How to Make a Rubber Band Hellicopter

Written by contributing writer
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How to Make a Rubber Band Hellicopter
(the image is my own)

Flight has always fascinated human kind. Spanning from Leonardo da Vinci's sketches of "flying machines" to the Wright brothers, man's mind has taken to the sky. The Wright brothers were given a paper and rubber band flying toy when they were little boys in the 19th century. That simple toy inspired one of the greatest feats in history--the capability of flight. By following these steps, you can make your own little flying machine.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Plastic drinking straw
  • Plastic bead (big enough so it won't fit through the straw)
  • Wire (about ten inches)
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Thick paper (such as card stock or thin cardboard)
  • Scissors
  • Bamboo skewers (2)
  • Glue
  • Clear cellophane tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Straight pin

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut out four 1- by 2½-inch rectangles from the cardboard and set aside. These will become the rotors of the helicopter.

  2. 2

    Glue or tape the paper rectangles on either end of the skewers, allowing a three-fourths inch of paper overlap. Place them so they are on an approximate 30-degree slant. They cannot be flat or the "wings" will never catch the air and get lift.

    How to Make a Rubber Band Hellicopter
  3. 3

    With the wire cutters, cut a 1½-inch piece of wire from the allotted wire. Make a loop on one end with the needle nose pliers, making sure the loop will fit into the straw.

    How to Make a Rubber Band Hellicopter
  4. 4

    Thread the bead on the wire and bend the wire 90 degrees at the top of the bead.

    How to Make a Rubber Band Hellicopter
  5. 5

    Mark the exact centre of the rotors with the permanent marker.

  6. 6

    Super glue the wire to the middle of the top skewer.

    How to Make a Rubber Band Hellicopter
  7. 7

    Make a hook on one end of the remaining wire and set aside.

  8. 8

    Cut a notch in the bottom of the straw big enough to fit the bottom skewer.

    How to Make a Rubber Band Hellicopter
  9. 9

    Use the wire loop to pull the rubber band through the straw.

    How to Make a Rubber Band Hellicopter
  10. 10

    Pull it until a small amount of the rubber band is left at the bottom. Push the pin through the straw and through the loop of the rubber band. (Do not actually puncture the rubber band).

  11. 11

    Pull the loop until the straight pin stops it. Glue the bottom rotor into the notch and tape the pin down.

  12. 12

    Pull the rubber band up with the hook until it shows. Hook the rubber band into the wire loop of the bead.

  13. 13

    The construction is now complete. To make the helicopter fly, hold the bottom with one hand and twist the top with the other. Be sure to twist so that when it turns, the upper edges will be leading. Once the rubber band has been twisted, throw the helicopter up and it will fly through the air.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not have any skewers, a metal hanger will work. Just make sure to cut the paper slightly larger to compensate for the extra weight.
  • Experiment with the thickness of the rubber band used. A thicker band will yield different results than a thinner one.
  • Some of the items used could be dangerous for young children, so make sure there is proper supervision.
  • Take care when throwing the helicopter. Do not throw near the eyes, and make sure there is adequate room upon release.

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