In this instructable, I will not only show you how to make a hand-thrown glider of these proportions:
Wingspan: 20 inches (50 centimeters)
Length: 20 inches
Height (including vertical stabilizer): 7 inches (18 centimeters)
Weight: 98 grams (3.45 ounces)
but, with the ratios I will give you, you can make whatever size glider you like (within an acceptable hand-throwing range of size).
If you have any questions, about the ratios, or the building of the plane featured here, or your own, (or whatever else you can think of, as long as it has to do with hand gliders) feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll get to them as soon as I can.
For this instructable you will need the following items and materials: (look at photo 2) You will also need a protractor for step 6.
If you just want to make the plane: Just look at the pictures and all explanations in BOLD font in the following steps. If you want to build a plane of your own size , follow all explanations in regular font and some of the pictures (as directed) in the following steps.
I chose cardboard to build this plane because it is cheap and readily available, and i had plenty around. However, if you want to make this plane, but you don't have enough cardboard (you need a piece with a total area of about 375 inches squared, with the minimum dimensions of 25x15, so you have enough room), if you have enough styrofoam of the same thickness, use that.
I strongly recommend that you use a sharp knife, such as an exacto, to cut out all parts of this plane or any other you may build for the following reasons:
- scissors can be bulky and use leverage to cut, which may cause a risk of bending the cardboard, resulting in a floppy, almost useless wing or fuselage, that fixing will only add weight which is the last thing you want when building these hand gliders.
- knives tend to be sharper than scissors and their thin blades can cut clean edges, are easier to handle than scissors, and are more accurate, which makes all the difference in factors of flight such as drag, wing area, and weight.
For the right cutting technique, refer to photo 3.
Cut the first two layers of the cardboard, then bend open the cut and slice through the last layer. As I said before, be very careful when cutting, you don't want to bend the cardboard, this weakens it immensely, and you end up with a floppy piece of junk.
For the two important terms that you will need to know when building this glider or your own, refer to photos 4 and 5.
All dimensions I give are measured in inches.
Step 1: The Main Wing
The dimensions of the main wing are 4 inches (the wing chord) by 20 inches.
Mark the dimensions, as shown in photos 1 and 2.
(All other photos have explanations.)
If you are making your own plane, the size of the other parts, the vertical/horizontal stabilizers and fuselage, are always determined by the ratios that are based upon the size of the chord and area of the main wing. Don't worry if this sounds complicated, I will display the calculations for explanation. Because the main wing determines the size of the other parts, once again, I STRONGLY recommend that the dimensions that you choose for the chord and the wingspan are EVEN numbers.
Of course, for example, a plane with a square wing would take a longer fuselage and be more complicated to build and balance. So, for a basic rule, the chord size should be a fifth of the size of the wing span (1x5,2x10,3x15 etc.), as mine is, because you will end up with easy, even measurements for dimensions of the other parts. For a very good technique when drawing the dimensions if you are using cardboard as your material, look at photo 3. If you want to use a different material, I suggest to use styrofoam of the same thickness.
After making the wing, always mark the center and draw a line down it to make it easy to position for mounting.