Roll Your Own UFO




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You can buy one of these for several dollars, or make one for free.

Step 1: Materials

All you need is a piece of paper.

The best shape is a rectangle much longer than wide. I generally use the off-cut from a piece of A4 trimmed square for some other project.

Step 2: Fold ...

Fold the long edge over by about 1cm (two fifths of an inch) several times. The exact width you fold, and the exact number of times you fold depend on both personal preference and the exact size of the piece of paper you are using.

Step 3: ... and Roll

Lay the paper on your workbench, folded side down, lay your hand on top, and drag the paper sharply over the edge of your bench.

This will impart a curl to the paper that will help you make the final shape.

Bring the two ends together, and slot them together. If you are right-handed, and holding the folded edge to the top, slot the end in your right hand inside the folds of the end in your left hand.

If you are left-handed, slot the end in your left hand ... oh, you get the idea. It's a lot easier to do than say.

Squeeze and curl the UFO to make as neat a cylinder as possible. You may sometimes need a small patch of stickytape to hold it together, but practice makes perfect.

Step 4: Throw!

Hold your throwing hand in an open "C" shape, thumb towards you, as if you are holding an invisible pint glass.

Put the UFO in your open hand, folded edge upwards.

Move your hand to the region of your hip, and take up a stance like a gunfighter in an old black and white movie.

The UFO needs two things to fly; forward velocity and spin.

To provide the velocity: move your hand forwards sharply, in a roughly horizontal straight line.

To provide the spin: as you let go, lift your thumb first, then roll your hand away from your body, giving a final flick with the fingers as they lose contact with the paper.

Step 5: Variations on the Theme

Changing the proportions of the UFO can dramatically change the flight characteristics of the UFO.

A longer, narrower UFO will fly faster and straighter than a shorter, wider UFO, but the drifting flight of the short, wide UFO, which seems to move too slowly to stay in the air, is much more impressive.

The UFO is especially impressive if the launch is unseen. Make your UFO in secret, practice alone in your cubicle, and then shoot it across a crowded office from behind a door or filing cabinet.

Be competetive with your UFOs - lay an empty waste paper basket on its side as a target. Challenge colleagues to use fast narrow UFOs to knock slow wide ones out of the air.

Hide the evidence.

Most bosses aren't keen on finding evidence of their workers playing, so wear your unused UFOs around your wrist. When the boss asks what it is, tell him it's the latest thing in stationary; the wearable office. You could even make some notes on it, just to convince him.



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    46 Discussions

    argha halder

    6 years ago on Introduction

    i made one and worked great.i with some friends made a race with it that who can send it to the farthest place.awesome creation.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Then how do you know this isn't one?

    "UFO" is just the name - you didn't really think I had posted an ible about building a starship, did you?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    i know that im not that stupid. i know thats what it is called i use to make them all the time in school i just wanted to give you a hared time.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Well, see what happens when you give people hared times? It comes back and bites you in the hared bottom. =)

    Well i found a UFO because idk what it is so make this out a paper lol I saw this while waiting for an air show to start back up again idk what it was but definetly not a bird because it was flying backward.

    UFO.jpgufo 3.jpg

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I remember seeing a toy like this once that supposedly flew 300 feet. Apparently it was designed by NASA. these are good fun though.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Pretty cool, my friend used to make these but he would never tell me how but now I know :D Thanks!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    i made one and wraped it with strong tape so it can take hard landings and so it won't fall apart in flight


    Reply 11 years ago on Step 4

    Hold it at your hip, like a gun-slinger, palm towards your hip. (engage slow-motion) Move your hand forwards. Let go with your thumb first, then flick your fingertips upwards to add the spin. (end slow-motion) Otherwise, I've made these with kids who then throw them overhand, like an American football - try that.


    11 years ago on Step 5

    It looks cool and works very well