Helicopter Project

You can make your very own helicopter using materials that are readily available.

This project is rated: EASY to MODERATE

Materials needed:
  • Computer paper or card stock
  • Scissors
  • Pencil with eraser, at least 3 inches long
  • Straight pin
  • Glue
  • Optionally: crayons, colored pencils, or paint, AND 2 small beads

Project Instructions

  1. Print the pattern at right.

  2. Cut off the top of the pencil to a length of 3 inches including the eraser. NOTE: You may have to get help from someone who can do this with a saw or knife, or you may have an old pencil that is about the right length. If you have one that is a little too long, sharpen it until it is short enough.

  3. Optional: Color the helicopter body parts any way that you want.

  4. Cut out each side of the helicopter. (Do not cut out the part between the struts that support the landing skids; that part is needed for strength.)

  5. Put some glue on the pencil and glue it to one side of the helicopter (printed side down.)

  6. Position the pencil so that it is centered on the back edge of the door and extends about 3/4 inch above the body of the helicopter. Allow your glue to set for awhile.

  7. After the glue is set enough so the pencil doesn’t slide around, take the other side of the helicopter; place it with the printed side down; then apply glue to that entire body NOT including the landing gear (you should do this on a sheet of newspaper or something to keep from getting glue on your table.)

  8. Carefully align the side with the glue on it (glue side down) over the other side and press them together. You will have to do some forming around the pencil so each side bulges out equally.

  9. Allow time for the glue to dry. Then bend each landing skid outward so your helicopter can stand on them.

Helicopter
Helicopter pattern

Assemble the Rotor

  1. Cut out the rotor, it’s the square at the top of the pattern.
  2. Cut along the diagonal lines from each corner to the circle, but don’t cut into the circle!
  3. Using a pin, punch a hole in the central dot and in each of the four other dots.
  4. Place the pin through the central hole of the rotor.
  5. Then, take one of the corners with a hole in it and curl (don’t fold) it under the rotor and place it on the pin.
  6. Curl each of the other 3 corners with holes under the rotor and place each one on the pin.
  7. Now, push the pin vertically into the top of the eraser.

Now your helicopter is ready to “fly.”

Hold it as high as you can above the floor and let it drop. The rotor should spin as it falls. If the rotor does not spin freely, it may help to place a small bead on the pin before assembling the rotor and another bead on the pin before you insert it in the eraser. If the rotor hits any part of the body, you may not have gotten the pencil positioned high enough. You can’t adjust that; but, if possible, you can add another bead above the eraser to hold the rotor up higher. If that doesn’t work, you will have to make another helicopter and position the pencil so that it projects up higher.

Other Ideas

  • Computer paper is a little bit flimsy for the helicopter body. You can print the project on card stock for the body parts. You should still use computer paper for the rotor. If the rotor is made out of card stock, it will make the helicopter top-heavy.
  • Draw designs on the rotor and see how they look as the rotor spins.
  • Draw a pilot inside the helicopter’s front bubble.
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