$13 Homemade RC Blimp

RC Blimp

Here’s a great little RC hack you can do with the kids this weekend — make your very own RC Blimp!

First you’ll have to hack apart one of those little 1/64 scale RC cars you can get for a few dollars, and then all you need are a few household supplies, and a helium filled balloon. [Masynmachien] says the total cost of this project can be as little as $13 — depending on where you get your supplies.

So how does it work? Well, an 11″ helium filled party balloon can lift about 10g quite easily — if you strip away the body and chassis of one those RC cars you’ll be well under that weight. The RC cars typically have one small DC motor and a steering actuator, but [Masynmachien] found you can actually connect a second DC motor to the leads for the actuator and it works just fine. Doing this you can create a main prop to drive the blimp, and a secondary tail rotor to steer it. The Instructable uses mostly recycled components, but we’re sure if you had more time you could design and build an even nicer one. When the blimp is properly trimmed it sinks slowly in the air, so the main prop is responsible for keeping it at a certain altitude — this takes a bit of getting used to but it’s an easy way to get around steering in all directions.

Looking for a more advanced project using these little cars? How about building a RC plane with them! Or if you’re feeling ambitious, you can also control them using your computer! Stick around after the break to see it in action!

Comments

  1. Quads says:

    I could waste hours playing with this.

    • Whatnot says:

      Well no, since as far as I know your normal balloon is very permeable to helium it won’t last for hours.that’s why helium balloons are that metalized material aren’t they?

      • Leithoa says:

        It will last hours. Your average party balloon takes a couple days to lose it’s lift. You’ll have to trim it once or twice a day but you’d probably get +2 days of fun out of it. Like you said Mylar balloons will last quite a bit longer.

      • Mylar balloons last almost forever – I used to run a flower shop and sold the latex and mylar balloons. Don’t fill the mylar totally full (to almost bursting – esp on a hot day!), and once sealed, it doesn’t leak. THAT’D be a great blimp!

  2. vonskippy says:

    I saw the picture and thought “Blimp with Ducted Fans”.

  3. echodelta says:

    Steerable prop! Just like the USS Macon 1930’s era. The largest thing ever to take off vertically. With the slight negative buoyancy the tilt and swing of a single motor and prop should give high control over all aspects of indoor fun. Positive buoyancy! Just reverse thrust for default away from kids and pets…either terrorized or pop-smack-chomp. Hamster Airlines!

  4. ftkalcevic says:

    I love his workshop. Nice and tidy and soooo much space!

  5. Patrick says:

    I bought one of these fish “blimp” at a local store. It came pre-filled.
    The moment I went outside, it cough in the wind and left my hand. Good bye friend.

  6. Hirudinea says:

    Ferdinand von Zeppelin got started the same way. I would use one of those cheap helicopters though, you can just get them cheaper.

  7. static says:

    I need to wander through the toy section at stores more often. I had a conversion with another Kansas amateur radio operator who was part of a group that launched balloons. He said they built the payloads to where a larger party balloon could carry them aloft. The store would deliver the balloon and gas to the customers location and fill the balloon onsite within a certain distance. So they would select their launch site within that distance & make the store a map.

  8. Liam says:

    I wonder if you could make a more gross and more dangerous version with an XL condom and home made hydrogen?

  9. Daniel says:

    Fill it with hydrogen instead and make a obstacle coarse with candles… :)

    • Jelle says:

      I like that! Also include some oxygen in the balloon. Not as much lift, but much nicer bang!
      And, like the previous poster said: use a condom instead of a normal balloon. They are guaranteed to hold 20 litres and are nicely shaped for the purpose.

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