Ornithopter: (n) A machine designed to achieve flight by means of flapping wings.
This instruction will show you how to fashion an ornithopter that depicts the fight between an X-Wing and a TIE Fighter. As you see in the photo, the two spacecrafts are built into a single ornithopter. The X-Wing's change of wing shape contributes to the flapping of the wings, where as the TIE Fighter is used as a horizontal & vertical stabilizer.
I didn't mean to be so chatty with the instructions but I figured that would help some makers more than just a photo set with one liners. Click through the steps to find out how you can make your own! And don't forget to vote for this Instructables!
Step 1: Materials & Maybe a Warmup
Materials you'll need:
- 3/16 square balsa stick cut into
A) two 16" length (wings)
B) two 5" length (body)
C) two 1.5" length (pillars)
D) two 2" length (the "arms")
E) one 3/8" length (just a spacer for the engine)
- music wire cut into
I ) one 4" length (drive shaft)
II ) one 4" length (main pivot)
III) one 1.5" length (secondary pivot)
IV) one 7" length (tail connector)
- printing paper (think double A)
- rubber band (I used 5~7 but they were small so.. give them a try)
- metal tubing / beads / or anything to use as spacers for the wire
- some heavier paper (got mine from an old calender pages)
- blank plastic bag
Tools you'll need:
- nose pliers / or anything to bend your wires
- box cuter / crafting knife / scissors
- tape (thinner tapes will be easier to use, so leave your duct tapes be)
- super glue / krazy glue / you know what I'm talking about
Other things I've used but forgot to include in the picture:
- some means of drilling a hole (screwdriver / nail / sheer strength)
- 4 Q-tips
- markers / pens / color pencils for the paint job
Step 2: Get Your Drones to Work!
***If you look at Fig.2 you'll see that I've used tape to hold the pieces together while the glue sets in. Even after the glue dried I left the tapes attached as that gave the connection more strength. And because of that I started cutting my tapes in thinner strips so that it looks better later on.
While the body frame is being dried, proceed to making the two "arms" as I call them. This piece requires you to roll a "tubing" out of printing paper. Simply cut a strip about 1/4" by 5" of PRINTING paper (leave that rigid paper for now) and start wrapping it around the wire you are using. Basically you're creating a custom tubing for your wire. Simply secure the ends with some tape, and create four of those to glue on each end of the two D) 2" lengths according to Fig.3.
Fig.4 shows you the completed "arms". Leave these aside. Pat yourself on the back.
Now add some more parts to the body frame. Like you see in Fig.5 you'll need to glue a paper tubing 1/2" in length on the top of the frame, while the E) 3/8" spacer on the bottom, followed by your choice of metal tubing / or beads below that. I was stingy with this tubing for my first build with the practice ornithopter and rolled myself a paper tubing. Doesn't work. Turns out the wire shaft you add later on applies quite some friction on that face. So go with some smooth metal tubing or spheric beads for minimal friction. Let them dry. Go get some beverage.
Step 3: There Is No Spoon.
Just keep in mind that all bends are 90° unless I say so. Take the III) 1 1/2" wire and bend on the 3/4" mark. You'll have an "L" shaped wire piece. Success! Take this piece and glue it on to an A) 16" length stick. Make sure the slightly longer end of the wire punctures through the hole 1 3/4" away from the center hole. Again, do not disturb the center hole. Take the II) 4" wire this time and bend on the 3/4" mark again. Make another bend 1 3/4" from the first bend. Refer to Fig.2 for direction of the bend. You'll have an awkward "Z" shape. This time you glue this wire piece on to the other A) 16" length stick puncturing the center hole with the longer wire end. Again, puncture the center hole this time.
Now take the I) 4" wire and bend it according to Fig.3. Make sure you make the bends with one of the "arm" embedded in the bends.
Once you have the parts ready, assemble them according to Fig. 1, Fig.4, and Fig.5. Play with the crank and admire the bones flapping. Go out and get some fresh air and vitamin D.
Step 4: "Beep-bob-bob-whee-whopp" - R2D2
Once the parts are cut out, pimp them out with whatever means of coloring you may have in your reach. I used some sharpie markers and color pencils, so you don't need to go crazy with tools. I just googled some images and movie stills for reference, but then again, it's your own project! customize them to your liking. While the TIE Fighter was being made, I went ahead and worked on some decorative pieces for the X-Wing as well. Check out Fig.3 for reference if needed.
*** Tips on decorating: I referred to movie stills for the big parts and major color scheme of both spacecrafts, but the parting lines and other random lines are just made up. They are just badly written "F"s and "L"s. Keep them bold, and don't leave them to be the center of attention. The more lines there are for your eyes to look at, the more it blends in with the subject.
You'll see that I left out some white tabs on the sides of the TIE Fighter. The side tabs will be folded inwards to help you glue the hexagonal sides. See Fig.4 for reference. Glue those hexagons on and park your TIE Fighter to the side. You're done with the TIE Fighter.
While the TIE Fighter is being dried, go ahead and take the four Q-tips (or toothpicks) and glue each to the ends of the X-Wing wings as you see in Fig.5. These will need to support the "skin" of the wing as well, so be sure you're generous with the glue on these. You're so close to the finish line now.
Step 5: "Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" - Chewbacca
*** It is easier to color and decorate the plastic bag while it is still taped down. So try to resist cutting out the outline until after the coloring is done.
Repeat the instruction for both top and bottom half, color, and cut. You'll end up with two "skins" like in Fig.2. Go ahead and bend & attach the IV) 7" wire to the end like you see in Fig.3. It should be self explanatory if you've followed the instruction along. Take a bathroom break, because the time has finally come.
Step 6: Pew Pew Pew
Features of the Star Wars Ornithopter:
- the X-Wing flaps from its "normal" wing mode to "attack" wing mode (Fig.2, Fig.3)
- TIE Fighter on its tail! (Fig.4)
- everything on a single flight craft
- pewpewpew (I added a green paper tube on the tail wire to make it look like the TIE Fighter is firing laser at the X-Wing)
*** I wasn't able to record any videos of it flying just yet. I'll update you on that once the weather clears outside!