Introduction: The Perfect Paper Plane!

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Have you ever tried to make a paper airplane from scratch? Well, then you know how hard it is. But with this guide for improving and making a great looking paper plane you will be up in the sky in no time! We will be talking about acrobatic, distance, and glider plane designs. You can use the tips that you have learned in this guide to make yours better to.Without further or do lets get started!

Step 1: Folding Your Plane:

This part is crucial to paper airplane making. You want to make your plane as smooth and slick as possible. Use the edge of your fingernail or the edge of a ruler to make your planes folds clean. Using size A4 printer paper is the best for paper airplane making. The process of the folds as are follows:

Note: Making the wings will be in a different step because they change depending on what your going for.

Picture 1: The Guiding Fold

This fold is to make all your other folds line up together. Take the left edge of your paper and fold it length-wise to the right (refer to picture 1 to see what I mean). It is important that you make this fold clean!

Picture 2: Making of the Nose (1)

Unfold the Guiding fold. You should see a straight line running down the middle of the paper. The first step for the nose is to fold the top left corner down to the Guiding Line. You will see that this makes a 90 degree angle. Now fold the right side the same way you folded the left. (refer to picture 2)

Picture 3: Making of the Nose (2)

In this step you are simply folding down the section you just made. From what I have learned you want to fold it so the end of the 90 degree angle (refer to picture 2 for clarity) folds down on its self (see picture 3 for more detail).

Picture 4: Making of the Nose (3)

Fold the top left edge down to the Guiding Line. You want to fold this a little bit more than an inch and a half up from the bottom of the triangle (refer to picture 4). Repeat the process for the right side.

Picture 5: Making of the Nose (4)

Fold the mini triangle (refer to picture to see) up so it folds over the folds you made for picture 4 (refer to picture 5)

Picture 6: Making of the Fuselage

If you have followed the step correctly then you should easily to fold the plane in half (refer to picture 6) so it creates a sort of fuselage.

Go to the next step to see how to make the wings!

Step 2: Making of the Wings

In this step we will be talking about the wings of the plane. Before you go on fold the wing edge of the planes wing down along the bottom of the fuselage (make sure its clean and it looks like picture 1). After that fold down the other wing the same way (you don't want to have uneven wings!), it should look like picture 2. After that spring up the wing (so it doesn't angle down) and read on to see what you want to do:

Glider: This version of the glider for this plane is the easier of the two. It requires the wings of the plane to be up from its fold point. This is called Dihedral. You will hear this term a lot if you are into building RC planes. What Dihedral does is it makes your plane self stabilize in the air. It does this because when one of the wings is lower than the other it puts pressure on the one that is lower. This pushes the wing up and thus it self stabilizes. Refer to picture 4 for a diagram on dihedral.

Glider Advanced: This glider uses tip Dihedral. What this does is it makes the plane even more stable then if you were to do Dihedral because there is more bend in the TIPS of the wing, rather then the whole wing. To do this measure about a half inch away from where the wing meets the fuselage. Bend, DO NOT CREASE, this fold up to an angle of about 40-45 degrees. Refer to Picture 4 for diagram on Tip Dihedral.

Acrobatic: Depending on what you think is acrobatics there are various ways of doing this. If you think acrobatics is more of rolling than looping read this: For rolling your plane you want little to none Dihedral (refer to picture 5). To do this you want to bend the wings down so they are perpendicular to the fuselage. Depending which way you want your plane to roll you will want to push your finger against the back of the opposite wing you want the plane to roll (roll right put finger on left. Roll left put finger on right) so it makes a little up dimple (refer to picture 6 for clarity). Looping: For looping you want to make two little up dimples on the back of the planes wing (refer to picture 7 for clarity). This will create more lift in the back causing the planes nose to want to pitch up.

Distance: For this to be a distance plane you will want to bend the planes wings down (refer to picture 8). This is called Anhedral. What anhedral does is it makes less lift which is bad. But wait! For our purposes this is great! what this does is it lets our plane go extremely fast on the throw. Plus as an added bonus, if you bend, not fold, the wing down it will spring back up later in the flight so it can glide!

Read on to see some tips on how to throw your plane!

Step 3: Throwing Your Perfect Plane!

So now that you have made your plane you should be able to throw it. These tips are organized into the same categories as last time:

Glider: For this case there will not be the other glider type because they're both thrown the same way. Generally you want to put your hand on the triangle in the fuselage. This should be about where the CG (Center of Gravity) is supposed to be (refer to picture 1). For a glider throw I recommend pitching the planes nose to an angle of about 30 degrees (refer to picture 2). When throwing your plane, don't go all the way back like you are throwing a baseball, but rather lock your elbow in place and throw with your forearm (refer to picture 3). Throw at a soft to medium speed. This will make your glider glide forever. Tip: throw you plane from the top of a hill or a building for maximum glide time!

Acrobatic: Rolls: Throw your plane about 75 percent with a little more elbow then you would give for a glider throw. Throw at about a 45 degree angle up. Loops: Throw your plane almost straight up with a baseball throw. This will make your plane do 1 loop. Depending on the flap height in the back if you throw your plane at a 45 degree angle at a good speed then it might do more loops or rolls.

Distance: Make sure the wings are in a anhedral sort of fashion and experiment at what speed is the best for you. If you throw it softer: not as far. If you throw it harder: far, but doesn't glide. If you throw it medium: far and it glides! See what is the best option for you to use with this design.

Step 4: Plane Maintenance and the End

Plane maintenance is very important. Each throw you do the plane will act less precise. Each plane typically will last 8-12 throws before you have to replace it. If your plane nose dives into something or the nose is destroyed, make a new one because the bent nose will fatigue and create drag. Try to fly the plane in non wet conditions (moist air will make your plane heavy) because if you do it will not fly properly. Video is coming soon!

If I win the Epilog Contest VII I would give the laser cutter to my schools maker space so all the kids and adults can learn how to use it and become better thinkers and problem solvers.

Thank you for looking and please vote for me in the Paper Craft Contest and Epilog Contest VII!

Papercraft Contest 2015

Runner Up in the
Papercraft Contest 2015

Epilog Contest VII

Participated in the
Epilog Contest VII