STEAM at Home: Roto Copter

Learn how to build and fly a roto copter.


  • Paper template
  • Scissors
  • Paper clip
  • Masking tape
  • Rubberband
  • Spindle

Cut out the template, then cut along the line between boxes 2-3. Fold up along the dashed line over box one. Take a paperclip and slip it over the fold of box one, and tape the top of the paperclip, so that the bottom of the paperclip makes a loop. Next fold boxes 2 and 3 along the dashed line to make a small rectangle with a loop of the paperclip sticking out the bottom.

Next cut ¼” below the line of boxes 4 & 5, then cut along the line to separate the 2 boxes. Fold up the ¼” piece along the line on the bottom of the boxes. This will create your propellers. You are going to tape the 1/4” folded end to the rectangular base you created earlier. You want to attach the propellers at a slight angle, and to make the crease equal to the top of the base. Use a small piece of masking tape to attach the ¼” part to the base, then put the other propeller on even to the first one. Once they are both taped on you should notice that there is a gap created in the middle, take a piece of masking tape and tape the 2 propellers together along the top. Then take a second piece of tape and tape over the top to create a “+” with the two pieces of tape.

You have now made a roto copter that you can throw into the air. To do this, hold the paperclip and throw it like a baseball into the air. Watch as it should spin down to the ground.

Next, let’s try to slingshot your roto copter into the air. Attach a rubber band to the loop at the bottom of the paperclip by pushing it through, then loop one end of the rubber band through the other end and tighten. Now, take a spindle like a pencil, put the end of the rubber band over the eraser, and pull down by holding onto the paper clip. Your fingers may get in the way and the rubber band will probably fall off the eraser a couple of times. Once you’ve got it to stay on hold the bottom of the pencil and pull the paper clip even farther. Make sure that your fingers and nothing else are in the way. Once you’ve got enough tension let it go and see if it flies. It may not work the first time, it can be a bit tricky. Keep trying and see if you can slingshot your roto copter into the air.

Click on this link to see more instructions and learn why and how the roto copter works.

Click on this link for a downloadable template.

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Categories: Featured, Homepage Kids, Homepage Teens, Kids, Library News, and Teens.

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