This 3D printed glider uses soap and water to fly like balloon sticks

A small, 3D printed frame of the glider can remain in the air after it has been covered with water and detergent, thanks to the owner of the ViralVideoLab YouTube channel. The bubble glider is every child’s dream – and that of an adult – to watch a soap-bubble frame whistle silently in the air.

Unlike past inventors who tried their creations on themselves (think: submarine, glider, jetpod), don’t worry too much, thinking that you can get on the glider and just use soap and water to get up. The whole frame fits in the palm of your hand, so it’s more of a toy than anything else.

But who knows, an inventor like the late Alexander Graham Bell, who thought of using giant kites to fly, can come with a human version of the glider with bubbles. For now, though, it’s just a fun experiment.

How the glider flies with bubbles

ViralVideoLab explained their simple process from start to finish in theirs video posted on YouTube (built-in below). First, the frame was 3D printed. Then the tail was slightly bent. The water and dish soap were mixed in a bowl, the frame submerged in it, and came out with that familiar bubble gleam between its wings and tail. The moment of truth came when the bubble glider was launched – like a paper airplane flying – and it rose quietly.

You can ask how water and dish soap allow the glider to fly.

Do you remember those bubble sticks you played with as a kid? This is the same concept. When soap is added to water, the thin film of soap acts as a layer on the bubble, keeping the water bubble safe under that layer and slowing the evaporation process. In this way, the balloon lasts longer.

The open holes, which are the wings in the frame of the plastic balloon glider, act just like a bubble stick. Once the glider is immersed in the mixture of soap and water, this shiny layer is spread over the frame, just as it is done with the fabric, and allows the glider to fly. The glider flies as long as it takes for the water to evaporate under the soap layer – just as the bubbles pop out after a while.

You can even buy a 3D printed plastic frame on eBaywhich would make a neat toy.

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