Introduction: Aeroplane From an Aluminium Can (and It Flies Too)
This aeroplane can definitely be improved by measuring before cutting. I didn't do this and it ended up looking a little bit uneven. This aeroplane will fly, but only if you make it from an ALUMINIUM can. Most canned energy drinks use all-Aluminium cans. This model is not a scale version of any real aircraft. This is my first ever aluminium-built model aeroplane and it was quite satisfying to see it fly.
An aluminium can
some kind of ballast (use putty or wire or anything else that seems to work)
Tin snips or scissors
Step 1: The Wings
Cut the top and bottom off of the can and cut vertically between the top and bottom to reveal a decent sheet of aluminium. Flatten it out.
Now, for the wings, cut the sheet about 2 fifths across so that you have enough material for the wings and enough left over for the fuselage and tail. If this was the original sheet: I___I it should now look like this: I_I I__I
Bend it in half, but don't crease the edge like you would paper. We want the leading edge to be realistic-looking, not flat.
DON'T cut the leading edge. Cut 2 slits in the top piece of the wing, each one about 2mm from the centre line.
Now "roll" the top of the wing further back. This will make the leading edge move from one part of the sheet to another. The wings should now appear somewhat swept-back.
Cut the back of the wing and the wingtips to the shape you want them to be.
Because it was requested, I included a template page which I made on Microsoft Paint so that you can click on it, download the full-resolution picture and print it from paint. Then, cut the parts out and trace them onto your can. I used a 16FL. OZ. 473ml Monster can, so If you have a smaller can it may not fit. I apologise if it isn't perfect, but I hope it helps you if you need it.
Step 2: The Basic Fuselage
Cut off another rectangle from the sheet. This one should be as long as the wing and also about 2 fifths of the can from the edge. This should leave about one fifth of the can unused.
Fold this piece (the bigger one) in half (longways) and only pinch the metal at one end as is shown in the first and second pictures. Cut a slit about 3 to 4 cm long, about one third along from the pinched (tail) end. Repeat this on the other side. This will later form the horizontal tailplane.
At the very front of the fuselage, fold the inside out over the front. You will want the fold (or new furthest-forward point) to be about 1 to 2 cm from where the old one was. See the 3rd-last picture, this is what it should look like when done.
Now, gradually roll The fuselage into a sort of long cone shape that tapers down to a point (the tail).
Cut a slit from the front to halfway back on the tail section. This is shown in pictures 5 and 6.
Fold the front half under and when done the result should look like the last two pictures.
Lastly, put some glue along the underside of one side of the fuselage and press the other side onto it until the glue dries. This is also illustrated in the last two pictures.
Step 3: Attatching the Wings
In order for the wings to be blended into the fuselage, first cut 2 slits in the leading edge as shown in the first 2 pictures.
these slits should be just long enough to fit the fuselage in-between them. Fold these up and note that because the fuselage tapers, the back doesn't need to have as big a gap.
On the inside of the wing, trail some glue along the trailing edge and the wingtip and press the other half of that wing against it until the glue is dry. Don't glue or press the whole wing as this will not make it look as nice.
Put glue on the piece of wing marked in the first picture and also the side of the tabs that faces inwards.
Press the fuselage into place and make sure that it is upright and that all glued areas make contact.
Step 4: Cockpit and Vertical Stabilizer
Cut a square from the remaining strip of sheetmetal.
Bend it in half and cut about a third of the way up along the leading edge and fold the bottom open.
Cut the tail fin to the desired shape and bend the bottom to form tabs that form to the tail and blend into it. Glue the bottom of the tabs to the back of the fuselage after gluing the trailing edge as you did for the wing.
Also glue the trailing edges of the horizontal stabilizer in the same way after cutting it to shape.
For the cockpit cut a small trapezium from the sheet and bend it as shown. Glue it on top of the fuselage about halfway across the chord of the wing.
Step 5: Adjusting for Flight
To make this ornament into a flying model, add some ballast to the front until the aeroplane will be able to balance on a point on the front half of the wing.
If it dives, reduce the ballast and if it climbs and stalls, add some more ballast.
To fill in the hole in the gap between the wing and the tail, I glued a piece of metal over it. This is shown in picture 4.