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Flight Physics of a Golden Snitch? Answered

Does anyone know if it's possible to build a miniature battery operated ornithopter with a spherical body?  I'm interested in attempting to make one and would greatly appreciate any information.


i got an idea, try taking a duck hunter extreme kit, and modify the duck and VOALA!!!! a flying winged snitch

but you can`t just by those everywhere and it can`t fly what would be a good idea is take one of those small RC helicopters paint them gold VOLA that IS a FLYING snitch

The snitch is so cute! Thanks for sharing and have a Happy Halloween!


Don't make it fly with wings - make a spherical mesh body, with a propeller inside for lift.

The "wings" then become control surfaces, rather than lift surfaces.

Source of idea:

That is a pretty cool idea Kiteman- while I did think about initially having the device as a rotocraft- the current designs for a helicopter ball were too protruding for my taste.

However, I didn't think about actually embedding the propeller inside the ball. This might actually be a really good idea too, considering how the snitch would need to be caught and the delicate framework could be protected inside the cage. Too bad there's no schematics of the ball online- how do they keep it stable? :(


I'm afraid that all I know is what's in the video.

It'd be kind of tricky, but you should be able to salvage most of the parts from one of those remote-controlled dragonflies that you can get. Most of the mechanics and programming should be about the same as what you're looking for and you really wouldn't have to do much to the wings. If you get one of those FlyTech ones, that should be perfect, since most of the components are stored in the thorax, which is about the same size and shape as the snitch. You'd probably have to fabricate your own wings, though, since the electronic pattern on the wings wouldn't look right, but that shouldn't be too hard, you'd just need some light-weight transparent plastic. After all that, all that's left would be making the snitch itself.

That does look to be the best idea, but I would think that the stability will be highly compromised by the lack of some sort of tail, possibly to the point of being unflyable. I'd still be interested to see how well it turns out though.

I would think that the mass of the body could be used for balance - if the wings are more in a Y shape than the video, maybe curled over at the top, with flexible wing membranes in (on average) the vertical plane, then the snitch could be seen as flying straight upwards.

I would agree that having the mass right at the bottom will help the stability, and would probably be sufficient if the wings were not moving. However with the moving wings, I would expect that it would swing back and forwards, especially when trying to fly forwards. Still, I'd like to see if anyone can make it work.

The body would definitely oscillate, and I don't think there's any way around that, unless you hide something inside the body, vibrating the opposite way and working like a fly's halteres?

Adding enough moving mass in such a small mass to counter the effect of the moving wings would probably make it too heavy to fly properly. Even if it were mounted on an arm to reduce the mass needed, it would then start to act like flying a plane with a large pendulum hanging from it. Looking at the dragonfly design mentioned in the original reply, the dual wings look like the best solution, to eliminate most of the rocking, but again, without a tail, it looks as though it wouldn't remain level enough to fly.

I think this is one of those things that needs to be tried to see if it works.

It's not as if Shift is short of resources/skills.

I have been tossing around a couple of ideas, what if I designed it to look more like a Golden Snidget, the original bird that the snitch was based on? In this sense, the device's flight patterns would resemble that of a rather chubby hummingbird, and I might be able to use the tail to add more stability.

Still need to figure out the mechanics of it though.


Oh, the tail and bill would be ideal for hiding adjustable masses - make them hollow tubes, and a lump of something you can slide along inside.

I'd definately have to agree with that.

Looking at the bird in the post below, that could work rather well, especially with the wings mounted high up as in the drawing. (Is it a real bird?)

Yeah, the stability of the ball was what threw me off since even if I could get the wings to beat fast enough, without something to at least weigh one side of it, the ball might result in toppling over in flight.


It's funny that you mention FlyTech- I still have my Dragonfly hanging up in my dorm room!

Actually, I have been looking into research of robotic Humminbgirds which are light enough to hold a small video camera inside. http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-robot-hummingbird-flight-video.html

I do not know the answer to your question, but the image of the golden snitch you posted is beautiful! Where did you get it from?