Monday, January 11, 2010

Rubber Band Powered Toy Plane

As a simple start let’s make a rubber band powered toy plane as our first project. This is a very simple design which will guide you basic concept of flying machines or airplane. Before move into implementation of toy plane let’s try to understand the concept behind the flying. People have used different mechanism to fly and those are having their own advantages and disadvantages. This article explains in details different mechanism used and how they look likes. As you might already know, flying mean float on the air while moving forward or backward. Basically flying machines not take backward movement whereas by turning it can change the direction easily. To float on the air it should have some force against the gravitational forces or simply weight of the airplane. How we generate this lifting force, if you can find a mechanism to generate this force you can float on the air.

Concept of Flying

Figure 1.1: Air flow pattern of airplane wing

Figure 1.1 shows the cross section of the airplane wing and how air flow behaves while airplane is moving. Please analyze carefully the shape of the airplane wing and variation of the angle. If you analyzed carefully you can see that distance between two air flows is varying along the wing surface. This variation resulted to air pressure variation above the wing and below the wing. The air pressure difference generates the lifting force on the airplane. So that while your airplane moving forward, changing the angle of wings we can change the lifting force and this will resulted to move the airplane up or down. The final problem is how we can move forward our airplane. For that we use propeller that generate air flow from forward to backward along the airplane. This air flow move airplane forward, then we can change the angle of wing to move airplane up or down.

Having understanding of the concept behind the flying machine, let’s again move to our rubber band powered toy airplane.


Figure 1.2 Rubber band powered airplane design


Figure 1.3 Rubber band powered airplane photo

As it illustrated in Figure 1.2 you need to fix the components of your airplane. You need to have wings, stabilized, rubber band, propeller and body of airplane.

Material list

1/16"x1/8"x36" wood or plastic plate (or 1/8"x3/8"x36" wood or plastic plate)
Nose Hook Propeller, 6" Diameter
Rubber band, 1/8" Wide x 50' Long
Mini Glue Gun (Surebonder Mini Glue Gun Kit, Darice 10850 Super Mini Glue Gun with Trigger, Stanley GR10 Mini Hot Melt Glue Gun, Arrow Fastener MT300 Mini Glue Gun)
Mini Glue Gun Slugs (6 Pack Franklin 5065 Titebond Original Wood Glue - Quart Bottle)
Electrical Tape (Scotch 03429NA 700 Electrical Tape, 3/4-Inch x 66-Foot, Duck 667 3/4-Inch-by-66-Feet-by-0.007-Inch Vinyl Electrical Tape, Black, Duck 307969 0.75-Inch-by-12-Feet Multi-Purpose Electrical Tape, 5-Rolls, Assorted Colors)
Very light weight wood or cardboard plate


Figure 1.4 Wood or cardboard plates for wing and stabilizer

As shown in Figure 1.4 cut your wood or cardboard plate and make wings and stabilizer pieces. Please note that wood or cardboard plate you use should be very light weight and stick. Also please exactly stick into the lengths I have mentioned in the figure. Further you need to considered side balance of the airplane. That mean two wings should be exactly the same size.

First get the 1/16"x1/8"x36" wood or plastic plate as the body of the airplane. Using the glue, fix two wings to the airplane body as shown in Figure 1.2. At the back edge of the body fix the stabilizer and stabilizer top. Now you have structure of the airplane is ready. Next step is to fix the rubber band and propeller. To fix the propeller you need to have small bearing mechanism that help propeller to rotate freely. For this you can use readily available bearings or make your own one. Next fix your bearing to front of the body. Through the bearing put the shaft of the propeller and fix the rubber band to propeller shaft. Other end of the rubber band should fix to back edge of the body. Note that rubber band should be properly stretched.

Figure 1.5 How rubber band should fix

Finally propeller should fix to propeller shaft. Now almost done what you have to do let’s test our work and see how our flying machine fly. Now rotate propeller backward until rubber band get stretch then release the propeller and release your plane. While propeller rotating your plane will fly.

You can buy similar planes or parts from below links. If you need quickly try this plane you can order Sky Star Rubber Band Plane, Power Prop Plane: 3 in 1 Kit, 185 SKY CARRIER SKY RYDER by AG EnterprisesSKYRYDERS AG-18 SUPER BEAR, Sky Launcher With Parachuter Balsa Model Airplane by Guillows, Strato Streak Display ROG (12).

More advance projects:
Syma Schweizer 300 Radio Remote Control HelicopterCobra R/C 3 Channel Mid Size Helicopter - ApacheMegatech Police Outdoor Plane & I/O Fire Department Helicopter-Remote Control 2 PackCobra R/C 2 Channel Mini Helicopter - Civilian (Colors May Vary)

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