11 of the best Chinese home-made machines, from helicopters to Transformers
China’s backyard inventors have proven that the only thing standing between you and a home-made helicopter - or tank, or armoured car, or Transformer - of your very own is ingenuity, a lot of determination and some metal.
Here are some of the best creations from recent years.
1. Chinese farmer makes a business out of his fleet of home-made helicopters
Xu Bin dropped out of high school years ago to focus on his hobby of building helicopters. In 2006, after almost 11 years researching and upgrading his designs, he succeeded in creating a helicopter that could take off and land properly.
The 43-year-old is now venturing into selling his home-made machines, after years of making money taking and selling aerial photos and videos while flying.
2. Shanghai mechanic builds life-sized replicas of the Batmobile entirely out of scrap metal
The replicas, all based on the “Tumbler” version of the Batmobile in director Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, were designed by 26-year-old Li Weilei and a small group of assistants in a workshop in Shanghai’s Minhang suburb.
Unfortunately, Li’s scrap metal Batmobiles are missing one crucial thing - proper engines. They are transported via hoists.
3. Doting Chinese dad builds three-tonne working tank ... for his six-year-old son
A former navy officer built a makeshift three-tonne tank, complete with a gun turret, as a gift for his toddler.
“I want to realise my dream and give my son a cool toy,” Jian Lin, from Mianzhu village in Sichuan province, said.
The tank has a special side door so his son can climb onto it easily, and the boy’s friends join in the fun too.
4. Chinese farmer spends one year and US$2,995 building plane from scratch – but doesn’t know how to fly it
A Chinese farmer spent a year building his own home-made plane at a cost of 20,000 yuan (US$2,995), even though he never learned how to fly.
Zhang Jiucheng, of Longnan, northwestern Gansu province, had been carefully constructing a silver metal-framed aircraft with a wingspan of about 7 metres. Despite his lack of training, he still hoped to give it a test flight.
5. Best dad ever? Chinese father keeps promise to son and builds giant model of Transformers robot in backyard
A shipyard welder in eastern China gave up his job to fulfil a promise to his son and build a robot replica based on the Transformers action movies.
The dazzling yellow version of Bumblebee towers over onlookers in Wang Liansheng’s backyard in Suqian, Jiangsu province.
It all started when Wang told his two-year-old son that he would make a model for him because he couldn’t afford to buy one after they watched a Transformers movie.
6. Farmer-inventor - one of China’s ‘peasant Da Vincis’ - enjoys life in his orange submarine
“I never studied this in school, I’ve based everything on my imagination,” Tan Yong said. “I can stay underwater for 45 minutes.”
Gauges and air pressure dials in his electric vessel have been screwed to the cabin wall above plastic piping, which would look appropriate beneath a kitchen sink; handwritten operating instructions have been fixed using sticky tape.
Elsewhere, electric cables are connected to an array of fuseboxes, while a gas canister has been positioned on the floor.
7. Farmer’s home-made helicopter fails to fly – again – after he spends three years and US$29,950 building it
A farmer in southeast China spent three years and 200,000 yuan (US$29,950) building his own helicopter – only to find out that it cannot fly.
With many villagers and members of the media looking on, the aircraft failed its second trial flight. It remained on the ground 10 minutes after its propellers were started.
Despite the setback, the farmer, who is in his 50s, said he would carry on working on it until he managed to make it work.
8. Chinese man with an obsession for military vehicles builds backyard armoured car
A Chinese aficionado of military vehicles finally realised his dream of building his own armoured car.
Shi Yanqiang, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier who owns a car accessory shop in Shandong province, spent every spare moment over seven months modifying a derelict light truck into a light tank.
Although the vehicle looks authentic, its not allowed on public roads.
9. Chinese glass factory worker builds his own electric ‘supercar’
A 27-year-old worker at a glass factory in southern China built his own electric sports car in his spare time.
Chen Yanxi, a car buff from Haikou on Hainan Island, designed the black-and-red vehicle and bought most of the parts needed to build it, including the engine, tyres and transmission system.
He will not be able to take his creation on the roads, however, as only vehicles made by state-approved manufacturers are deemed to be roadworthy.
10. Building company boss makes his own plane from scratch in northern China
A building company executive made his own light aircraft and successfully flew it in northern China.
Yang Shijun, 45, took more than a year to build the plane, which he made in memory of his father, who was a pilot.
The amateur pilot reached an altitude of 200 metres and was in the air for about 2½ hours.
11. Handyman in western China builds two-tonne Bumblebee in home courtyard
A farmer in northwest China’s Gansu province built a 6.8-metre tall model of Bumblebee from the Transformers series, using scrap steel, used fire extinguishers and recycled car and motorcycle parts.
Zhang Song spent more than four months building the model in the courtyard of his home in Hazhai village in Zhangye prefecture. The finished product weighs two tonnes and is propped up by three poles.