How to make a rubber band helicopter

Written by david claerr
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How to make a rubber band helicopter
Rubberband Helicopter (Getty Thinkstock)

This interesting toy can be constructed from generally available household materials, or with items that can be obtained at most craft or hobby supply stores. With adult supervision, the rubber band helicopter can be assembled by children over the age of 8. The materials used are light and durable, and the rubber band "motor" can be easily replaced if it breaks after continuous use.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Plastic drinking straw
  • Plastic bead, just larger than the inside of the straw
  • Rubber band
  • 10 inches of wire slim enough to fit through
  • the plastic bead
  • Straight pin
  • Sheet of stiff paper
  • Two 8-inch bamboo strips
  • Clear office tape
  • Glue

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut out four rectangular pieces of paper, each 1 by 2 1/2 inches. These pieces will form the blades of the rotor.

    How to make a rubber band helicopter
    Helicopter Parts
  2. 2

    Glue two pieces of paper on opposite ends of each bamboo strip. Set the angle of the rotors at a 30 degree slant from the perpendicular, slanting in opposite directions from each other. Allow 3/4 inch overlap of paper beyond the end of the bamboo strip.

  3. 3

    Cut off 1 1/2 inches of wire to use in making the rotating piece for the top rotor. Bend a small, open wire loop that will fit inside the straw on one end of this wire piece. Thread the wire through the plastic bead, and then bend the wire at a 90-degree angle just above the bead. Glue the top rotor onto the wire at the top of the plastic bead. Take care to place the rotor at the exact centre of the straw above the wire bead.

    How to make a rubber band helicopter
    Top Rotor Assembly
  4. 4

    Make a long hook with the remainder of the wire that will fit inside the straw. The wire hook will be used to pull the rubber band through the inside of the straw.

  5. 5

    Cut a notch into one end of the straw for the bottom rotor. Slide the wire hook through the straw and pull the rubber band through the straw until a small loop of the rubber band is left sticking out the bottom of the straw. Press the straight pin through the straw and inside the loop of the rubber band. Pull the rubber band the rest of the way through the straw until it meets the straight pin. Then glue the bottom rotor into the notch and also tape it to the straight pin.

    How to make a rubber band helicopter
    Bottom Rotor Assembly
  6. 6

    Pull the rubber band up until it emerges outside the top of the straw. Hook the top end of the rubber band onto the open wire loop below the plastic bead. The assembly of the helicopter is complete. To operate the helicopter, hold the assembled unit with the thumb and index finger grasping the bottom end of the straw and bottom rotor, while turning the top rotor to twist the rubber band inside the straw. Turn the rotor in the proper direction so that the upper edges of the rotor will be the leading edge as the rotor turns. When the rubber band has been twisted sufficiently, toss the helicopter into the air and watch it soar.

    How to make a rubber band helicopter
    Finished Helicopter

Tips and warnings

  • Application of glue should only be done under adult supervision. Read all warnings on the glue label and follow the safety precautions.
  • Use caution operating the helicopter, and protect the eyes of the operator or anyone in the operating vicinity by having them wear safety goggles.
  • Keep the helicopter and all parts out of the reach of infants and small children.

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