I'm looking for an actual pattern I can print out for an aluminum can airplane.
By Brandi from Bullhead City, AZ
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I found these directions a couple years ago. Never made one, but was looking for a pattern also for a 4H project with the boys.
What American boy doesn't love airplanes? Ever since the Wright Brothers made their historic flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903, boys and men alike have been fascinated by the idea of flying. Most boys who love airplanes grow up to be men who enter into a career that involves aviation. Or, these same men collect and/or fly model planes as a hobby. Typically, model airplanes are made out of Styrofoam, plastic, or balsa wood. If you want to make a model airplane that doesn't fly, yet will be an attractive piece in your collection, you can learn how to make your own pop can airplane.
The first step in this project is to round up the material you'll need, which are about three empty aluminum pop cans. Rinse them out well with tap water. Before you begin the actual construction of your airplane, you should put on a pair of thin work gloves. These will protect your hands while you work with the cut, sharp aluminum material. Thick work gloves offer better protection, but the thin gloves will allow you to move your hands and fingers more easily. You'll also need a pair of sharp scissors and a tube of all-purpose glue.
Next, use the sharp scissors to poke a hole in the first can about a half inch from the top. Then, insert the blade of the scissors into the hole and cut the top off of one pop can. (Since aluminum is thin, you'll need to be careful not to crush the pop cans while you remove their tops.) Discard the top as you won't need this to make your airplane with.
Now, you'll need to cut the bottom two and half inches off a second pop can. Don't discard this piece of aluminum as you'll use it later. Use the sharp scissors to cut the top off of the third soda can. You'll need to remove the bottom part too. Cut the body of the can in half, then open the aluminum up so it lies relatively flat. Use a permanent marker and draw two airplane wings. The wings will need to be the same size and shape. You may want to draw one wing, then use it as a pattern for the second piece. You'll also need to draw an airplane propeller. It should be approximately three inches long. Once you have drawn the wings and the propeller, carefully cut them out using the sharp scissors. Be careful as the edges of the aluminum are very sharp!
Make two slits in the body of the first pop can. The slits will need to be located in the midsection of the can. You can use the scissors to do this, but a hobby knife will work better. The slits will need to be long enough to accommodate the width of the airplane wings. Carefully cut a horizontal slit across the bottom of the aluminum pop can too. Then, carefully slide both wings into place and glue them securely.
You'll also need to use a piece of the aluminum material to make a tail for your soda can airplane too. Use the permanent marker to draw a tail and then cut it out with the sharp scissors. Slide the tail into the slit on the back, and glue it in place.
The next step is to take the bottom of the pop can you cut off and make a hole directly in its center. You can easily use a hammer, nail, and a block of wood to do this step. Then, carefully make a hole in the center of the airplane propeller. Attach the propeller onto the bottom by using a small screw and a nut. Don't tighten the nut all the way or the propeller won't be able to turn. Use the all-purpose glue to secure the bottom of the pop can to the piece of metal that has the propeller mounted to it.
Finally, slide the body pieces together and glue them into place. Once your pop can airplane is finished, you can leave it as it is. Or, you can paint it up. Since the cut aluminum pieces are sharp, you should never allow children play with your airplane!
Instead, you can hang it up with a piece of long string. It will make a great addition to your collection, or just a conversation piece.
How to Build a Model Airplane out of Beer Cans
Utility knife Awl or long nail
Tin snips Ballpeen hammer
8 empty, clean beer cans Block of scrap wood
1 wire hanger 1 bottle cork
a small length of 4 mm tubing, or insulation stripped from a 4 mm
Techniques for joining metal (no soldering)
1. "Rivetless rivet" for joining two surfaces together: Align the two pieces correctly and place on the wooden block. With the hammer and awl, drive a hole through both pieces. Turn the pieces over. With the ballpeen end of the hammer, tap the hole to flatten the flanges of metal around the hole tight against the surface.
Cut the tops and bottoms off six cans. Discard the tops. Tap a hole in the center of each bottom. Cut the can bodies from top to bottom and smooth the rectangular sheet flat.
From one sheet, cut six long struts 1" x 3 1/2". Fold in half lengthwise, crimp, shape the ends into tabs and set aside. Cut two short wing struts 1/ 1/2" x 2", fold in half crosswise, crimp, shape the ends into tabs and set aside.
Wheels: Carefully press two bottoms together, convex sides out, and ease the rim of one bottom around the other. Repeat for second wheel. Wheel strut: Cut a 7" length of wire hanger. Cut a 5" x 3" rectangle; fold in half lengthwise with the wire tightly crimped into the fold. Tap a hold in the center of the sheet, trim the metal.
Wings: From a flat sheet, cut two strips 3 1/2" wide. Overlap the strips to make a rectangle 3 1/2" x 13". Rivet the overlapping area. Cut two slits to fit the tabs on the long struts on each wing, 2" from the end. Round both wingtips. Crease 1/2" of the long side over a hard edge to form a U-shaped channel. Repeat on the second long side. Tap a hole in the center of the finished wing. Repeat for second wing.
Propeller: Cut two strips 2" x 8", rivet together. Round the tips. Tap a hole in the center. Crease the tips diagonally, pinwheel style. Sandwich the last two can bottoms around the long strip so the center holes are aligned, and ease the rim of one bottom around the other.
Tail: Upright: cut a rectangle 3" x 7", fold in half crosswise; trim to shape; rivet. Make four 1/2' cuts along the bottom surface, creating five tabs. Tabs one, three, and five will be inserted into the body of the plane; tabs two and four will be split apart to support the tail. Make a single slit in the upright.
Horizontal tailpieces: Cut a rectangle 3" x 6", trim to shape. Cut three slits to receive the three tabs on the tail upright. Cut a slit in the surface of each side of the horizontal tailpiece.
Push the three tabs on the upright through the slits on the horizontal tailpiece. Do not fold back yet. On each side of the upright, run a thin strut between the upright and the horizontal surfaces, flattening the tab on the reverse side. Tail rest: cut a 3" x 3/4" strip, fold crosswise, trim, rivet.
Fuselage: Cut the tops only from two cans, discard tops.
Rear can: Cut three slits in a line on the top surface to receive the three tabs on the tailpiece. Cut two side-by-side slits on the underside near the can bottom to receive the two tabs on the tail rest. Attach both pieces: insert the tabs, reach inside the can and split the tabs and fold them flat against the inside.
Front: Tap a hole in the center of the can bottom. Cut two 4" long slits 1" apart along the length of the underside of the can. Tap a hole in the underside of the can, between the two slits, 1" from the bottom edge. Tap another hole opposite, on the top surface. Half an inch on either side of the top hole, cut slits to receive the short wing struts.
Thread one wing, unpainted side out, through the slits. Follow with the wheel strut. Center both pieces. Bend the two halves of the wheel strut away from the body at an 80û angle; bend the bare wires outwards at a 90û angle. Thread the wheels onto the wires, cap the ends with 1/4" piece of plastic tubing.
Cut a 2 1/2" piece of wire. Push 1" into the bottle cork. From the inside of the can, push the wire through the hole in the can bottom. Thread on 3/4" of plastic tubing, then the propeller, then cap with 1/4" of tubing.
Attach top wing to the fuselage with the two short wing struts, set at diagonals. Attach the upper and lower wings to each other with the four long wing struts. Cut a 6" piece of wire and pass it through the holes in the wheel strut, lower wing, underside of fuselage, top side of fuselage, and upper wing. Bend the wire ends into small loops for hanging.
8 bucks per e-pattern.
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We need plans to make airplanes from Coke cans. Actually any plans to make anything from Coke cans. My friend owns a bar so we can even get the long beer cans if needed.
I have a disabled friend who makes models and sells them to our church members. His hands are his savior right now. He is very good. Times are rough for him because he only earns $800 per month on disability.
I think he could make pop can airplanes and I have a lot of Coke cans my family is throwing away. Can you help me? He likes bi-planes and old planes a lot. Thanks.
Roy from Indianapolis, IN
Here are some links for you to try:
Are you still looking for soda/beer can airplane plans? If so, drop me a line at:
Firemarshalbill49 AT gmail.com.
By Firemarshal Bill
If anyone responds about plans for pop can airplanes, please pass them on to me; Roy AT betterindy.com