Introduction: Bee Buzzer - Rubber Band Noise Toy

About: Professionally I have been a summer camp counselor, a Draftsman/designer, salesperson, bicycle mechanic, laminate flooring machine mechanic, teacher, and designer of the OP Loftbed. Personally I am a human tha…

When I saw the Instructables' rubber band contest, I remembered a toy, that my grandparents had, that fascinated me. It was a simple cardboard bee, a rubber band, and a string. You held on to the end of the string and spun the bee around. As it picked up speed, it would start buzzing.

I could not find the original toy, but I did find a bunch of different ways to make the toy. In this Instructable, I will show you how I made a few different bee buzzers, to give you some ideas on how to make your own.

I have entered this Instructable in the rubber band speed challenge. If you like it, please vote.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

I was going to use regular popsicle sticks, but my daughter insisted on getting the larger versions. I am glad we did because the small regular size popsicle sticks were too little.

We found that the 6 inch long sticks worked best.

Some Rubber Bands: You want the wide rubber bands, they produce the best buzz.

Some card stock or thin cardboard. I used a pop tart box.

I used Duck tape, clear shipping tape, and electrical tape. Any tape would work but I wanted yellow and black.

I used some worn out Yo-Yo string, any strong string will do.

The only tool I needed was a pair of scissors.

Step 2: Wrap Tape Around Ends of Craft Stick

I used the electrical tape to wrap around both ends of the popsicle stick. You want to make it thick enough so that when you wrap the rubber band around it, the rubber band has room to move. I found about 1/4 of an inch on both sides was good.

Step 3: Make a Rudder

You will need a rudder for your bee buzzer to fly correctly. Cut your card stock or cardboard to fit between the tape on the ends of the popsicle stick.

Step 4: Tape on the Rudder

Tape the rudder on to the popsicle stick. You could use just a little bit of tape, but I covered both sides of the cardboard.

Step 5: Tie on the String

I used the loop end of the Yo-Yo string to make a hitch to fasten it on to the popsicle stick. What ever knot you use, you want it to be strong and on the inside of the taped ends of the popsicle stick. When spinning, there will be strong forces acting against the knot, so it has to be strong enough to withstand the forces, or your bee buzzer will fly away.

Step 6: Decorate

I wanted my bee buzzer to look cool, so I used some yellow electrical tape to make some bee stripes.

Step 7: Put on the Rubber Band

Now it is time to give the bee buzzer it's voice. Hook the rubber band on one end of the popsicle stick and stretch the other end of the rubber band over the other end of the popsicle stick. Make sure there are no twists in the rubber band.

Step 8: Fly Your Bee Buzzer

Hold one end of the string and spin the bee buzzer over your head. Too slow or too fast and it will not make noise. You will find a sweet spot where the speed will be just right and the bee buzzer will sound like a bee buzzing.

Step 9: Get Fancy

My daughter was making a bee buzzer, the same time I was making mine. I knew she would want something more cute than just black and yellow stripes. I found a cartoon bee image. My wonderful wife put them in a document, faced two bees towards each other and printed it out on card stock.

Step 10: Trim to Fit

Just like the cardboard on the first bee buzzer, trim the card stock to fit the popsicle stick.

Step 11: Fold in Half

I was able to fold the card stock perfectly in half by looking thru the paper towards a light source (the sun) and line up the stingers of both bees.

Step 12: More Trimming

After I folded the card stock I trimmed up the end of the card stock.

Step 13: Tape on the Rudder

I did not want to cover up the cute bee so I taped the popsicle stick into the inside crease of the folded card stock. I then rolled up some tape, sticky side out, to make some double sided tape to tape the end seam together.

Step 14: Put on the Rubber Band and String

Now all you have to do is put on the rubber band and spring, like the first bee buzzer.

Step 15: Have Fun, But Bee Safe

My daughter loved her cute bee buzzer. The best place to use your bee buzzer is outside. If you bee buzzer string slips out of your hand, or the string breaks, the bee buzzer will go flying away. If you are outside, the fly away bee buzzer will probably just land on the ground. If you play with the bee buzzer inside, there is a chance that something might get broken.

You also want to make sure there is plenty of room between you and other people. The bee buzzer is fast and could sting you.

Step 16: Experiment

I made a giant bee buzzer with a 10 inch craft stick with duck tape on the ends. It was large enough to have three rubber bands. The three rubber bands could be "tuned" by making one side tighter than the other. It would make a droning noise that sounded like a swarm of bees.

Try different sizes of rubber bands. Different spaces between rubber bands. Even try different spaces between the rubber bands and the popsicle stick, by varying the thickness of the tape, on the ends of the popsicle stick.

Step 17: Where Is That Buzzing Coming From?

When the bee buzzer flies, at just the right speed, the air going over the rubber bands makes them vibrate. The vibrations make sound. The rubber band will vibrate enough to hit the cardboard rudder. This vibration, against the cardboard rudder, will cause a buzzing. Both sounds together sound like a buzzing bee.

Step 18: What Is Going On?

There are other things happening. I thought the bee buzzer was flying in line with the string. Reviewing the video I made, I saw that the bee buzzer was doing something I did not expect. It was flying at an angle to the string. I am not sure, but I think the drag on the string, traveling thru the air, was puling back on the edge of the bee buzzer.

Step 19: Video

As usual, I made a video.

Thank you for watching.

Rubber Band Speed Challenge

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Rubber Band Speed Challenge