gave my little brother (actually he's 49, not all that little) a paper airplane remote control module for Christmas, but one of his arms is in worse shape than I thought, so he can't hold the control unit (smart phone) and throw a plane at the same time.

This might make flying things possible for him again.

2 replies

That's awesome, and good luck on making it for him! Hope his arm gets better!

yes it would be perfect!!

please share a photo of your result if you make it ;)

XD i see better and not like that from the cost it's not really strong but good luke in the next try you need more power and good paper air planes that flies perfectelly

I'm going to make this very soon. Your attention to detail and well-organized presentation make this a very desirable project. Thanks for sharing!

2 replies

P.S. Remember to post here a "i made it" photo;)

thank you for the appreciation! It's always a pleasure seeing that people love my work ;)

Do we really need 2 motors?

Motor mounted on first disc can drive the second disc through friction right?

1 reply

yeah but this means half power, which means that it throws the airplane almost half distance far (or probably less). and the motor is in that way subjected to double work... it may overheat and burn. In other words...I suggest to use two motors ;)

Wonderful project to give it to children, who would have hours of fun.

Thanks for sharing

1 reply

thank you for the appreciation

Nicely done. Wish I'd had this in University, for statistics lectures :)

1 reply