Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

Customizable, Balloon Powered LOLCOPTER - Mk1

by Mattcad, published

Customizable, Balloon Powered LOLCOPTER - Mk1 by Mattcad Feb 21, 2013


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Well, my tinkering and modifying is done, this is the final version...

Behold, the mighty balloon powered LOLCOPTER Mk1!

AND IMPROVED - See Instructions :)

Which means endless possibilities!

It's got turbines, it's got propellers, everything is customizable, play with the settings and see how high can you make it fly.

Make it how you want it to be, blow up a balloon, put it on and let it soar :)

I'd love to see how many different designs come out of this and which ones fly best.

This is my very first OpenSCAD model, I haven't done any coding before this, and boy, what a learning curve, but I'm proud to say that I've written every line of code in this script!

It's amazing what variables and a single line of code can do!

I wanted to make something fun to learn how to use openSCAD and the Makerbot Customizer app.

Inspiration and coding lessons came from many sources, but credit for inspiration also goes to these two makers;


OpenSCAD is a lot of fun; I think I'm addicted!
I can't wait to get into my next project!

I encourage and welcome all feedback on any aspect of this design, especially on how easy or hard the parts are to print.

I'm happy to make changes to make it better.

EDIT: Big propellers are working
EDIT EDIT: Baloon stem made betterer :)
EDIT EDIT EDIT: now with Thingiviews
EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT: improvements- see instructions


Make your own STLs from the customizer, the samples aren't located correctly, bu the script fixes that.

I've designed this to be fully assembled needing no extra parts other than what is provided in the list for printing, other than a good balloon of course :)

  • You can change just about everything on this LOLCOPTER - I've designed it so you can customize it to optimize the design to give the best performance and to suit your printing envelope.


EDIT EDIT: turbine airflow has been largely improved
EDIT: I've made the STLs export the correct way up for printing and they should be in the center of your envelope.
I've also tightened up some clearances to make the airflow better.
The text is now in relief instead of being embossed.
ALSO- See images for the right way to install the turbines and propellers.


  • Select your desired font and write some text on the front and or top, or leave blank if you prefer none.
    Then change;
  • Distance between the props
  • The number of blades on the propellers
  • The size of the turbines
  • The height of the propellers
  • The thickness of the propeller shafts
  • Even the balloon stem size


  • no matter what sizes you customize on this LOLCOPTER, I have ensured that the wall
    thickness always remains a constant 2mm thick.

  • When assembling the turbines, make sure you put them in the right way up and the right way around; the blades should be curving towards the middle of the copter, the big hole should be on the bottom.
  • The propellers should be assembed so that the blades curve up and away from the center of the copter.
    (Looking down on top of the copter with the words facing you, the propeller on the right should be spinning anti-clockwise, and the one on the left should be spinning the opposite, to give lift.

Customize away, assemble and put on an inflated balloon, the bigger the better, and watch LOLCOPTER take to the sky, flying with all the glory of the internet.

Clicking on the 'Create STL' button in the Customizer App creates an STL for all the nominated parts in the script, the drop down menu is only for a visual on-screen preview of each part.

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you must reverse the propellers as in the yellow drawing.
because she finds the blue drawing for he is pushing himself down.

Do the rotors require some supports to print? I've tried to print the rotors, and the vanes don't seem to come all the way down to the build platform, and the extruder just shoots plastic in the air. What am I missing? trying a raft uses a lot of material, but doesn't deposit any raft under the vanes. This is a cool design. Thanks.

Time for a balloon-powered quad-copter design, I think.

I just finished making one of these, and unfortunately, I don't think it can work. The air from the balloon leaks out the cracks, but even if it was sealed, it would take a lot more force to spin the rotors than a balloon can provide. I really like the design though!

I don't see a way to make the turbines smaller. I see how to make them bigger.

What about making the engine centers distance and the prop radius smaller?



I've made the STLs export the correct way up for printing and they should be in the center of your envelope.

I've also tightened up some clearances to make the airflow better.

The text is now in relief instead of being embossed.

ALSO- See images for the right way to install the turbines and propellers.

Changes are coming...

The veins in the turbines came out bad and the props did not come out right either but I think this may be printer issues. I have it all together and I am not getting any spin. There is too much air leaking around the turbines. I'll try printing them again with some different settings, maybe even a different slicer, and see what happens. I really want this to work but, we will see.....

I was wondering if I'd kept the clearances tight enough, I'll tighten them up a bit more.
I'm also surprised that the turbines and props aren't printing well since they are similar to the two inspiration models I listed, which have printed well for others.
I'd still recommend using the customizer to change the size of the copter, rather than scaling the STLs.

The turbines are too big to print. If you can fit things in a 100mm cube that would be good. 145mm would be pushing it.

What size are you trying to print the turbines?
The default size for them is 20mm high and 40mm diameter.

I'm downloading the STL and trying to print it. And those turbines fall off the build platform front-to-back.

Ah ok, I see I still have a bit to learn, though I assumed people would be using Makerware to place the components in the printing envelope.
I'm making a few changes so I'll try and locate the parts better around the center.

I'm printing the turbines right now and am seeing a problem. Since this is scaled down, the veins are very thin. Even if I slice with .1 I only get one wall thickness and my printer is having a hard time. Too early to tell if this will be a problem.

Instead of scaling the whole thing down, have you tried just reducing the dimensions of the engine centers, propeller radius and shaft heights?

Cool, I look forward to hearing how it goes for you.
I've received some other feedback and will be trying to make it more print friendly;

  • Rotating the output STLs so they export the correct side down for printing
  • Making the front panel in two pieces and modifying the text


Nice improvements. I'm printing this as we speak and I will let you know how it goes. I have to scale this down to .8 and rotate to fit on the Solidoodle 2 print bed but I increased the size of certain parts (prop shafts) as to not lose any strength.

Hi everyone, I've updated the design, it should be much more print friendly now.
And there is a lot more customizable features now too.
Enjoy, and please let me know what you think.

This looks great and I want to buid it, but it seems to need extreme good bridging quality, which I can not meet with my Orca..... So I will consider breaking most parts in half and glue them after print....


I tried to make it print friendly, however there is always room for improvement which is why I've called it the 'MK 1' :-)
I don't have a lot of experience optimizing print layouts yet, but I do love a challenge and my mind is awash with ideas on how I can improve this copter, as well as many other things I can make.

I knew there would be a bit of bridging required but am not sure how much is needed, The next step for me will be to download the makerware to slice and layout the prints and explore bridging options.
Dual extruding with PVA support would be good too :-)

I am keen on hearing any feedback on this design as it relates to single extrusion printing.

The full functionality of the customizer should be working, it is when I'm using it, I did reload the script a couple of times to work out some bugs.
Let me know what, if any, the problems are.


I can't wait until the Customizer actually works.

Thanks guys :-)
I hope it gives many lols!

I'm glad to say that all the functionality is working well now.
Was quite a fun challenge for my first coded 3D model.

It was time for a lolcopter. I love it.

Well this is just about the coolest thing I have seen in some time. Sure hope it works. Thanks for the model

That's really cool! keep up the good work.