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Dremel Powered Flying Thing

by Zarquon, published

Dremel Powered Flying Thing by Zarquon Feb 11, 2012


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Like any good engineer should I often look at my tools and ask myself “How could this be more awesome AND more dangerous at the same time?”

The obvious answer when looking at a Dremel was “add a propeller.” This work is inspired by, but not derived from, the [now defunct?] Prop Rocket thing by James. I’m the wrong sort of engineer to design a propeller with any sort of real efficiency but it’s my hope that this will make some one more knowledgeable give some tips or upload their own design. Since I’ve now lost a few of these out my window, I guess it’s reached “flies well enough” status.

I showed this to a friend who requested a clarifications. This is a variation on those old toys which had a separate propeller press fit on to some type of handle. When the propeller is spinning fast enough the lift it provides over comes the friction fit that holds it down. At that point the propeller pops off and flies away. This is a version of that spun by a Dremel. It is not intended to fly away with your Dremel.

Warning: This is not intended to be a toy or even really be safe to use. Don’t attempt to use this unless you’re sure of your capabilities (are you certain your single walled print can hold blades together at Dremel speeds?). Even then I take no responsibility for you making one.


It's hard to print in my experience. I experimented with easier to print blade designs but nothing flew close to as well as this. I used full supports in skeinforge, which just added a little raft under the blades, and put my print head a bit lower then normal.

This is sized to it fit over the small sanding wheel Dremel attachment. It should fit on tight enough that it won’t pop off until an appropriate spin speed is reached. I suggest wrapping the attachment in tape or sanding down the inside of the hub as needed.

You will want it to stick to the top of the sanding wheel harder then you may expect. For best flight it will need to stay on all the way up to full speed and be able to release with a slight shake. The internal hub diameter is 15mm and my sanding wheel was 15.2mm. You may need to resize. The first time I fit each new one on I do so with the sanding wheel spinning slowly.

Make sure you and everyone else clear the stupid space before spinning it up. When I’ve been test flying these I’ve either been standing behind a glass door or window with my gloved handed holding the Dremel on the other side. I did one test flight inside and it hit the ceiling at an angle hard enough that it shattered.

Use at your own risk.

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Just came across your model, looks insane!

You mentioned that the model is very difficult to print. I realised that the propeller tip has a small gap and hence it is not resting as a first layer on the print bed which may explain why it is difficult to print. I made some changes to your sketchup model to push the propeller downwards so that it is in line with the first layer as the hub, and then print the whole setup on a raft. I think that would make the print much easier.

Thanks for your design!

How about uploading a remix then? ;-)

"Are you certain your single walled print can hold blades together at Dremel speeds?"

Thank you for this reminder. I was planning to maybe try some of the ones out there at some point. Probably not this particular one though :D Your description is hilarious, thanks

this is insane. i love it.

Test indoors and knocked down a picture. Launched outdoors and never saw it again. 10 for 10 would recommend.

Is that last picture a picture of one that exploded?

The centrifugal forces at dremel speeds are high. Consider thickenening the hub.

I suggest high quality safety glasses for anyone trying this.

Perhaps bench test this, by plugging into a switchable outlet, then getting away.

Perhaps, painting it with acetone could increase the bond between the fibers.

This sounds like a Myth Busters project. :)

Yeah that last picture is of one that shattered pretty well. I
’ve been thinking of thickening the hub as right now it’s just a single wall. The two of these that I’ve had fail did so when colliding with buildings though. I haven’t had any fail just from being spun up.

you should remix a design from a quad copter blade to fit this way.

then it will be professional aerial science

this demands a youtube video

I don't have a camera setup that's high enough quality to do a decent job on that.

Nice! There aren't enough dangerous things.