Project Up – pt 1

As I was driving to school one day, I passed several hot air balloons and thought it might be fun to make a homemade version.

Here’s a couple songs on my playlist for this build (playing one of these while reading this post is highly recommended):

I started with the basket:

I’m using an empty water bottle and tinfoil as fireproofing.

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As fuel, I’m using cotton balls soaked in alcohol, but I’m thinking about switching to emergency cooking fuel sold at emergency prep stores.

The balloon is painter’s plastic folded origami-style and taped on the seams.

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I folded the plastic top to bottom.

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Then, from left to right.

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So, the top corner is now the top of the balloon.

Next, I cut and shaped the balloon. *Note, do NOT cut the top even though it will look weird and pointy.

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After you unfold it, you’ll see a repeating pattern. Next, you just tape up the seams. Leave 4-6 in slack to tie to the basket.

I used kite string and electrical tape to make loops that I’ll use to tie the bottom of the balloon to. I also attached kite string to the bottom of the basket to keep control of the balloon while flying. An out of control, flying mass of burning plastic would be a bad idea, yeah?

The balloon is a little over 4 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. I filled it with a blowdryer and it looks pretty great. It takes a lot of heat to keep it afloat though, I’m worried cotton balls might not burn hot enough. Next time I’ll use a 6’x6′ square of plastic rather than the 9’x9′ square I used this time.

Turns out the difference between the heat inside the balloon is a major factor in the amount of lift the hot air generates. (see https://www.brisbanehotairballooning.com.au/faqs/education/123-hot-air-balloon-lift.html)

So now I’m just waiting for a calm, cold, windless night to fly it.

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