Introduction: Gliding Car
Step 1: Materials
Step 2: Prep the Paper
Cut cardstock into thirds lengthwise for the wings. Cut those strips in half for the tail.
Step 3: Form the Frame
Create a chain of craft sticks and half-sticks as seen in the picture.
Use both hands to bend the corners while keeping the craft sticks flat.
Form a rectangle. The last connection can be tricky. Use your finger to bend the straw at the corner, then insert the last stick.
Step 4: Add Wheels
Create a pair of wheels by inserting a skewer into the center of a wheel. Cut a straw to size and insert the skewer. Cut the skewer to size and affix the second wheel.
Wrap two pieces of tape around the frame and the wheels. The corners of the frame may bulge and cause the wheels to be uneven. Prevent this by placing the wheels slightly in front of or behind the corners of the frame.
Step 5: Bend and Attach the Wings + Tail
Fold the prepped strip of cardstock in half. Folding the tips is optional.
Place the upside down car on top of the paper. Use four pieces of tape to secure the paper to the frame.
Attach the tail by taping it to the top and bottom of the wings.
Step 6: Give It Some Weight
Weight is necessary to overcome the drag created by the paper. When the car is moving, the weight will have momentum, helping the car push more easily through the air.
Bundle 5 half-sticks together. Wrap tape around the bundle and the front of the car.
Step 7: How to Fly
Put the car on top of a table with at least 2 feet of space to move back and forth.
Place your fingers on the center of the paper. Press down gently on the paper, then swiftly push the car off the edge of the table.
Bending the tail up or down will change the angle at which the car glides through the air.
Step 8: Advanced Idea: Flying Car
This advanced idea uses the same rubber band motor as the Rubber Band Helicopter project.
This particular design is too heavy to be lifted by the propeller, but the thrust does carry the car off of the table and continues to swiftly propel it as it descends.
Step 9: Safety, Tips and Troubleshooting
- Don't allow students to carelessly fling their cars around. All launches should be deliberate and measured.
- If students try to throw their car to find out if it can fly, be sure that they do so in an unobstructed area that is clear of other students.
- If the car is somersaulting backwards, check for: it has weight at the front; the wings are not too big; the wings are positioned in the center of the frame; the tail is not bent sharply upwards
- If the car is somersaulting forwards, check for: the wings are positioned in the center of the frame; the leading edge of the wing is not bent downward
- If the car is turning sharply in one direction, check for: the wings are not centered; one wing is bent at a significantly different angle than the other wing; the user accidentally flinging the car sideways during launch
- Adding more weight to the front can help solve these problems to an extent. Extra weight will pull the car in a straight path, helping the car overcome minor to moderate flaws in the wings and tail.