Some of you will probably remember those Air Hogs planes that you'd pump up to high pressure, spin the propeller and away they flew into the air. Well I used to own one and lost it on the very first flight when it flew behind some trees, never to be seen again. So a few years later (quite a few!), I have decided to build my own compressed air powered plane!
First of all, I had to build an engine that could run using compressed air. Using certain 3D printing techniques and ABS acetone smoothing, I was able to produce this:
The engine was a success, but it was far from being useful for an aircraft power system. Many suggested to add a pressure regulator and have a high pressure bottle. However, all the pressure regulators I could find would just restrict the air flow, so the pressure in the engine head valve before starting the engine would be equal to the tank pressure... and I wasn't comfortable pressurising this 3D printed valve to high pressures whilst holding it close to my face when launching a plane. So I went to work on trying to improve the efficiency of the engine, as well as increasing the volume of the bottle (pressure chamber) for longer run times. Then I built the following aircraft:
So that's how I built my own 'Air Hogs' air powered plane using a 3D printer, foam board and some basic RC equipment! Obviously the flight characteristics can't be compared to an electric power plane, but it was a super fun project to carry out! Thanks for taking the time to view what I have attempted and I hope this can spark some interest for others to experiment with!