Card Stock & Paper Dragonfly Droid Glider

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Introduction: Card Stock & Paper Dragonfly Droid Glider

About: Airplane enthusiast and dream aviator.

Do you ever find yourself saving random objects and bits of material (otherwise known as junk)? I know I do! It felt good to use some old cores from adhesive tape rolls.

This glider will take 60 to 80 minutes to construct. Some experience with flying things and paper crafting is recommended.

Please don't peel off the last meter of tape from your roll just to make this airplane! If you do, at least save some for repairs later on. A large plastic bottle cap might be a good substitute. The diameter of the ring is just over 3.5 cm, and the width is just under 2 cm. You could also make a ring out of card stock, and I estimate two strips of 30 cm x 2 cm would make a ring of adequate weight and strength.

Supplies

-Sheet of light card stock (8.5" x 11", 65 lb. / A4, 175 gsm)

-Sheet of paper (8.5" x 11" / A4)

-Plastic adhesive tape core

-Glue stick & liquid white glue

-Scissors

-Ruler

Step 1: Print and Glue

Download the PDF file. Print the plans at 100% scale on the sheet of paper. Cut the shapes out, but only approximately.

Use the glue stick to adhere the pieces to the card stock, with the key exception of the vertical stabilizer (or fin). That piece should be cut out precisely and traced onto the card stock.

Step 2: Cut Out the Shapes

Go slowly. Be as precise as possible, even if that means making robot sounds as you work.

You can put the wings under a book to combat the warping caused by the glue. Warps can be removed later; it's a simple matter of reshaping the pieces with your digits.

Step 3: Constuct the Body

Think about whether you want the paper or the card stock showing, then establish creases in the correct direction on the dotted lines. Gradually work the material into the proper angles.

Use some liquid glue on one of the two side tabs, spread it into a thin layer with the help of a scrap piece of card stock, then fold the other tab over. Pinch the two together. Lastly, use a little glue on the end of the front tab, fold it down and under, and stick it to ventral side of the body.

Step 4: Form and Attach the Tail Boom

Use your ruler again to establish the creases. There is a reference line on the tail boom that shows where it lines up with the aft end of the body. The line is not visible in the photos because I folded the boom in such a way that the card stock faces out.

Step 5: Shape the Wings

Now you'll make the wings undercambered by curling the leading edges down. You'll also curl down the trailing edges, but with a somewhat milder radius. Leave the center sections flat. The diagram is a little exaggerated to show the curves.

1. [pictured] Pinch the leading and trailing edges between your fingertips and thumb. Repeat as needed, and be careful not to crease it!

2. Line up the leading edges of a wing with the edge of a table. Press down with your fingers while sliding the wing toward you until it overhangs about 1 cm (for leading edges) or 1.5 cm (for trailing edges). Repeat as needed.

If you want to get pro with it, make the undercamber most pronounced near the center and let it fade out toward the wing tips. Once the wings are undercambered, make crease on the dotted lines and raise the wing tips about 7 degrees above horizontal.

Step 6: Tail and Nose

Define the rudder and elevators by making creases on the dotted lines. Raise the elevators by about five degrees.

I scraped some glue out of an "empty" glue stick so it wouldn't go to waste. Liquid glue would also be good for this step. Attach the tabs to the fin and allow the glue to set up for a minute. Apply more glue and attach the fin to the horizontal stabilizer.

There is a long strip of card stock for securing the plastic ring to the nose. Glue one end to the dorsal side of the body to anchor it; the strip terminates at the short reference line.

A friction fit for the plastic ring will works fine for a few dozen flights. If you want to glue the ring in place, use a bit of sand paper or a blade tool to roughen the surface where it will be covered by the strip. Liquid white glue (PVA glue) won't adhere well, so you might use CA glue. Hold the ring against the front end of the body, then wrap the strip over and glue it to the bottom of the body. Hold everything tightly for a few minutes.

Step 7: Attach the Wings and Empennage

Use liquid glue for this step. Try your best to make the wings perpendicular to the fuselage. When attaching a wing, hold it in place as the glue sets up, otherwise it could drift.

The trailing edge of the top wing should meet the long reference line on the top of the body. The leading edge of the bottom wing (at the center line) should be directly below the leading edge of the top wing.

Use the short reference lines on the boom to accurately position the empennage (or tail). Make sure it is as straight as possible.

Step 8: Test Flights

To throw the dragonfly, place the pads of your index and middle fingers at the back of the bottom wing. Support the nose with your thumb and ring finger. Use your elbow to throw, plus a bit of wrist action.

Conduct the test flights indoors, or outdoors when the air is dead calm. Double check the dragonfly for imperfections such as a twisted wing or warped stabilizer.

Throw the dragonfly gently and level. It should go about 6 meters (20 feet) and descend at a steady rate. If it tends to turn left, adjust the rudder to the right, and vice versa. Make all adjustments in tiny increments. If the dragonfly is nosing up too much, adjust the elevators down by a degree or two.

Despite best efforts to properly balance my designs, minor variations in materials and construction could cause problems. If the dragonfly is too tail heavy it will fly erratically and just generally make you mad. Try adding a gram of temporary nose weight to see if that fixes it. Other likely causes of poor flights are wing twist, the leading edges of the wings being curled down too much, and a structural failure (such as a loose stabilizer).

Permanent weight can be added with pieces of card stock on the front and sides of the body. These will have the added benefit of making the dragonfly more durable.

Best of luck, and have fun with it!

Step 9: Video [optional]

It's mostly flights and photos.

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1 Person Made This Project!

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8 Comments

0
wingnutzster
wingnutzster

5 days ago

Another good design, with that Big round head a dragonfly design would be fantastic, that's what I'm making up for mine, I'll make the Ai file available if you like?

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zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Reply 5 days ago

Thanks. Glad you like it. Sure, post the file. I don't have Ai, though, just a cheap-o pixel drawing app. I should probably upgrade. : )

0
welderbot
welderbot

5 days ago

What an elegant design, i purchased plans to build " a no pilots license required" plane.
I'm goin to try and modify the wing structure to mimic your pattern. Thanx

Here is a pic of one of the early human gliders.

Chanute_herring_biplane_glider-in-flight (1).jpg
0
zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Reply 5 days ago

Good luck with your project! That sounds like a pretty big one. And, of course, be safe!

0
welderbot
welderbot

Reply 5 days ago

Thanx, no rush to construct it, like u said, i want it to be safe>

1
seamster
seamster

8 days ago

I'm really digging all your designs!

And your instructions are always excellent too - clear, repeatable, full details and good plans, and each design is fun and unique. Kudos, top marks! : )

0
zdedesigns
zdedesigns

Reply 8 days ago

Thanks a lot! If you have any suggestions, I'm also open to those. : )

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randofo
randofo

8 days ago

Nicely done. Cool design!