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How to Make a Rubber Band Helicopter

Mukulika Mukherjee Feb 20, 2019
Are you creative with a knack for learning new and innovative things? Here's how to make a rubber band helicopter. Read it once, and you'll be amazed to find out how easy making one really is!
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. However, every great invention or innovative idea is more often than not, a result of inspiration. You might be wondering what inventors and inventions have to do with a toy.
Well, the fact is that the rubber band helicopter is the very thing that had inspired the famous Wright brothers to design the first aircraft. So much for a humble toy!
For starters, a rubber band helicopter is a simple flying device that you can build using commonly found items such as straws, paper, cotton, etc. Making a helicopter at home can be a really exciting experience for your kids who can learn a lot too. It will help them get acquainted with the laws of physics related to motion and gravity.
Moreover, activities such as this will help inculcate deep interest for the subject in children. So, now that we are aware of the possible benefits of taking up such a project, let us take a look at what all things are required to make a one, and how we should go ahead with it.

Making a Rubber Band Helicopter

Before we move on to the steps, let us throw a glance at the materials you would need before you can get started.
  • A drinking straw
  • A rubber band, 3 inches long
  • A flexible wire about 25 inches long
  • Cotton thread
  • Paper clips
  • Cardboard
  • A piece of paper about 12 inches long
  • Sticking tape or adhesive
Once you are ready with the materials, your helicopter will be ready in 6 simple steps.
Step 1: First take the flexible wire and bend it to form a circular loop. Now secure the ends of the loop together with sticking tape.

Step 2: Next, take two pieces of cotton thread and tie them across the loop, one towards the top and the other towards the bottom. This will ensure that the circular loop remains so even during flight.
Step 3: The next step is to attach the rubber band to the circular loop such that it is stretched between, and parallel to the cotton threads. To do this, loop the rubber band over one end of the circular wire and fasten its other end to the wire using a paper clip.
Step 4: Now you need to cut the paper and the cardboard to give shapes to the wings, the rotor and the tabs. For the wings, cut two pieces of 3x12 inches and two pieces of 6x3 inches. For the rotor, you need to cut out a 3x3 butterfly shape from the cardboard and two pieces of 1x3 inch each, for the tabs.
Step 5: Take the straw and stick the butterfly-shaped piece to its center. Now, take the two 6x3 inch pieces and attach these to the two ends of the straw, using adhesive.
Step 6: Once you have attached the pieces to the straw, take the two 1x3 inch pieces and attach them to either side of the rubber band to form the tabs. Now, stick the 3x12 inch pieces, one on each tab, at an angle of 30 degree from the rubber band.
Now that you have your rubber band helicopter ready, you must be excited to make it fly. To do that, just insert the rotor between the strands of the rubber band and wind it up as many times as possible. Then just release the flying machine and watch it soar above.

Working of a Rubber Band Helicopter

Similar to rubber band powered cars and other such toys, it also works on the principle of elasticity. The energy you use to turn the rotor, inserted between the strands of the rubber band, is not lost but gets accumulated.
The elastic property of the rubber band stores this energy within it in the form of potential energy. When you release the rotor, this stored energy is released, which causes the rotor to spin rapidly. The force thus generated, pushes the helicopter upwards.
The next time your kids come to you looking for science project ideas, you can teach them how to make a rubber band helicopter. They will be more than excited to learn!