Introduction: Mini Staple Cessna-172

Picture of Mini Staple Cessna-172

This Instructable is a thank you for all those who liked the Staple Sailplane and were looking for something a little more challenging. Many pilots will tell you that the planes they remember the most are the ones they first learned in. Because of this, I decided to do my next glider in the shape of a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, the plane I am currently using for my private pilot. This glider is smaller than its sailplane brother, measuring 40 millimeters in fuselage length, 53 millimeters in wingspan, and 8 millimeters in height. It is also slightly less aerodynamically adept than its sailplane counterpart, due to its short and wide wings and stubby empennage. It is, however, fairly stable and forgiving, much like the real C-172. Hope all of you enjoy it and post any suggestions, concerns, corrections, recommendations, and pictures in the comments section!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

1) Paper
- Most paper or post-its will work.
- The piece should be at least 4x6 centimeters.
- The piece should also have about the same thickness and weight of computer paper.

2) Stapler
- Use standard staples. They are approximately 1.5 centimeters in length.

3) Scissors
- Use a small, sharp pair.

4) Metric Ruler
- Small, clear rulers work the best for this project.

5) Pencil
- Mechanical pencils or a well-sharpened wood pencil is ideal.

Step 2: Fold Paper in Half

Picture of Fold Paper in Half

Fold the piece of paper you will be using in half. If you are using a Post-it Note, fold the two sticky sides together. This will hold the sides steady during the next steps.

Step 3: Draw the Design

Picture of Draw the Design

Draw the design onto the piece of paper using the template provided. Start from the bottom, and work you way upward, making sure you draw the reference lines. Make sure to be as accurate as possible and ensure that bottom of the fuselage is touching the folded side of the paper. Also make sure NOT to draw the design over the sticky portions of the Post-it Note if you are using one. The dashed lines indicate folds, the dotted lines indicate reference lines, and the solid lines indicate cuts. Draw the nose as a rectangle first, and then draw in the curve afterwards.

Step 4: Cut Out the Design

Picture of Cut Out the Design

Unlike the previous Instructable, the glider has to be cut out before the staple is attached. Carefully cut out the design, remembering to cut out the black lines specified on the diagram. Cut out the nose as a rectangle for now. Ensure not to slice off the wings, cut too deep, or leave excess paper on the cutout. Also, it is important to make sure that the paper is perfectly flat to ensure symmetry of both sides. Any folds or curves on either side will result in an asymmetrical glider that will not fly. Discard the excess paper.

Step 5: Fold the Ballast and Tail

Picture of Fold the Ballast and Tail

Fold the ballast inside the fuselage as shown in the pictures. Snip off one of the horizontal stabilizers and fold the other one inside the fuselage as shown. Be careful not to cut or tear off the other stabilizers in the process. Fold the entire cutout in half when finished.

Step 6: Add the Staple

Picture of Add the Staple

Carefully add the staple to the design as indicated, pressing the layers together so that they don't get warped. The staple functions as a nose ballast to shift the aircraft's center of gravity forward. Make sure it is centered in the space provided. If not, remove it and insert another staple in the correct position. It is recommended to test the stapler on scrap paper to determine the exact location of the staples. After the staple is applied, cut out the shape of the nose.

Step 7: Fold the Wings Down

Picture of Fold the Wings Down

Fold the wings down as indicated by the dashed lines. Again, be as accurate as possible. Adjust the vertical stabilizer so it is parallel with the fuselage of the aircraft.

Step 8: Add Camber

Picture of Add Camber

In order for the glider to fly well, you must add camber. Camber creates Bernoullian lift (lift formed by the pressure difference between the top and bottom of the wings) as well as strengthening the wings. Pinch the leading edge and the trailing edge of the wings to add camber. The max camber should be about half of a millimeter and be located halfway across the chord of the wing (NACA 7500). Make sure to apply the same camber for the entire wingspan. You can also use a pencil or sharp object to create the curvature.

Step 9: Add Up Elevator

Picture of Add Up Elevator

This next step is extremely important in ensuring that the glider will fly. Bend the trailing edge of the horizontal stabilizer about one-eighth of a millimeter higher than the leading edge. This produces a positive angle of attack that points the wings upward in relation to the air around it. It is this angle between the wings and the "relative wind" that produces the majority of lift, and without it, the glider will not fly. The measurement is only approximate as you will have to adjust it later on.

Step 10: Add Dihedral

Picture of Add Dihedral

Although it may not appear like it, the C-172 does have dihedral. The Cessna 172S Pilot's Information Manual states that the wings have a 3.5 degree dihedral. For this model, you will have to add extra dihedral to increase the roll stability of the glider. Bend both wings upward until the wingtips are even with the top of the vertical stabilizer. Make sure both wings have the same dihedral and that the camber was applied evenly. In addition, ensure even up-elevator on the horizontal stabilizer and that the fuselage and the vertical stabilizer are straight and without warps.

Step 11: Preflight and Solo!

Picture of Preflight and Solo!

Every student pilot anticipated the moment the instructor hands them the controls, exits the airplane, and tells them to be safe and have fun. While it is not the same excitement of flying a real aircraft, there is no doubt that anticipation has been building during the tedious construction of this paper glider, and now is the time to reward your hard efforts!

Grab your glider by the fuselage and give it a very light toss. Note the direction of flight. If the glider dives, add more up elevator and decrease the dihedral. If the glider pulls up and stalls, decrease the up elevator and increase the dihedral. If the glider curves or spirals in one direction, curl the vertical stabilizer opposite to the direction it turns. If it still spirals, reduce the dihedral of the main wing. Keep repeating the process until the glider flies in the desired direction. If you need help, watch the videos on the Staple Sailplane Instructable.

Step 12: Decorate Your Cessna!

Picture of Decorate Your Cessna!

To turn the glider into a C-172 look-a-like, draw details on the glider, such as windows, wingtip stripes, and tail numbers using permanent markers and/or pens. For working control surfaces, cut slits into the wings and outline with a pen. These can be used to trim the glider or perform aerobatics. You can also add details such as landing gear and wing struts by cutting them out and gluing them on with superglue. When adding details, be careful not to add too much weight or alter the shape of the glider substantially. A detailed glider always looks better when it flies :-).

However, exercise extreme caution, as the side-effects of obsessive detailing can be irreversible. This is an example of what happens when one gets too excited about the whole process and goes completely overboard. With all the extra weight, its a miracle it still flies. As for the livery, well, I saw these planes at some random flight school and thought they looked cool ;-). I might attend... after I get my social life back.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of this C-172 flying.


nhgerardo made it! (author)2015-03-01

I made it!, it was easy following your Instructable. Thanks!

Master Wasi 47 (author)2014-11-26

man looks really cool.

jad.saade.31 (author)2014-10-14

It'd idint fly whith me

jad.saade.31 (author)2014-10-14

it it

jad.saade.31 (author)2014-10-14

it it

jad.saade.31 (author)2014-10-14

it it

stgkilla (author)2014-02-23

nice plane but some times it flys when it wants to but i like it

knexpert101 (author)2013-06-18

It glides very well and it is very well constructed

noob006 (author)2013-02-22

can you make a mini staple Boeing 747-8

OrigamiAirEnforcer (author)2012-01-02

Would you be able to make the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk? I have a diagram for it here. Thanks.

i built it!!

padios (author)2012-08-19

can u make more of them?

White_Wolf (author)2012-06-01

My first was a Cessna 150.

m1n1j1mmy (author)2011-12-18

I think 1/8 is a little too accurate for my fingers, but I'll give it a shot!
Awesome glider by the way :D

Jsquared24 (author)2011-11-11

I flew a cessna 172 for air cadets, and that was really fun! this is an awesome model!

heavyfire88 (author)2011-11-08

Does this fly ?

pmet (author)heavyfire882011-11-10

Yup! check the youtube video on step 12!

bungholio90210 (author)2011-08-06

lift is made by air being turned down. newtons law. not bernoullian

pmet (author)bungholio902102011-08-07

Newtonian lift (air being deflected downward as a result of angle of attack) constitutes only a part of total lift. The difference in pressure between the top and bottom of the wing DOES play a significant part in the production.

hjklkjh (author)2011-07-31

how do you put on the wheels?

pmet (author)hjklkjh2011-08-01

I cut them out of paper, colored them, and attached them to the fuselage with superglue. Afterwards, I gave them a light coat of superglue to reinforce them.

paperairplanecreator (author)2011-07-29

WEWT new orange scissors.

hvanskike (author)2011-07-22

How far do you put the flaps on the wings

pmet (author)hvanskike2011-07-23

They are the same length as the flaps. Hope this helps!

sappiah (author)2011-07-16

This may sound dumb but i don't know what 4x6 sized paper is. could you give me it in ruler measurment plz

pmet (author)sappiah2011-07-16

The paper should measure 4 centimeters (1 1/2 inches) in length and 6 centimeters (2 /12 inches) in height. Hope this helps!

frisbeechamp1983 (author)2011-07-03

umm... where is the template?

pmet (author)frisbeechamp19832011-07-05

The template is the picture above. I'll try to make a pdf version as soon as I can.

pen blade (author)2011-07-02

Thats just awesome!

nanamera624 (author)2011-06-25

it was so cool man it can fly clean and strait

LaffyDuck187 (author)2011-06-14


pmet (author)LaffyDuck1872011-06-14

will do will do :)

cshaughnessy (author)2011-04-22

what angle is that back fin supposed to be at it looks parallel to the end of the fuselage

pmet (author)cshaughnessy2011-04-22

The back fin, or the vertical stab, is parallel to the fuselage. Hope this helps!

subti7 (author)2011-04-14

This is my second paper clip plane and this thing flies the best and straightest.

pmet (author)subti72011-04-15

glad to hear that it flies well!

mikedude524 (author)2011-02-13

If i print off the template for this, how many staples should i use?

corn holio (author)mikedude5242011-02-25

did your plane fly?

mikedude524 (author)corn holio2011-03-02

Yeah. I didn't need to staple it. I just put some glue inside of it.

pmet (author)mikedude5242011-02-13

If you scale the template down to the correct proportions, you will only need one staple. If you print it out at a bigger size, keep adding staples until the glider's center of gravity is in the middle of the wings.

mikedude524 (author)pmet2011-02-13

ok thx.

corn holio (author)2011-02-25

Dude mine never flew but it made a nice desk toy.

pmet (author)corn holio2011-02-25

Don't give up man! Make a couple of them, and keep tinkering with them. Chances are one of them is going to fly. If you need help, just send me a message.

FrozenIce (author)2011-02-17

its awsome except for one thing. its too delicate

pmet (author)FrozenIce2011-02-17

Yeah, these little planes aren't the most rugged. You can try increasing th thickness of the paper if it helps.

Jedrokivich (author)2011-02-17

Hahh.. it's too beautiful... like a jewel...
A Masterpiece!

pmet (author)Jedrokivich2011-02-17

Thanks! Glad you liked it!

n108bg (author)2011-02-16

you're from riddle? nice to see someone from erau on Instructables.

pmet (author)n108bg2011-02-17

Yup, Daytona Campus! I'm trying to get my friends to post Instructables, the stuff they make is awesome. :-D

rimar2000 (author)2011-02-13

It is beautilful!

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