DIY – Flying Beer Can

Step by step Instructions on how to make your own Flying Rainier Can.

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If you don’t know anything about RC Helicopters let me start by explaining a little bit about them first, they are far from being all the same.  There are a lot of cheap “Toy” ones on the market in the $15-$30 range.  All of these are poor helicopters, let alone having even close to enough power to lift the 10 gram can. And they give you very poor control.  The standard toy helicopter doesn’t have a swash plate, this is the part that tilts the rotors for lateral movement.   Forward movement is achieved by a upward facing propeller on the tail and steering by the motor bias on the counter rotating blades (Stay away from these if you ever want to learn to fly a good one, it will only teach you bad habits).

This is a Blade MCX2, about the best beginner helicopter for someone wanting real 4 axis control and something easy to transition into a single rotor 3D helicopter one day.  This is NOT A TOY, it says so on the box.  Also the toy versions have no replaceable parts, where every single part for these can be found very cheap at about every hobby shop or on Amazon.  For just under $100 you get everything you need to fly the Heli, controller, battery and charger even a little tool kit.  I recommend the standard Blade MCX, its the same heli without the extra canopy and LEDs, a bit cheaper and easier to fix.  It still uses the coaxial design instead of a tail rotor so its a perfect fit for this project.  Complete removal of the tail will not impair control at all with this design, it will still move forward, back, left, right and rotate.  It actually flies very well with the can giving it a lower center of gravity.

CAUTION!  This is a lot of work for the motors.  Even stock, excessive back to back flight will quickly warp the main frame making the motor gears lose there mesh. Its only made out of ABS plastic,  So you must let this thing cool all the way down after every flight.  They do sell a after market aluminium frame, but it adds weight too and I have not tested it yet.

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Start by disassembling.

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The Front canopy comes off very easy.  Only on the MCX2 you have to remove the sub-micro LED plug very carefully.  Never try to pull straight out or by the wires. Rock to side to side and it will work its self out easy.

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Remove rear canopy

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I bought a extra set of landing gear (only $4) to modify so I can convert it back to a regular heli in under a minute.

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Where the skids meet the battery tray I just clipped them off.  You can also see here where all 4 motors are, and why its worth the money.

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I started with a Pabst tall can,  It worked but barely flew and overheated the motors quickly.  A standard 12 oz can fits perfect and is the max weight you would want to use. I used a dremel to cut out the can and smooth the edges.

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I used a very minimal amount of the least dense balsa wood (3/16 square) I could find to make a structure inside the can about 1.75 inches from the top and the width of the battery tray.  Be careful, the weight of every drop of glue makes a difference… seriously.  On the left is a slot for the battery to hang through.  On the right you can see I relieved the wood for the steering servo motors. Lightly sanding the inside of the can will help the glue stick a lot better letting you use less.

This finished part should weigh no more than 10 grams, otherwise it will not fly right.

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Bottom view with the heli internals mounted.  With the shaft on center the board just clears the side.  If the board touches the side it could possibly short out so be careful and check the gap before powering it up.

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Now that the battery tray is mounted, it is very easy to slide the whole unit inside.  It just press fits onto those original pins.

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That is it,  you just connect the battery and slide it down into the balsa wood slot.  I moved the battery there for two reasons, one was to make it easier to change and with no tail we need a bit more weight on the back.

Here’s a very short Instagram video for now.

Watch Video

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