Bertrand: Air Whale.

We breathed life into Bertrand, but sadly, he didn't take flight. He tragically insisted upon beaching himself, and we ended up putting him out of his misery.


The idea was for him to be a solar hot air balloon, the air inside heating up and lifting him. I'm confident the main problem is too much mass of plastic in the pectoral fins, and tapered tail relative to how much volume of air those areas hold.


Holla to Make for featuring me. Thanks guys! If there's any interest, I could Instructibles my process in a little while.

  • Daniel Richert 6y

    Neat work.
    Maybe if you filled the whale whit all ready heated air. Hairdryer maybe?
  • MysteryStevenson1 6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Anti Gravity, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • scott el 6y

    such a super fun idea. time for model 2!
  • B A Moir 6y

    Very cool fun seen on explore too.
  • Bill Coleman 6y

    Try again on a cold day with bright sunshine.
  • Julian Baker 6y

    You inspire
  • Ryan Gerhart 6y

    Reminds me of the Maxx....good work!!
  • Alpine Light & Structure 6y

    Dig it!

    Dig it!
  • Diem Chau 6y

    this is awesome!
  • jacobmoralesmarchosky 6y

    hey matt

    nice design on the whale...

    some advice...

    i have been making some of these air-fish-worms for a few years, with similar materials, and a similar theory, that of heated air lifting the "bag"...

    i have even tried helium....

    the problem is the actual material, the weight of it...i know it seems like very light material, but when talking about ratios, its pretty heavy...

    mylar seems to be the way to go (besides it is incredibly thin and strong, it also has a tight knit molecular makeup making the gases stay inside)(longer than other materials anyway)...

    it is extremely workable with heat sealers, tough, but...kinda expensive, and getting it in a matte black might be task, but hey worth it...
  • Ana Santos 6y

    Would have been the awesomest thing EVER if it worked. I would love to have a flying hot air whale.
  • Kristina_5 6y

    very cool idea
  • Mike Sperlak 6y

  • Matt Jones 6y

    Whoa! So much feedback!!
    Thank you so much for all of the encouragement you guys. I'm glad to have put some smiles on some faces, and know your comments have returned the favor! Seriously, thanks. I'm pretty darn humbled to have a post with 2k freakin' views!
    BA Moir, thanks for the tip on Explore! Sweet.

    Also, thanks for all of the input! Dnny, Stiltpro, I've googled and found out how popular the idea of solar trashbags has become in the year or two since I first saw the idea, and have found a bunch of other examples exactly following you guys' suggestions.

    When I go again, I'm gonna try a larger scale, more cylindrical body, blowdryer, and a cold, sunny day.

    Jacob, I feared exactly what you've described; I definitely understand what you mean about the plastic being heavy, even though it feels "light." From the behavior of a lot of the "solar worms" I've now looked up, I can see that they tend to just barely generate enough lift to get off the ground intermittently.

    Some of the larger, more spherical balloons seem to be able to have enough volume relative to mass to generate quite a lot of lift though. I'm hoping that if I double the circumference, under ideal conditions, I could achieve neutral buoyancy.

    I'd love to do mylar, but all of my meager project budget is allocated to other things for a while yet! If I saved up a fair little chunk of money, the mylar might be the right medium for my extrapolation of the idea, which would be to load an air whale with a gps and hacked Nokia or somesuch, and track it's "migration." =)
  • Matt Jones 6y

    Oh, and for the record of the skeptical and/or green, in reality there is nearly zero chance that I'll actually do a mylar gps whale. Even if I cobbled it together, the combination of likelihoods of loosing $100+ of electronics and of choking a real whale, or mauling a motorist would keep me from loosing the beastie.
  • C_Low 88 6y

    wow, creative and unordinary
  • leave_message 6y

    please please PLEASE!! instructbles-ize this!!!!
  • little shiva 5y

  • Larisa Pravilovic 4y

    So cool!
  • Mr. Sable 2y

    This is so awesome!
67 faves
Taken on March 29, 2009
  • EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
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