Amazing flight of a 3D printed rubber band powered ornithopter

We’re actually going to link to an old post from back in February because we think it’s equally as impressive as the most recent work. This is a 3D printed ornithopter powered by a rubber band (translated). The frame is much like a traditional rubber band plane. The difference is that after winding it up it doesn’t spin a propeller. The flapping of the four plastic membrane wings makes it fly like magic. Seriously, check out the demo below… we almost posted this as “Real or Fake?” feature if we hadn’t seen similar offerings a couple of years back.

The flight lasts a relatively long time when considering the quick winding before launch is all that powered it. But the most recent offerings (translated) from the site include the motorized ornithopter design seen above. It carries a small Lithium cell for continuous flight. These designs have a 3D printed gear system which makes them a bit more complicated, but brings steering and remote control to the party. If you want one of your own they’re working on a small run of kits. We figure it’d be a lot more fun to prototype and print your own. Sure, it’s reinventing the wheel. But it’s a really cool wheel!

[via Hacked Gadgets]

10 thoughts on “Amazing flight of a 3D printed rubber band powered ornithopter

  1. The rubber band version actually flew better, the motor powered one is on the verge of a power on stall pretty much all the time.

    1. With the powered version though, it looks like you might have the ability to hover that you don’t get with the rubber band version. With the addition of the tail rotor you can also control it’s direction. I would love to have both versions. He sells the 3d printed parts for the rubber band version 2 here for under $5 http://www.shapeways.com/shops/flappingwing or you can download version 1 for free.

  2. That’s really cool. My 6 year old niece would love it. I’ve succeeded in getting her into science and curiosity of the way things work :-)

  3. Off topic: Any reason why I can’t watch Youtube video’s fullscreen when you embed them? Rather annoying to have to click through to youtube for a larger version…

    On topic: Holy shitsnacks, that’s cool!

  4. The flight is really insect-like, this is very cool. I kind of wonder how the flight efficiency of this ornithopter type compares to traditional propeller airplanes.

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