Are you bored at work? Looking for a great way to keep your mind off of food when you forgot to bring your lunch? Interested in a sure fire way to be the coolest person in your office? Then raid the supply closet and get to work on this super fun rubber band powered airplane. It is made entirely of things typically found in an office.
It may not fly the best, but you're sure to be called a hero when you save the office from boredom by standing up on your desk and hurling this plane across the sea of cubicles!
Step 1: Quick, Distract the Secretary...
If your office supply closet is safe guarded by a no-fun manager or administrative assistant, you may need to find a friend to distract them while you gather the necessary materials. Then again, you might already have everything you need sitting on your desk. Even still, sneaking around the office can be fun...
What You'll Need
Mechanical Pencil - The kind where pushing on the eraser expels more lead through the tip.
Paperclips - At least 6 big and 2 Small
Rubber band - Should be strong and a bit shorter than the length of the pencil when pulled.
Piece of Printer Paper - It's best to reuse some ridiculous office memo.
Roll of Scotch Tape
Glue - Nice to have, but can use tape instead.
Decoration Tools - Pen, Sharpie, Markers, etc
Step 2: Take Apart a Pencil
- Take out all of the lead by removing the eraser.
- Pry off the rubber grip (if there is one)
- Unscrew the tip of the pencil
- Pull out the lead mechanism
- Remove the guts of the pencil through the eraser side.
- Take apart the guts - Spring, skinnier forward tube, and larger rear tube.
- The Pencil Body will be the body of the plane.
- The skinny part of the inner tube will be part of the propeller.
- The large part of the inner tube will be the rotor shaft.
- The Tip Spacer (if you have one) will help secure the rubber band
Step 3: Thread the Rubber Band
- Make a small hook with one of the large paperclips
- Grab the rubber band with the hook
- Thread the paperclip through the tip end of the pencil shaft
- Cut the end of the rubber band
- Bend the two cut ends over the tip
- Force the Tip Spacer back over the rubber band ends
- Wrap in tape
Step 4: Paperclip Propeller
- Wrap a small amount of tape around the center of a large, unfolded paperclip
- Cut a small piece of the skinny inner pencil tube
- Thread the taped paperclip through the skinny tube (the tape helps hold it in place)
- Curve the ends of the paperclip into propeller blade shapes
- Place a flat piece of tape over the propeller tips and fold it over to cover
- Thread a small, unfolded paperclip through the skinny tube
- Bend to help support the open end of the propeller tips
- Add more lengths of tape to both sides
- Trim the tape around the edges of the paperclip
- Rotate the two propeller blades away from each other (see the blade angles in the image)
- Cut the larger inner tube about half an inch back from the part that holds the eraser
- Cut small notches in the eraser holder to fit the skinny tube horizontally
- Thread the rubber band (still hooked with a paperclip) through this tube
- Pull the rubber band on through completely
- Remove the paperclip hook from the rubber band
- Run the Propeller Through the Rubber band Loop
- Fit the Skinny tube of the propeller into the eraser part notches
Step 5: Adding Wings
The wing skeleton is also made of paperclips. I used two large paperclips for the front of forward wing and one large paperclip for the back of the forward wing. One large paperclip serves as the entire rear wings, and one small paperclip forms the tail fin. The paperclips are wrapped around the pencil shaft and then taped in position.
When all of the framing is done, I cut strips of printer paper the size of each wing, added glue, and folded the paper over the paperclip frame. It should be boxy at first. We will need to trim the paper down after the glue dries. If you don't have glue, use two strips of paper (one for the top and one for the bottom) to cover each wing, taping them to the frame one at a time.
Step 6: Creating a Stand
While the glue dries, take a single paperclip and refold it to serve as a stand to rest the plane on. The curves can be made by wrapping the paperclip around another pen or pencil.
Step 7: Finishing Up
After the glue has dried, the excess paper can be trimmed around the paperclip wing frame. Use tape to secure any sketchy areas. It is also a good idea to add a few strips of tape across the top and belly of the plane from one wing to the other to keep them in place.
When the wings are finished, grab some markers and get creative!
Go somewhere secluded and test the plane out a few times. You may need to add paperclips to balance out the weight distribution. Depending on what direction you bent the propeller blades, spinning them one way will push air forward while the other way will pull air. We want the propeller to pull air across the plane, so see which direction pushes air at your face and do the opposite when flying.
Finally, make a grand entrance - maybe even don a scarf and goggles. Climb the summit of your desk, wind up the propeller, and let it fly!
Finalist in the
Office Supplies Contest