Step 1: The launcher
- One 1/2" four-way fitting (all fittings are of the slip variety)
- Two 1/2" end caps
- One 1" coupling
- One 1" by 1/2" bushing
- One 1/2" 45-degree elbow
Step 2: Jet tube PVC form
To make a jet form, cut a piece of 1/2" PVC exactly 11 inches. Take a regular sheet of 8.5" by 11" paper and roll it onto the tube, using white glue to glue it tightly in place, flush with the PVC on either end.
Take a 3-inch piece of electrical tape and wrap it neatly around one end of the tube, flush with the end. That's it.
You might want to make a few of these if you plan on having more than one person making jets at a time.
Step 3: Roll jet tube
Smear a thin bead of white glue along the edge of the roll, and glue the paper down. Quickly roll the tube back and forth on the table to roll out any air bubbles. The tube should be able to slide on and off of the form freely, and not be glued to the form. Leave it in place on the PVC form for the remainder of the steps.
Step 4: Jet tube nose
The cotton balls block the end of the jet tube so air can't escape when you launch your jets. The penny adds a little bit of needed weight to the nose so the jets fly better.
Insert the two cotton balls into the open space in your paper tube, just above where the PVC form ends. Don't insert them into the PVC. Place the penny on top of the cotton balls, and tape down the paper over the cotton balls and penny with masking tape as shown in photos 2 and 3.
Step 5: Wings and tail pieces
I found that the cardboard from an old cereal box was perfect for making the wings and tail section of these jet planes. It's lightweight but still stiff enough to be able to bend and keep it's shape for adjusting the control surfaces of the planes (ailerons, elevator, rudder).
Cut out the pattern pieces and trace them onto cardboard. Transfer the various marks on the patterns to your cardboard pieces, and cut them out. The solid lines are where you cut, and the dotted lines are where you fold.
Don't worry about folding the control surfaces now. You can do this when the plane is completed, and even then they only need to be adjusted a tiny bit to really effect the movement of the planes.
Step 6: Assemble wings
Step 7: Attach wings and tail section
Use a single bead of hot glue to attach the wings to the jet tube 1 3/4" in front of the horizontal stabilizer.
Use the line where the paper roll ends to help you line up the stabilizer and wings as you glue them on. (In the photos, I traced this line with a pen to help it show up better.)
The vertical stabilizer is glued in place, also with just a single bead of hot glue.
Alright, that's it!
The last step is just a few words on how to fly these babies.
Step 8: Final thoughts
The ailerons generally move in opposite directions, one up, the other down, which turns the plane left or right. The elevators always move together, up or down, to make the plane go up or down. The rudder swings the tail of the plane left or right. I wouldn't mess with the rudder on this, because it really doesn't do much to these as far as I can tell.
To begin, try to get your plane to do a straight, level glide when launched by hand. To do this, I suggest keeping the ailerons in the neutral position and the elevator tabs bent up equally about 1/8".
Once you have a decent glide, experiment with your plane to see what you can get it to do. Wild loops and barrel rolls are easy to make happen, but slow sweeping rolls turns and steady glides are much more tricky! We found that throwing the planes was almost as much fun as launching them.
This was a fun little project, and I suspect my kids and I will be building and flying these for a while.
Thanks for looking at this. Let me know what you think!