Building A Tribute Version Of Mattel’s VertiBird Toy

Mattel had a ton of hit toys in the 20th century. In the early 1970s, the VertiBird was one of them, letting kids pretend to fly a helicopter in circles on their loungeroom floor. An original VertiBird can be hard to come by these days, but what if you could make your own? Well, [Gord Payne] did just that!

The design of the VertiBird is simple enough that it’s easy to replicate with a 3D printer. It features a helicopter on a rod that spins around a central base. The helicopter itself has a rotor powered by a motor, with variable speed control to vary the lift it produces. The helicopter’s flight can be controlled in a circular path around the base using throttle and pitch controls. [Gord’s] build was inspired by an earlier replica from [Luke J Barker] and borrows some parts from it, too. However, this build uses an ATTiny85 microcontroller to control the helicopter’s tilt and direction with the aid of a servo.

It’s great to see this classic toy recreated from scratch, particularly given the enormous cost of original sets these days. It’s also great fun to watch [Gord] execute an aerial rescue with the toy, too. Video after the break.

8 thoughts on “Building A Tribute Version Of Mattel’s VertiBird Toy

  1. Oh I so much wanted one for sooooooo long. Then when I finally did get one….about 30mins and then it was boooooooring. Sizzlers were another toy I wanted so bad because they looked so cool in the commercials…but had about 30 mins of actual excitement.

    1. Bruce, if you had a full set of sizzlers, big oval 2 cars 2 chargers and 1 friend to race against and only got 30 minutes of fun, something was missing from your childhood. My brother 10 years my sr. Tried to compare his slot car set to my sizzlers and I almost wet myself laughing. The ONLY thing slot cars could do was “drift” around corners, but since that term hadn’t been invented yet it didn’t matter. Imho

      1. I’d forgotten about Sizzlers! They were the best! I remember the sort of mouse-whiskers that fitted on the front that would change the car’s direction when it hit a wall. Great fun! I was heartbroken when the little (non-purchasable) rechargeable battery died.

  2. A friend of mine had a Vertibird, it was so much fun! I had the australian version of the Johnny Astro (the throttle lever was on the other side compared to the US one), it had a vac-formed lunar surface with a big crater to land in.

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