Introduction: DIY Solar Plane
I was looking for my next wood project and saw this short video , love the concept and had to build one...
Also, It was a little challenging to combine a concealed electronic circuit inside the plane body (especially when I'm not an electronics expert).
Hope you will enjoy this as much as I did building it!
Step 1: Inspiration & Design
This short youtube video was my inspiration, saw it and had to build one of my own.
From here I draw few sketches on A4 paper just to find the shape of the plane,
In order to cut the wood, i needed two pieces of the side view of the plane and two pieces from above of the plane.
Step 2: Tools & Materials
- Wood trimming tool
- Drill bits (8mm, 1mm)
- Sanding machine
- Soldering iron
- Cutting knife
- DC motor
- 2 solar panels
- Solid wires
- 2X4 Wood
- 8mm Wooden stick
- Wood glue
- some solder
Step 3: Plane Body
I glued the plane sketch on the wood than I started trimming the extras.
After this was done, I started to refine the plane body with a sanding machine.
After I was done, I rethought it and came to a conclusion that it was too squarish....
So I did a second round of trimming to give it a more rounded shape,
To do so I marked the front of the plane with calipers and then I marked the places on the body that were needed to be removed.
After I had it marked, I started trimming slowly piece by piece....
Step 4: Wings
I created two similar rectangles for the upper and lower wings, for the back wing I have improvised and cut it by eye.
After I had all the wings, I sanded them, curved the corners that face front, same for the back wing but much more rounded.
I marked the place for the lower wing and cut it so the lower wing will be part of the plane's body.
After that, I glued only the lower and the back wing, as the upper wing will be connected using wood sticks (see connect wings step).
Step 5: Solar Panel and Motor Circuit POC
I had to run a little POC, as I'm not expert in electronics and I don't own a multimeter yet.
I bought 2 solar panels on eBay and a little DC motor, so the POC was to put the whole circuit together and check that the motor runs when there is enough light on the solar panels.
- solder wires to the positive and negative of all the components.
- connect the two solar panels in series as the circuit power source (positive of panel A to negative of panel B).
- connect the power source to the motor
- I used desk lamp to generate the electricity
- Done, motor runs! :)
After the POC was successful, I trimmed the solar panel wires, so I can fit the panels on the upper wing.
Step 6: Engine and Propeller
I tried to use the same wood as the plane body with the propeller, but it's too soft.... I ended up braking 2 propellers while making them.
So I decided to go with plywood...
Step 7: Connect the Plane and Wings
I started with gluing the bottom wing to the plane body
Step 8: Wheels
I took a broomstick and sliced to 1cm pieces, with the 8mm drill I placed a hole in the middle.
I used the same wood stick from the wings, for the wheel's axle.
Now to attach the wheels to the plane's body, I cut a piece of wood rectangle 1cm X 1cm X 2cm, drilled 8mm hole to put the axle through.
Step 9: Paint
I used oil paint Red for the body and black for the propeller and wheels.
Step 10: Glue It All Together
Finally, I assembled the electronic circuit on the plane and glued all the parts.
Step 11: Done!
If you liked it, don't hesitate to leave a comment or even vote ;)