Handmade LED Airplane




About: My name is Dogan. I'm a Robotics PhD student at Oregon State University. I love building robots and its my life :) I built a giant ATAT Walker, I love biking, scuba diving, playing violin and preparing shor...

I built this plane as a gift for the one who I love <3

You can follow the video as well :) Don't forget to subscribe my channel on youtube

It is amazing in the night. Do you want to built one ?

Materials needed:

  • 9 White LEDs 3V (transparent shell & circular shape)
  • 21 Red LEDs 3V (red shell & not circular shape)
  • 6 Blue LEDs 3V (blue shell & not circular shape)
  • A4 size forex material 3 or 5 mm thick
  • A3 size Plexiglass 3mm thick
  • 1 x 33 ohm resistor or 10x 330 ohm resistor
  • 5 smallets zip ties
  • 1 x Battery backpack for 2 AA batteries
  • 1 x Toggle switch

See the picture for our materials

Tools needed:

  • Soldering Machine
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Utility knife
  • Simple drill
  • Metal Ruler
  • Multimeter

Let's START :)

Step 1: Preparing Main Body

Put 9 of our white LEDs in the order separate the legs and don't forget to keep + legs into one side and - legs in the other side. Use hot glue gun to connect each LEDs into each other. Drop very little glue.

Then take zip tie and cut it in the length of our 9 connected LEDs. Glue LEDs on top of zip tie. See the pictures.

Then start soldering the same legs. Before soldering them look at the pictures above. We will shorten some legs and the rest will stay longer for wing connections.

Try your connected main body by giving 3Volts. All the LEDs must be shining. And in the last picture you can see which legs must be stay longer.

Step 2: Preparing Wings

Take 6 red LEDs per wing and glue them on top of your zip tie. See the pictures above.

Don't forget to keep the orientation of LED's same. Positive legs must look upwards and negative legs must look downwards. Do this for right and left wings. After you prepare 2 wings use a rigid single line wire to connect all the + legs together per wing and connect all the negative legs per wing.

Be careful against shortcuts ! Do not let + and - touch each other.

After you finish soldering shorten the zip tie as you see in the picture.

Your wings are ready.

Step 3: Connect Wings and Main Body

Cut a small piece of zip tie and glue it under the body as you see in the first picture of this step.

Later glue the wings into the body and into that small piece that we glued a moment ago.

Take a small wire and connect the positive legs of each wing into each other with a half circular jump. See the pictures. We are doing this jump to not touch negative legs of the main body. At the end of this jump we have connection with + terminal of the other wing, not the main body. Don't connect + terminal of the red LEDs with white LEDs. We will power up red LEDs later.

We are doing the same thing from the bottom of the plane for the negative terminals. But this time you should connect - terminal of the red LEDs into negative terminal of the white LEDs on the main body.

To sum up:

  • We are connecting + terminal of the red LEDs on the wings into each other but not with the white LEDs
  • We are connecting - terminal of the white LEDs on main body and red LEDs on wings into each other

by avoiding any shortcuts

Step 4: Attach Cockpit

Take 2 blue LEDs and glue them on top of main body as you see in the picture. It is very basic. Just keep the + legs aligned with the positive side of the main body and solder them.

Step 5: Tail Wings

Prepare tail wings by using 3 red LED's per wing as you see in the first picture.

Elevate the + legs of the red LEDs and keep the - legs down. With hot glue gun connect tail wings into body.

After that take two cables red (+) and black(-) Connect them into + and - terminals of the main body as you see in the picture.

Then connect + terminals of the red LEDs on tail wings (left & right) with another wire and do the same thing for the negative terminals of the LED's on tail wings. Connect the - terminal of the red LED's with the common - terminal of our plane. But don't connect the positive terminal of the red LEDs to main body.

Give 3V to the + and - terminals to see is it working ? (red LED's will not light up. Don't worry)

Step 6: Adding Motors

It is time to add motors.

Simply glue blue LED's under the wings and connect their + terminals with the common + terminal and connect their - terminals with the common - terminal.

Step 7: Adding Horizontal Stabilizer

Glue last 3 red LEDs on top of each other and connect their + and - terminals into each other by keeping the orientation same. After that take their - terminal and connect it with the common - terminal of the whole plane.

NOW it is time to connect positive terminal of all red LEDs to each other. In the pictures above you will see blue cable going over the plane, it is the + terminal of red LEDs. Via this wire you should connect + terminal of wings, tail wings and our horizontal stabilizer. Then take yellow cable and solder it for powering up + terminal of red LEDs.

Why I did this ? Because if we power up all LED's at the same time red ones are killing the other LEDs. Due to this fact we will add resistor before we power up red LEDs.

Step 8: Connect Your Plane Into Plate

Now use forex material to create cool plane holder. See the pictures above. With utility knife cut a curly leg to glue your LED plane on top of it. Also cut 14 cm x 14cm square out of forex material as a bottom plate. Then glue them into each other. See the final picture.

Step 9: Attach Battery Backpack, Resistors and Switch

Glue the battery backpack on the bottom of our plate then drill 3 cable holes to our bottom plate. Mark them to avoid confusion.

Then follow the connection diagram and place the parts. After that create 1.5 cm height cover around our plate as you see in the last picture.

Your plane is almost ready :)

Step 10: Protection Cage

Prepare protection cage out of plexiglass. It is a cube with side length of 14 cm. Glue it on top of your plane and your gift is ready for your significant one :)

Let me know, if you have any questions.

3 People Made This Project!


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13 Discussions


2 years ago

Merhaba,videoda gördüğüm montaj anında sıcak silikonun ısı etkisi ile gevşediğidir.Ledleri birbirine hızlı yapıştırıcı ile yapıştırmayı öneriyorum.bu arada havya çok güzel.gaz ile mi çalışıyor? havyaya bayıldım.Nereden aldığını ve fiyatını öğrenebilir miyim? kolay gelsin.Hoşça kal.

2 replies

Reply 2 years ago

Sicak silikonu kullanmamin sebebi daha rahat mudahele edebilmem. Diger turlu yapiskan ellerime zarar veriyor bir de LED in plastigini eritme ihtimali de var. Evet gazli havya. 170 tl ye karakoyden almistim hirdavatcilar carsisi.


Reply 2 years ago

Anladım.Isı dolayısı ile sıcak silikon erimesi daha önce karşılaştığım şeydi.Havya için açıklamanıza da teşekkür ederim.bursa da oturuyorum.İstanbul'a yolum düşerse bulamaya çalışacağım.kablosuz olması çok güzel.Hoşça kalın.


2 years ago

Hi Osdoyi,

I'm trying to order the materials but I have few questions:

  • 9 White LEDs 3V (transparent shell & circular shape)
  • 21 Red LEDs 3V (red shell & not circular shape)
  • 6 Blue LEDs 3V (blue shell & not circular shape)

On eBay, I found some mixed colour LED packages which I intend to get. But some colours have higher voltage than others. Does this matter? What about the shape? (I intend to get the "round" ones)

What happens if I get the LEDs that have < 3v?

  • 1 x 33 ohm resistor or 10x 330 ohm resistor

Do I need to buy bigger ohm resistor if I want to build a bigger model? What about other materials?

How many resistors do I actually need for 330 ohm one? 10 resistors or 1 resistor?

Thank you so much for your help! I'm not so good with all these hardware stuff...


1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

The voltage level matters. They all must be in the same voltage level. Otherwise you may burn the LEDs. As I know shape doesn't matter that much. But color matters. That's why I used resistor. Somehow red color has different resistance than other colors.

If you buy LEDs <3V they will not be bright enough. I suggest you to get 3V.

If you can find stand alone 33 ohm resistor it is okay. However if you use 10 of them you can add or subtract resistors for correct brightens of red color.

You will not need more resistors for bigger model. The other materials are listed in this instructable.

Buy 10 x 330 ohm resistors by connecting them in series you will decrease the resistance value. According to your LEDs you may need to but 5 or 7 or 10 maybe less. You need to try and see.

I am sorry for late reply. Let me know if you have any questions. + I wish to see your complete model !


2 years ago

OMG! this is exactly what I am looking for!! Thanks buddy!! :D

1 reply
Just4Fun Media

3 years ago

That looks amazing! How long does it take to solder it all together?

Have a great day! :-)

1 reply
osdoyiJust4Fun Media

Reply 3 years ago

Thank you :) Did you see the youtube video ? It is the speed up version of all the process. Everything took 4 hours to built


3 years ago

Very cool project, caught my eye immediately when I saw it.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Thank you, I hope jury of the make it glow contest like it as well :D :D