Sometimes failure can be more interesting than immediate success. Cold weather is the perfect time to ruminate on problem designs to see where things went wrong and work on potential solutions.
That's where we find the YouTube channel Make Your Own Creation, with their homemade rubber-band driven cardboard quad-copter drone. They use some basic parts in a few really clever ways, plus rubber bands play a key role in the design.
They start with a few remote control mini drone motors, anchoring them to a cardboard body and securing with hot glue. Then they cut out a few small plastic discs that will serve as the drone's rotors. Stacking different-sized discs builds in some grooves for later use, and the rotors are fitted on top of the drone.
They use some heavy-duty cardboard to make the quad-copter arms and glue them in place before wiring up the motors to a remote control. Then the blades are built from more cardboard and fitted with more rotors.
Then the rubber bands come in: Where they're used for their elastic qualities in many homemade projects, they serve as belts connecting the motors to the blades here. Because the rotors have grooves staggered higher on some blades than others, they can operate freely without binding into each other.
Once the remote control is connected to a battery, it's time to take flight. Except, it isn't, quite. No matter how hard the blades run (and a few of their tests have them spinning up enough to sound like a saw), the drone never gets off the ground. Maybe the cardboard is too heavy, or the motors themselves?
Either way, the rubber bands holding up under the pressure is a testament to their versatility, even when the overall design doesn't quite work. Maybe one of our readers can figure out a better approach and have a working model ready to go once spring shows up.
Kyle Brown is a reporter for Rubber & Plastics News who watched a lot of Mr. Wizard and Bill Nye while growing up. Follow him on Twitter at @kbrownRPN.