What American boy doesn’t love airplanes? Ever since the Wright Brothers made their historic flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903, boys and men alike have been fascinated by the idea of flying. Most boys who love airplanes grow up to be men who enter into a career that involves aviation. Or, these same men collect and/or fly model planes as a hobby. Typically, model airplanes are made out of Styrofoam, plastic, or balsa wood. If you want to make a model airplane that doesn’t fly, yet will be an attractive piece in your collection, you can learn how to make your own pop can airplane.
The first step in this project is to round up the material you’ll need, which are about three empty aluminum pop cans. Rinse them out well with tap water. Before you begin the actual construction of your airplane, you should put on a pair of thin work gloves. These will protect your hands while you work with the cut, sharp aluminum material. Thick work gloves offer better protection, but the thin gloves will allow you to move your hands and fingers more easily. You’ll also need a pair of sharp scissors and a tube of all-purpose glue.
Next, use the sharp scissors to poke a hole in the first can about a half inch from the top. Then, insert the blade of the scissors into the hole and cut the top off of one pop can. (Since aluminum is thin, you’ll need to be careful not to crush the pop cans while you remove their tops.) Discard the top as you won’t need this to make your airplane with.
Now, you’ll need to cut the bottom two and half inches off a second pop can. Don’t discard this piece of aluminum as you’ll use it later. Use the sharp scissors to cut the top off of the third soda can. You’ll need to remove the bottom part too. Cut the body of the can in half, then open the aluminum up so it lies relatively flat. Use a permanent marker and draw two airplane wings. The wings will need to be the same size and shape. You may want to draw one wing, then use it as a pattern for the second piece. You’ll also need to draw an airplane propeller. It should be approximately three inches long. Once you have drawn the wings and the propeller, carefully cut them out using the sharp scissors. Be careful as the edges of the aluminum are very sharp!
Make two slits in the body of the first pop can. The slits will need to be located in the midsection of the can. You can use the scissors to do this, but a hobby knife will work better. The slits will need to be long enough to accommodate the width of the airplane wings. Carefully cut a horizontal slit across the bottom of the aluminum pop can too. Then, carefully slide both wings into place and glue them securely.
You’ll also need to use a piece of the aluminum material to make a tail for your soda can airplane too. Use the permanent marker to draw a tail and then cut it out with the sharp scissors. Slide the tail into the slit on the back, and glue it in place.
The next step is to take the bottom of the pop can you cut off and make a hole directly in its center. You can easily use a hammer, nail, and a block of wood to do this step. Then, carefully make a hole in the center of the airplane propeller. Attach the propeller onto the bottom by using a small screw and a nut. Don’t tighten the nut all the way or the propeller won’t be able to turn. Use the all-purpose glue to secure the bottom of the pop can to the piece of metal that has the propeller mounted to it.
Finally, slide the body pieces together and glue them into place. Once your pop can airplane is finished, you can leave it as it is. Or, you can paint it up. Since the cut aluminum pieces are sharp, you should never allow children play with your airplane!
Instead, you can hang it up with a piece of long string. It will make a great addition to your collection, or just a conversation piece.