How to Build a Helicopter Out of Soda Cans

Use a picture of a helicopter as inspiration.
Use a picture of a helicopter as inspiration. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Making a model version of a helicopter out of soda cans is an artistic way to display your love for aviation. Helicopters include main rotors, tail rotors and landing skids -- all of which are necessary for your model version. The trick to crafting a successful soda can helicopter is to use a frame that is shaped similarly to the cockpit body of the aircraft. Use sheets of soda can aluminum to build around and off of the center frame to have your helicopter "ready for lift off" in no time.

Things You'll Need

  • 5 soda cans
  • Mild liquid dish soap
  • Scissors
  • Dish towel
  • Abrasive scuff pads
  • 4-inch by 10-inch plastic Easter egg
  • Permanent epoxy

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Rise out five empty soda cans with warm water and mild dish soap. Cut the top and bottom rims off of each can. Discard the rims and keep the flexible aluminum sheets.

Dry the aluminum sheets with a dish towel. Dual the edges of each sheet with an abrasive scruff pad before moving on.

Glue the two halves of a 4-inch by-10-inch plastic Easter egg together with permanent epoxy. The egg has a similar oval shape to a helicopter body and will act as the frame for your craft.

Fold an aluminum sheet around the egg. Cut off any extraneous aluminum. Unfold the sheet. Add a layer of permanent epoxy to the underside of the sheet. Wrap the sheet back around the egg -- tacky side down -- to bond the aluminum to the frame.

Measure and cut a 2-inch by 8-inch sheet of aluminum. Roll the sheet lengthwise into an 8-inch long cylinder to act as the top rotor. Glue the edge of the top rotor with permanent epoxy to secure the hold. Layer the center of the top rotor with permanent epoxy. Carefully press the center of the top rotor to the top of the egg.

Draw and cut a 2-inch by 6-inch sheet of aluminum. Roll the sheet lengthwise into a 6-inch long cylinder to act as the tail boom. Glue the edge of the tail boom with permanent epoxy to secure the hold. Layer one end of the tail boom with permanent epoxy. Carefully press the tacky end of the tail boom into the narrow end of the egg.

Trace and cut a 2-inch by 3-inch sheet of aluminum. Roll the sheet lengthwise into a 3-inch long cylinder to act as the tail rotor. Glue the edge of the tail rotor with permanent epoxy to secure the hold. Layer the center of the tail rotor with permanent epoxy. Carefully press the center of the tail rotor into the far back right side of the tail boom.

Trace and cut four 1-inch by 1-inch sheets of aluminum. Roll the sheets lengthwise into four 1-inch long cylinders to act as the vertical extensions for the landing skids. The vertical extensions connect the skids to the body of the helicopter. Glue the bottom edge of one vertical extension with permanent epoxy. Repeat the gluing process with the additional three vertical extensions. Press the tacky ends of the vertical extensions into the underbelly of the helicopter. Position two vertical extensions in line with one another on the right side of the underbelly. Position the remaining two vertical extensions in line with one another on the left side of the underbelly. The shape of the four extensions should resemble a rectangle.

Make the landing skids. Trace and cut two 2-inch by 6-inch sheets of aluminum. Roll the sheets lengthwise into two 1-inch long cylinders to act as the skids. Glue one skid to the bottom of the left side underbelly vertical extensions with permanent epoxy. Glue the remaining skid to the bottom of the right side underbelly vertical extensions with permanent epoxy.

References

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