If you're looking for a relatively inexpensive project to work on and like building models, then making a beer can airplane is for you. Beer can airplanes make neat decorations for family rooms or home offices and also make great gifts. It takes just a couple of hours to make a beer can airplane, complete with a working propeller. This project is just plane fun!
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 8 clean beer cans
- Rivets and rivet gun
- Tin snips
- Hammer and one nail
- Wire hanger
Remove the tops and bottoms of six beer cans, and discard the tops only. Cut the cans from top to bottom, and smooth flat.
Take one sheet, and cut 6 long struts 1 inch by 3 1/2 inches and 2 short wing struts 1 1/2 inches by 2 inches. Fold long struts in half lengthwise and wing struts crosswise; crimp and shape the ends into tabs.
Insert tabs 1, 3 and 5 into the body of the plane, tabs 2 and 4 split to make tail support. Make one slit in the upright. Cut a 3-by-6 inch rectangle for the horizontal tailpiece, and cut 3 slits for tabs on the upright.
Form the wings by cutting 2 strips 3 1/2 inches wide. Overlap strips to make a rectangle 3 1/2 inches by 13 inches, and rivet strips together. Cut slits 2 inches from ends to fit the tabs of the long struts. Make 1/2-inch crease on both long sides and round wingtips. Punch a hole in the center of wing. Repeat process for the second wing.
Make a 3-by-7 inch rectangle for the tail upright, fold crosswise and rivet. Make 4 cuts that are each 1/2-inch along the bottom to create 5 tabs.
Slice the tops off of 2 cans. Make 3 slits in the side to accommodate the 3 tabs on the tailpiece and 2 side-by-side slits for the tail rest. Attach. On the second can, cut 2 4-inch slits 1 inch apart, punch a hole through the can and slide the wings through the slits. Cut slits for the short wing struts. On the bottom, cut slits for the wheel struts and attach.
Slide the 2 halves of the airplane body together. Attach the top wing to body with 4 short struts, and attach the wings to each other with long struts.
Body and Wings
Punch holes in the center of 4 bottoms. Place 2 bottoms together, convex sides facing out, and carefully press one edge around the other to form a wheel. Repeat for second wheel.
Clip a wire hanger 7 inches in length. Cut a 3-by-5 inch rectangle, and fold lengthwise with wire hanger in the fold. Thread the wheels onto the wire on each end.
Cut one can, with bottom intact, in half. Make cuts lengthwise about 1 inch apart around the entire can, and bend each strip up to form propeller. Rivet to the front of the body.
Thread the wire hanger through the holes punched earlier through the body and wings. Bend one end to form the hanger for the plane.