$13 Homemade 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!

16 thoughts on “$13 Homemade RC Blimp

      1. 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.

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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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