Introduction: Card Stock Pterosaur (Quetzalcoatlus)
Print, cut, fold, glue, fly! This is a flying model with a canard configuration. Check out the video in Step 3 to see how it flies. I would have liked it to look more like an animal and less like a plane, but elements such as the vertical stabilizers are necessary because the model can't adjust its wings and body in flight, as a living creature would. In other words, it needs some built-in stability.
This is a fairly complex design and will require some precision and patience. From printed plans to the first test flights, expect to spend 4 to 5 hours.
1. two sheets of card stock—80 lb. is preferable; if you only have 65 lb. (typical for photocopiers), double up the layer that you use for parts on pg. 1
2. chipboard—about 1/32" thickness
3. balsa wood—1/8" x 3/8" x 11 cm
5. glue—multi-purpose or wood glue (do not use tacky glue)
Step 1: Download and Print
Print pages 1 and 2 onto card stock (or onto plain paper, then photocopy onto card stock). Use 80 lb. card stock. Page 2 could be a lighter weight, such as 65 lb., if page 1 is a little heavier. Using two colors will add visual appeal to the design.
Page 3 gives the dimensions of the chipboard pieces you will need.
Step 2: Cut Out the Shapes
It helps to have small pair of scissors for tight curves and corners, but that can also be done with a matte knife or other cutting tool. If you are a young builder, get permission from your parent or guardian before using a sharp blade, and be cautious when using it.
Keep the scraps of card stock in case you need some extra material later. With this design, nose repairs are an inevitability.
Step 3: Watch the Build Video
The steps on page 3 of the document are, for the most part, the order of assembly. But the video will make it all much clearer.
Step 4: Finishing Touches and Flight
Sight down the nose to make sure the wing doesn't have any warps or twists. If it does, try to correct them. Card stock tends to "remember" a certain shape, but it can be reformed by repeatedly working over it with thumb and fingers (and, if necessary, exposure to hot, humid air). Symmetry of the wing is essential for balanced and graceful flight.
Regularly check the canard airfoil (the foreplane) and vertical stabilizers. If one of these is bent, your pterosaur's next flight will be very short. Also, keep in mind that the elevators on a foreplane work opposite from those on a tailplane.
When conducting test flights, try to throw it level and gently. (It's all in the elbow.) Trying to huck it like a baseball, and throwing it at steep angles, is not recommended. Also, you should avoid water and damp ground, as well as trees, rocks, roads, and other things that can doom your pterosaur to the garbage bin.
WARNING— This flying model has a pointed tip that can cause injury, especially to eyes. Advise individuals in your proximity before you throw it.