Will It Fly? Rubber Band Helicopter

Introduction: Will It Fly? Rubber Band Helicopter

About: I am a Marine Engineer in the RNZN (41 years done in various navies) and am looking forward to retirement!!! so I can do more messing about with tools

So NZ has gone into another snap lockdown, the garden is done, the animals are all fed and the sheep have had their feet trimmed, the chicken houses have all been repaired and the Goat hive strengthened, so what to do??

The Make it Fly contest, it's got a day left so lets get in the shed and try something, hopefully I've got all the bits knocking around in Buck's Buckets of Crap


Plywood - Check

Plastic Sheet - Check

Lolly Sticks - Check

Glue - Check

Rubber Bands - Check

Small Cup Hooks - Check

Bandsaw - Check

Drill - Check

Sander - Check


Step 1: The Design

Pretty much winging it here so I freehand drew a helicopter outline on a scrap piece of 6mm plywood and cut it out using the bandsaw

Sort of resembles a Huey

The plywood was given to me ages ago free from next door who is building his house, these pieces are the window cutouts

Step 2: Cut Out the Inside to Save Weight

Using Colin Chapmans philosophy (of Lotus Cars) first add lightness

I cut out the centre to save as much weight as possible

Step 3: The Rotor Head

I put a small piece of plastic tube to act as a bearing and sandwiched it between 2 pieces of ply with some glue

Step 4: The Rotor

Using a slat that I rescued from a broken garden chair I found in a skip I fashioned a rotor blade

This was done by sanding it on my Table Sander, Mainly done by eye but pleased with how it came out

Step 5: Skids/Landing Gear

As I wanted this to stand up and be stable I cut some cross members and skids to go on the bottom again from 6mm ply

These were glued and then stapled in position

Step 6: Pulleys

Using an old plastic container (previously contained firefighting foam) from the work skip I cut some circles using a punch set and made pulleys

I made 2 of each size, 1 was glued with impact adhesive the other with superglue

(the superglue ones fell apart when I tried them!)

Step 7: Adding the Rotors

Using a lolly stick (from a chupa chups) I assembled the main rotor and pulley, glued onto the stick, this was then passed through the Rotor Head Bearing Tube and cut to length, a small cup hook was the screwed into the lolly stick and another directly below

Step 8: Rear Rotor

The Rear Rotor was assembled in a similar manner and a hole drilled in the tail and a bearing tube glued into position

My first location was too high and the rotors fouled each other so a second lower hole was drilled

Step 9: Power Source and Does It Fly?

A rubber band was stretched between the 2 pulleys (this is to counteract torque reaction so when the main rotor turns the tail one also does)

Then a bunch (about 6) small rubber bands were hooked between the 2 cup hooks as an engine

By rotating the main rotor the bands are twisted and when released the rotor turns

So Does It Fly

well, just

I need bigger rubber bands but can't get the due to lockdown, as it is when fully "charged" it lifts about 2 inches off the ground before running out of power, I have been unable to get a picture of it in flight as I'm not quick enough with the camera

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    5 months ago

    Clever! I'd love to see a video! :D


    Reply 5 months ago

    I would have to be quick (not a problem says the wife!!! 😂😂)