For my 4-year-old's birthday party, I built a wind tunnel for her and her friends to "test" the flight characteristics of stuffed animals, balls, toys, and anything else that fit into the 4-inch diameter tube. Powered by an air pump (normally used for a bouncy house), the tunnel was oriented vertically so items could be launched towards the sky. See the video below for some of the tests:

I considered the wind tunnel a total success as it kept a herd of 3-6-year-olds occupied, let them play and discover what items would fly, and simultaneously was interesting enough that all the parents wanted to play, too.

I built the project organically with no more of a plan then wanting to have kids play with a stream of fast moving air. If you don't want to follow along to see what I did specifically for my setup, here's the summary:
  1. Consider cardboard concrete forms for projects that require 12-inch diameter tubes
  2. Desktop fans that fit inside such a tube can't move enough air to be fun
  3. Not only can an air pump from a bouncy air move enough air to fly all sorts of things, but it produces a collimated stream of air; a leaf blower would probably work just as well.

Paso 1: Fans inside a cardboard tube vs. air pump

I initially tried powering the wind tunnel with two fans, but they didn't move nearly enough air for us to have fun. The air pump for our bouncy house moved plenty of air, plus it has a giant sticker labeling it as "not a toy". 
The air pump came with this bouncy house from Amazon. Check here for my other mod to the bouncy house, an additional safety net.
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    Nov 3, 2013


    Bio: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through ... Más »

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