Introduction: DIY Glider

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Welcome Aboard!

Before we can take off, we first need to learn how an aeroplane works. To learn how a plane flies, head over to Airbus Discovery Space where you can find lots of useful videos on the science of flight. Once you've understood the basics, we can then start to build our own glider using basic materials. Let's see how far your glider can fly!

To create your own glider, you will need the following items:

  • Cardboard - 1.5mm, 2mm, 3mm.
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Sticky Tape
  • A Printer & Laptop/Computer
  • A4 White Paper
  • Safety Knife
  • Scissors
  • Safety Cutting Mat
  • Metal Ruler
  • Pencil/Pen
  • Elastic Band

That's all you need to start designing and building your own glider!

Step 1: Print the Template


  1. Start by downloading the Template PDF of the gliders.
  2. Use your computer/laptop to print out the template
  3. Print the template using either plain A4 paper or A4 card.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Template


  1. Depending on the thickness of your card, select the right glider template.
  2. Use a pair of scissors to cut the template you require.
  3. Again, depending on the thickness of your card. Apply double sided tape to the paper template. (If you have printed in card please move onto step 4)
  4. Stick the template to the corrugated card using the double sided tape.

Step 3: Cut Out the Glider


Step 4 - Cut out the Glider

  1. Use the safety knife or scissors to roughly cut out the shape of the glider parts.
  2. Then use a pair of scissors to carefully cut round the edges of the glider.
  3. Make sure to cut all three parts out.

Step 4: Cut Out the Wing Slots


  1. Carefully, use the ruler and knife to cut the slots where the wings will go.
  2. Make sure that children are supervised when using a knife to cut the slots.
  3. Ensure that all edges of the slots are carefully cut, before removing the excess material.

Step 5: Slot the Wings Into the Main Body


  1. Make sure that all parts and slots are cut out before assembling.
  2. Put the large front wing in the front of the main body
  3. Put the smaller back wing into the back of the main body.

Step 6: Securing the Wings


  1. To secure the wings in place, try adding a small piece of tape on the underside of the wings.
  2. If the wings are too flimsy, try adding additional supports to the underside of the wings,
  3. Or try layering multiple wings of bodies to the glider to increase strength. (Please note this will increase the weight)

Step 7: Test Flight!


  1. Once you have completed your glider, try building multiple variations to see which glides furthest.
  2. Throw the glider using your arm or an elastic band to increase your distance.
  3. Try competing against your friends or fellow students to see who can glide the furthest.

Step 8: Make Iterations


  1. Now you’ve flown your glider, it’s time to starting making it better.
  2. Using the template, try drawing your own glider design to build.
  3. Try analysing which parts need improving.
  4. For helpful hints and tips, try going to the Airbus Discovery Space Website to learn how planes fly. Design and build your own glider and test it against the example, did it fly further? Try making it wider or more streamline, or add small details like flaps.

Step 9: Further Developments

Once you’ve mastered your own DIY Glider design, why not try taking it to the next level using free Autodesk CAD software.

If you’d like to learn how to create your glider using Autodesk Tinkercad and Fusion 360, click the links below:

Autodesk Tinkercad

Autodesk Fusion 360

We hope you have enjoy this tutorial on how to make your own glider, make sure to keep designing, developing and making new iterations. But most importantly, happy gliding!