The rubberband-powered helicopter is easy to construct, and with a little practice it can be flown 20+ feet into the air!

If you enjoy this project, then check out my books: Rubber Band Engineer and Duct Tape Engineer. || More engineering projects || Everything I make

How It Works:
1. Energy is stored in the sport rubber by winding the propeller.
2. When flown, the rubberband rapidly releases its energy by unwinding, which turns both the propeller blade and the paper cutout.
3. The paper cutout pushes against the surrounding air, which creates horizontal air resistance, or drag. This makes it harder for the cutout to spin. Because the cutout does not spin as easily, more energy from the rubberband is released into the propeller, which is much easier to turn. In this way, the paper acts like the rear rotor of a real helicopter
4. As the propeller spins rapidly, it begins to create lift by pushing air downward. With enough energy, the helicopter will fly in whatever direction it is pointing.

Step 1: Materials

Please message me to report broken links. All of these materials are used in my other Instructables for kids, so your purchases can be used across multiple projects.

Propellers with plastic mount
Craft sticks
Rubber bands
Card stock
Masking tape

<p>Thanks for the awesome project!</p>
<p>thank you for such a well made post and video! I'm looking forward to doing this project with my maker kids!</p>
<p>AWEsome fun and so COOL! Thanks for the DIY how to! I'm a 65 year old kid that can hardly wait to show to other kids of all ages too! Will definitely look at more of your projects and will check out your book too! Much thanks!</p>
Good question! You can buy a cheap balsa wood plane kit on Amazon or at a toy store, and use the propeller from that. Or buy lots of propellers from Kelvin and make tons of helicopters!
<p>Love this and bought your book for Grandpa to keep the 4 boys busy, but the only source for those popsicle stick blade parts is Kelvin and they have a $30. minimum, and the blades are $0.49. Do you know of any other sources for the propellar blades that don't have such a high minimum? I spent a lot of time searching and no luck.</p>
<p>Some happy kids in Taiwan today. Thanks for posting!</p>
<p>this actually works but only for a few sec</p>
<p>how can i get the material to build this...???????pls give me a reply...</p>
<p>Is there a way to connect a different prop to the craft stick? </p>
<p>It is so well and amazing! I like it!</p>
what size propellers did u use? which one from the catalog?
I build many kinds of model aircraft and because I can't buy propellers and associated parts to hold it and the rubber band, I usually build these from bits of rubbish laying around my room. To build a prop, I cut and bend a piece of plastic of the right strength/flexibility before gluing it to 2 beads and a piece of wire. For the part that holds the propeller shaft I cut a pen lid in half and glued one part to the side of the other to house a stick for a fuselage and poked a hole in the cap for the wire to fit through. Also, have you thought about making a rubberband powered autogyro? I made one a few months back and it works pretty well.
this would be a great way to have a party activity
Indeed it is - I've conducted this activity for birthday events as well as in the classroom. I've also used it at a local festival as a craft for kids.
Lovely! I can see my students having fun making it!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a writer, maker, and educator. For free lesson plans and teaching materials, and for assistance with any of my projects, check out LanceMakes ...
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