How to Make an RC Blimp From Scratch

Written by sean butner Google
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How to Make an RC Blimp From Scratch
Blimps consist of an envelope or hull, a large balloon filled with a gas that is lighter than air, and a gondola that houses the propellers. (zeppelin image by Vladislav Gajic from Fotolia.com)

Radio-controlled blimps are inexpensive and easy to operate. Compared to the technical challenges in constructing and flying radio-controlled planes or helicopters, blimps allow the interested hobbyist a chance to experiment with the fundamentals of building and controlling radio-controlled motors. Blimps, unlike planes or helicopters, require two or three motors for control and propulsion. Building your own blimp can give you a great project to develop your familiarity with radio-controlled vehicles.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Carve a gondola, which is the main cabin, for the blimp from balsa wood. Balsa wood is lightweight and easily cut and sculpted. Hollow out a spot in the gondola for a ground-facing propeller. Insert two dowels intersecting with the main body of the gondola for the forward-facing motors. Paint the gondola according to your tastes.

  2. 2

    Attach three motors to the gondola. Insert one with its motor shaft facing down from the gondola and place one on each intersecting dowel with the shafts facing the back of the gondola. Connect the propellers far enough out on the shafts so that the propellers do not rub up against the motor housings or the gondola.

  3. 3

    Connect the gondola to the envelope or hull of the blimp. The hull is usually made from nylon or another light, tough material. Double-sided tape can fix the gondola to body of the blimp securely. Test the strength by slowly pulling the blimp off a flat surface by the envelope, looking for any weak points.

  4. 4

    Fill the envelope with enough helium to achieve lift and secure the opening. Follow manufacturer's recommendation for synchronising your radio-controller to the three separate motors. The two motors on the sides of the gondola can rotate and propel the blimp, while the bottom motor controls additional lift.

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