This Giant Flying Lego Helicopter Is Actually a Drone

Drone designer Adam Woodworth has done some amazing designs in the past — from Imperial Star Destroyers to F-22 Raptors — but this giant Lego helicopter is clearly his best yet. Check it out in action:

The drone — presented at this year’s Makers Fair in the Bay Area — is amazing for several reasons. First, it looks just like real Lego — with each piece cut and painted to perfection, including the classic minifig pilot. In fact, the drone actually reproduces a helicopter from a real Legoland set, hthe classic set 6396 International Jetport — which Woodworth says it was always his favorite of the Lego helicopters.

Credit: Lego

(Image credit: Lego)

But what is more amazing is seeing it fly. It is really weird, as the rotor moves too slowly — not to mention the fact that the weight and aerodynamics of the ABS plastic bricks would never allow such a thing to fly no matter its scale.

Of course, the rotor is just for show. It even moves at the same speed of other motorized Lego helicopters.

The helicopter is ten times the scale of a real minifig. The large scale allowed him to “build it perfectly with 1-inch insulation foam with a couple pieces of depron foam”, an insulation foam typically used in RC airplanes that is extremely lightweight but has enough strength to support the structure of the helicopter.

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To make it, Woodworth first made a CAD model using a Lego CAD program. Then he processed the resulting model to divide it according to the thickness of the foam.

Woodworth fed the this digital data to a laser-powered cutting plotter to get the pieces, which then he assembled with glue.

He added a little propeller to one of the rotor blades. When it activates, the entire rotor moves slowly. The actual lift, however, is generated by a quadrotor setup, which each rotor anchored to the studs at each end of the helicopter legs. The entire thing weighs four pounds.

Before painting the mode, Woodworth tested and fine tuned the quadrotor fly model.

In an interview with Tested, Woodworth says that this is not his first Lego drone, though. He also made this big airplane a couple of years ago, and this space shuttle last year. Other than drones, Woodworth also makes unusual submarines, like this A-Wing rebel fighter:

Woodworth told Tested that the A-Wing is part of his current submarine kick, taking Star Wars models and adding parts for underwater navigation. I’m looking for a 10x minifig scale model of the Galaxy Explorer, myself.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.