Looking for a creative way to combine flight and basic electrical work? This plastic bottle DC motor airplane is a great way to practice basic electric skills while still having a little arts and crafts fun.
You will need:
- 1 Plastic Bottle
- Plastic Fan
- DC Motor
- 9 Volt Battery
- On/Off Switch
- Box Cutter
- Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue Sticks
- Wire Stripper
- Electrical Tape
- Scotch Tape
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Cut Out Cardboard Wings
The first step is to cut out your cardboard wings. This is where your box cutter will be handy.
You will need to cut out three rectangles of different sizes
- 9.5 in x 2.5 in
- 4 in x 1.5 in
- 2 in x 1.5 in
Once you have cut those out, cut triangles on each side of Wing #1 and Wing #2. On Wing #3, you will only cut one triangle. See photos above.
Step 2: Cut Plastic Bottle
You are going to cut the bottle in three places. You could also use scissors for this but I prefer to use a box cutter.
- First, you will cut two slits on each side of the bottle where the long wing will go through. The slit should be 2.5 inches long. The width of the slit should be just wide enough to slide Wing #1 into place. Be careful when doing this because you do not want the slit to be too wide or else the wing won't stay in place.
- Next, you will cut a U shape out of the bottom of the bottle. You will also cut the base of the bottle out. This will help with the wiring and turning on/off the DC motor. See additional pictures above.
- The last place you will cut will be directly above the U shaped cut. Cut a thin slit a quarter of an inch above from where you just cut the U shape out. Then do the same thing on the other side. This will be where Wing #2 and Wing #3 be put into place.
Step 3: *Optional* Paint Cardboard Wings
This is not a necessary step but it does make your plane look a little nicer and, most importantly, adds more fun! You can paint all three cardboard pieces the same color or you can mix it up!
Step 4: Hot Glue Wing #3 to Wing #2
Using the hot glue gun, glue the bottom of Wing #3 to the top of Wing #2 at a 90 degree angle. For better results, use a little more hot glue and hold the two pieces together until the hot glue hardens.
Step 5: Insert Cardboard Wings Into Bottle
First, insert Wing #1 through the long slit previously cut. Then, insert the hot glued wing into the slits cut at the end of the bottle. You may need to tape this wing to the bottle to hold in place.
Step 6: Wrap DC Motor With Electrical Tape
Depending on the size of your DC motor, you may need to wrap your motor with electrical tape to fit in the cap of the bottle. My motor was fairly small, so I needed to wrap the tape around the motor a few times.
Step 7: Cut and Strip Wire
Cut two pieces of wire about 6 inches in length. Strip one end of the wire about 1 inch. This end will be wrapped around the 9-Volt battery. Strip the other end of the wire about half and inch. This end will be on the DC motor. Do this with both wires.
Step 8: Install On/Off Switch in Wire
Pick one piece of wire and cut in half. Strip the ends that you just cut about a half inch. Wrap these around the On/Off switch so that it is connecting the strip of wire.
Step 9: Connect Wire to 9-Volt Battery
Use the 1 inch stripped side to wrap around the positive and negative ends. Make sure to twist the wires very tightly so they do not fall off.
Step 10: Feed Wires Through the Open Bottom, Through the Neck
Feed the wires through the U shape hole and through the bottle's cap. Make sure that the wires are not crossed and that the On/Off switch is easily accessible. Tape the battery down to the bottom of the bottle to insure that it doesn't move.
Step 11: Attach Wires to DC Motor
Attach the wires to the motor. Remember to attach the wires correctly (+ to -, - to +). Make sure to test that you attached all wires correctly by turning the switch on. Once you have insured correct installation, push the DC motor into the cap of the bottle.
Step 12: Attach Plastic Fan to DC Motor
Use hot glue to attach the plastic fan to the DC motor. Make sure not to use too much hot glue! If too much is used it may prevent the motor from spinning.
Step 13: Let It Fly!
Flip the switch to on and give it a little push through the air!
Participated in the
Make It Fly Challenge