Homemade Toy Wind Tunnel Blows (Really Well)

Sometimes a kid wakes up on Christmas morning and runs downstairs, only hoping to see one thing: a shiny new wind tunnel. This past December, that’s exactly what [SparksAndCode]’s son found under beside the tree, complete with a bag of scarves, ping-pong balls, and other fun things to launch through it (in the name of physics, of course).

The real story here starts about a week before Christmas, when [SparksAndCode]’s son was enthralled by a similar device at a science museum. At his wife’s suggestion, [SparksAndCode] got to work designing a and building a wind tunnel with hardware-store parts, his deadline looming ahead. The basic structure of the tunnel is three rods which support plywood collars. The walls are formed by plastic sheets rolled inside the collars to make a tube. Underneath, a Harbor Freight fan supplies a nice, steady stream of air for endless entertainment.

After finding a few bugs during his son’s initial beta testing on Christmas morning, [SparksAndCode] brought the wind tunnel back into the shop for a few tweaks and upgrades, including a mesh cover on the air intake to stop things from getting sucked into the fan. The final result was a very functional (and fun!) column of air. Looking for even more function (but not necessarily less fun)? We’ve got you covered too with this home-built research wind tunnel from a few years back.

6 thoughts on “Homemade Toy Wind Tunnel Blows (Really Well)

  1. Wow, very nice!
    Takes me back to the early 70s when my brother and I received a ‘Johnny Astro’ Balloon Lander for Christmas.
    It had a control/fan unit and a vac-formed ‘lunar surface’ with craters molded in, one being especially large as the landing pad. Ours was the Australian-made version that apparently had the throttle control on the opposite site of the US version.
    It was a cool toy, very fun but very difficult to control and land on the crater. After a while we dispensed with the landing leg ring that had to be stickytaped to the balloon and just flew the plain balloons around the room. Probably because the batteries were getting lower and it didn’t have the same lifting power.
    Thinking about it, this toy could be reproduced now with 3D printing.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.