Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!
IMG_2409.JPG

Everyone likes toys that fly. Unfortunately, most R/C planes are hard to control for people without any experience. Why not make an easy to fly blimp? It’s really quick to make, and many people have at least one of the R/C helicopters used in the build. Even if you had to buy (2) helicopters your cost would be less than $60. Best of all, it is completely non-destructive and can be reversed in a few seconds. So if you have kids, are a kid, or just act like a kid, give this a try. You will love it.

What you need:

IMG_2363.JPG

(2) R/C Helicopters (similar to Airhogs)
(2) 24″ long balsa dowels
A little tape
Binder clips or coins for ballastAbout the Build

This project does not require any tools and very few parts to make. In fact, the hardest part about making the Blimp is finding the right balloon. Fortunately, any large balloon will do. I just happened to find a Bratz balloon, but I imagine there are a lot of different Mylar balloons that will work. Make sure it is one of the larger types of balloons so it will support the helicopters.

Step 1: Find the center of gravity

IMG_2369.JPG

The first thing you need to do is find the center of gravity. Turn the balloon sideways and pinch the seam in what appears to be the center of the balloon. Next, see how the balloon floats. Is it level? If not, adjust where you are holding until it is floating more or less level. Add a piece of tape or make a mark it at this location. This is where the (2) balsa dowels will attach in a step 3.

Step 2: Build the helicopter support

IMG_2374.JPG

Use (2) pieces of 24″ long balsa wood dowels to build the support. First, mark the center of each dowel. Next, tape the helicopters to the ends of the dowels.

IMG_2379.JPG

One balsa dowel attaches under the helicopters fuselage behind the little wings. The other dowel attaches to the windshield. This will allow the helicopters to tilt slightly forward when attached to the balloon.

Step 3: Attach the helicopter structure

IMG_2380.JPG

This step is a bit tricky to do by yourself. First, place the balloon, upside down, between your legs. Next, use (2) pieces of tape to attach the dowels to the Mylar balloon at the center of gravity. You should have marked this location in step 1. That’s it.

Step 4: Add weight as needed

IMG_2399.JPG

Use the binder clips, or some tape and a few coins, to give the balloon a little negative balance. The balloon should slowly float to the floor when you let go. You can add more or less weight depending on how you want it to fly.

Step 5: Charge and fly

IMG_2411.JPG

Charge the helicopters batteries, it only takes 10 minutes! Now you are all ready to take your new blimp for it’s maiden voyage. Place both remotes side-by-side and steer it like a tank. It flies great and it’s really fast!

I hope you liked this project. If you make your own R/C Blimp send us a link to pictures, or a video. We love to see what our readers make. Thanks!

Marc de Vinck

I’m currently working full time as the Dexter F. Baker Professor of Practice in Creativity in the Masters of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship Program at Lehigh University. I’m also an avid product designer, kit maker, author, father, tinkerer, and member of the MAKE Technical Advisory board.


Related
blog comments powered by Disqus

Featured Products from the MakerShed

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25,882 other followers