NERF Paper Airplane Launcher




About: I am a maker. As founder of MakerBlog, I enjoy sharing my creations with others.

The definition of "science" is,

"The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment."

Put in simpler terms, science is learning through observation and experimentation.

This instructable can help kids and adults view the world around them from a different perspective. It can help them learn about electronics, rapid prototyping, and reuse. It can help teach them what things are made of, how to take things apart, and why those things work. All-in-all, there is a lot you can do with this instructable, so use your imagination and enjoy!

Step 1: Materials

For this project, you will need the following:

  1. One Nerf Barricade (These are generally available at local thrift stores)
  2. One 9V Battery w/ Compatible Clip (This can also be exchanged for 4 AA batteries)
  3. One Phillips Screwdriver
  4. One Pair of Scissors
  5. One Heat Gun
  6. One Rotary Tool
  7. One 2 1/2" x 4" x 1/4" Piece of Wood
  8. One 1" x 1/2" Piece of Wood
  9. A Hot Glue Gun
  10. A Sprinkle of Enthusiasm!

Step 2: Preparing the Motors

Unscrew all of the screws on your Nerf Barricade, and set them aside. Remove the outer plastic casing. Remove the part (shown in the picture) from the Barricade. Make sure to leave the greenish-blue wire attached to the motors. Also, do not cut the red wire that leaves the motor, until it has gone through the switch, as shown. Cut the white wire that comes out of the switch, because it is useless for this project.

Step 3: Bending the Motor Mount

Using a heat gun, heat up the underside of the motor's mount until you can bend it. Bend until the two orange wheels are approx. 1 mm away from each other, as shown. Using a rotary tool, cut away any melted plastic that prevents the wheels from spinning freely.

Step 4: Mounting the Motors

Attach the motor's red and green wires to the battery, and test to make sure it works. You want the motors to spin so as to propel the paper airplane forward. Glue the entire assembly to your board except the battery, while making sure that the motor is pointed at an approx. 30 degree angle. Make sure that the glue does not prevent the motors from spinning properly. Glue the switch to the corner of your board to make it easy to access. Glue your smaller piece of wood to underside of the opposite end, so as to prop it up, as shown. Enjoy your NERF Paper Airplane Launcher!

P.S. Due to some uncertainty about whether or not the battery was fully charged, I could not get an accurate reading about how far the paper airplane flew. Please post your results and comment!

Step 5: What I Would Change

Science is essentially about learning how things work and learning how to improve those things. If I were to do this project again I would not use a 9V battery. It runs out of charge too quickly. Instead I would use 4 AA batteries. I would also contain it in a more refined case. That aside, I still think this was a fun project and I learned a lot from it! I hope you do the same, because that's what science is all about.



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    11 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    very good.

    here is an other tuto :

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    My son would go crazy with this. We always have paper airplanes lying around the house.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very clever! My kids would love something like this. Thanks!


    4 years ago

    My father and I were experimenting with an almost identical setup a few months ago. I bought a motor/wheel combo from Scientific Surplus a while back. They were used in Hot Wheels car toy. Lots of laughs for us. Lots of eye rolling from my wife.

    1 reply