Weekend Project: Build an Ornithopter

An ornithopter is an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings! Here is a simple monoplane design powered by a rubber band. It’s motion is similar to a bird in flight.
To download Build an Ornithopter MP4 click here or subscribe in iTunes.

Check out the Build and Ornithopter article MAKE 08 “Build and Ornithopter” & You can see that in our digital edition.

42 thoughts on “Weekend Project: Build an Ornithopter

  1. none says:

    Sweetheart deal with the execrable Kip Kay and metacafe?

  2. Adam Witten says:

    I always watch the weekend video. I think Kip Kay is a cool maker. That all being said the older weekend projects video we of a much higher quality.
    here are the reasons I think so:

    1. There was a lot more creativity to the old poscasts, Kip Kay just goes through the steps as if read off the PDF. He does not really bring a lot more to the video then what you can read yourself. No music past the “theme” music also really hurts the videos.

    2. Kip rarely explains why something works the way it does. The videos are much shorter and much less interesting. I thought the point of these project was to make things the way you wanted, by not explain why or how things work we are left to mimic exactly what Kip is doing.

    3. Lack of “experts” and community involvement in the videos. I appreciate the one man band approach that Kip brings to the show, but it de- emphasize that community aspect that is so important to make and weekend projects.

    Just my 2 cents

  3. Anonymous says:

    This thingamajig is embarassing.
    You call that flying?

  4. meh says:

    @Adam: These videos succeed with a host that engages the audience. Someday make will realize this.

    FWIW, if I am going to learn something new, I’d prefer the information to come from an expert in the field. Sometimes make has that advantage, sometimes (well, most of the time) it doesn’t.

  5. Phillip Torrone says:

    meh, adam (and all) – thanks for the feedback, i think each video is getting better and better, we’ll keep improving.

  6. Phillip Torrone says:

    @none – you can find all our videos on youtube. i wanted to try out metacafe since they seem to pay for content more than youtube does. i’m not sure if we’re going to keep using their player yet.

  7. David Rayburn says:

    So the project sounded interesting enough, but it’s fundamentally impossible to do with the video because you don’t see which parts you need and how big each balsa wood piece must be. Thus, the video becomes an advertisement, saying “Look at the cool things you could make if you bought our magazines.”
    Then again, that’s nearly every post on this site.

    I understand that people have to make money, but why would I buy anything from MAKE if you’re going to treat potential customers like this?

  8. Phillip Torrone says:

    @david – there’s a PDF you can download for free – i don’t understand why you’re complaining and saying things that are not accurate.

  9. Anonymous says:

    WOW! that was just another miserable excuse for a video by kip. Each week he has been offering us,well…nothing, nothing we can’t get out of the magazine. I mean a little orginality would be nice.Seriously think of the thought process that kip goes through to make his videos,”hmm, its already thursday better take a sec and find something i can build in my MAKE magazine, hmm ornithopter seems simple enough. Alright i guess i better build it using the exact steps out of the magazine, you know i don’t wanna use any imagination or creativity of my own while making this.” Basically the videos are uninspired and uninspiring, I thought the whole point of MAKE is making things on your OWN! I miss BRE!

  10. gear head says:

    When are we going to see a video project work? I saw a half a**ed Palm Book, a useless vibrating pen, a mouse trap racer that ran slower than my grandma walked, and now an ornithopter that, well, doesn’t fly. But to be constructive..,

    a) why not film these projects until you get footage where the thing actually works?

    or b) at least explain why it didn’t work?

    I was willing to give Kip a few weeks to bring this weekend project gig up to par, and to be fair the production value is so much better than it was, but from a paying audience’s point of view I’ve got to the point where I realize that it’s all form and no function, and I need more than that.

    If you showcase a project from the magazine that doesn’t work… why would potential customers buy the magazine?

  11. Jason says:

    I think this is great, I got to say that I had to get used to Kip, but I have to say the projects are getting better. I have been wanting to make one of these, but was unable to get the magazine.

    Projects are great, Kip is a great host. I would like to see more out of the videos. Something deferent then what we are use to seeing on Metacafe. More pop, excitement, but that’s just me.

    I’m glad to see you guys are keeping the weekend projects coming.

    Thank you.
    boycott HouseHoldhacker

  12. keithO says:

    Some of the commenters are pretty harsh, and I don’t know what they want. Probably nothing would make them happy.

    The odd part is that I never saw comments like this when Bre did the Weekend projects, even though many of his were trivial and taken straight from the magazine too. I guess some people just don’t like change, and some just criticize everything. Unfortunately, we all know that the critics are more likely to post than the supporters…

  13. Onid says:

    Kip seems like he kind of fumbles his way through it, and so, that’s why we hear him in the vids rather than see him doing stuff, real time, and having real fun.

    Lighten up Kip… and loose the hat. That’s so passe.

  14. KipKay says:

    @Onid – I am as light as they get and I like baseball caps. Thanks for the fashion suggestion though.

  15. Jason says:

    Tell me that you did not get rid of the weekend projects? What happened? Where is Kip? Kip, don’t leave us too.

  16. KipKay says:

    @Jason – We will be doing more Weekend Projects after we do a few of the Maker Faire highlight videos that feature the cool inventions and fun at this year’s Faire.

  17. Jason says:

    Make Faire, That’s cool. I enjoy Make Faire video. Say, Kip. What camera you use to tape video?

  18. KipKay says:

    @Jason – I use a Sony HVR-V1U HDV Camera.

  19. Jason says:

    I think the videos are just fine. Your doing great with the videos. Keep up the good work, and I will see you next weekend projects. Thank you.

    God bless.

  20. Ayan says:

    i want to know how to make the crank wire and what paper i can use for wingss

  21. rAnDoMaN says:

    Isn’t there a simpler version of making an ornithopter? :/ Something that’s not too complicated or too cheap either. And it works.

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