Introduction: Ornithopter

Here's how to make an ornithopter powered by a rubber band.

You will need the following: (All my measurements are in inches.)

Wood: (Balsa works well, but i used coffee stirring sticks)

2 x 1 in.
2 x 1 1/2 in.
1x 2 1/2 in.
3 x 3 1/2 in.
1 x 4 1/2 in.
2x 5 in.

Wire: (paper clips work well)

1 x 2 1/4
2 x 2
1 x 1 1/4

Other Stuff:

Rubber Band
Super glue
Needle nosed plyers
glue gun
Tissue paper (Other light materials work.)

Step 1: The Body

First, cut out all of your wood and wire, Then start Gluing together.
Take your 4 1/2 in. stick and glue on the 1 in. sticks as shown in the picture. Then glue the 2 1/2 stick across the top.

Step 2: The Tail

Then glue your three 3 1/2 pieces together in a triangle.

Step 3: The Wire

After that, bend your wire as shown in the picture above.

Step 4: The Beads

Now you can glue your beads on and put the wire pieces on (don't glue the wire! they should turn freely.)

Step 5: Tail

Glue the tail wire piece on.

Step 6: Wing Spars

You'll need to glue the 5 in. sticks to the wire pieces. then take the 1 1/2 pieces and punch two holes in the end and slip the ends through as seen in the picture.

Step 7: Wings

Here's the wings you'll need to hot glue them to the spars. As for the tail just trace it and cut it out.

Step 8: Finish

Just attach a rubber band, wind it and give it a toss!

Ask me for any questions


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    167 Discussions

    Very Good!!

    When do you glue the paper on the wings? Before or after putting the wings in the beads?

    shoe do you do this, it's so hard? How do you keep the front pieces from falling off

    And also, how do you do the crank? Mine keeps hitting the frame and it does not spin very smoothly....

    1 reply

    do you hve to sign up for pro to get all the plans

    lol and bff on a bright screen makes Anthony sad. :(

    I am confused, plz help. Where di the beads go, it is confusing and for step 1 the body which way does the 2 1/2 go?

    3 replies

    the beads act as bearings so they go on the wire pieces at the joints, just makes it run smoother, and for step 1 the 2 1/2 piece lays across the two 1 in sticks
    that you glued on to the body, so for the confusion, this was one of my first ibles, i need to update most of them

    I had trouble making sure the beads were in the right place and struggled to glue them there. I used part of a corrugated plastic advertising sign (Estate Agent/Realtor) to hold the beads perfectly front and back, for not much weight.

    OOPS! haha that was actually me right there ^ my sis left her acount logged on!

    I need help! Everytime I try and make holes in the wood, it splits. Any advice?

    3 replies

    A red hot sewing needle makes nice clean holes without splitting the wood ;)