Hand Powered Wooden Propeller Toy

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Introduction: Hand Powered Wooden Propeller Toy

This is an old vintage toy that is very easy to make, it requires a few amount of tools and takes around half an hour to make. It is very simple and fun to use, make one for a child or why not for you!

Supplies

Supplies:

  • A flat piece of wood for the propeller (about 20 cm long, 3 cm wide and 0.5 cm thick)
  • A wooden stick about 20 cm long

Tools:

  • Wood files / rasps
  • Sandpaper
  • Scroll saw
  • Drill bit and drill

Or you can simply use a Knife!

Step 1:

First of all mark the center of your piece of wood and draw a circle around the center leaving some room on the edge. Then draw a line from each corner to the outermost edge of the circle. On the side of the piece of wood draw a line at an angle from the center all the way to the middle of the edge.

Step 2:

Use the lines traced in the previous step to cut out the two edges and the two angled faces at the top.

To cut the two edges I used a scroll saw and for the two angles, faces I did it with a wood rasp.

A knife, while traditional, is not the fastest, easiest, or the safest way to remove the wood. Using a wood file or a shaving tool is better. Power sanders are even faster.

Step 3:

Then, with the help of a wood file or a whittling knife give a helical twist to the propeller. Remove the wood from two opposite corners of the piece of wood.

A knife, while traditional, is not the fastest, easiest, or the safest way to remove the wood. Using a wood file or a shaving tool is better. Using a power sander is even faster.

If you are using a knife, hold the block in your left hand, and shave away the wood on the right side of the block. To make the propeller shape, remove only the wood on the top right side. The left side is needs to be untouched, and the right side is shaved down to a sharp edge.

Step 4:

Then do the same for the other side of the propeller, so the propeller blade is a thin piece of wood.

You can also round out the corners to make it look more like an airplane propeller, but I preferred to leave it square.

Step 5:

With a drill bit, drill a hole in the center of the propeller. The hole should be a little bit smaller than the wooden stick's diameter.

Then, with some sandpaper smooth out the propeller and the stick.

Step 6:

Then insert the stick into the hole, if done correctly the stick should hold without any glue.

Step 7:

To use to propeller toy hold the stick against your left palm using your right fingertips, then quickly slide your right hand forward and your left hand back, so that the propeller spins in the anticlockwise direction. The popular toy will fly away, and land a couple meters away!

Step 8:

I'm not sure if I was clear enough in explaining the steps, but I think the photos will help. Also if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. Suggestions and corrections are appreciated. I hope you enjoyed making this Wooden propeller Toy!

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    21 Comments

    0
    MakcB
    MakcB

    1 year ago

    А "муха" всё равно практичней!!!

    igrushka_samodelnuj_vertolet.jpg
    0
    Coɴɴør Mɑrʈɪɴ
    Coɴɴør Mɑrʈɪɴ

    Reply 10 months ago

    Translation from Russian: A "fly" is still more practical!

    2
    lorenkinzel
    lorenkinzel

    1 year ago

    I use bamboo skewers & popsicle sticks. The skewer fits loosely in a thread spool that is used as a holder. Wrap the shaft with string & pull. It really takes off on account of the extra speed you can get by pulling the string.

    0
    MuzicMaker
    MuzicMaker

    Reply 12 months ago

    Can you elaborate a little on this? I was thinking a string-pull powered version could fly very well, and then I saw your post… I can’t quite picture what you describe, though.
    Does the skewer just kinda sit in the spool, and you hold the spool in your hand? Then with the string wrapped around the skewer, you pull, and it flies up and out (leaving you holding just the spool)?

    Thanks for clarifying! Appreciate it.

    0
    lorenkinzel
    lorenkinzel

    Reply 12 months ago

    Yes, you did picture what I was describing. Exactly as you described it.
    The empty spools were handy (back when they were wood), but any piece of wood with a hole drilled in it works. The speed gotten by pulling the string makes it really take off.
    I made them for the young kids at a family reunion but long after the kids gave it up the men were still having distance competitions.
    I held damp popsicle sticks over a steaming kettle & gave them a little twist before sanding the wing shape. After drying I drilled & put the on the pointy end of the skewer.
    The kids decorated them with acrylics.

    0
    19-10632
    19-10632

    1 year ago

    this is cooooool

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    1 year ago

    The gif of it in action is awesome - love this :D

    0
    Jim L.
    Jim L.

    1 year ago

    Really reminds me of many years ago when I tried carving propellers for model airplanes. Thank you for doing this instructable.

    1
    HollyH75
    HollyH75

    1 year ago

    We called them puddle jumpers. You can play catch with them, like frisbees.

    1
    Jimichan
    Jimichan

    1 year ago

    Classic Japanese childrens toy called 竹とんぼ or "taketonbo", meaning bamboo dragonfly.

    0
    jmoakland
    jmoakland

    1 year ago

    Did you put any wood finish on the toy? An oil maybe?

    0
    Timothee Gillier
    Timothee Gillier

    Reply 1 year ago

    No, I left the wood as is and I might varnish it later.

    0
    Alex in NZ
    Alex in NZ

    1 year ago

    Really nice looking work. Thank you for sharing :-)
    I bought one of these from a street vendor in the Old Town of Edinburgh thirty years ago. After a couple of failed tries, it shot vertically a huge distance and landed (upright!) in a window box four floors up. I often wonder what the owner of the flat thought when they got home.

    2
    Alfetta159
    Alfetta159

    Reply 1 year ago

    And all the kids think lost drones on the roof are a new thing!

    0
    Timothee Gillier
    Timothee Gillier

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks, cool story, I hope mine doesn’t get stuck high up!

    0
    bjblacksr
    bjblacksr

    1 year ago on Step 8

    Takes me back to my childhood. My grandfather used to make these for us kids around the Holidays. He used the mahogany side panels from cigar boxes.

    0
    BoTo
    BoTo

    1 year ago

    měl jsem takový v roce 1960. Teď ho vyrobím pro svého vnuka 4 roky starého. Děkuji!

    0
    gralan
    gralan

    1 year ago

    Great. I had one of these growing up out on my parents' farm in Oregon. Woo Hoo.
    I'd forgotten all about it. Now I get to make one, thanks to you.